Online video should be an essential part of every business's online marketing strategy. Because producing a video can be expensive, make sure you get as much bang for the buck as you can when you release it.

Of course, everyone wants a video that goes viral, but no matter how much time or money you spend on production, there is no proven formula for creating a blockbuster. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can employ to get your video in front of as many viewers as possible.

1. Create a video people want to share

Videos do not become viral because of their production quality or content. Videos become viral because something about them compels people to watch them and share them over and over. Among the key characteristics of a viral video are the following:

  • Viral videos are typically short. Though you have the option of uploading a 15-minute-long video to YouTube, you don't necessarily want to do that. Unless a celebrity is involved or you are making a music video, you will want to keep your video short, like the typical viewer's attention span. Two things to keep in mind: the average attention span, according to The Associated Press, is very short indeed—8 seconds—and the average length watched of a single Internet video is 2.7 minutes.
  • Viral videos are funny. People like to laugh, and they like to make others laugh. Your video will more likely be shared if it is humorous or quirky.
  • Viral videos tie into current events and trends. If everyone is talking about something in your industry, you should be creating a video about it. Creating content around trending topics is a great way to get your video exposure on social media sites and search engines.
  • Viral videos are useful. Every video you create (unless it's purely for entertainment) should solve a problem. If you're solving a key problem that a lot of people seek an answer to, they will be likely to share your video with others who have the same problem.

2. Promote your video to existing leads, clients, and contacts

If you have a video to promote and an email list, make sure everyone on your mailing list knows about the video. Deliver an e-newsletter mentioning the video directly to their inbox.

Though you can't easily embed the video in your email, you can include a video thumbnail (see above) that links directly to your video on your website, ideally on a custom landing page. For extra exposure, have your employees include a link to the video in their email signatures.

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Andrew Follett is the founder of Demo Duck, which helps businesses create animated and live-action explainer videos. He also runs Video Brewery, a corporate video production marketplace. You can follow him on his blog, Google+, and Twitter.