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Six@Six: Creating Compelling Video Content

Christian Olsen

The top six social media tips to know before you leave the office.

At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s global head of content, made a bold prediction: In a few years, video will comprise 90 percent of Internet traffic. According to statistics YouTube released just yesterday, Mr. Kyncl’s forecast certainly seems within reason. On average, 60 hours of video content are now uploaded to the video-sharing platform every 60 seconds. Not only is this a clear indication that Internet video is fast becoming a marquee communications tool; it is also a clear signal that now is the time to ensure that your organization is not only creating compelling video content, but also optimizing it for maximum audience retention, social sharing, and commenting.

With these goals in mind, this week’s Six@Six outlines six tips to consider while storyboarding, shooting, and editing your next Web video. Do you have other suggestions? Share them with me @cfolsendc.

1. Stay short, sweet, and to the point.

Audiences are not going to wait long for you to share your top-line messages. It’s been shown that viewership drops off by 82 percent after the first 30 seconds of a video. If you’re developing a video advertisement, you have half that time. The longest your video content should be is 1 minute and 15 seconds; an optimal time for videos is closer to 45 seconds, right around the point that most audiences begin to lose interest.

2. Start strong.

People will decide within the first two seconds of a video if they want to keep watching. Hook them in the beginning of your video with a great opening, a clear message, and a question they need to know the answer to. Avoid stagecraft and fluff, as such filler content will only reduce credibility and diminish audience interest.

3. Three is the magic number.

Within a time frame of one minute and 15 seconds, audiences can’t digest more than three simple and clear messages. So keep your content concise and try to limit yourself to no more than three key messages per video. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with creating multiple videos when you have multiple messages to share, as doing so will help boost view rates and retain audiences for future videos on similar subjects.

4. Encourage sharing.

Reaching a million or two million YouTube views isn’t rocket science. It’s all about sharing. Creating content that’s entertaining, inspiring, and informative is the magic combination to resonate with a wide audience base. At least one of those elements is essential for someone to get through an entire video. A combination of all three is the key to going viral via e-mail chains, tweets, and Facebook status updates.

5. There is more to success than page views.

Because achieving viral status isn’t always possible when an Internet video is geared towards a niche audience, it’s important to remember that the number of page views is not the only metric that matters. Sometimes it’s more about who you reach than how many you reach. When you only need to engage a select audience, give yourself the best chance of doing so by tailoring your video its gender, age, and location.

6. Provide a call to action.

Video views are a powerful tool for gaining public exposure. But absent a clear call to action, there will be no way to measure the return on your video investment. Whether it’s selling a product, driving traffic to an alternate website, driving changes in public policy, or getting viewers involved through their own creations, calls to action not only make for more compelling content; they also provide insights into whether or not your messages are being heard.

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