Want Your Videos to Take Off Online? Pretend it’s Your First Date.

online video first dateFirst, notice how I didn’t say ‘make your videos go viral’? There’s a reason: ‘making’ a video go viral is the equivalent to ‘making’ that stranger across the room fall madly in love with you. Sure, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of this happening, but you can’t guarantee or force it to happen. You can just follow the best practices (dress nice, find something in common to talk about), position yourself for success (flirting), and work really hard to make it happen.

So, you’re probably wondering what those ‘right things’ are that help to position a video to perform better online. Just think back to what made some of your first dates go so well (or so horribly bad) in the past. Here’s some key do’s and don’ts to get you started:


1 – Be Authentic.

We’ve all been on those dates with someone who is really faking their way through, and we know that they’re just not interested or they don’t have much to offer. Maybe they even lie to us. Whatever the reason, people are generally pretty easy to see through, so if you’re trying to fake your way through a topic or scenario on video, it will be obvious. Just be yourself and try to drum up some enthusiasm for the camera!

2 – Be Funny, Emotional, or Informative – but Always Be Engaging.

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

That about sums it all up, doesn’t it? When something makes us laugh, cry, understand and relate, or say ‘awe’, we remember it. We develop positive feelings about it, and the company/organization/message associated with it. And we carry that through our future attitude toward that company/organization/message.

3 – Know Your Audience

Your date is obviously not interested in your hockey-team/shoe-discovery/work-related stories. Quick, what do you do? Watch their signals (on the date, this is checking their phone or yawning, with video it’s your ‘minutes spent watching’ or click-through analytics), and change your course.

4 – Be Shareable (and Share-worthy)

If you tell a funny story, your date may share it with their friends the next day. That will make the friends start to like you before they’ve even met you – BONUS!! The same goes for online video: tell a great story, and people will want to share it with friends. Extra points if you can make them (and their friends) laugh, cry, learn something, or be inspired.

5 – Get to Second Base

Dating Scenario: you already know what this means. If not, see: 7th grade.

Online Video Scenario: Give them a reason to connect with you again (ideally, right away). There should be something in your video that compels the viewer to want to connect with you again, to visit your website or join your social media community.

6 – Close the Next Date.

Dating Scenario: Call/text/email/Facebook-message or send a bat signal – let her/him know you’re interested in another date.

Online Video Scenario: Have a call to action! You just wowed your viewer with an amazing video, NOW what should they do? Ask them to take the next step by downloading an eBook with more information, joining your social media community to get more involved, trying an online demo, etc. The point is, have a clear call to action that encourages the viewer to take the next step after watching your video. Include it at the end of the video and in a clickable link. Make it compelling, and timely, and closely related to the content they just engaged with.

Don’t (there’s only way, and it’s very important)

Don’t Talk About Yourself Too Much!

Dating Scenario: we don’t really need to explain this, do we?

Online Video Scenario:
The only mention of your brand/offer/call-to-action should be at the end of the video or in the description. Do everything else first, and invite engaged viewers to connect with you after you’ve provided them a great piece of content. Leads will follow – sales will happen. But give of yourself first before you ask for something from them. It will lead to amazing results.