By now, it’s clear that video is an essential channel for marketers. But what makes a great video? And what keeps viewers engaged? Is it a good story? Or maybe it’s all about reaching the right audience at the right time.
Here are seven secrets to creating successful video content.
1. Focus on tell stories
Before the rise of social media, if you wanted someone to see an advert, you had to rent space within a favourite media channel like TV or print. On social platforms, brands can reach the same audience directly; This means that branded content (advertising) competes with entertainment, rather than interrupting it.
If you want your video to get the viewing numbers, it needs to create some value for the viewer. Videos that are purely focused on a brand or driving sales, will likely be ignored.
The best video content tells stories that connect with the viewer. The better you tell stories about yourself, the more likely your viewers are going to understand what your company is offering and what it can do for them.
A great example of storytelling is Budweiser’s video imagining how the legendary broadcaster, Harry Caray, might have called the Chicago Cubs World Series victory:
Caray was the voice of the Cubs from 1982 until he passed away in 1998. Budweiser’s agency, VaynerMedia, created the video by laying recordings of Caray’s voice over footage of the Cubs’ win and the following celebrations in Chicago.
By telling a story that brought together history, brand equity and nostalgia, Budweiser was able to connect with sports fans worldwide in the moment of the Cubs’ victory. The video was hugely successful on social media and generated large amounts of press coverage for Budweiser.
2. Use the first few seconds wisely
Attention spans online are short. In fact, the average attention span is now just 8.5 seconds.
When it comes to creating a successful video, you must bring your story to life quickly, to instantly gather interest as people scroll through their feeds.
In the opening seconds, you must give clarity to what your video is about and give the viewer confidence that what they’re about to watch is work their time.
Create a catch
One of the best ways to grab attention is with a hook at the start of your video. A catch is a quick preview of what’s coming up in the video. Gary Vaynerchuk does a great job of this in his #AskGaryV videos:
Upload an interesting thumbnail
Both Facebook and YouTube enable you to upload a thumbnail to sit alongside your video. These thumbnails are a great way to grab viewers attention and get them excited about your video before it starts playing.
Think of thumbnails as an essential first impression.
Wistia found that putting a little effort into choosing your thumbnail carefully, whether on social media or in your email marketing efforts, can improve your play rates. When it comes to choosing your thumbnail, avoid a blurry, motion-filled shot. Your thumbnail should suggest that the video is high quality. Pick a different frame where your subject or environment looks crisp and clear.
Great thumbnails can begin to tell a story and show viewers what’s coming up in the video. For example, the below thumbnail from Tasty shows the finished pulled pork nachos dish that the video shows you how to make.
3. Target relevant audiences on Facebook
As a content distribution platform, Facebook is incredible.
One of the features that make Facebook stand out from other marketing channels is the super-in-depth targeting you can use to select audiences for your content.
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You may have used targeting with Facebook Ads before, but did you know you can also target every post on your Page to a selected audience?
Sharing highly-targeted posts is a great way to make your content appealing to every member of your audience. And with Facebook organic reach in decline, this feature could be a great help to ensure you’re always reaching the most relevant people with every post.
Facebook post targeting allows you to segment audiences by:
Only people in the audiences that you choose can see the post anywhere on Facebook. So if you selected an age group of 18-24, no-one outside of that age range would be able to see the post (on their News Feed or your Page).
You’re also able to target individuals with interests. When you select an interest (you’re allowed to choose up to 16 per post), people who like your Page and also share one (or more) of the interests you’ve chosen are more likely to see your post.
Unlike limiting your post’s audience, targeting by interest doesn’t affect who can see the post on your Page or anywhere else on Facebook. So users outside of your interest group can still see your post in their News Feed or on your Page.
(I’ve broken down how to set target audiences for each of your posts below)
Gary Vaynerchuk explains more about the power of targeting video content in the below video:
How to customise aiming for your Facebook posts
1. Create a new post
To select a custom audience for your post, head over to your Page and create a begin to create a new post:
2. Click the target button
On the Facebook composer, you’ll notice a little target icon, click this to open up all the available targeting options for your post:
3. Choose interests you’d like to target
Next, you can focus specific audiences based on their interests and the Pages they’ve liked on Facebook. To add interest, just begin typing in the search bar. You can choose up to 16 interests for every post.
4. Choose audience restrictions
The final step in targeting your post is to select your audience restrictions. Here you can choose which people to focus with your content based on age, gender, location and language. Remember: Only people matching the criteria you select here will be able to see you post.
Once you’ve selected the audience restrictions, click ‘Save’ and post your content as usual.
4. Tell your story with and without sounds
In a recent change, videos now autoplay on Facebook with music on (unless your phone is in silent mode).
It’s not yet clear exactly how this change will affect viewing habits on Facebook. Before the update, multiple publishers reported as much as 85 percent percent of video views on Facebook happen with the sound off.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about how you can ensure your video is engaging and entertaining for viewers when it’s playing both silently and with the sound on.
When thinking about video, marketers should think about how they can create a compelling story without the need for audio. If users can pick up a story without the need for sound, then you can certainly boost the effectiveness of your content.
There are a few ways you can optimise videos for silent playback:
For example, Tech Insider uses a mix of striking visuals and heavy text-based stories to make the below video interesting for silent watchers:
The below clip from Gary Vaynerchuk also uses subtitles to make it easy-to-follow for viewers who have the sound turned off:
Just as you should optimise for silent viewers, when enabled, the music should offer additional value to viewers and further bring your story to life.
5. Include CTA’s
When creating videos, be sure to optimise your content with calls to action (CTA).
A CTA doesn’t always have to lead to a sale or sign up directly; video CTA’s could include:
Subscribe to your channel
Follow/like your Page
Share with your friends
Comment on the video
Check out other content
Where should you place a CTA in your videos?
There are three standard positions to add calls to action within videos as Wistia explains on their blog:
Pre-roll Calls to Action at the very start of the video ensure that every viewer sees them and has an opportunity to click.
Mid-roll Calls to Action can be anywhere between the very start and the very end. They are designed to target viewers when they are most engaged.
Post-roll Calls to Action appear at the very end of the video to ensure the viewer is highly interested in being presented with a CTA.
After analysing 481,514 Calls to Action from 324,015 videos, Wistia found that 95.9 percent are placing their CTA at the end of the video. Only 4 percent choose the mid-roll option, and a tiny 0.1 percent go for the Call to Action up front, pre-roll.
Interestingly, Wistia’s research also found that mid-roll CTAs appear to convert at the highest rate:
Mid-roll CTAs had an average conversion rate of 16.95 percent, compared with a post-roll conversion rate of 10.98 percent.
Though this data is based on Wistia hosted videos, the learnings could help to fuel your video strategy across all social platforms, too. Try experimenting with placing CTAs at various places within your video content and measure what works best.
Here are a couple of tips to ensure your videos are showing up in searches:
1. Use keywords in your title
You may already be familiar with SEO for blog content or website copy; this is no different. Your video needs to include keywords you want to rank highly for.
Just like the title or h1 tag of a web page, the title of your video is one of the most important factors for ranking well on Google and YouTube. You should try to include your primary keyword in your title and keep it under 66 characters so that the text isn’t truncated in search results.
Facebook search is a little different. Results on Facebook are based on around 200 factors including what you Like and engage with, what you’ve searched for, and info about your identity.
2. Add a description to your video
Both YouTube and Facebook offer the ability to add a story to each video you upload. This is also valuable search real estate.
Just as with the title, try to include keywords in the description. Avoid overdoing it, though, and ensure your description tells a story about what’s in the video, rather than just being a list of keywords.
It’s very important that your content is searchable, so make sure to add the right keywords,target the right audience and the right description that is not too long and doesn’t go over “Read More” button.
Now enjoy experiement and let us know in the comments what are your take away.