Rule Three: Be Unforgettable

To go viral, you need to be different.

OK Go–Here It Goes Again

You can’t create an unforgettable video by being just like everyone else.

Viral video is the 21st century’s sideshow, so it’s the odd, unusual, weird, and obsessive who stand out.  The Internet rewards bold and crazy choices.

Take a look at OK Go’s dancing on treadmills (65+ million views), Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard Cat (25+ million views), Paul Vasques’s loopy Double Rainbow (35+ million views), or Rebecca Black’s amateurish singing in Friday (200+ million views).  Those videos present something new, bold and unabashedly weird, and that was a crucial factor in their success.

What Tim Street did with his French Maid TV videos is a great case in point.  Teaching CPR?  Useful.  Important.  Boring.  But French maids teaching CPR?  That’s different.  That went viral.

So is your idea different enough?  Try to imagine a carnival barker’s pitch for it.  When it’s as compelling as “Step right up!  Step right up! See a baby monkey riding backwards on a pig!” – then you’ve probably got something.

NEXT RULE: Rule Four: It’s All About Humanity →

You’ll find more details on the four rules and lots of ways to apply them in our book, The Viral Video Manifesto.

Illustration by Chris Peterson.