Video is increasingly becoming a preferred medium for online communication. Current research suggests that the emotional connection of video is the surest way to the hearts of customers. Apart from the ubiquitous phenomenon of YouTube, ChatRoulette connected all types (and we mean all types) of people; Google+ now allows users to hang out via webcam; and Netflix and Hulu are challenging cable by streaming television.
The problem is, with so much video content out there, how do you ensure that yours gets noticed? Here are five steps to ensure your audience presses “play.”
1. Location, Location, Location
The location of video content on your site is more important than you may think. Just as newspapers strategize selling prime advertising space close to the headlines, you also need to think about locating your video. Therefore, embed front and center. You can’t hide your video below the fold (or in this case, below the scroll) and expect stellar pageviews. Furthermore, don’t publish your video to a microsite and then expect viewers to migrate. Give your video prime real estate by placing it on your landing page, and then post to the video tab of your site’s Facebook fan page.
2. Tap Your Fan Base
Fans are the best resource for spreading news, and therefore, video content. You know the ones: the die-hard followers on Twitter and Facebook who are always the first to comment, respond and retweet. Make sure they feel special — send your video to them directly before it goes live on your site, and make sure to emphasize their exclusive VIP access. Encourage them to share it with their followers soon and often. Turn your fans into marketers. They’re more likely to generate unique views than a simple company tweet, for example. Finally, engaging your ardent followers will ensure that they stay your biggest advocates.
There’s no way to get noticed without sharing content. The majority of the time, dumping your video onto the web and hoping that people stumble across it will not generate a viral movement. Be diligent about sharing your video. That means using all the obvious channels like Facebook and Twitter, but it also means sharing smartly.
For example, assume that followers likely subscribe to more than one site channel. If you plan to repost content from one channel to the other (and you should), tweak the text of your message. You don’t want to make your biggest fans feel like they’re being spammed.
People love a good contest, or at least, they love being rewarded for something easy — like watching a video. Therefore, offer an incentive, or notify fans that when your video reaches a certain number of views, you’ll release a follow-up “secret” video, for instance.
You could consider offering something of value, such as a discount code, but often the promise of extra or exclusive content is enough to incentivize sharing.
5. Be Authentic
Some videos have a really high clickthrough rate, while others get barely any clicks at all. Some of the most mundane videos appeal to the widest swath of a community (remember Subway’s Jared?). However, it’s not a crapshoot: The golden rule is to make your video authentic, more than just the subject you’re filming. Commit to that authenticity from the beginning of the recording process to the final publishing phase.
At the end of the day, you can never perfectly predict which videos will resonate with your community, but a metrics-driven approach can help to simplify the guesswork.