In the previous post about whether or not people watch video on blogs and niche site, I mentioned that a friend answered my mini survey saying that whether or not she preferred video depends on what she is looking for.
As an example, she said that when she couldn’t figure out how to hook up her phone in her car via blue-tooth by reading the manual she watched a YouTube video.
I read her comment and a light bulb went on for me. I am frustrated by so much of the video I am seeing because it doesn’t solve a problem for me.
While I may have ranted about how much I hate video, there are I times I didn’t think twice about watching it . . .
…because it was the right media for the message and it was aimed at me.
Start with Your Audience
Yup, it always starts here.
I think too many people read a couple articles on the necessity of video on blogs today and think, “Crap, I’m falling behind, I need to get some video up fast to stay competitive, what can I record?” Then they grab their video camera, blow off the dust and start shooting.
Don’t do that. Slow down and start at the beginning, ask yourself:
- Who your audience is?
- What do they need?
- What do they want to know?
- How can you help them?
Hopefully you already have a handle on all of that and you can quickly move to the next questions.
- What is their preferred ways to receive information?
- Are they actively looking for video on your topic?
- Or are they like me and likely to skip it?
Not sure what your audience is into? Ask them. But ask them in a way that will get you the information you want.
Asking whether they would like to see videos on your site or not won’t help. Most people can’t accurately say what they will do in the future, but they can tell you what they’ve done before. So ask them specific questions about the recent past such as:
- Have they watched videos on sites like yours?
- How often?
- Under what conditions? (In a busy office, at home with the kids around, or where it is nice and quiet and they could focus.)
- What videos have caught their attention?
- What did they skip through?
If you don’t have a very large audience, look at other sites your audience frequents.
- Are those sites using video?
- Is it effective?
- What do the comments say about the video?
- Are there lots of complimentary comments asking for more videos, or does the video have a fewer comments than most posts on the site?
If the video seems to be reaching the audience, analyze it trying to figure out what works and what you could do better.
Is a Video Blog Post the Right Media for The Message?
Once you have a handle on your audience, and you’re sure video is an option, think about what you want to say:
- What is the best medium to share that information? If you don’t have something to show, video ain’t it. I’m going to say it again, I don’t want to look at you and your kitchen cabinets.
- Is the information you are presenting going to date itself? It’s easy to update a text post with new information as things change, but updating a video is a lot more difficult. Will your video stand the test of time?
When Video Blog Posts Work Well
There are times video isn’t only an option, it’s the best option.
If you are sharing information about how to do something, showing can be way more effective than telling. Video is a good option for a how-to post.
My friend’s blue tooth example is one case where video worked better than text. (And if you’re putting together a how-to post about a specific Photoshop technique, video is a must. I can seldom follow written Photoshop tutorials. Just saying.)
Add Slides or Screen Shots with a Voice Over
We’ve established that talking heads are boring, but what if you splice in a few slides where you show examples of what you are talking about, or use some video screen capture software to walk your audience through how to do something? Now you are on to something.
Are you writing a blog post about how to use Google Analytics? Show me the screens while you talk.
Did you get great traffic from some new technique you tried on your site? Show me an example page and the stats pages.
Have you ever noticed that recorded webinars are often more interesting to watch than talking head videos? That’s because they give you something related to the subject matter to look at. Webinars include slides that augment or summarize what you are talking about, and when they are well done, they are way more interesting than your poorly lit face.
Mix Up the Media
Don’t post a video with a bland intro and expect the video to do all the work. You have to get your audience to watch it. The A-list bloggers will get people to watch their video just because they are A-list bloggers and people want to know what they have to say. That isn’t necessarily true for you and I (and the A-list bloggers forget that when they tell you to go all out on your video.)
Put some effort into drawing people into your video.
- Write a compelling introduction that accurately reflects the contents of the video. Let the audience know what the video is all about so they can judge whether it’s what they are looking for or not. Even if they leave, it’ll be on better terms that if you dupe them into watching a dubious video.
- Include a teaser or two like, “Don’t miss my awful flub at 1:22,” or “ John says something that really made me think at 3:40 in the video.” Only do this if the scene you refer to really is compelling.
- Use short pieces of video and edit out the dull bits. Keep your audience in mind, and remember that they have other things they want to do besides read your blog. They can probably read a lot of the information faster than you share it in your video so think about only including the parts that are visually compelling as video, and summarizing the rest as text.
- If you are creating a How To video, consider outlining the steps as text along with the video. It’s really hard to rewind and fast forward video to find the next step if you are trying to follow along.
- Respect your audience’s time and keep the video short. I’ve been looking at the comments on video posts, and it looks like videos that are shorter than 5 minutes, get more positive comments asking the author for more videos than posts that contain long videos. Unless you are Spielberg, don’ make a movie – make a video clip.
- Get to the point. I don’t want to sit through a long intro. There is more than enough research that shows people don’t even read your post – they scan it. Remember the stat in the last post? 20 percent of people will close the video in the first 10 seconds. Get to the point quickly.
Ready, Get Set, Video Blog
- Know your audience is receptive to the idea of video,
- Have a concise message that is tailor made for video,
- Put together some compelling visuals (slides or a screen capture video),
- Took everything I hate about video to heart.
… then it’s time to Google more about how to record compelling video and get at it.
Photo by Brett Farmiloe