5 Easy Steps To Make the Perfect Viral Video

By: Guest Contributor Colm Barry

In February, YouTube celebrated it’s 10th birthday. Can you remember a time before YouTube? Although, online video has been growing in popularity, it has been down to increased viewers rather than creators. However, this is changing. More and more people, of all ages, are picking up their smartphones and camcorders to capture footage. They want to share their videos with like-minded people and communities.

Below are 5 top steps to help you get started on this road. We can’t give you the secret sauce to becoming the next YouTube sensation, but we will give you useful tips and tools on creating successful videos.

1 – Find Awesome Trending Videos

Pablo Picasso said “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. You don’t need unique ideas to start making videos. Get inspiration from watching videos that work and put your individual spin on the idea. Find videos that make you sit-up and go “Damn, that’s a great video”. Analyse what worked well – what’s the tone or mood? What camera shots did they use? By asking questions, you’ll get a great understanding of what works and how to replicate those winning techniques.

Great sites to find inspiration are:

YouTube – As the granddaddy of all streaming services, YouTube has something for everything and anything. YouTube is still the top dog. With their big one-oh out of the way, everyone’s been picking out what their favorite viral videos are. We’ll share three of our personal favs with our roommates, but there are literally thousands of videos and channels to explore.

Is there anything cuter than an eager little pug squirming from joy as he gets a bath?

You wouldn’t think that placing so much time and energy into making tiny burritos would result in a lot of pleasure. But watching that little hamster gobble up those burritos is delightful!

It takes a special kind of student to best a professor who requires his students to answer their calls on speakerphone while in class.

Vimeo – Unlike the other honorable mentions on this list, Vimeo tends to have a selection of superbly produced videos. Some of their videos due clock out at the three minute mark, but the majority of well edited, lengthier products on particular subjects. Here where some samples pulled from their top Staff Picks!

Watchtower of Turkey – When a series of wonderfully stages shots are flawlessly seamed with an epic score, you end of with a beautifully dramatic short.

The Game That Time Forgot – this short documentary looks at the rise of personally designed and free videos that popped up on the internet in the 90’s.

Yahoo! Screen – Although you can’t upload to Yahoo! Screen, it gives a good example of what the masters of content creation are producing. They focus on a diverse range of comedy, current events, viral videos, and premium content.


See how to cool down your car while still managing to keep your cool.

When it comes to a timeless Schoolhouse Rock like the bill of Capital Hill, it’s always funny to see our president bully the proposal.

Made by Hand – As the title suggests, all these videos are based on making handmade items. Currently, they have four small documentaries dedicated to budding distilleries, small bee-keeping farms, and family run cigar shops.

In the first of four – and growing- episodes, this short film discusses the birth of the first gin distillery in New York since Prohibition.

If you’ve ever wondered where all of your honey comes from, you can take a glance through this American based apiary.

trakax for Small Business – A blog that highlights great business videos and gives a detailed breakdown on how they were created.

2 – What makes a great video?

Do you have those videos on your mind? Are you replaying some of the golden clips that you’ve seen in the past? After you’ve started to look at them with a critical and creative eye, you can get started on your own one-time video or series. Here are some simple rules that will improve your video.

camera tripod and microphone

The Shorter the better – Most folks don’t want to commit 7-10 minutes to watch a video. Recent statistics show that videos between 1-2 minutes work the best. Work on developing your screen personality and voice within those shorter videos. Who knows! If they prove to be popular, you can feel free to start experimenting with lengthier projects.

Titles and Description – You know how librarians, teachers, and parents warned you never to jugde a book by its cover. Yeah – I never listed to that. Titles mean everything, so you wan to create a title that people will click. Use relevant keywords that are catchy and descriptive. Make sure that you fill in the tags with related keywords.

Video Thumbnails drive clicks – Since it’s the image most people see before they even play the video, a video thumbnail can create a great first impression. Create your own thumbnails using a free image editor like Canva, a site that you can find bookmarked in our Room for the Creative Mind! If you need to take a screenshot of your video, you can use LightShot.

Invest a little for bigger returns –  Some videos that become huge may have been shot on a phone or have shaky footage. If you want to make consistently good videos, you do need to invest in some basic equipment. First items on the shopping list should be a tripod and microphone. With time, you’ll be able to add to your gear until you look like the expert filmographer you’ll be.

film recording gears

Finally, if you’re shooting videos on your phone please turn it sideways (or to be exact landscape 16×9 aspect ratio). Horizon is a great app that automatically keeps your video in landscape mode.

3 – The Best Video Editing Software for Desktops and Phones

Video editing software is a personal choice and it’s up you to decide what suits your needs and skill set. Below are a selection of editors aimed at beginners all the way up to professional level software.

video editing setup

Currently, the most popular programs for editing films and videos can be found on your laptop or desktop. Luckily for most users, there are plenty of strong programs that run on either Macs or PC’s. Here’s a list of the most popular.

iMovie – For Mac users – iMovie is perfect for people looking to create great movies in an easy-to-use environment. With decent effects and easy-to-use text and credit, it’s a great starting point for novice video editors.

trakaxPC – trakaxPC is aimed at people who are starting out in video editing and production while working on Windows run desktop. That said, it has most of the features you’d expect from a professional standard editor. On their website, they provide really  useful resources on how to start creating videos.

Premier Elements 13 – A bit more expensive than the first two, but again, this is a powerful tool with many of the familiar features you’d come to expect from Adobe.

Final Cut Pro – After users have honed their skills, they may be ready to move up to the next level with Final Cut Pro X. This professional standard editor includes all the bells and whistles.

Adobe Premier Pro – This professional standard editor is one of the most used in the industry. There’s a lot of debate which is better for experienced editors, Final Cut X or Premier Pro, however I leave that to the professionals to decide.


Although editing on your desktop is the more traditional method of video making, there have been some fantastic leaps in mobile editing apps. Though they’re still in their infancy, here are some apps that are making a splash:

trakax for Android – This Android app has approached editing on mobile in a unique and fun way. The fully-featured video mixer allows you to create a real-time HD movie, with all the controls you’ll need – volumes, tempos, transitions, effects and more.

Kinemaster Pro – This app has allows editing in a similar fashion to most traditional desktop platforms. With an extensive library of themes and sfx, it’s certainly is a powerful editing app.

iMovie for iOS – Like it’s big brother on the Mac, this app includes most of the same features. Great titles and simple text makes this a great app for non-professional editors.

Instagram & Vine – Creating a 15 or 6 second video. These videos are generally fun, comedy based shorts.

Magisto – This popular automatic video editor has some lovely themes and effects. However there’s minimal control over the creative process and after multiple uses, the videos can become a bit repetitive.

4 – Learn some Simple Camera Techniques

As you film your viral masterpiece, be sure to keep these following 3 tips in mind. They are proven techniques that add depth to your video.

WALLDO – Walldo simply stands for Wide, Angled, Low, Linking, Depth and Opposite. Check out this video to see it in action.

Rules of Thirds – Simply put, do not stand directly in the center of the screen. By placing yourself in the right or left hand section of the screen – you are already on your way to making the shot more interesting.

J and L Cuts – You see these transitions everyday but  never knew what they were called. For example, picture a news report. You see a video play, you hear a voice-over and then you see the reporter. This is simple a J-Cut.

4 – Use a Call-To-Action

After watching your video, you generally want your viewer to do something. Whether it’s getting them to like the video, visit your homepage, or subscribe to your channel, you need to encourage them to act after watching your clip.

Remember to:

  • Add a Call-To-Action at the end of your video
  • Add annotations to help viewers find more content or links
  • Use YouTube Video Cards
  • Add your website link to the start of the description

5 – Share your videos in the Right Place

Alrighty then! All of the scenes have been shot, the sound has been cleaned up, and the entire video has been edited. Now what?

computer microphone and headphones

Find out where you want to distribute the video and what kind of audience you’re targeting. Depending on the type of video you have created, there are a number places to host and share your video.

YouTube – This is still the number one site when it comes to viewing and distrbuting content. Toss your video in here and start sharing those links.

Facebook – Facebook is taking video seriously. If you upload your video directly to Facebook, than it will get preference on the site over a video that was posted with a YouTube Link.

Vimeo – This is a great site, with no ads before or during playback. With a free account, you can upload up to 500 Mb of content weekly.

Reddit – If you can get a video on to the front page of Reddit, you’ll notice your viewer counter sky rocket. A great place to share, comment and build communities.

Dailymotion – One of the biggest video platforms in the world, offering a mix of content from users, independent creators and premium partners.

Save your favorite videos to myWebRoom

Hopefully, you find all of these tips and resources useful. We’ll send you off to see a few of our favorite viral videos, but feel free to check out the televisions in each of our Common Rooms. All of them are chock full of humorous pet videos, helpful tutorials, and fan-made tributes to popular shows.

From the best vines of January 2k15 to the best vines of March 2k15, these are just a few of the clips floating around the internet. Here are a couple of other great sites. But I have to warn you. Once that sound starts playing, you’ll lose a ton of hours.

Youtube’s Best Vine Videos of 2015

Mashable’s The 30 Greatest Viral Videos of 2014

Stylist’s The 20 Best Viral Videos Of All Time

Yahoo’s The 12 Best Viral Videos of 2014

While you’re surfing through these awesome videos, feel free to bookmark your favorites within your personalized room. myWebRoom is a great place to save bookmarks, find your daily dose of inspiration, and save and share your favorite online content with your fellow roomies! Once you get started on your on viral video series, you’ll find some of our favorite design and editing tools within our Room for Creative Minds as well a tons of inspiration to clear up an artistic snags. Up and at ‘em, folks. It’s time to get out there, find your visual voice, and share some awesome viral videos!

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.54.25 PM

Room for Creative Minds

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