On March 15, YouTuber Nick Colvin uploaded his first video of an Amtrak train’s arrival gone wrong. In less than a week, the slow motion video of the train’s arrival to the platform had gone viral, hitting over 11 million views and counting.
Here’s how he did it.
1. He posted it at a relevant time.
Coverage of last week’s major snowstorm on the East Coast dominated the news cycle for days, and this newsworthy video was featured on many major media outlets. The millions of people who woke up to a thick blanket of snow, as well as those who saw pictures and videos on the news, could instantly relate to this humorous video, driving its view count through the roof.
Had he posted it a few weeks from now, the hype of the snowstorm would have died down, and the video may have not gone viral.
Check out this same video featured on NBC here.
2. The video has a creative title.
Everyone knows that a good title is key to a video’s success, but a play on words is also a great way to grab someone’s attention. The title, “Amtrak Snow-Mo Collision,” is informative, playful, and distinctive. Viewers have a good idea of what they’re going to get before they even click play, but they can also easily remember the play-on-words if they want to share with their friends later.
Finally, the title distinguishes it from the numerous spinoff videos that have sprung up on YouTube since, boosting views for the original video.
Watch the whole video in “Snow-Mo” here.
3. He focuses on the human experience.
Most people have seen a movie or television show where the main character is splashed by a car driving through a big dirty puddle, but this video takes it to the next video. Strange as it may seem, viewers are attracted to watching unpleasant things happen to unsuspecting people. This video plays to that tendency, with the added bonus of being relatable to an everyday experience.
Watch a similar video of a man getting splashed by a car here.
Nick Colvin may not have expected his first public video to go viral, but by posting it at an optimal time, picking a great title, and featuring a bunch of people getting drenched in snow, he created the perfect recipe for success. Incorporate these tips into your channel, and CNN will be airing your next video in no time.
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Kelsey Leaman is a senior at American University in Washington D.C. studying Economics and International Studies. She is passionate about writing, Lemonade, and Michelle Obama.