How to make a viral video
Credit: Jakob Owens

Want to become internet famous? Marina from Loud Interactive is here to show you how to make a viral video and what worked for her

For the past two years the company I am part of, Loud Interactive, has been creating videos as part of various SEO campaigns for our clients.

Through our creative video efforts, we have chosen ambassadors from over a dozen different action sports and caught them in action doing some pretty amazing things, all over North America.

From world champion barefoot water skier Keith St. Onge barefooting along the Chicago River, to Ashleigh Chaffin doing insane jumps on her snowmobile, to Olympian Kaylin Richardson hitting the slopes at Whistler.

One weekend in January of 2018 we flew from Chicago, where our headquarters are based, out to Lake Tahoe in California to do a shoot that involved snowmobiling in the backcountry and waterskiing on fresh snow.

Although I always look forward to these trips because they allow me to connect with, and befriend, unbelievably talented athletes and videographers, this particular excursion became especially memorable. One of the videos of the footage we put together went viral on Facebook, with over 4.5 million views.

You can take a look at it here. There are a plethora of outlying factors that influence whether or not a video becomes a success, but I can list off the things that I KNOW we did right for this one.

We appealed to multiple audiences

We have established dozens of brands, and for this shoot we utilized our athletes from both and, therefore, appealing to two separate audiences and potentially doubling the number of views/likes/shares at once.

We enlisted the help of two very talented snowmobilers, Nail Romanek and Armeen Pizoor, who knew the area where we were going to film extremely well. This was essential, as the Loud Interactive Team was unfamiliar with the backcountry of Lake Tahoe.

Furthermore, our waterskiing ambassador, Marcus Brown, has garnered two championship slalom titles: Moomba Masters (2005), and the U.S. Open (2007).

He has also put his engineering degree to good use at Mastercraft. He is in part responsible for the hull design of the MasterCraft Pro Star. Even further, he is also a talented videographer who has completed numerous projects on his own and therefore was able to provide crucial input and work on our shoot.

His sheer following as an athlete, videographer, and engineer aided in making the video a success.

We utilized talented videographers and quality equipment

Marcus Brown, the subject of our viral video, obviously did not contribute to footage of himself but was an integral part of our shoot.

Our other main videographer, Jake Snider, is a formidable barefooter and slalom skier in his own right. In essence, our videographers were personally invested in the work they were doing and had experience in filming these types of videos in the past.

They used a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and Panasonic GH5s with Canon 24-105 f4 and 70-200 f2.8 lenses.

We did something memorable.

Our video involved Marcus Brown slalom water skiing through the fresh powder of a beautiful backcountry clearing in Lake Tahoe, California behind a snowmobile wearing his water skiing vest and board shorts.

It was a very unique scenario and one that anyone who either water skis or snowmobiles would find intriguing. If it has been done before, it hasn’t been documented quite like this. It combined two sports in an unlikely way.

We paid very close attention to timing.

As is the case with any form of media that wants to capture the attention of an audience, you have to do so immediately and before people lose interest.

Within the first three seconds of our video, we captured the setting, the people involved and the action. What was occurring was unusual enough to seize the viewer’s attention and hold it for the brief 25 seconds until the video ended.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a myriad of outlying factors that could cause a video to go viral, but these components stand out the most in terms of what we could control about our shoot.

Another far more elusive element, and yet just as important, was the outlook among our group. The positive energy and enthusiasm were almost palpable.

Of course, this isn’t something that you can control, but possessing it is powerful. Traveling with this kind of gear to a location we weren’t familiar with proved challenging. But we had a group of talented, professional team players who all worked together to make it successful.


Marina Renée Payne, a former high school and middle school language arts teacher, is the Chief Editor of Content at Loud Interactive, an SEO and online marketing firm based out of Chicago, IL. She travels on assignment to numerous video shoots for the company with her husband, the CEO of Loud Interactive, and their two children, David (5), and Miranda (3). When she’s not traveling, researching, writing, or editing content, she enjoys barefoot waterskiing, running, cooking, and moonlighting as a lead singer in a rock and roll band.


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