Think quick: your organization is launching a huge campaign and you have to get the word out — NOW. You have no budget, and exams are around the corner. Sound familiar?
Many of our participants in the Onward Israel Video Activism summer internship run into similar situations on a regular basis.
Here is a list of 10 of our ninja tactics that Video Activism program alumni are using to create viral content.
1) Hook ‘em and keep ‘em
Starting from the headline, get them hooked and keep them wanting more. If it goes stale at any point along the way, they’ll leave.
Example: The Only Place in Israel without Freedom of Religion. This video gives audiences a controversial title that drags them in, makes them want to find out more and retains audience’s attention through the end. 12K Views.
Take home message: Create a fantastic headline and keep your audience engaged throughout.
2) Keep it simple
Before creating an article, video or whatever decide on ONE CLEAR message. Keep the entirety of your content focused on that and just that.
Example: The Story of Arab Jews: This video is an in-depth look at the plight of Jews living in Arab lands, and their arduous journey to Israel. By focusing on one theme and story, you are guaranteed to attract anyone interested in this topic. Simple and clear. 25K Views.
Take home message: Keep your content focused on just one message or theme.
3) Appeal either to your audience’s emotions or logic—not both
A study conducted by Doug Hall found that logical appeals succeed 45% of the time and emotional appeals succeeded 42% of the time. But when Hall tried to deliver a mixed logical/emotional appeal, the rate of success plummeted to 36%.
Example: Apartheid Fences exposes many countries around the world that have built fences, yet Israel is the only one known to have an “apartheid fence.” Appeals entirely to the audience’s logic. The facts are irrefutable. 348k Views.
Take home message: Focus your message toward a logical or emotional appeal, but don’t mix.
4) Video is best
Video is the most popular media on the Internet. In 2014 video accounted for 64% of Internet traffic. A Cisco report predicts that by 2019 video will account for 80% Internet traffic globally, and 85% in the U.S.
At your pro-Israel events, someone should be designated to take pictures and video footage which you can use to promote to organization. And if someone in your organization is good at video editing—even better.
Example: The Real Invaders debunks the myth that Israeli leaders are ‘invaders’ by highlighting the places of birth of Israeli leaders vs. Palestinian leaders. The video format makes the point more powerful than any other format could. 100k Views.
Take home message: Video is the most engaging way to reach out and tell your story.
5) Tell a story
Humans think in stories.
Read this excerpt from The Diary of Anne Frank:
“All college students are being asked to sign an official statement to the effect that they ‘sympathize with the Germans and approve of the New Order.” Eighty percent have decided to obey the dictates of their conscience, but the penalty will be severe. Any student refusing to sign will be sent to a German labor camp.”
Anne Frank’s personal story is engaging and helps the reader ascribe meaning to the otherwise impersonal ‘6 million’ statistic.
Even if the main message you want to present is statistical—or otherwise factual—connecting it to a story will give it wings.
Example: Neili’s Story is the story of a young woman who was abused by anti-Semitic students, and rose above it all, and is now a leader in advocating for Israel. Her story has inspired many. 15k Views.
Take home message: Make your message resonate by telling the story about it, behind it, or metaphorical to it.
6) Focus Completely on your Target Audience
Consider the way you change your delivery when speaking with your Bubbe vs when you’re speaking with you BFF. Why? Because communication is two-way. So too, when you create that content of yours, make sure you are using language your target audience will like.
Example: Palestinian Lives Matter: Using a common title that many are familiar with (i.e. black lives matter) speaks specifically to the target group. It hooks people in, and gets them watching. 188K Views.
Take home message: Create content with your target audience—and their vernacular—in mind.
7) Use Compelling Visuals
Compelling visuals stand out and grab attention. For images that are free to use check out FreeImages.com. To do simple graphic design work with images get started with Canva.com. And to present text visually try QuotesCover.com.
Take home message: Graphics make your content stand out.
8) Use Multiple Mediums
Once you’ve created your masterpiece make it more accessible to a wider audience by recreating it the form of video, article, infographic, graphic, podcast, slide deck, or webinar. For a great resource about how to do that go here.
Take home message: Once you’ve created great content in one medium get more exposure by repurposing it in others.
9) Promote, Promote, Promote
Help your content gain traction by posting it where your target audience congregates. Share to some of the many pro-Israel Facebook groups. Make sure your friends see it, know you created it, and understand why it’s important for others to know too. And if you can afford it, Facebook ads can be a great way to get the ball rolling.
Take home message: Help your content ‘go viral’ by promoting it (just like the pros do).
10) Hit the Nerve
Give your audience any of the following sensations and your content will have much better chance of going viral: alarm, excitement, funnyness, happyness. Do not—on the other hand—make your audience sad or annoyed. If your content is sad, make it viral-worthy by highlighting its more inspiring or alarming aspects.
Take home message: Activate high arousal emotions in your audience and they will want to share your content.
About Video Activism
At Video Activism we empower Jewish activists with tools and knowledge to step up their game. We offer programs in Israel advocacy and video editing throughout the year. Our main program is a 7 week, summer internship. Applications for this summer must be submitted soon.
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Authors: Aaron Dikel and Elisheva Buchanan