Ever wondered how to create a viral video? I interviewed our own Jack Hewitt to find out more about how he received nearly 10 million views on his Australian Backyard Cricket Mannequin Challenge.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your viral video sensation?
Jack: “A friend of mine hosts an annual backyard cricket game and asked me to film the day’s events. You’ve probably heard of the latest viral trend called the Mannequin Challenge. My friend Nick Traves and I decided that the atmosphere of the event perfectly represented the Australian culture of backyard cricket and beer. We had never seen a cricket mannequin challenge and decided it would be such a perfect fit.”
Q: How did you publish the video?
Jack: “We published the video initially on Nick’s Facebook profile as it was his friends that were featured in the video, and I believed sharing it via his profile would generate the most organic growth.”
Q: What was the initial traction you received from that post?
Jack: “Keeping the video to a short 30 seconds and including some funky music made our video engaging and appealing to our audience. Initially we received over 100,000 views from Nick’s Facebook page alone, without any paid advertising or big pages sharing our video. We grew our views organically by asking the 30 people featured in the video to share it on their own Facebook pages. I believed that with the help of a few verified pages it would gain strong traction and become viral.”
Q: Who picked up your video to take it to the next stage?
Jack: “A few businesses including a film and media agency in America and several dominant viral video Facebook Pages asked to buy the rights to the video. Initially we gave our video to Viral Thread for free, and saw our video hit 3 million views within 3 days. The Ladbible, Yahoo, The Sportbible and Channel 7 all picked up our video after that, which we hoped would happen, and the number of views skyrocketed.”
Q: Is there anything you would do differently when creating your next viral video?
Jack: “Our Australian Backyard Cricket Mannequin Challenge received over 9.3 million video views to-date and was featured on over 5 of the most dominant media giants for younger audiences today. While we received some royalties from The Ladbible, in hindsight we should have sold the rights to the video at an earlier stage.”
Q: What are your top 5 tips to create a viral video?
Jack: “My top 5 tips are:
1. Find the hottest and most relevant trend. This will allow you to become a lot more shareable as a larger community has already seen and jumped on this trend.
2. Make it as organic and raw as possible. Over-staging and planning a video just to become viral isn’t always the key to making it big. Sometimes there really is the need to fully plan out a video or stage it, for example when creating a comedy skit. However making it look and feel as natural as possible will make your video more engaging.
3. Know your strengths. If you are really into sport or fashion for example, stick to your strengths as the potential to make quality content will be higher.
4. Distribute wisely. Post the video at the right time on the right platform. Don’t be afraid to get help from a marketing agent if you are unsure on the best way to share your video. If you are filming with 30 people, get those people to share your video and this will kick start the organic growth immediately.
5. Read the fine print. Read every single term and condition. Consider carefully who you give permission to share and use your video, and make sure that you are agreeing to a mutually beneficial commercial relationship.
There really is no secret formula to guarantee viral success. Using these small tips to create a viral video however will put you on the right path and give you an edge that may be the difference between 10,000 views and 10 million views. Remember to have fun making these videos and to create content for the right reasons. Videos go viral when they are made for the enjoyment of your audience, not to become famous overnight or make a quick buck.”
In-browser video creation tools such as Clipchamp – including the best video editor that runs in your browser without uploading videos for processing – make it easier for anyone to create videos and share them online.
Jack Hewitt is a part-time marketing ninja at Clipchamp and a cofounder at Rogue Wave Media.
Interview by Anastasia Passaris.