How can you take popular viral videos and apply what works in them to your own YouTube content?

We have certainly seen our fair share of viral videos in the YouTube era of the web. From Talking Twin Babies to Stop Kony, this content has made a huge impact by getting people to take notice and spread the word to others. But beyond that, it has left behind lessons creators and marketers can learn from. The following tips will explain how you can take what made the viral video sensations of the past big hits and apply it to your own YouTube strategy.

Identify Your Goals

Every viral video aims to meet a clear set of goals. It could be driving viewers to your website, blog, or social networking profile. Or maybe it is promoting and drumming up attendance for  your next event. Even if your are trying to stir up controversy to get people talking, you must define your goals before putting your YouTube content out there. Good content needs direction, and this is the first step in guiding your own down the path of success. Once you know what you want to achieve, write it down and start planning how you will get there.

Tell a Story

Whether it is silly and comical or emotional and sad, most viral videos blow up because they have a compelling story to tell. This doesn’t mean you have to shell out the bread for a Hollywood-level production, but it doesn’t hurt to create content that flows more like a gripping tale rather than a mere compilation of moving pictures. You do want to capture the viewer’s attention and hold their interest, don’t you? No matter what you do, keep in mind that every brand has a story to share. What is yours? When you figure it out, be sure to incorporate it in a way your YouTube audience will be able to clearly understand.

Include a Strong Call to Action

Not all viral videos have a call to action, but many of the best ones do. Take Stop Kony, for example. This particular piece of content, now regarded as the most successful viral video of all times, had specific actions it urged the viewer to take, which included ordering action kits, donating money to Invisible Children, the non-profit organization behind the campaign, and reaching out to politicians to show that they indeed care about the notorious war criminal Joseph Kony being apprehended. If you want viewers to take action after watching your YouTube content, you must not only clearly explain what they need to do, but make the task easy for them to complete.

There is much to be learned from viral videos, and luckily, plenty of examples to learn from. This material became successful for a reason, so the path each given piece of content has laid is arguably the best model to follow.

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