We are all familiar with the phenomenon called “viral videos.” It is highly unlikely that anyone has ever created a video knowing it will become viral. What you can do is create content which will be shared, appreciated, and serve the purpose of promoting you or your business.
Human Attention Span
The last couple of years could easily be marked as the “goldfish era.” We have continuously been compared to a goldfish due to the alleged decrease in our attention span. According to Microsoft research, which has been quoted numerous times, human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000, to just 8.25 seconds in 2015. This huge decrease has been described as a result of multitasking and exposure to technology.
There are others, however, who believe that this research was misinterpreted and claim that there is no mention of the 8 seconds in the report. The fact that a person is willing to dedicate only a fraction of their time to certain content may be a willing decision rather than a shorter attention span.
Perhaps an average human sees themselves as too busy to spend time on something they find irrelevant, and the choice is great enough to allow us a luxury of saying “I don’t have time for this.”
With the short time at your disposal, a video seems like an obvious choice. Here is another Internet fact, a video is processed 60,000 times faster than written content. Regardless of what studies may say about it, we live in a world of ready-made things. This refers to food, entertainment, chores, you name it. The easier, the better.
Taking a look at the examples of some of the best videography designs available online so far, we can easily conclude that videos are ready-made content, easy to absorb, the same way a smoothie is an easy way to get your fruit or veggies. Videos perfectly match our busy lifestyles and allow us to multitask. Even if other things we are doing on the side are not important, we are simply used to multitasking.
Another good thing about videos is that they are easily imposed on you. Think of YouTube ads, if it had been an article which popped up, you would simply refuse to read it. It is different with a video, you would have to mute it and turn your head away to ignore it. Even with that in place, you would still absorb some of it within the first couple of moments of watching, and you may decide to stick with it after all.
The fact is that the world of marketing and content creating is gravitating toward producing video content. The question is what it takes to make it a success. If you are creating content only to express yourself, then reaching your goal is easy. However, if you are creating content for your followers and potential customers, you need to know who you are pitching to. In order to get to this info, you need to do market research.
- Determine demands – Find out what it is that the market (or the world) is missing. You can come up with a new product, service, or a solution to a problem. However, assuming that you already have your thing, your business, going, you need to find a way of shaping what you have into what people need.
- Target the audience – Who do you want to talk to and who cares to hear what you have to say? An insight into your audience will help you establish the profile of your average target audience member and determine their purchasing and online behavior.
- The competition – What is your competition doing? Look for something which differentiates you from others and gives you a competitive advantage.
2. Mind the Platform
While you are creating a video, mind the platform you will be using. The first thing you need to do is watch whether it has any specific requirements or limitations when it comes to videos. Another point draws us back to the target audience. Your choice of platform for releasing the video depends on the preferences of your audience. You come to a specific place to find them.
Your audience expects certain things from each of the platforms they use. They have the same expectations regarding any type of content that appears on them. For example, Instagram may be reserved for short creative content. Whereas Facebook or YouTube may be a better place for a tutorial video.
3. The First Impression
Unless you have made arrangements, or the platform allows for your video to play automatically, you’ll depend on the first impression to capture viewer attention. The goal is to make viewers choose your video among many others, or simply decide to click on it rather than keep on scrolling.
- The title – Keep the title short and sweet, include instant value and intrigue your audience instead of providing an elaborate explanation, there is plenty of space for that in the description.
- The thumbnail – The thumbnail is the first image a viewer can see without clicking on your video. It is traditionally the first scene from the video or the most striking one. It gives a person an insight into what the video may be about. Make it relevant and do not trick them by making false promises only to get a click.
- The length – We are back to the length. It is essential. At this point, the viewer does not know whether they will enjoy what they are going to watch, nor do they know if they will find it interesting. They never click with the intention of quitting half-way in or skipping through. So, make the video as short as possible, keep it under 3 minutes and your video will have better chances of being watched. Average watched video length is about 2.7 minutes.
4. Tell a Story
We should now focus on the content. The video marketing industry has recognized the potential of storytelling in creating engaging content. Your story can be humorous or serious. Remember to keep in mind the impression you’re creating. If you are a business and your video is funny, make sure you are still seen as a reliable business and not a joke.
If you own a brand, then the spirit of your brand is what the story should be about. If you’re about to share the facts, then include them in a humorous way.
Everything they see in front of them should give them an idea of who you are and what you promote. The atmosphere you create in the video is how they will feel about you when they watch it. Also, give them a glimpse into who you are and tell them how you relate to them, and how dealing with you brings value to their lives.
5. Story People Can Relate to
A good example of this is the HostGator YouTube commercial. The total video is only 30 seconds long. What we see is a waiting room full of awkward-looking people (perhaps just old-fashioned) holding boxes with their ideas. All of the people are superficially the same, but they are differentiated by their quirky ideas for startups.
The voice then does not tell us what HostGator is, but what it does for them. It brings their ideas to life. They encourage you to try, to show that there are no silly ideas and they (HostGator) are confident they can help you make it happen. What more can one ask for?
Videos of “behind the scenes” and “live” seem to attract as much attention as those being strategically planned and professionally directed. In addition, the videos that represent “direct” communication between the creator and the audience have proved to be successful. Encourage your followers and customers to leave questions, reviews, and comments and address them in your videos. Provide answers and explanations in your videos. Show people that you can satisfy their demands and that you care about them being heard and their needs met.
7. Be Socially Engaged
Show your audience your view on certain social events in the world and your stand on certain global issues. This is something people are usually passionate about and through a mutual cause, you will gain new followers and new customers.
For example, let’s say you promote fair trade in your commercial videos. If you explain that a certain amount of your profit will go back to the people in the third world countries who have produced the raw materials – the empathic portion of the audience will help you help them.
This was just an example. It does not always have to be this straightforward to be socially engaged. An actor in your video could simply recycle a plastic container on their way to do what they do, and it will show an environmentally-friendly pattern of behavior others can relate to.
If you want to create memorable videos, you, first of all, need to know who you are talking to, and what they are doing when you are talking to them. Address their issues, not with a promise, but with a solution. Cut a long story short, nobody has time for infomercials. Let them know what you can do to improve their life. Shock them, make them happy, and entertain them. Leave an impression which will stick with them.
Author Bio: Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur, marketing expert and a freelance writer. Currently, she is working as a consultant in one of the leading video production Melbourne-based companies, helping businesses gain maximum visibility online, despite the ever-shortening internet user attention span. In her spare time, you can usually find her shopping or hiking with her furry four-legged friend.