How To Create Videos That Get Shared

So you got somebody to watch your video. Great. Awesome. I can hardly contain my excitement.  :roll:

OK, so I’m being a bit facetious. While it’s great if we can get people to watch our vids, the fact is that’s only the first part of the equation – we want people to actually share them, too. We’re all looking for the magic formula to create that amazing video that’ll go viral, right? Or at least create a video that’ll boost some traffic to your site! So what exactly is the process for making videos that people want to share? In the 3rd installment of my YouTube Tips and Tricks Series, I’ll share with you how to do exactly that!

If you haven’t checked out the other posts in the YouTube Tips and Tricks Series, check them out here:

Setting Up Your YouTube Channel – A Step By Step Guide
Growing A Following On YouTube

Creating Videos That Get Shared

People have various opinions about how this should be done and while there’s no right or wrong answer, one of the best ways to go about this is to use a call to action and a link in your video. You need to give the viewer something to do or they’ll leave and never think twice about your video, website, product or brand. Many YouTube producers do this and it seems to work well for them. At the end of the video you either use a graphic or a person presenting the call to action (something like “click this link“) and then give the viewer a link to click on to share the video. (See what I did there? 😉 )This is ALWAYS better than not having a URL at the end of your video.

Over 96% of YouTube producers use a URL at the end of their video – but are they missing out on something? I think so. Check this one out:


Looks good, right? While including a web address at the end of your video sounds good (and I recommend it),  you’ll want to go beyond the normal URL and be one of the leaders of the pack. If you want to be in the other 4% you need links that are clickable and active. You want to make it really easy for people to visit your website or blog. With that in mind, these are two rules you’ll want to follow.

  1. Don’t have too many steps in your call to action. (People will lose interest.)
  2. Your call to action needs to be a clickable link so you can send your viewer off of YouTube and onto your site, landing page, etc.

Inserting a Clickable Link in Your YouTube Video

One way is to simply embed the link right in the video. Lots of people do this and it’s very popular. However, there’s several ways to skin this proverbial cat:

  • Some people embed or display links at the end only
  • Some people embed or display links at the end and the beginning
  • Some people embed or display links at the end, beginning and middle – in other words, all over!

You just need to decide which method you want to use. Feel free to experiment till you get something that seems to work for your videos. Here is the entire process:

1. Sign into your YouTube account and click your Profile. In the menu select the “Video Manager” option.
2. Next to the “Actions” button, there’s a little check box which displays your videos.


3. Look for the videos you want to change.  Click on the arrow next to “Edit” and pick “Annotations” from your menu.

4. Select your Annotation type from the “Annotations”.  For your link, choose “Note.” (You can change this by adding hot spots or a speech bubble if you want.)

5. Begin typing your call to action (Annotation text) under “Note”.  Your text will appear as you type in your video.

Once you’re done, you can resize by dragging the text box in the video to get it into the position that works for you. You can make it thinner, wider, longer and so on. YouTube advertising tends to be in the lower part of the screen so you might want a different placement for your text.

6. Type in your point (mins and seconds) where you want the link to first appear. Use the sliders under the video to find your start point, then type in the Start and End into your text boxes.


You want about 8-10 seconds for an average call to action to display. If your call to action is longer then the display time should be longer.

7. Check the “Link” box underneath yоur Start and End time. Press the Down arrow in the “Video” button to select the type of link you want.

You cannot link to a website unless you are a “YouTube Partner. (We’ll get more into that in another post.)  “Subscribe” is only for subscribing to you as a YouTube user.)

8. When you have tweaked your link and call to action to your heart’s content, press “Save” and once it completes, “Publish”.

9. You can preview your new call to action or annotation to make sure it’s active and working right. Pretty cool, eh?


(For extra ideas to increase your shares, view YouTube’s own Annotation Tips.)

You can also add links in other areas.  On your Dashboard you can check “Add Links to your Channel’s Profile”, if you haven’t done this already.


Next, scroll down the page to “Describe Your Channel”.  Enter a keyword rich description. Then you’ll want to click on the double down-arrow; then “settings”.


The description should be about what the channel offers the viewer’s so make it a good one.

Using Social Sharing with YouTube

We’ve have worked with links and calls to action so now we’ll turn our attention to social sharing. This is essentially sharing videos on your social networks…duh. :)

12-social-sharePick the right method of sharing for your audience – you want them to visit you and not be turned off because they thought you “spammed” them.  So the question is when do you release videos and will these benefit your viewers? Are you targeting enough of your connections through social networks for the videos to be effective?

The best way to gain traction (and see what other’s think) is to share them when you first upload the video. Hopefully this will gain some interest in what you’re doing.

That being said, there are ups and downs to allowing YouTube to automatically share your content. Sometimes it’s better to personalize things then to just release it.

You can embed videos in your blog and share them (via a link to your blog) across your social networks. Make sure you ask readers to share the videos with their friends, too (call to action, remember?) The goal of every video creator is for their videos to go viral, but how do you do this? Hopefully this will help you get there.

What Makes a Video Go Viral?

You want to create a video that people want to share with their friends; this is the essence of a viral video. Here are some typical components of viral videos:

  • They have animals, or cute kids or celebrities
  • The video is very funny
  • The video is outrageous and beyond belief

Viral videos also do one more thing:

  • They ask “What If?”

These videos are original and step out of the normal video box.

Have a look at the Drive Through Invisible Driver video which is trending and has over 34 million views (at the last count.)

Here’s how the video goes:

1. The prankster explains what he is about to do – In this case, he’s going to wear a “car seat” costume and pretend that his car is driving by itself at a local restaurant’s drive-thru window.


2. There’s a hidden camera that records the reactions of the people in the drive-thru windows and the reactions of other staff members from various establishments.


3. We laugh WITH the perpetrator, as we are in on the joke secretly.

4. He finishes the video by asking people to subscribe.


(Can you believe he’s got TEN calls to action? (If you count his other video links!)

5.     We are sent to more of his videos which are arranged in a series.


This video wasn’t complex but you can see how it would be popular. The costume was very clever and above all it makes you laugh. Everybody likes being in on this joke.

Now this obviously won’t work for things like business videos, but this is one format that does work and it can work well. If you can add some of the basic elements of “Drive Through Invisible Driver,” then you will be all set. You need videos that:

  • Are short
  • Are Engaging
  • Have good flow and are fast paced
  • Have one main point so there’s no major distractions in the video
  • Use a brief introduction and a good ending or conclusion
  • Deliver on what they promise
  • Have a call to action that directs the viewer to subscribe or moves them onto the next video in a series.

If you follow these bullet points, your video may end up trending high enough to gain the attention of some major online publishers. This video hit the front page of! You think that may have gotten him a few more visitors? 😉


Should You Use YouTube to Advertise?

Anyone can set a video up for using a Google Adwords campaign. These use the TrueView Ads so you won’t be paying unless someone actually views the ads. This means that only people who want to see the ad will see it and this keeps your budget in check. You’ll end up getting better conversions on the ad this way.

These ads will let you know if the campaign is right for your audience. You’ll want a focused ad that’s catchy and short. You need to gain their interest but not keep them there too long.

You will want to run a short campaign to start as an introduction to you and the videos you provide. View AdWords on YouTube for more information.


Creating videos that get shared isn’t as difficult as it may seem. If you’ll use these tactics and change them up to suit your specific needs, you can make decent sized splash in the YouTube world. Just make sure you keep your audience in mind. It’s quite easy to build up a following if you follow common sense and  social sharing best practices. If you stay the course and put in the effort, you may just be surprised at what you can accomplish!

 What’s the next step for you in creating a video that gets shared? Leave a comment below!

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