6 Tips on Going Viral

Last week, my library posted a Youtube video for National Library Week that went “viral.” No, not millions of views viral, but over 100,000 views in a week viral. Which is pretty big for us!

That’s not our most watched video ever … yet. I’m pretty sure it will make that in a week or two. But it is our most viral video to date, meaning that it spread around the web pretty fast, and was reposted in quite a few places with larger audiences.

How did we do it? That’s a good question, and ultimately it’s hard to predict what will “go viral” and what won’t. That said, there are definitely some ways to make your videos better, which will help get your video viewed by more people.

6 Tips on Going Viral:

  1. Start with great content. You have to start with the content. It has to be well-done and interesting enough for people to watch for 1-3 minutes, and then want to share with their social media friends.
  2. Create something that makes sense to your viewers. Our video was written from the customer’s point of view, which helped it be interesting to more than just a librarian audience. This isn’t always the case for truly viral videos (triple rainbow, anyone?), but it certainly can’t hurt!
  3. Have a hook. Or 2. Or 3. By “hook,” I mean have something in the video that catches people’s attention. This video had several: It was done for National Library Week (captured a library industry audience); we used people in our community (captured a local audience); and we inserted a ton of Taylor Swift “easter eggs” in the video (captured Taylor Swift fans).
  4. Give extra attention to audio and lighting. Again, the goal is not Hollywood quality – we are a library, after all! But to the best of your ability, make sure your audio, lighting, and video is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the content of the video.
  5. Use people who don’t mind being “in front of the camera.” We’re libraries, so we’ll probably use library staff in the video, which is great! However – have you ever watched a library video that was sorta painful? Bad singing, obviously reading a script, very nervous, etc? Believe me, I know – I’ve made some of those myself! There’s an easy way to fix that. I’ll bet you have some library staff who do better behind the camera (writing, filming, helping out), and some who do well in front of the camera. Use appropriately! Also think about training staff to be in front of the camera, or maybe partner with a local theater group.
  6. Push it everywhere. We published our video on Monday morning. Then we posted it to our website and pushed it hard on Facebook and Twitter pretty much the rest of the week. We even used a couple of hashtags (#NLW15, #swifties, and #taylorswift) to attract more viewers. All that sharing helped a lot.

If you follow these 6 simple tips, will this guarantee your video will go viral? No. It’s hard to say what will capture the attention of a bunch of people for 2 minutes!

But if you follow these six simple tips, you will definitely improve your videos. That’s always a good thing.

Image by John Harwood

This Year’s Annual Report

Why can’t annual reports be cool? Or at least interesting enough to actually read, watch, etc?

That’s what my library tries to do with ours, anyway. For the last two years, our annual report has been video-only. This year, we improved upon that a bit, and did three things:

Here’s our 2011 annual report, for those interested.

Why do this?

We have to create some type of annual report each year. And honestly … people mostly DON’T look at these. Sure, you can mail them to everyone. Print them out and place them in strategic locations in the library. Send them to parter organizations in your community.

But read them? Maybe some people will give it a cursory glance … and them toss it into the trash, like a greeting card.

With our video? There’s enough eye candy there for people to watch, and maybe learn something more about their library, and what their tax dollars are actually going to.

That’s the idea, anyway!

 

Stability Fix in Youtube

Here’s a cool new feature I just discovered in Youtube. I posted a short, really bouncy video (bouncy because I walk sorta bouncy). The video’s nothing fancy – really just me, playing with my new iPhone 5.

Youtube noticed the bounciness of the video, and automatically offered to “fix it.” And it did an ok job, too! Now the video looks really smooth (odd, since I’m talking about how bouncy I walk in the video), and there are some weird jerks as the automatic setting either gets a bit confused or is “catching up” to me. So be warned – your mileage may vary!

Below is a screenshot of what it looks like mid-fix. You basically get a split screen to see if the video looks better, and a Yes or No button for saving the video.

Simple stuff, but sorta cool and potentially handy, too. Check it out!

Youtube Stabilization

High Plains Library District Staff Day Presentations

Yesterday, I hung out with the staff of the High Plains Library District in Greeley, CO. They are a very dynamic, energetic bunch!

I gave two presentations while there – here are the embeddable versions of them:

and

Enjoy!

Library360 – a new Video Series for my Library

Here’s the first video for Library360, a new video series for my library. Our goals are pretty simple (or lofty): to introduce our library’s customers to the library – our services, staff, etc. All the cool stuff the library does that doesn’t always get noticed.

We’ll see what happens!

In the meantime, here’s what our plan looks like for the video series:

  • 3 minutes or under (didn’t quite make it at 3:16, but we were close!)
  • big goal – make the library more visible to Topeka
  • post a new video every two weeks
  • do this for one year
  • ask for interaction (likes, comments, subscribers)

Question – anyone else doing a regular video series for your library? I’d love to know about it!