“Online video is different than television and film because a video posted online has a long-tail. The weeks leading up to an event, ‘the pre-buzz’, is just as important as the date of the actual event, maybe more important.”
- from the YouTube’s Creators Playbook
In an earlier post, we had shared why adding videos to your event website is important. If you are a newcomer to the realm of online videos, the range of options and configurations can be a bit bewildering. Here are some tips to help you get the basics right and create videos which are search engine optimized and add true value to your online presence.
- Start right. Start with some research.
Before you invest in recording and editing videos, dig deep into your site’s analytical reports, organic search metrics and feedback from past event participants. Ask critical questions to understand what your prospects and event participants are looking for, e.g.:
- Which keywords are currently bringing the most people to your site?
- Which pages are currently receiving the most traffic?
- Which pages are users exiting from most often?
- What are the most frequently asked questions by site visitors?
This exercise will enable you to identify the topics most in demand, or areas where your audience needs more support. The more thorough the research, the higher the chances that your videos will hit the right note with your event participants.
- Place compelling content first.
Relevant, meaningful content delivered with style is the key to success. The first few seconds are crucial for engaging viewers. Put less focus on branding and more on what the video is about and what benefits the viewers will get from watching it.
- Focus on quality.
Today, there are many software tools available out there to help you create polished videos. If you are looking for a free tool, you could try Videopad Video Editor or Avidemux, both of which get good reviews from users. Also, be aware that every video hosting service will trans-code and optimize the uploaded video per it’s own rules before publishing it online. For example, check out the compression guidelines on Vimeo. To ensure a reasonably high output for the end user, upload as high quality a video as you can.
- Add a relevant, eye-catching thumbnail for the uploaded video.
The thumbnail is the first thing the user will see, so it should engage them, and stir their curiosity. It helps to have a thumbnail that is not blurred, and carries your branding.
- Add annotations and captions.
There is no way for search engine crawlers to determine the relevance of the audio and visuals embedded in your video content. This is where annotations, captions and transcripts come into the picture. An online video hosting service such as YouTube will automatically generate timestamps for the uploaded video for the accompanying transcript. Adding a transcript not only increases the SEO of your video, it also gives your users access to a number of usable features, such as jumping to the appropriate section in the video by clicking on a phrase in the transcript. Many smart video hosting services also provide features which will enable you to add titles, labels and links to other videos. Make optimum use of these to add interactivity to your videos.
- Get video titles right.
- Start with one or two primary keywords you wish to associate with the video
- Add purpose, e.g. “How to” or “Promotional”
[Tip: Don’t forget to include the word ‘video’.]
- Include the target audience, e.g. ‘ for attendees’
- Lastly, add a word or two for branding, e.g. Event Name/Alias including year
- Work hard on the video description.
- Provide the most compelling info first.
- Describe what your event is about and include plenty of keywords.
- Include links to your website, subscription pages, registration site and social media pages.
- Your identity, e.g. ABC expo management team.
- Copyright info
- Leverage tags.
- Add as many relevant tags as you can.
- Mirror the title in the tags.
- Start with targeted keywords, and mix in generic words and synonyms.
- Use quotes for phrases, e.g. “ABC Expo”.
[Tip: Titles, description and tags comprise the metadata for a video, i.e. data which is not visible in the browser to the user, but provides important information to indexing crawlers]
- Go for a test drive.
Recruit coworkers and team members to watch and review a video before you make it available to a wider audience. Optimize the video based on the feedback, and test again if needed. It’s best to edit a video and polish it before launch, than to roll it back or add edits later.
- Last but not the least, post on popular video sharing sites and promote on social media sites.
Even if you are hosting the video on your server, consider also uploading it to popular video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Veoh. This ensures that your video has a long tail and builds up an audience by going viral. It is also a good idea to embed videos on your website even if they are hosted on an online video hosting service. Ensure that the web page in which the video is embedded has a title, description and supporting content that matches that of the embedded video. Promotion plays a key role in ensuring the success of a video. Embed it on your Facebook page, and tweet about it. Promote subscriptions to your video channel by posting links on your websites, blogs and newsletters. Collaborate with partners and event participants to create new content. Share your videos with bloggers, community reporters and journalists. Encourage your fans to like and share your videos, and respond to comments early. These increase your video’s ranking in organic searches.