At 2017 Summer NAMM, Dan Abel, director of marketing for Reverb.com, shared five tips to help you grow your video audience—and create content that keeps people coming back for more. Abel, who formerly served as content partnerships manager for YouTube, is currently in charge of Reverb’s 10 million global visitors per month.
According to Abel, video marketing is a part of your story. Still, getting in front of people and using your other marketing assets to distribute videos is paramount. He stressed keeping your different distribution levers, such as email and social, in mind with your marketing efforts.
Here are highlights from his NAMM U session. (Watch the video for the complete presentation.)
Where Should Videos Live?
Facebook is optimized for fast promotional campaigns. It’s a huge outlet to drive viewership and immediate engagement, but it’s also a newsfeed. So, you may not see a post a second time. On the other hand, you can think of YouTube as a search engine (the second largest after Google), so it becomes an archive. Also, don’t forget about Instagram and Snapchat. Your strategies apply to these two platforms, as well, but keep in mind that the messages are shorter and more concise.
5 Tips for Launching Your Video Strategy
1. Create for your audience.
Remember: You’re creating for others, not for yourself.
• Context is everything. Viewers are conditioned to be fickle and watch quick, snackable pieces of content.
• Quality is subjective. Sometimes, the most visually compelling videos don’t translate or connect. Go for what’s sustainable.
• Content is a conversation. Online videos are very different from traditional media because people expect to be engaged and to comment back.
• Be interesting. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have 3 seconds to capture your audience on Facebook and 6 seconds on YouTube. How do you do this quickly?
• Get to the point. Think about how you can get to the point and how to make that point worthwhile.
2. Prioritize discovery.
You’re ready to release your videos to the world. How are you prioritizing for discovery? YouTube is a search engine, so you’re literally feeding it information when you’re uploading videos, telling it what your users are about to watch. You have to give YouTube and Facebook pieces of information that help them better surface your content to relevant users. Keep in mind the information you choose isn’t just for you. It’s information that’s advising an algorithm, which determines whether YouTube is going to surface your video on a given search or to a relevant audience on Facebook.
• SEO metadata
Title. Always put searchable terms first. Consider using hyphens in your titles to include your brand name or a series number. Think of how artists release songs (artistname-songname-album).
Description. Write short, specific descriptions that are optimized for SEO. It’s more about giving a concise message to the algorithm to recognize your video.
Tags. Use 10 or fewer relevant tags. It’s a hashtag for videos.
Classification. Music, entertainment, education. Facebook and YouTube are focusing on this going forward. It’s part of what’s being considered to surface your videos. Note that a demo video isn’t classified as a music video. A user clicking on it will instantly click away, and it will hurt your search standings.
• Clickworthy visuals
Use the dating app analogy: You add information first, then funnel through the photos. Visuals will determine whether someone will click on a video. Make your thumbnails on your YouTube channel or profile page clear and instantly recognizable, so users scrolling will stop and click.
3. Understand your viewers.
Once you’ve created your video and launched it, you’ll want to know how people interact with it. Understanding our viewers comes down to data. Both Facebook and YouTube give tons of information that details how videos are performing. And views aren’t the most important measurement of audience engagement. Consider these, as well:
Watch time. This is actual time spent watching videos. Would you rather have a million 1-second views or 100,000 3-minute views? You want to optimize for watch time because it means people are investing in your content.
Video retention. Abel shared graphs for two of his company’s videos that showed how much of his audience retained or stayed with the video, when it leveled off and when he started to lose viewers. Paying attention to these trajectories can help you produce videos that users want to spend time with.
Comments. People are giving you candid feedback, so have a thick skin.
4. Sustain your audience.
Now that you know what videos do and don’t work, how do you sustain your audience?
• Drive a reason to come back. You need to be explicit in telling the online audience that you’re a brand, and you create at a certain cadence. At the end of a video, you can ask your audience to check back next week or monthly for the following episode of a video series. Upload your videos with a certain level of consistency. Otherwise, you’re going to have to rediscover your audience over and over again.
• Create content you can repeat. Release new videos based on what’s been successful. Make sure you’re consistent with your brand messages, or you won’t be optimizing for the best experience.
• Establish a reliable perspective. Evergreen content does well on Facebook and YouTube. There needs to be a balance.
• Stay relevant and timeless. If you do a season (like a TV show) and go dark for six months, you’ll have to start over again with the algorithm.
• Keep the engine warm. It’s better to upload at least once a month, if not more often, to feed the algorithm.
5. Interact and collaborate.
Last, you’ll want to grow and have fun with your audience. There are a lot of tips and tricks for engaging your audience.
• Break the fourth wall. Looking directly at the camera tells the audience, “I know you’re out there.” It’s a way to remind viewers that you’re engaging directly with them.
• Promote your personalities. Use video personalities to embody your brand.
• Engage your viewers with CTAs. Online videos are a two-way street. Are you asking viewers questions in the video? When they comment, are you commenting back? Create as many two-way conversations as you can.
• Collaborate with other creators. People online are open to collaborating. It’s not as competitive.
• Put your audience front and center. Listen to them. Your audience knows what it likes and wants. If you see comments and likes, pay attention. They’re very clear indicators of success versus non-success.