Ever dream of releasing a viral video?
Keith Mullins, guitarist, singer and songwriter, got that wish, he explains how he did it and why the video went viral in this interview…
Aug 23rd, he asked on FaceBook “What are some ways that people get hits on their vids?”
Aug 31st, he released an iPhone video on FaceBook… “Dance Like No One’s Watching” hit over 15 Million views (combined views from several sources) in a month!
Want to know how? So did I!
Keith discussed it with me in a phone interview…
I have framed the story to answer the first question you thought:
How do I release a viral video?
Keith followed four steps to create a viral video that sent his performance from the Inverary Inn Baddeck, Nova Scotia to international attention across the internet. The 4 virus seeds, in order …
Viral Seed #1: Do the work…
- Keith was playing at a regular gig, 5 days a week for the tourist season… it’s not an accident he sounds so good!
- Be serious about your craft: if you want to be a better songwriter, write regularly… better singer, be singing… talking about “not enough time” is making excuses.
- be engaging and engaged on social media…
- regularly post great stuff … increase your chances to create epic songs.
Consistent daily effort creates your superpowers… it’s not glamorous but there’s a training scene in every action / superhero / fight movie for a reason, it’s how to get awesome things done!
Viral Seed #2: Recognize the Golden Moment
Be open, be aware, be patient!
Keith told me he had several golden moments this summer watching captivating couples dancing to his music. That night, Keith felt it coming when an elderly couple asked him if they could order water, they were there to dance…
Viral Seed #3: Record the Golden Moment
Be prepared to document the Golden Moment when it arrives (bonus if you see it coming set up your camera, test sound/light/frame the shot)
After warming them up for 4 songs, and with a grin on Keith’s face the whole time… he asked a friend to video the couple, then kicked it up the a one man band version of Uptown Funk you hear in the video.
Viral Seed #4: Share the Golden Moment
Release your video/music to the world… trust the internet and your intuition.
Keith has an engaged FaceBook following… he told me he is grateful to everyone who watches, comments, shares and likes his music. His fans like him both as a person and as an artist. This video resonated loud enough with Keith’s friends that their friends suddenly saw it everywhere… I saw it at least three times in my FaceBook feed before I watched and liked it, as it was shooting past 1000 views….
Instead of posting and hoping for a share from someone with huge influence (common best advice for spreading your post) his own FaceBook community spread it like wildfire.
His iPhone video exploded on FaceBook even before Keith had it posted on his YouTube channel.
Then the video went to…
CBC News, regional news service
CTV News, regional news service
CBC Candy Palmater Show, Canada, National broadcast
Today Show, US, National broadcast
Keith has signed a publishing deal with storyful.com to administer licensing rights, and to recoup any royalties from the pirated versions of his video that appeared on YouTube.
Viral Video Gold
Dance Like No One’s Watching is a Viral Video with different expectations and production values than an Official Music Video. You watch a viral video to see funny / unexpected / surprise… anyone can upload video from their phone.
Keith’s video is charming spontaneous joyful dancing.
The original FaceBook video wasn’t branded, it didn’t have titles. I wanted to see Keith’s contact information and keithmullins.ca plastered across my screen, I wanted to know he was riding the wave of his viral video… but then I realized that branding it might’ve stolen the charm that caused enough shares to reach a viral threshold.
Everyone wants to be that couple… you:
- Can see something of yourself, something you want for yourself in the video…
- Want to be that happy, brave, active, cool, carefree when you’re that age!
- Want that so you share it!
It makes you smile… happy people like to share happy things.
There’s a story behind the video
“A couple asked to order water because they came to dance, this is what happened….”
This you a context and a reason to watch and a story to share with your friends. It made good copy on the regional news broadcasts and gave news producers a reason to interview Keith and run the story.
As with any good song, there is friction – two (or more) ideas that don’t really fit, they push and pull, rubbing against each other creating a spark of interest.
There are several sources of friction in the video. The contrast / conflict between
Old vs New – elderly couple dancing like they are young
Older couple dancing to new music, if they had been dancing to an old song much of the appeal would have vanished
The gentleman dances like he knows the song, watch how he catches the stops in Keith’s arrangement.
One Man Band, Keith’s arrangement contrasts with the original, solo act singer, guitarist, percussionist instead of a funk band with a horn section creates friction.
The song was a viral hit with countless spin off versions. It’s easier to share, because others have already shared. The bonus twist – Keith’s funk isn’t staged or choreographed like most Uptown Funk videos.
As much as I wish Keith had been playing an original song, the video might not have had the same initial shares with a less familiar song.
To summarize the Viral Path
- Happy, charming video everyone can relate to
- Caused people to comment/share quickly
- Many commented that they watched it several times
- It suddenly appeared in several different social media pockets
- Causing people to see it shared from many sources
- Suddenly the video seemed to be everywhere
- Pushing it to a critical mass of shares
- Regional news services picked up the story and the video which sent it to national and international attention
15+ Million views, “Dance Like No One’s Watching” is still happily charming new viewers….
Your Action Steps to Increase Your Viral Volatility
Plant the Viral Seeds:
1. Do the work, create the opportunity for golden moments
2. Recognize golden moments
3. Document golden moments
4. Release it… into an active community!
Connect with Keith Mullins
Subscribe to his newsletter, then listen & buy his music
Listen to and Buy Keith’s Music
Keith Mullins’ YouTube Channel
Dance Like No One’s Watching: Viral Video
Request licensing for “Dance Like No One’s Watching” firstname.lastname@example.org