Congratulations. You've decided to create a viral video.

It's easy, right? I mean, that guy did it with his son, David, after a dentist's visit (we've watched that 130 million times). And how many times can we watch Charlie bite his brother's finger? (825 million and counting, apparently). There was also that guy pretending to ride a horse in that weird music video.

How hard can it be?

Stop.

Just. Stop.

Look, I'm not the first person to ever say this, but it bears saying again: You can't "create" a viral video. Or photo. Or infographic. Or article. Or whatever.

Even Psy's Gangnam Style is supposed to have not naturally hit it out of the park; Universal Music & Sony lost about 2 billion fake views (though even if those did seed Psy, his antics did cause it to explode to more than 1 billion views, fair enough).

First of all, what on earth do you even mean by viral? Do you mean everyone on the internet is talking about it and oh my god it's so funny and amazing and you simply HAVE to see that video no you really have to--NO REALLY.

If that's your goal, that's cute. "But, but, but," you say, "That razor guy did it! Spent just $4,500 on a video, slapped it on YouTube and whammo!"

Except you're missing the part where that razor guy had studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York for eight years. Top sketch comedy training. And timed his announcement of $1 million in funding to the day the video was released so that all the sites that would cover the funding round would include the video. And timed all that to be right before SXSW so that all the "influencers" and "early adopters" and "special people who go to Austin every year" would be all abuzz and talking about it and kvelling over how funny that guy was.

More power to him. He was really smart and strategic. And funny. But even he didn't expect it to hit so huge, and the traffic crashed his servers.

If you try to do a Dollar Shave Club video, you're not gonna "go viral."

Unless you do.

See, that's the thing. Not even Psy and Universal expected Gangnam Style to become the most-watched YouTube video of all time.

Right now, among the most-watched recent videos on YouTube is a New York Police officer dancing with someone at the recent Pride parade. The person who shot the video is a front-end developer has a total of nine uploads to YouTube. The most recent before this video was four years ago and had about 4,000 videos. This one has more than 7 million.

What lesson can you learn from that?

If you find a cop dancing with someone at a gay pride parade, get that puppy up on YouTube, stat!

Focus on making your video, or your article, or your infographic--or whatever piece of content you may be creating--good. Make sure you represent yourself or your company or your product in the manner you want it represented. Share good information.

Oh! Those five steps? Sure. I'll share them with you:

Step 1: Make something really funny happen.

Step 2: Film it.

Step 3: Upload to YouTube

Step 4: ...

Step 5: PROFIT!

Yeah, I lied. #SorryNotSorry

Published on: Jul 24, 2015