Images and photos (although still important and relevant) are very much a thing of the past in today’s digital age – with video and the use of You Tube ranking number 1 for important content – with 24 hours of video uploaded every minute, and 2 billion videos being watched each day.
But how do you put together video content that really makes a difference and engages your audience? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when considering video content for your business and brand:
Use Video Site Maps.
Google and other search engines cannot index video content in the same way as they can text, all that is known is that a video exists. You need to tell them what the video is and what the video is about, and with You Tube moving over to using iframes to embed videos, video sitemaps are more important than ever. Unlike standard XML sitemaps, which help your site’s ability to get thoroughly indexed but does not help your actual rankings, video XML sitemaps can actually improve your videos ability to rank in the search results.
Making a video XML sitemap is easy and very similar to standard XML sitemaps; we suggest including the following fields in your Site Map. Although optional, they can increase the SEO benefit to your video, and improve the way your video appears in search results:
- <video:duration> – As it sounds – the exact duration (in seconds) of your video.
- <video:tag> – These are keyword tags, but specifically for videos. Use this tag separately for each keyword phrase, and you cannot include more than 32 per video. Bare in mind you don’t really want to be including that many – as it is the video form of keyword stuffing and will be penalised.
- <video:category> – A generic, 1/2 word recognisable category to help classify your video.
- <video:uploader> – This points Google in the direction of who (and where) the original uploader of the video is. Include a URL in the ‘info’ field and direct it back to your own website (the ‘About Us’ page is generally a good bet here).
Once you have your XML Site Map, you’ll need to upload in the same way as you submit a normal sitemap (left menu, click ‘Site Configuration’ then on ‘sitemaps’) via your webmaster tools account.
Keep At It!
While a single video can be a huge success for your company, you will find that Video isn’t all that different in principle than your usual company blog and articles. It is best to keep them coming and keep your community engaged.
No matter how popular that one post was, that one post alone is not going to provide long term value for your brand. Continue to create posts over time, and build a large audience to help share and spread your content organically.
“Viral” content is great for business, but this approach neglects a long term strategy that time after time, has been proven to be a marketing success. Build up your community and have people listen/watch on a regular, consistent and on-going basis.
Use Video Descriptions and Transcription Service
We come accross so many videos on YouTube where the user did not bother adding a proper title and description, Why going though all this effort of producing a video and then not tagging it properly, greatly reducing the amount of views you will get?
As Google cannot look at your video and understand it’s content per cé, if you associate a text transcript with your video (add a good description on Youtube) it allows search engines and sites such as YouTube to get a better ‘read’ of your video content. You can type this up manually and upload along with your video, or you can use an automated service to save time. Either way, such practice unlocks the information in your video and contributes to your ongoing online marketing strategy.
Don’t be a Spammer.
Video content is a great way to get your name in front of customers, but if you advertise excessively with over-stuffed keywords in your descriptions and content, you’ll turn off your audience almost instantaneously.
Think about it – if you went on MacDonald’s YouTube channel, and their featured videos consist of hours upon hours describing the Big Mac and Chicken McNugget to the nth degree and how you should go out and buy one today, you’re going to get bored and tune out pretty quickly.
However, if an artist created a video, a highspeed art piece created from merchandise/food wrapping into something iconic – you have yourself a creative take on video content.
When it comes down to it, poor concepts and boring content will be lost amidst the hundreds of thousands of other video’s that have well thought out ideas and creative input. Which leads us to:
“Being Creative” Doesn’t Mean “Being a Big Spender”.
You don’t have to be a massive brand with incredibly deep pockets to formulate a creative video campaign (though lets face it, it does help!). Remarkable and memorable content does not always cost the earth, and without being too cheesy, is only limited by your imagination.
Challenge staff and readers to competitions to create content with a prize of a free service or product as a reward taking the work largely out of your hands. Compile content from exhibitions and talks. Create cartoons and flip pads of images. Interview staff members or introduce new branding via music and dance. Most of all – have fun with it.
Blah Blah Blah…
Once you have your great content – make sure it isn’t too long. 30 seconds can be GREAT!
Content over 10 minutes is likelly to be very boring (unless it a tutorial or truly outstanding!) as most people will tune out after a few minutes. If you can’t cut down what you have, split it. Make a series of smaller videos, keeping your audience engaged over time on a regular basis. On top of this – you gain more content instantly that you can optimise, tag and drive traffic to -achieving higher rankings on Google in the process.
Where possible, avoid continuous music throughout. The general consensus is that it is distracting (and kind of annoying), especially when you are trying to listen to what is being said.
Remember: Quality, not Quantity.
As important as polished and professional video’s are, there is nothing wrong with a quick recording from your mobile if you want to make a personal v-log post. If done properly (with minimal background noise) it can be quite a cool way to connect. Don’t over think your plan of attack – people buy into people, be yourself. Personality sells – and if you come across well on video (whether you are CEO or Secretary) utilise it. If you are more of the shy retiring type, leave it to the showmen/women of the company to ‘jazz’ up the video for you, rather than boring your audience with ‘ums’ and ‘ahhs’.
Who Are You?
Some brands are so wrapped up in being original and unique in their approach – they completely forget why they are creating the content in the first place – to get their name out there. Make sure your video starts and finishes with a presentation screen of your company, including tag line, slogan and contact details. Make the screen short at the beginning, and longer on your last frames of the video to reiterate who you are to your viewer. Check out our “How to setup Facebook to Generate Business” Video for a great example:
Engage with Your Community.
If you are serious about influencing the social web with your brand and business, you need to build a following – and then use/maintain it. What would be the point of having X number of followers/subscribers if you gain nothing back from it? Nurture the relationships and engage with your community on a personal level. Remember, the basis on which social media is founded on is that it isn’t a one sided affair.
Once you have X number of views or sign ups, ask what people want to see, what they thought, encourage feedback and comments. And where possible – respond. Integrity is rule 101 in Social Media. If you lack it – people will see straight through you, damaging your online presence and brand.
The Viral Holy Grail.
We’ve mentioned above the idea of video’s going viral , and if done correctly (with contact details and clear company involvement, not just a funny montage for the sake of it) it could be the best thing to happen to your business.
However, it is not the be all and end all of video marketing. As great as 1 million hits are to your video, how many of these are likely to engage in your company post viewing? It is better to have higher conversion rates on lower viewings, than multiple viewings with little or no difference to your revenue.
Keep Using Basic Marketing Principles.
Over time, play around with how you formulate your video content. Whether its the styling, the formatting, or the presentation in what has been put together. Factor in number of views, popularity – what works and what doesn’t, and what ultimately is benefiting your larger marketing programme.
Once you have created content worth sharing – don’t forget to share it! Video is an important tool and can attract a huge amount of inbound links – having a massive impact on your SEO Rankings. Link to your other Social Media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter), upload to your personal blog, share via email lists and employees. And most importantly, monitor the on-going results.
If your video more ‘commercial’ targeted – you have the option of an inexpensive advertising campaign via YouTube/Google, which can add a spark to your strategy, and help gain an audience/following to new V-Loggers.
Remember, online video is a fantastic way to educate you customers, expand your reach, drive more traffic to your website -and ultimately – increase sales and revenue.
[image via internetblog.org.uk)