5 Tips: Make People Notice Your Online Video

People don't watch compelling videos just because you post them. Consider this expert advice to make more people see and share your content.
How Starbucks Taps 7 Tech Trends
How Starbucks Taps 7 Tech Trends
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Is your business sitting on a brilliant bunch of online videos that positively no one is watching? You might need to re-learn your kindergarten lessons on sharing.

Online video can indeed be a powerful tool for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), both for getting the word out and for a range of other purposes. Better yet, it doesn't require a huge budget or film school degree. But even the best videos are only worth it if they reach their intended audience. For a marketing video, it's better still when viewers share it and the audience becomes self-propagating.

Building upon his slew of tips for creating killer video, Techsmith's Shane Lovellette offered in an interview his advice for making that happen. Lovellette, who is product manager of the Camtasia suite of screencasting software, recommends SMBs consider things like where they'll publish and host videos--and how they'll connect with an audience--before clicking "record."

[ What to put in your video, blog, or website? See 10 Tips For Creating Killer Social Content. ]

1. Yes, YouTube's huge. YouTube is the site in terms of sheer size, with more than 3 billion videos viewed each day and a global audience of 800 million unique visitors each month. Those kinds of numbers make a marketer's mouth water. "YouTube is great for exposure, great for reaching a wider audience if that's what you want as part of your branding." Lovellette said.

2. Metadata isn't--or shouldn't be--an afterthought. Of course, because of YouTube's sheer size--eight years worth of video is uploaded every day--it's dangerously easy to get lost in the fray. Lovellette stressed that it's vital to create meaningful metadata for your videos if you want them to succeed on YouTube. "The tags that you create, the title, and the description are three really, really key elements to think about and understand if you want it to get discovered," Lovellette said.

Tags should include mix of common keywords and very specific terms related to your video and business; this will help get it found in both general and distinctive searches. The title should include your brand name--just don't put it first, Lovellete said. Use some of the same keywords from your tags in your title, too: "That really helps raise the search awareness of that content," Lovellette said. The same holds true for the description, which should make the subject of the video clear and include URLs to your company's site or other links to more information.

Caveat emptor: Don't overreach with your keyword choices. Make sure your tags, title, and description are relevant to the actual video or you risk running afoul of Google--and making your content virtually invisible in search results. "Don't try to spoof it or put something in there that may not be covered in the content," Lovellette said. "Google and YouTube really frown on that."

3. YouTube isn't the only game in town. YouTube's not the only place for videos, even if that sometimes seems the case. Sites like Flickr, Vimeo, and Vidyard offer other venues for your content. (So does a small concern called Facebook.) You don't need to stick with one, nor should you if you're after the largest possible audience. "It's good to distribute your content to as many sites as possible if you're looking for exposure," Lovellette said.

4. Where to now? An underserved consideration for online video is where you want to go next. If you're hoping to drive website traffic or sales, know how you're going to do so--it's not likely to happen on its own, especially not from the major video venues. "YouTube is going to drive traffic to YouTube," Lovellette pointed out.

Consider the movie trailer approach: Show a short clip on YouTube and other sites and point to the full video on your own site. Of course, that means you have to host your videos or pay someone else to do that for you. But it could be worth it. "If you want traffic coming to your website and want to help your Web content [improve] its search rankings, it's better to self-host your video," Lovellette. Then use the trailer approach--or simply re-distribute the entire thing--to help market your videos.

5. Last but not least... It almost seems to go without saying as 2012 looms, but it bears hammering home: Use any existing social media presence to sensibly promote your videos and engage with viewers. Doing so stokes sharing--and a good video could soon find itself with a great audience.

Is your company antisocial? Our latest research shows that business-oriented social networking platforms aren’t living up to their promises of better communication, collaboration and productivity. Download the report here (registration required).

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
John Abel, Technical Director, Google Cloud
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer