The Secret Behind All 233 Viral Videos of 2014

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If you haven’t watched the 233 best viral videos of 2014 in less than 7 minutes by Luc Bergeron, here they are: https://bit.ly/1xpyJtN.

Maybe you are in a productive zone today and don’t have 7 minutes to waste, so let me save you some time. Three different themes emerged in this year’s viral videos – but they all shared one huge common denominator. As event marketers, video plays a critical role in amplifying the experience of the conference beyond the convention center walls. It’s a powerful medium for product education, brand storytelling and an evergreen business development tool. So what can we learn from the biggest content hits of 2014?

Let’s start with the first theme most prevalent of all viral videos this year: Flying, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, parasailing, riding, flipping, diving, biking, and jumping off insanely high, super dangerous, death-defying surfaces.

The second most popular viral videos were exactly the same as the first with the addition of an extremely dangerous or extremely cute animal into the shot. Coming in third place were exceptionally. sweet. dance moves. From the unbelievably talented to the overtly sexual…rocking routines ruled the Tube.

So, as event marketers who can’t always Go-Pro our attendees bungee-jumping off the side of a convention center…cuddling a puppy…while Twerking…what can we learn when it comes to creating compelling video content for events? There is one massive common denominator that all of these videos have in common.

THEY MAKE US FEEL SOMETHING.

Whether it’s fear, awe, astonishment, entertainment, jealousy, anger or happiness, they all manage to visually convey a strong emotion. The absence of those emotions is indifferent boredom. No one watches boring videos, let alone shares them.

The psychology of social sharing tells us that for one person to share a piece of content with another, there must be a strong feeling or a valuable emotion one desires to convey to another. When developing video strategy for events we must detach ourselves from the creative process and ask ourselves: Would I watch this? Would I share this? Do I feel anything?

With the rise of Snapchat, Instagram video and even Vine, there is a monster opportunity for events to leverage these pervasive social video platforms to amplify live industry events. I can assure you that the snooze-fest social videos I have seen at conferences are barely disguised as poorly produced informercials. They are horrible. I’d rather wait in the bus line at McCormick place in January without a ski jacket than watch another exhibitor blab on and on about themselves and their “state-of-the-art” widget, let alone share them with my trusted network. It’s impossible to feel motocross-off-the-Empire-State-Building excitement watching a brand rep carefully recite pre-approved product feature messaging or a client deliver canned, vanilla, broad brand compliments.

So how we can we better approach this critical piece of event marketing with the emotional delivery of 2014’s most shared videos?

We can start encouraging associations and exhibitors to capture moments from the show that are authentic, specific and make the viewer feel something strong enough that they are actually compelled to share it.

Film a top sales rep with a loyal customer recalling the specific moment they knew they would be doing business together.

Capture a speaker defending her viewpoint during a challenging Q&A audience moment.

Shoot an attendee who has been coming to the show for 20 years describing today’s technology versus what was considered “cutting-edge” when he first started attending the show.

Try role-reversal. Tape an unbiased interview asking a member of the press to share what has been the most groundbreaking experience for them at the show.

Record an exhibitor secretly admitting the one person at the show they would just die to have come by their booth for 5 minutes of one-on-one.

Create a time-lapse summary of the set-up, networking, and break down of one of the largest sponsored events after exhibit hours. Caption it with the best party-goer quote of the night.

Just because the presenters in your booth aren’t simultaneously walking a tightrope over a pit of hungry crocodiles doesn’t mean you can’t curate video content that makes your customers and your audience FEEL something. Feeling drives sharing. And sharing is what makes your content go viral- even if just at that one event.

Do you agree? Maybe you disagree and think in-booth scripted demo videos are the bee’s knees? Love to know what your opinion is in the comments below.

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