Focus on Youtube – Summary and Why?

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been writing and thinking about Youtube for awhile. Here’s a list of my recent Youtube posts:

Why have I been focused on Youtube? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I really needed to re-focus on Youtube a bit at work. Writing and thinking about this stuff really helps me figure out what I need to do next for my library’s Youtube account.

One more reason – Youtube is a social network, with subscribers, friends, content creators, comments, likes, and favorites. If you want friends, subscribers, comments … and more importantly, video viewers, you need to be there. You need to watch videos, leave comments, likes, favorites, share videos, etc. That gets you noticed by others in the Youtube community (and your local customers who use Youtube).

Try out some of my suggestions, and see if you can increase engagement in Youtube in 2012!

Community pic by Bigstock

Focus on Youtube – Use Annotations!

Youtube Annotations are cool. They’re an easy way to add in messages and links to a Youtube video without having to mess with fancy coding or weird additions within the video itself.

What are annotations? They are notes that can be placed within a video on Youtube. Annotations can contain links to other Youtube pages/videos/features or text.

Here’s a video I recently created (non-library video – it’s me telling the story of cracking my ankle. Pretty much all better now!). In the video, I use two annotations – check them out:

For libraries and other organizations, I can see three types of annotations being really useful:

  1. subscribe button – ask people to subscribe to your Youtube channel
  2. next/previous video – link to another video of yours – this keeps people watching your channel
  3. Text annotation – use it to ask people to like the video, leave a comment, or subscribe…

Why do this? Easy. It’s an easy thing to add in to a video, and has the potential to be another way to help you connect to your customers. Ask customers to take a simple specific action (remember those calls to action mentioned in a previous post?) like subscribe to your youtube channel, like your video, or leave a comment. Doing this helps you increase viewership, engagement, and subscribers to your Youtube channel … and therefore to the cool stuff your organization does, too.

video camera pic from Bigstock

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