As marketers, our goal is to create that one viral video asset that totally takes over the social world and gets shared millions of times. To accomplish this, we sometimes think, “The flashier the better,” thinking our videos need to rival the flamboyancy of videos like Gangnam Style to blow up the internet and get millions of views.

While flashy videos like this may hit it big, it may not match your brand, and it can be hard to differentiate your videos from other YouTubers all attempting to excite viewers with ridiculous dancing or a bunch of silly cats.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a goofy video to attract attention, when appropriate. But if being showy isn’t what your brand is all about, a solid strategy for getting your video and your brand in the public eye is to create simple, reliable, practical videos that solve real problems for consumers.

Other than Google Search, YouTube is the number one search engine—people turn to YouTube looking for solutions to their questions. And some of the most shared videos online are practical how-to-videos. When you provide real value to consumers, they are more likely to share it with others—the makings of a true viral video campaign.

Here are some examples for you to consider, along with some takeaways you can apply when producing your own viral video:

 

1. Focus on simplicity: 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

This video, published by the channel Wendy’s Lookbook, lays out 25 ways to tie a scarf in just under 5 minutes. You probably already guessed the topic from the name, but that’s the point—the straightforward video title and content is what made this video reach almost 39 million views. 

Simplicity is key to providing value to your viewers. People searching YouTube for answers to their questions usually do so because they are looking for quick, visual tutorials or explanations. Videos are much more easily consumed, so users expect videos to be straightforward, concise, and simple. Figure out a simple way to give viewers the information they need, then prompt them to share when they have acquired the value they were looking for. 

Side note: simplicity doesn’t mean you don’t need quality production. While the concept of 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes! is fairly simple, you can tell the creator put in the time to each individual component to keep viewers engaged across the entire length of the video. And it worked for her—the creator has tallied up almost 39 million views.

 

2. Be an explainer: How to Tie a Tie (Mirrored / Slowly) - Full Windsor Knot

In our professions we often experience what is known as the “Curse of Knowledge,” which is when we take for granted information that we understand as professionals and assume is common knowledge to the public. Overcoming the “Curse of Knowledge” and descriptively explaining what may seem common sense or mundane, and doing so without being condescending, is key to a viral DIY or tutorial video.

How to Tie a Tie (Mirrored / Slowly) - Full Windsor Knot is a fantastic example of being an explainer. The creator doesn’t take for granted how complex tying a tie may be for someone new to formal wear, and without being condescending, explains in accurate detail not just the steps for accomplishing the task, but also gives definitions of the vocabulary he will be using throughout.

In so doing, the creator not only brings someone from not-tying to knot-tying, but also adds value for current tie aficionados. Even if what you’re explaining is common knowledge, you can always present it in a way that adds to the understanding of the viewer, whether or not they found what they were originally looking for. 

 

3.  Educate Your Viewers: Rite Med Payo ni Doc Series

RiteMed is a generics brand in the Philippines and is a subsidiary of Unilab, the country's biggest pharmaceutical company. To grow the brand's affinity with consumers on digital, Mobext created a series of videos entitled “Payo ni Doc,” or “Advice of the Doctor,” which comprised interviews with various doctors in the country answering key questions about health. 

The videos have been a runaway success, generating many shares on social media despite the no-frills, purely functional, medical approach—the video series has generated more than 3 million total views in just a few months after launch.

Here are some more examples of Payo ni Doc Videos which generated huge traction with minimal marketing support:

 

What Is Diabetes

481,249 views

Payo ni Dok - Diabetes

Panoorin ang Payo ni Dok Bienvenido Tamano, ang Medical Director ng Tagaytay Medical Center, para malaman ang mga sintomas, sanhi, komplikasyon, at mga payo tungkol sa diabetes. #RiteMED #TamangAlaga #Diabetes

Posted by RiteMed: Gusto Mo Bang Gumaling? on Monday, August 8, 2016

 

What Is COPD

442,762 views

Payo ni Dok – COPD

Alam mo ba kung ano ang sakit na COPD? Panoorin ang Payo ni Dok Percival Punzal, Adult Pulmonologist ng Philippine Heart Center, para malaman kung paano mo ito maiiwasan. #RiteMED #TamangAlaga #COPD

Posted by RiteMed: Gusto Mo Bang Gumaling? on Friday, December 16, 2016

 

4.  Teach them a useful skill: Recipe TV Philippines

Recognizing that many Filipinos go online to search for recipes, we created on behalf of our client San Miguel Purefoods Corporation (the country's biggest food company) the Philippines' first YouTube Cooking Show Channel. Dubbed "Recipe TV", the channel contained more than 200 originally-produced recipe videos featuring unique dishes that used San Miguel's products, such as chicken and beef.

With zero media spending, the channel has generated 5,195,266 million views.  This single video alone (which teaches how to make pork siomai at home) has generated 480,966 views: