Youtube – Calls to Action

next stepsStill reading the Youtube Creator Playbook … do you include a Call to Action in your videos?

Being successful in online video, especially in Youtube, includes being able to build community engagement and an audience (which is done through subscriptions to your Youtube account). There’s quite a lot of potential community engagement built right into Youtube. Things like comments, likes, favorites, sharing, and subscribing.

Not getting those? maybe you aren’t asking.

Which leads us to creating a Call to Action in your videos. You could also think of these as Next Steps. Basically, your goal should be to tell people watching the video what to do next – give them something to do (something that actually relates to your organization).

Here’s what Youtube suggests:

  • Decide what actions you want your viewers to take for each video.
  • Use Youtube annotations to ask, or have the host in the video ask for it (I’ll talk more about Youtube Annotations in a future video).
Two simple steps! Some Youtube-ish calls to action might include:
  • asking people to subscribe to your video channel
  • asking people to like or favorite the video
  • asking a question, and then asking them to answer it in the comments box
  • asking them to watch an older video (and providing a link to the video)

This works on your website, too. Embed your video in your website, then ask viewers to leave a comment on your organization’s blog. Or point out an organization-specific action, like checking out a book or registering for an event. You could include a link to the event in your blog post, on your website, or even in the Youtube description box.

Either way – don’t waste your time creating a video if you don’t have a next step or a call to action. Give your viewers at least one “what should I do next” instruction, and see what happens. They just might actually DO it.

So here’s YOUR next step – tell me what types of next steps might work well in a video for your library or organization in the comments. That’ll give readers a great list of ideas that they can use next time they create a video!

Next Steps pic from Bigstock

Youtube – The First 15 Seconds

old fashioned timerWhat’s important in your Youtube videos? The first 15 seconds. According to Youtube’s Creator Playbook, you have 10-15 seconds to hook your viewer into watching the rest of your video. It’s extremely easy to click away from a video – just click and you’re gone. Especially if you’re watching in Youtube, since they have that Related Videos sidebar with other interesting-looking videos … click!

So those first few seconds need to be the best part of your video to keep people watching!

What do many of us do with those first 15 seconds?

  • a slow fade-in
  • cheesy music
  • attempt a flashy branded intro, titles, etc
  • or if it’s a screencast, we start right in with our computer screen – exciting stuff, huh?

Instead, here’s what Youtube says we should do:

  • Get to the point immediately – put your most compelling content first!
  • Quick teaser or summary of what’s going to be in the video, done by the person in the video. You can also welcome/greet the audience or ask a question/spark the viewer’s curiosity. Think inverted pyramid writing style, but for video.
  • branding, packaging, intros, … not as important, especially up-front. Let the content come first.
  • Intros should be minimal and short – 5 seconds is an optimal length

The goal? Make sure your viewers know what they’re watching. If they don’t know in 10-15 seconds … click – they’re gone.

Pic of hourglass from Bigstock

Video, Youtube, and My Library

I’m still thinking about Youtube and videos, which I started with my post Poking Around in Youtube Insights. So my next couple of posts will talk as bit about YouTube and how to tweak your videos to make them more watchable.

For starters, here’s how many subscribers and video views my library’s Youtube account has received so far (since March 6, 2007):

  • 191 subscribers
  • 191,000+ video views total
What types of video do we generally create?
  • occasional video series (focusing on technology or special collections)
  • one-off videos for upcoming programs
  • videos for the annual report
  • interviews with authors and artists
  • an occasional book review

Looks like we are creating videos for marketing stuff, videos highlighting a collection or service, interviews with speakers … and an occasional book review. Makes sense – sounds like a library to me!

Current direction

Our current strategy for creating video is a pretty simple one. It’s “please make video, dump it to Youtube, and share on our website.” Can’t get simpler than that! And that has worked ok so far – some staff have really embraced that and make a lot of videos. Others use it when it makes sense. What’s this gotten us? We have a lot of videos up on Youtube that shows off our library, services, and staff. Not a a bad thing at all.

Our videos are generally watched, too:

  • most popular video 23,300+ views
  • third most pop video – patron created content!
  • our 15 most popular videos are parody, interviews, interesting stuff about our collections, and kids and teens-related content

Our current video-making tools:

  • video cameras – Three Flip cameras (too bad they stopped making these), a Canon GL2, a Sanyo Xacti, and a couple other video cameras.
  • Software – iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker.
  • Staff also use their own cameras/software…

Here’s what we plan to do in 2011:

  • We have two new video series in the works (one that I’ll be directly involved with)
  • I have started adding tags, contact info and urls to every post/video in youtube. I’m also making sure comments are answered.
  • Working on a fledgling video room for staff. Currently, we have a room, we have a Mac and a PC, and we have a green wall.
  • Starting in January, I’m buying some dedicated video mics, lights, and backdrops.
  • And, we have a goal to be more multimedia-focused…

That’s what we’re doing, anyway. What are your library’s plans for video in 2011?

man with video camera from Bigstock

Library Podcasts you Might Find Useful

earbudsBobbi Newman at Librarian By Day just introduced me to two new librarian-focused podcasts. Thanks, Bobbi – I’ll have to take a listen!

I thought it might be useful to make a list of librarian-related podcasts, because there are a goodly handful of them at the moment, and they are all pretty useful.

These aren’t podcasts done by local libraries, for their local customers. Instead, these podcasts are all focused on us librarians.

And I’m using “podcast” loosely in my list – it includes audio-only podcasts, call-in live shows (that then turn into downloadable audio podcasts after the fact), and video shows.

List of Librarian Podcasts (the first two swiped from Bobbi’s post):

  • Whatever Mathers: Creative conversations with host Amy Mather and a revolving cast of surprise guests.
  • Circulating Ideas: the Librarian Interview Podcast: Interviews with librarians.
  • NCompass Live, from the Nebraska Library Commission: focus on library trends.
  • This Week in Libraries: Eric and Jaap from the Netherlands host a weekly video show with a bunch of interesting guests, usually talking about the future of libraries. Definitely international in scope.
  • T is for Training: call-in live show/podcast focused on training
  • Games in Libraries: A podcast about Games, Gaming, and Gamers in Libraries (sporadic at the moment)
  • Adventures in Library Instruction: A monthly podcast by and for library information literacy instructors and teaching librarians. The show includes features, interviews and discussion about teaching in libraries.
  • LibPunk: Live call-in show/podcast focused on hot topics in libraryland

Additions from the comments (some other really cool-sounding podcasts):

So – what am I missing in this list? Know of any other podcasts focused on the library/information professional industry? Let’s list them here. And make sure to listen/watch/call-in – give them a try, and see if you get something out of them!