Illustration showing the 5-step process to create a viral video

In a world where the viral video dominates our feeds and capture our attention, mastering the art of creating shareable content is essential for even business owners (not just content creators!).

Whether you’re a seasoned YouTuber or just starting out, understanding the key steps to crafting a viral video can make all the difference in reaching a wider audience and increasing engagement.

Step 1: Understanding Your Audience

Identify Your Target Demographic

Knowing who your audience is can make a huge difference in making your video go viral. Think about who would enjoy your video the most. Are they kids, teenagers, or adults?

Knowing your audience helps you make content that they will love. You can use tools like Google Analytics to find out more about the people watching your videos. This tool can tell you things like how old they are, where they live, and what they like to watch.

Creating audience avatars or personas, which are like pretend profiles of your ideal viewers, can also help you tailor your content to fit their tastes better. This knowledge will help establish your personal brand, which will be reflected in your videos.

Trends show you what’s popular right now, so you can make videos that people want to watch. Tools like Google Trends can help you see what topics are trending, and even analytics tools within social media can also show you what your audience likes and shares the most.

Engaging with your audience by reading their comments and messages can also give you great insights into their preferences. What are they asking? What do they want more of? What do they want less of?

Step 2: Pick Your Platform

Now that you know the basics of creating a viral video, let’s decide on your ideal platform.

Longform: YouTube

YouTube is a great platform for in-depth content. If you have a lot to say or show, YouTube gives you the space to do it. You can create longer videos that explain things in detail, tell a story, or entertain for more than just a few seconds.

One of the best things about YouTube is how easy it is for people to find your videos. When someone searches for a topic, YouTube’s search engine can bring your video to the top if you’ve set it up correctly. Plus, YouTube offers ways for you to make money from your videos through ads and memberships once you grow your following.

To get the most out of YouTube, you’ll want to know how to optimize your video titles, descriptions thumbnails, and of course, how to edit engaging videos! This takes strategy, but could be an amazing pay off with things like Ad Sense and brand sponsorships.

Short form: Reels, TikTok, YouTube Shorts

Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts are perfect for quick, fun videos that grab people’s attention fast. These platforms are great for quick engagement and can help your video go viral because they are designed for fast viewing and sharing.

This is a huge way that we grew our brand and business! Short-form videos have to start with a strong hook and usually thrive off using timely trending audio or video themes.

Since these platforms favor videos that are watched all the way through and shared a lot, your content should be either entertaining, educational, or inspiring.

Step 3: Pick Your Content Approach

Illustration on different types of content approaches for viral videos

Educational: Talking Heads, Video Essays

Educational content is very appealing because it provides value to viewers by teaching them something new. This kind of content is great for people who are looking to learn or understand a topic better.

“Talking heads” are videos where the speaker is directly addressing the camera, sharing information or insights. Video essays are similar but can include a mix of visuals, voiceovers, and text to explain a topic in depth. For example, videos that explain science concepts or history events often get a lot of views because they are informative and engaging.

Successful educational videos like those on channels like CrashCourse are good examples to follow (and to start, you don’t need to worry about graphics and visuals!).

Entertaining: Mini-Documentary, Interview-Style

Storytelling has a powerful impact on engaging viewers. Mini-documentaries and interview-style videos are formats that use storytelling to captivate the audience. A mini-documentary can explore a real-life story or event in a short but impactful way, while interview-style videos can provide in-depth insights by talking to interesting people.

When planning and producing entertaining content, it’s important to plan the story arc, shoot engaging visuals (or create engaging graphics) and have good sound quality are key to making these videos successful.

Inspirational: Vlogs

Vlogs, or video blogs, are a fantastic way to inspire and build a connection with viewers. They often share personal experiences, thoughts, and day-to-day activities in a way that feels authentic and relatable.

Authenticity is crucial in vlogging because viewers connect more with content that feels real and genuine. To maintain consistency and engagement in vlogs, it’s important to post regularly and interact with your audience through comments and social media. This is your lifestyle, after all, and the more people become invested in it, the more they will love you being invested in them, too.

Sharing your personal journey or challenges can also inspire others and create a loyal following who feel personally connected to your story.

Step 4: Edit Your Content

Sound Design

High-quality audio is super important for making your videos enjoyable to watch. In fact, many say that when you’re just starting out, having great audio is better than having great video!

Audacity or Adobe Audition can help you improve the audio quality by reducing background noise and balancing the levels. You can also use background music and sound effects for engaging sound design in your video, through royalty-free services like Epidemic Sound.


Great visuals can make a big difference in how long people watch your video. Clear, high-quality images and smooth video keep viewers interested.

If you don’t have the budget for a nice new camera (yet), a good, free alternative is making sure your lighting source is in front of you and behind your smartphone. This will help light up your face more and make sure your phone has everything it needs to make for a high-quality video.

Cutting the Fat

A basic part of editing is cutting the “ums,” “likes” and any pauses in your video. On top of that, you’ll want to make sure your video is paced at a good speed to maintain your audience’s interest. Editing software can be iMovie, DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, or even CapCut if you’re a beginner!

Step 5: Study Your Analytics


Watch time shows how long viewers are watching your videos, which helps you understand how engaging your content is.

Comments are also valuable because they show that viewers are interested and want to interact. To increase engagement, try asking questions in your videos and encouraging viewers to comment with their thoughts. Use the data from engagement metrics to see what’s working and what isn’t, and use this information to improve your future videos.


Likes are a quick way to see how popular your content is. When viewers like your videos, it signals to the platform that your content is good, which can help it get shown to more people.

Don’t be afraid to ask your views to hit to like and/or follow if they’re enjoying the video and got value from it. The more likes you get, the more visibility your video will have, which can lead to even more likes and views.


Tracking views is crucial because it shows how many people have watched your video. This helps you measure your video’s reach. To increase views, promote your video on social media, use SEO techniques to make your video easier to find, and collaborate with other creators. By analyzing view patterns, you can understand when your audience is most active and what types of content they prefer, helping you create more successful videos.

Comment Types

Analyzing the types of comments your videos receive can provide valuable feedback.

Engaging with commenters by replying to their messages can help build a community around your content. Use the feedback from comments to make adjustments and improve your videos, ensuring that you continue to meet your audience’s needs and preferences.

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Originally published . Last updated .