Learn how to produce a viral video from Video Marketing Specialist – Chris Schwager


Chris is in the video business since 2002, when there was no YouTube, no technology to access video. This Video Marketing Specialist has been finding ways to market video since then.

His video Swim Survival is the most viral video reaching about 1.7 million views.

His company Ridge Films is one of the few video companies in Australia that actually video market themselves.

Read on to know the success story behind this video and more about Chris.  



1. Tell us about your life journey, Chris?

I have been the youngest of 8, which may be very hungry, end of the food chain if you look, attention was the case, I needed to grab the attention of my parents. 

Also, I was a taker I used to play football and run up the sides of the grounds hogging the ball not passing to anybody and so that fostered a loath for me definitely. It was all about what I could take.

And now years on with video career is all about empowering other businesses and people with knowledge that makes them better video marketers. 

In my year 12 High school, I made my first entrepreneurial move to produce High school video for four kids in school. 

That was the start very much the start of actually creating a long-form piece of content that actually has a narrative to it and got that out and from there on there were short films, feature films, trial and error weddings anything I could have my hands on was love interest.

And in 2002 at the age of about 27 or 28, I started Ridge Films along with a long-term friend from school and we basically joined forces and had taken on the role of a video production company, which back then was all about making videos. 

Because in 2002 there was no youtube, technology wasn’t like it as today in terms of accessibility to video so we have to find new ways to try and get things out to things to market. 

But the point I want to make here is when you are creative and making videos on your own, because you think that’s what people actually want it is certainly great but is becoming very narrow.

As we grow older in our business more mature in our business narrow-minded in its execution because the problem is different now. 

Businesses faced new challenges of creating content that needs to get out into the market and is less about the content creation and more about the implementation and understanding how to do it sustainably and that is one of the biggest things that has changed the course of marketing.



2. What prompted you to take up Video Marketing and found Ridge Films?

We love producing videos we love the creative process that was all good the problem is we could not sell we could not run a business and we could not market. That’s were the three big obstacles we had. 

And therefore for about 10 or 12 years of creation, nothing happened really, not a lot there were some maneuvers, some different creative technologies that we invested in. 

But we didn’t invest in education and that was the biggest thing that stifled our growth. We had this naive attitude that if you built people will come. 

And that has not been how it actually ended up. We invested in education we invested in things like business coaches too to enable us to take micro-steps in the right direction.

In over 4 to 5 years has made a complete shift in pivot our business into something that is more diverse in its offering and far more valuable to the client and so now it’s about getting control over the sales getting control of the market, getting control of the finances of the business.

The creative stuff is an absolute no brainer. We have productized Successfully video marketing for within the buyer journey of or clients. 

We get it, we understand it we know how to produce it that has never been the problem. The problem is how do we leverage their expectations so that they can live on with video marketing in perpetuity.

And find new ways to engage their market to grow their business so that has been the thing, you know that has been challenging and fun at the same time.

“The market changes they need to change and we are the same we are looking for new  ways of doing things that make us market leaders and get our client to actually see what it is we are doing and copy it”



3. Please share the story of your latest viral video – Swim Survival

The Viral video that we produced back in 2015 or 16 , was out of a passion project. 

My daughter has been going through this thing called focus from survival which at that time was more of a burden for me.

Because I hadn’t travel great distances to do this training for 15 minutes of actual swimming training for 5 days a week for 8 weeks.

And so that was initially a pain for me however as we got through the course I realized this is actually unique. 

This is an ability to take somebody that shouldn’t be in water like a 6-month-old baby and actually get them to survive to be out of the float and get themselves out of trouble.

I framed myself a document on the journey and if you haven’t seen it. You see it. 

In a time when we were producing it, I had the intent that this was intriguing enough that it could go viral and therefore I started to compose

I already wrote that in the document – the journey and out of it I ended up with less than a 2 min video that I published on facebook.

And initially, it was tracking in about 200,000 views.  So we thought it’s great! its viral! excellent! we were so happy about that and that was enough, that’s all we needed really to prove the point.

We were able to produce a video with the intent of it going it viral. 

So nothing happened about a year and it just hibernating upon facebook and about the summer of 2016, 6 kids I believe died between two week period and it was big news. 

This video was sitting there waiting like a time bomb to take off and it did. It had perpetual virality for the next 2 weeks. 

It had a pick period of aggressive viral-like behavior where it was doing 125,000 views per day and settled its journey to 1.7 million views which were at that time unbelievable like it was amazing. 

All of those in quarters and likes and comments, like do you have swim survival in Melbourne ? do you have it in Queensland? 

And those questions were all answered by swim survival that was in their aggressive, drawing those opportunities back into the swim survival website and so is unbelievable and great for them.

It was great for us because we got to see that this video could actually reach this potential and more importantly the content was there waiting for it to go. 

There was no other reason for it to go wrong. The fact that it was there and it was already been engaged with. That was a little bit about our journey. 

It was a bit of a success story for us. It got us to understand how social works how viral video can work.

It’s certainly not going that we put for our client by any means to create viral content but it was an interesting exercise to go through. 



4. What is the biggest mistake SMEs are making when it comes to video content marketing?

The biggest mistake SMEs make is they are not planning it. They are not spending time understanding what the purpose is first. 

I think they think they understand what they need but they don’t really do that based on the need of the business and the problem of the businesses. They do on gut feeling or instinct, a lot of the time. 

Or they get their creative team together to decide what they want for the organization. And that’s kind of us about. 

We found that if you are spending time producing content and investing in it then every organization has to resource it in some way it has to be out at the right time in some way unless they have got some kind of marketing agencies. 

See but still there is time investment there is getting an agency board but the thing is it needs to be planned it needs to have a plan, some goals in mind and some milestone roll out in tranches like execution.

Because producing 0 to 10 videos in one head is not an easy exercise that needs to be done in a while in a bit more tested measure. 

“So, produce the content get it up to the mark to understand the processes and continues to follow that path.

I just stopped to think okay I have got one video content on the homepage I have got to explain the video trick.  Awesome that great. Go and test and understand what works and actually get people’s feedback. 

A lot of people rely on metrics for that information in no time you get the feedback you pick up the phone you actually speak to the people and they will give you everything they know. 

So probably that is the biggest thing businesses think video is but its not. Video is a powerful piece of communication when you get it right we work for your business in perpetuity and actually chase some amazing results.

But it needs to be done in mark right touchpoints and then enable people, the end-user to be journeying through a process that enables them to levitate any objection that might have in buyer’s decision making process and get through the outcome of the organization which is probably most likely acquiring more knowledge and style.



5. Anything or surprising you have discovered regarding inbound video marketing?

I don’t think anybody really liked the processes behind, I think they have spent a lot of time fixating and producing content, the shininess of the content.

I think a lot of businesses exerted by the razzle-dazzle of video and I think that short-lived. that needs to be the high purpose high objective. 

video content or any marketing content should really be failing to continually get consistency, into the market and to be working for them more of like a virtual employer or assistant for years to come. 

And I think if they are focusing on those things they will do amazing things. 


If you are also a Video Expert, and would like to get featured by us, simply send us an email with your work links at team(at)vidsaga(dot)com

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