If you're like me, you must have 1 or perhaps 3 pets in your house. From time to time, you probably get sucked into Youtube, watching cats or dogs doing funny and entertaining things. If this is the case, you're likely to have seen viral pet videos of Maru the cat.
Perhaps, you've even asked yourself...
How can I make viral videos of my cat or dog?
Maru the cat is from the channel "mugumogu" and it has 589,570 subscribers. Since the channel was launched, it has about 355 million views! Not bad for a cat with an obsession with boxes!
We can all agree this is an amazing feat. What's their secret? ...
There are thousands of pet videos on YouTube, but only a select few gain large popularity on the world wide web. Indeed, we all love our pets and want to share their wonderful idiosyncrasies with the rest of the world. Not only is it very lucrative --
-- it's also provides us with a lot of self-satisfaction, knowing our beloved Heathcliff or Snoopy has made it big time with the likes of Justin Bieber and Gigi Hadid.
So what's their secret?
- How can you make a pet video that stands out above the rest?
- How can you make your dog a celebrity, or your footage of a chimpanzee viral?
- How can I be the Quentin Tarantino of kick arse cat videos?
As a professional videographer in NYC, I have actually worked with clients who hired us for promoting their beloved pets. It's no different than making a catchy commerical or a cinematic film.
Just follow these easy-to-implement tips:
Make Pet Videos with a Petcube Camera
How often does your pet do something funny that you wish you had captured on film? Then ask yourself this question:
How many times did you have the camera ready to capture the magical moment with your pet?
With movie sets and even wedding videos, everything is staged. You have a script or a schedule to follow. Actors know when to hit their lines, how to act and how to show emotion. For weddings, there are set itineraries for the ceremony, for the dance, for the cutting of the cake and so on.
How often can you get your dogs to synchronize:
If you have professionally trained dogs, it is certainly possible to get them pull their best rendition of an Olympic synchronized swimmer. However, this is often not the case, especially if you're just starting out in making videos for your pets.
Avoid this problem by filming your pets as much as possible.
You can install a camera in the living room. With today's technology, you can be away from your house and still have the ability to watch your pet with your phone.
This pet video camera can track your cat or dog even when you're not at home. It's perfect (and a must if you're thinking of making a pet video channel). It allows you to shoot videos of your pet, when you're not looking. It shoots in high definition and even has a built-in laser toy for the cat.
The best videos on Youtube are the candid ones. In the case of pets, 90% of all the videos are candid because it's very hard to stage a scene with your pet (unless their professionally trained). So either keep your phone or DSLR handy at all times or get a camera like Petcube to keep in touch with your pet.
Later in life, after your pets have passed away, you will be grateful that you filmed all of this footage. The more footage you film, the more you can choose from if you decide to edit the video.
Use a DSLR Camera to Film Your Pet
Now that you've got a specialized camera to film those candid moments, you should also look into a professional camera (especially when you hit it big with your channel). Choose the best DSLR camera you can afford, and learn how to use it.
It's important to have a cell phone with a camera handy at all times. This will allow you to capture footage of your pet in case they do something unplanned (but immensely memorable and cutesy).
Although most phone cameras today have the ability to shoot 4K, it's still advisable to use a DSLR or cameras specifically designed for professional video. With a professional camera, you can capture better sound and have the ability to use different lenses for different shots.
The zooming capabilities and the ability to shoot bokeh are much better with a professional camera than a phone camera.
With a DSLR camera, you can produce HD video or create 4K videos like a pro.
Don't Be Boring - Play Fido Play!
Boring videos won't be popular. It is that simple. Try to film a video of your pet doing something. Funny videos are especially popular.
For example, a dog trying to speak or popping balloons, a hyper kitten climbing the curtains, a bird solving a puzzle, or a hamster sticking too much food in its mouth. People want there to be a point to the video.
Don't get me wrong.
Sometimes your pet might seem absolutely adorable, but it isn't doing anything. But on YouTube, being cute is something. If you can film your pet being so cute, that it is sickening, your video could quite easily become popular on YouTube.
Use Interesting Camera Angles
We normally look down at our pets, simply because of the height difference. You can make your video look more interesting by holding the camcorder closer to the ground.
This low angle gives us a new perspective that we don't normally see in our day to day lives with the pets. This way the pets might seem much larger than we are used to seeing.
Edit Your Footage
Almost every computer comes with a free editing program such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Upload your footage to the computer, and use a program to edit it.
If you have the budget for it, try to get Adobe Premiere.
If you have the budget for it, try to get Adobe Premiere. When you're just getting started, it's okay to use use free software like movie maker. But as you get big like Maru the Cat or want to create the next Instagram star, then you'll likely need the Adobe Suite (which includes Photoshop, Premiere and other pro tools.
It's what we use at 2Bridges Productions, and what most pros use in Hollywood. For a quick tutorial on how to use Adobe Premiere, check out Part 7 of our Movie Making Series.
With editing, it is possible to cut out all of the boring moments. People on YouTube tend to have short attention spans, so editing is especially important. If you can, try to edit the video in a way that tells some kind of a story.
Also, feel free to incorporate music. Audio is arguable over 50% of filmmaking, so experiment with different songs. I tent to prefer instrumental film scores. Be clever with your use of music. The music should contribute to the video. Not all videos need music. You must use your best judgment when deciding.
Don't Make Your Video Too Long
As I mentioned earlier, YouTube viewers tend to have short attention spans. If you want your video to be popular, make sure your video is not any longer than 3 minutes.
The average Youtube video is around 4 minutes. You don't want a full 60 minute video of a pet. Most likely pets don't do something exciting for 60 minutes straight. Those cutesy, magical moments almost certainly lasts a moment. So keep it short and interesting.
Moreover, most of videos that get watched are shared is via a phone. Especially in large metropolitan areas like New York, most people watch videos on their phone. They're either in between their stops and need something quick and entertaining. This is why having a 4-5 minute Youtube video is great. You'll be able to entice your audience and give them something to watch, while they're waiting for their train or for the Starbucks coffee.
If you're just starting out, it might be best to keep your video to 1-2 minutes. You won't have a subscriber base when you start so most likely your watch time for a four minute video will be minimal. If you keep it short and highly entertaining, you stand a better chance to attracting new subscribers and perhaps going viral.
The shorter the video is without compromising any quality, the more likely your video will become a hit.
Post as a Video Response
You've just made an amazing video. Now what? Nobody's watching it.... Solve this problem by posting your video as a video response to an already popular video. If your video is of a cute kitten, use the YouTube search engine to find the most popular video you can find of cute kittens.
Then make your video a video response. If your video requires permission from the other person to be used as a video response, give up and try on another video. As long as your video shows up on the page of the other person's video, you can expect an increase in views.
But beware, as soon as other video responses are posted on the same video, your video might be pushed off the page. When this happens, find another popular video, and repeat.
You will be most successful if your video is posted as a video response to another popular video that doesn't have any video responses. This means all eyes will be attracted to your video.
Use Good Tags
Make sure you give your video tags. This way, people will find your video if they search on YouTube. Try to give your video honest tags, but don't limit yourself with your tags. If you filmed your dog at a beach with opera music in the background, make sure you include name of the beach, the music, and the dog breed in the tags.
Also, if you give your video similar tags to other popular videos, your video is more likely to appear on the "related videos" section next to the other videos. That will help you get more views.
Create a Simple, Interesting Title
The title of your video is also important. If the title is too complicated, people won't be able to remember it. But if it is too vague, you will have the same problem. Try to make your title eye catching.
The title, the description and the thumbnail all serve one purpose - clickbait! When someone's scrolling through search results on Youtube, you want to increase the likelihood that they'll click on your video. You'll increase your chances of a click by having the perfect three - the sultry title, the salacious description and super catchy and cutesy pic of your pet.
If your video was filmed with a popular camcorder, try including the name of the camera in the title. People will frequently search YouTube for videos of camcorders or DSLR camera they are interested in buying.
They want to see what the picture quality looks like. Who knows, if your video is good enough, you might convince someone to buy the same camcorder.
Give Your Video an Interesting Description
After your video has been posted, you will be able to edit the video's information. What you post is up to you, but make sure the description is interesting.
Moreover, it's important for SEO. SEO is search engine optimization. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world (just behind Google and both properties owned by Alphabet). When someone types "golden retriever funny videos", you want to be ranked as high as possible to attract these users to click your video.
In order to rank higher, the Google and/or Youtube algorithm (the master of ranking all content in the Internet) will need to know what your video is about. Simply posting pictures or videos of your golden retriever will not cut it. You'll need to write a brief description about what your golden retriever is doing, what the video is about and why people should care about the video.
For Youtube descriptions, it's best to have about 250-500 words in the description. For a blog post, at least 1,000 words (and of course the video itself) is advisable. The more worded content you can send to Google's AI algorithm, the more likely Google will pick up your content and rank it higher.
Also, having the right description acts as clickbait. Speaking of which --
Choose the Best Thumbnail
In the same edit category, you will be able to pick between three picture thumbnails that will appear next to your video. Choose the one that has the most interesting picture of your pet. Many people won't watch videos with a boring thumbnail.
If you want your video to be successful, make sure the thumbnail is a picture of your pet, preferably a close up.
Comment On Other Pet Videos
If you comment on other pet videos, you can drop hints that you also have fun pet videos in your profile.
Also, this is an easy way of promoting your videos. By commenting on popular channels, you interact with users who actually watch pet videos. Soon, they'll come to know you and decide to check out your channel. This will in turn increase your subscribers, and increase the likelihood that your pet videos go viral.
Finally, if you're nice enough to popular channels, you could even get shout outs. This is a super fast way of getting subscribers and momentum for your channel. If a channel with 500,000 subscribers mention your channel in a video and/or links your channel in the description, you'll definitely see an influx of views and subscribers to your pet channel. This again increases your likelihood of going viral with your pet films.
At its core, Youtube, Facebook and all forms of Internet media are built on like-minded communities. If you want to create a pet channel, then it's a must that you interact with users who actually watch pet videos. Increase visibility to your channel and watch your brand grow!
Be Creative and Don't Give Up
Don't give up. Popularity takes time to build. As long as you stay creative and try to follow the basics of these tips, you will be heading in the right direction.
Be consistent in your posting of pet videos. If you want Google or Bing to trust your pet video channel as a source of authority for pet videos, then you'll need to make a lot of videos. This is why I suggest starting with 1 minute videos. It's not as intrusive on your time and also you can increase your video count very quickly.
As your subscribers increase and your average watch time increases, then think about creating longer content (between 5-10 minute videos). Longer videos will rank higher in the long run, but it's very hard to create 5-10 minute videos every day until you're more efficient at making these videos.
Of course, if you make it big, you might have the budget to hire a professional videographer to film your pets. Definitely call us and we'll help your pet video go viral!