8 Secrets of Successful Videos

video cameraVideo went from being a curiosity on the Internet to a useful addition to a necessity which most people knew to add to a commodity that pretty much everyone adds these days. However, even though almost every guy and his brother (or sister) has a video available for their website, a great many people still do it wrong. Here are seven strategies for getting video right when you  want to make money online:

Forgot about Viral Videos

I know – you desperately want to see millions of hits and have your video become a modern day version of the original numa numa video. Or maybe another gangham style video (I honestly cannot understand why that song has become so popular by the way – it is incredibly annoying but whatever). However, the fact is that nobody quite knows what makes a viral video.

Now I know all the theories – that cats and other animals along with babies seem to make videos go viral. But then again, we’re never really sure of that. I mean, look at Friday, which is also an annoying song and which ended up becoming a massively viral video even though there are no cats or babies in it.

Of course, all this is to say nothing of the fact that viral videos don’t guarantee sales anyway. I remember seeing a pretty funny viral video from Jennifer Anniston which was intended to sell Vitamin Water (I think). However, I’ve never bought the stuff and have no intention of buying it because it’s frankly not something that interests me in spite of the fact that I enjoyed the video.

Now if you’re still thinking that a viral video is such a wonderful thing for your business, consider this: the fake Steve Jobs, who ran a blog under that name for several years got all kinds of publicity for his blog. He eventually shut it down though because the publicity and the massive number of people dropping by ended up costing more for the hosting than he made from advertising.

Bottom line, don’t worry about viral videos. They’re almost impossible to predict and they often don’t have the results that you want them to have anyway.

Figure Out What You Want to Do

Videos come in all shapes and sizes. You can create videos intended to do branding (like the Vitamin Water video I mentioned earlier) or you can create videos intended to sell a product. You can also create videos which are intended specifically to generate links. However, what you generally cannot do is to create a video intended to do all these things and more all at the same time.

Before you start creating your video, you need to sit down and make a plan for what it will actually include. Be sure that you think this through carefully, Make a list of things you want to accomplish and then narrow it down until it gets to the point where you are ready to figure out what will be in your video. You need to make a plan in advance so that you know what you’ll try to accomplish.

For example, if your plan is to create a video which will allow you to gather links, you want to create something that people will want to share. A good example of this is the Camp Gyno video, which ended up going viral. This video is funny and allows young girls to express themselves about something which is a little embarrassing for them.

If instead your goal is to create a video which is instructive, then you need a completely different take on how the video is created. Mind you by the way, instructive videos should be a bit more professional than someone using Camtasia Studio and say “uhm” all the time. You don’t need something fancy but you do need to make sure that it seems professional.

Encourage Home Videos

Vine and Instagram both offer to allow people to post short videos of themselves doing all kinds of things. The Vine service, from Twitter, does six second videos while Instagram allows a whole 15 seconds. Neither of these are meant to be used for professional, highly polished videos. Instead, they’re intended to be used to make fun short videos.

Now the thing is, you can encourage your own customers to use these same services to create videos which show themselves using your products. You can use these things to get more buzz about your product without ever having to create a single marketing video of your own (although you definitely should make your own as well).

An even better way to make this work is to actually run a contest with your customers taking videos of themselves using your product. The beauty of doing this is that you can then take ownership of any content that was customer created and use those to create a slick video which you can then repost as a single, longer video on YouTube and other video sites.

In both cases, you should encourage this by linking back to the customer’s videos and showing them that you provide links both from your YouTube account and your website. This allows them to have a feeling that they are actually engaging with your company as opposed to simply posting something without getting and kind of recognition. Staples recently ran a promotion similar to this which was highly successful.

Try Rich Snippets

Here’s another really cool idea that you should definitely be looking into using in order to push your videos and make sure that you get the name recognition that you want. You need to use Rich Snippets. In essence, rich snippets are similar to the Google authorship system that I’ve written about in the past.

These things work by creating a more attractive looking Google results page which in turn means that you’ll get that many more visits to your videos.  Basically, rich snippets will allow your potential customers to see a summary of what your video is along with a link to directly click on the video itself.

The beautiful thing about this is that it means that people will be that much more likely to click and thus share your videos. There is however one catch when doing this. You need to do direct hosting of your videos. If you want to host with YouTube, rich snippets doesn’t work. There is however a nice workaround using a plugin made by the kind folks over at Yoast. Here at Quantum SEO Labs, we use another of their plugins and they tend to do some nice work.

rich snippets

If you’re still confused about exactly how rich snippets works, you can take a quick look over at Google’s website and see their own official explanation of how rich snippets works and how you can make them work for your videos. The short version though is above. You also will need to make some changes in your XML site map in order to ensure that everything works according to spec. Google’s own explanation of it can tell you more.

Make Your YouTube Channel Pretty

Now I know I just got through explaining to you that rich snippets generally requires hosting your videos privately as opposed to hosting them through YouTube. However, there’s no reason that your videos shouldn’t appear both on YouTube and on your own website so that they get maximum exposure for your company.

However, when you do put your videos onto YouTube, you need to ensure that your YouTube channel is attractive looking. It is possible to include all kinds of graphics and other materials to ensure that your channel reflects the character of your individual company. This will help to ensure that you get more subscribers who are then more likely to purchase your product and link to your videos.

A pretty nice example of a successful YouTube channel is the Lady Gaga channel. It has some nice graphics along with a clean design which allows it to function well as a place for fans of the pop singer to find videos of their favorite person. There is also a video which auto-plays as soon as you drop by the channel so that you can quickly grab the attention of people visiting the channel.

Lady Gaga

Don’t Ignore Text

I know – this entire article is about video. What does text have to do with video? Well as we’re all well aware, Google and the other search engines can’t actually search through videos. They can only search through text. This means that even though the videos you create for your website should be visibly appealing, you can’t ignore text in ensuring that you get the kind of exposure you need.

You should be optimizing your descriptions as well as your titles so that they actually provide genuine value to your customers while at the same time also including keywords which will be important to getting yourself noticed in Google.

In addition, unlike with most other kinds of SEO work, the keywords on your videos actually do matter. Google does weigh those keywords as long as you are not engaging in obvious keyword stuffing so be sure to include that meta data both on YouTube and on your own website whenever you post a video. This can only help you as long as you do it correctly.

Remember as well that it’s not just the videos that need good, useful descriptions but also the channel on YouTube. Google does cache the description and keywords for your channels so that means that you need to ensure that these things are also up to snuff when trying to get yourself noticed by your potential customers.

Finally, check to see what Google’s speech to text system has come up with on your YouTube videos. You can manually correct it so that it better reflects what was said on your video. This again will  allow you to increase the number of views of your videos because Google does take this into account as well when it ranks videos.

Forget about Unimportant Statistics

I have read elsewhere (I cannot confirm if this means anything or not so take this with a grain of salt) that comments are not considered an important matrix in figuring out how popular a particular video is on YouTube. The number of people who viewed your video and the number of links is supposedly much more important.

Either way, I’d say that a video which has inspired no comments or just one or two comments is that much less likely to get noticed even if all the other numbers look good thus it is useful to make sure that some of your visitors leave comments.

The important thing though is to be checking on your number of viewers (let’s face it – we’ve all checked out a video simply because it had a high number of previous people viewing it) as well as the number of times that your video has gotten links from others around the web.

Don’t Be Boring

When was the last time you went to a presentation at work and found yourself quite literally nodding off while some guy from a department you have nothing to do with prattles on for 30 minutes about why this new piece of accounting software is the greatest thing since sliced bread? We’ve all had it happen at one point or another in our lives, haven’t we?

Well your customers deserve better than that. They’re not interested in why YOU think that your product is such a wonderful thing and they would be fools not to buy it. They want to know what you can do for them. What kind of problems you can solve for them in the real world. And, they want to see this done in a way which doesn’t have them nodding off while you prattle on for 20 minutes.

So spice up your act a bit. Play on whatever your own abilities are. Make a fun video which doesn’t make people want to change the channel and you’re that much more likely to get more links and more sales out of it.