By Carl Weiss
Ever since YouTube first launched its groundbreaking site back in 2005, the buzz online has been about how video has been changing the face of the Internet. Yet while millions have posted video clips to this and other portals such as Revver.com And MetaCafe.com, many website owners still haven’t figured out the connection between online video and online success. With the low cost of entry into this multi-media promotional extravaganza, there are a number of ways that you can use video to give your website the Hollywood blockbuster treatment.
When It Comes to Video, Size Matters
In the first place, if you want to create online videos that people will want to watch and pass along to their friends and family, the first thing you have to understand is that when it comes to riveting online video, short sells. This means that you don’t have to shoot a feature film or documentary to make the scene with online viewers. In fact, if you have spent any time on YouTube, you will quickly come to find that most of the clips that generate the highest clickthrough are only 30-90 seconds long.
Lights, Cameras, Viral Video
The most important factor to getting your videos to go viral is to start off with a catchy title that hooks the viewer into giving your clip a whirl. Then you need to back it up with a clip that is either humorous, thought provoking or otherwise visually appealing. The last thing that websurfers want to watch is your last board meeting, or a 30-second commercial promoting your business.
While production value on video portals tends for the most part to be quite low, this doesn’t mean that you should post a clip with audio or video quality that is so poor that the clip is more annoying to watch than Rosanne Barr singing the National Anthem. So while it isn’t necessary for you to spend $5,000 on a pro-level digital video camera, don’t try the opposite tack by trying to produce compelling video on that $29.95 webcam either. The good news is that there are a number of consumer digital video cameras in the $500-$1000 range that will give you the ability to capture video and audio of reasonable quality without breaking the bank. Post production software is even a bigger bargain, since most computers come complete with video editing software that is up to the task. If you want to take your postproduction ability to the next level, there are some terrific packages in the hundred dollar range like Video Studio or Adobe Premier that provide even greater editorial prowess.
How Do You Create Great YouTube?
One of the beauties of video portals like YouTube is that you can do all the research you want by simply entering keyphrases and perusing the videos that pop up. For instance, if you are in the mortgage business, entering mortgages will pop up thousands of clips. By scrolling down the list of the first dozen or so, you will notice that there are some clips that have gotten thousands of views and some that have garnered precious few. By researching the clips at both ends of the spectrum, it will become readily apparent why some clips do better than others. Before you spend any time in front of the camera, you need to decide exactly how you plan on hooking viewers into watching your clip. Or, as we say in the video biz, “Every hour of preproduction saves five in post.”
Now That I’ve Got It, What Do I Do With It?
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to put all your viral video eggs in one basket. Once you have bit the bullet with regards to production costs, you have to remember that distributing your products online doesn’t cost you one penny. So the trick to getting your clips to go viral is to shoot, shoot and shoot more video, continually adding new clips to every video portal you can find.
Using YouTube as a Search Engine Optimization Tool
Another technique that you don’t want to neglect is the fact that since Google acquired YouTube, it is possible to generate Google search engine links with the use of standard search engine optimization practices. In order to optimize your clip for Google, make sure you embed the title with keyword phrases that will help optimize your clips much as meta tags do for your website. For instance, if your company is offering a business opportunity that you are going to showcase via video, insert the keyphrase “Business Opportunity Video” in the title. Another technique that’s useful in turning your clip into clickthroughs is to add titling to every clip you produce in order to provide viewers with your website’s url.
Jazzing Up Your Website with Video
Also, don’t forget that your video doesn’t have to reside exclusively on the video portals. You can also embed every clip you produce into your existing site. To do this, you should either convert the clip into flash format before loading it onto your website, or you can simply use the html code that YouTube will provide you once you upload your clip. This will allow you to employ YouTube clips on your website without having to concern yourself with the bandwidth issues.
Either way, adding Hollywood blockbuster appeal to your websites could soon be coming to a PC near you.