Video is a powerful content medium for storytelling. It can have a big impact on the success of your promotional campaigns and content marketing efforts.
It also serves as an effective way to connect with people and build more satisfying and deeper relationships between you and your target audience.
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 7 secrets to creating successful video content. We hope these tips will help you as you plan and create your own video content.
Let’s jump in.
1. Focus on stories, not sales
Before the rise of social media, if you wanted someone to see an advert, you had to rent space within a popular media channel like TV or print. On social platforms, brands can reach the exact same audience directly. This means that branded content (advertising) competes with entertainment, rather than interrupting it.
If you want your video to be watched, it needs to create some kind of 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.
The most important part of any video is telling a cohesive and concise story. As Facebook recommends: “Your video ad shouldn’t be longer or shorter than it takes to tell your story well, so create a storytelling arc from the first frame to the last that keeps your audience interested along the way.”
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 successful video, you must bring your story to life quickly, so as 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 hook
One of the best ways to grab attention is with a hook at the start of your video. A hook is a really quick preview of what’s coming up in the video.
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 important first impression.
Putting a little effort into choosing your thumbnail carefully, whether on social media or in your email marketing efforts, can actually 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.
3. Target relevant audiences on Facebook
As a content distribution platform, Facebook is incredible.
One of the features that makes Facebook stand out from other marketing channels is the super-in-depth targeting you can use to select audiences for your content.
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 by 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.
4. Tell your story with and without sounds
In a recent change, videos now autoplay on Facebook with sound on (unless your phone is on 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 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 interesting 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 optimize videos for silent playback:
Just as you should optimize for silent viewers, when enabled, sound should offer additional value to viewers and further bring your story to life.
5. Include CTA’s
When creating videos, be sure to optimize your content with calls to action (CTA).
A CTA doesn’t always have to directly lead to a sale or sign up, 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 common positions to add calls to action within videos:
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 before being presented with a CTA.
6. Optimize for search
More than 3.5 billion searches per day are performed on Google and Google-owned, YouTube, also boasts more than 3 billion searches per month. Search is also a growing trend on Facebook, with more 2 billion searches per day conducted on the platform.
If you’re not optimizing your video content for search, you could be missing out on huge numbers of views.
Here are a couple of tips to ensure your videos are showing up in searches:
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 main 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.
Add a description to your video
Both YouTube and Facebook offer the ability to add a description 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.
7. Collaborate with other brands and influencers
Ninety percent of people today trust peer recommendations over company ads.
When a trusted influencer recommends a product it can feel more genuine and trustworthy than a brand telling you how great its own product or service is. CEO of Intuit, Scott Cook, said it best, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
Think about how you can collaborate with other brands and influencers in your space to increase the reach of your content.