3 things I learned from my first viral video

The bovine

The bovine

Last Monday, I took a walk with Elizabeth. It was our normal route around the neighborhood. We first stopped by the playground. She had fun on the swings and sliding down the slide. Then we continued on our afternoon journey through the neighborhood. The suddenly…
A cow! (Technically it was a bull). A freaking cow was walking down the main road during the afternoon commute. I did what any normal 21st century person would do in a similar situation: I took out my phone and recorded the cow roaming down the street.
As soon as we got home I uploaded the “Cow loose in Concord” video to Facebook. Normally I have the settings on my pictures and videos to be ‘friends only’ but this was too fun not to share with the general public.
Also I uploaded the video to wmur.com, which is the local television station.
The next morning, my video was shared via Facebook 18 times, including WHOM which is a local radio station, and the video on wmur.com was seen over 20,000 times. Later the next day the Concord Patch editor asked me to upload the video to youtube so he could link the video in an online article.
Now as I write this blog, we are sitting on 1900 views on Youtube, 3300 views and 30 shares on Facebook, and 47,000 views on wmur.com.

So, what did I learn?

1. Find a catchy title or question

“Cow on the loose in Concord” was a title that had an interesting noun mixed in with an interesting verb; enough to make someone want to click on the link for the video. One could always mix up any noun and verb, (i.e. Giant on my desk, Pudding mixed in cement, Walrus on a subway) but it has to be somewhat truthful or you would just end up creating ‘clickbait’.
When WHOM shared my video they added the question: “I sure hope she made it home ok! Wait; is that a "she", or a "he"?” Opening it up with an obscure statement and a ‘yes or no’ question intrigued their audience to watch and answer the question. I am highly suspicious that a bulk of my Facebook video views was directly from WHOM.

2. Know your audience

The title sums up the geographic area. Granted in this particular video I am limiting the audience draw by specifying the location of the video. Perhaps if I would have generalized the title more by saying ‘New Hampshire’ or ‘New England town’, it would have garnered more views and shares. A different title with broader geographic relatable content would have been better.

3. Make it short and sweet

In the age we live in now, unless one is make a video longer than 2 minutes, it better be filled with action, humor, and/or boobs. My video really had none of these qualities (unless one would consider a cow running down the road as ‘action’), so having it 22 seconds long was good enough.

Now that I think about it… titling the video as “Bull rampages through New Hampshire streets” might have given me more views.