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Making viral videos 101 (Ideas and examples)

One way to build awareness for your brand is with a viral video. We tried a few to see how many clicks we could get using a smartphone and editing software. In this blog we unpacked what we learned so you can find out how making a viral video might lead to increased visibility and brand awareness. It’s so much fun.

Funny, shareable videos are everywhere on the internet. Actively making a video is one way to raise your brand profile especially if you can weave in your product or brand values into the story. We made a few to see how many views we could pick up and to learn a bit more about how to generate some traffic.
Coming up with your idea.

It depends on your brand but a lot of viral videos fall into one of three categories.

  1. Fail videos like people stacking it
  2. Epic videos like wingsuits
  3. or some unique trick shot / impossible stunt

Because it helps to weave in your product (we want to drive some sales from our target audience, after all) we came up with invisible t-shirt as a working title. Making the vid was easy, we actually just used a digital camera on a tripod and some free editing software. We used a green t-shirt and a green-screen filter to knock out the tee onto the background, then did some magic tricks for the public to make the reactions believable. You can check it out below.

We also came up with another idea where we thought it would be funny to get an kooky celebrity doing something unusual, so got a list of celebs and a list of random stuff and came up with Michael Fish – a famous British TV weatherman, doing a Base Jump.

Results

These videos got 60’000+ hits on Youtube and were featured in dozens of blogs, magazines and national news sites too. The campaigns drove huge spikes in traffic, and we linked both campaigns to a limited edition product – the Che Fish tee has been particularly popular with British people who bought into the legendary weatherman’s cult following.

The thing we learned about viral videos was that the shares and virality of the video didn’t happen without being pushed.

The thing with viral videos is that making them is only half of the task. You have to launch them and actively build momentum to start the snowball effect. Writing a quality press release and pushing the likes and shares, be it customers, friends and family or by boosting your post with paid ads is essential to get the content in front of enough people online to get say, #michaelfish or #invisibletshirt trending

pr from viral video

Your video doesn’t have to be that long or complex. Arguably a gif or a 10 second clip shared by snapchat, whatsapp or instagram might be even more effective in the future.

We also learned that the links and awareness is good for SEO, but if you want to grow sales directly from this format, you want to weave in your product.

In the two examples above, we sold thousands of limited edition Michael Fish t-shirts, but whilst we had many enquiries from customers who fell for the trick, we made zero in sales from invisible t-shirts. As with all content creation, link it to a product that people can buy into if they like it. And remember, the idea is the most important thing. It will probably be more believable if you use a phone camera, so you have everything you need right in your hand.

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