We see this with new clients all the time. They create video for their website, YouTube channel and social networks, but few people watch it. Some of them decide that there’s not value in creating video content, or that they should create content at the lowest price because they have to create video to fill the social channels. This situation disappoints me because they’re missing out on the true power of video to disrupt and attract attention.

Here are some tips to ensure you get the right results for your video.

  • Employ storytelling techniques
  • Remember people want a bit of escape
  • Surprise your audience

Employ Storytelling Techniques – Use Story

One of the reasons that people don’t watch, or continue to watch a company’s videos is the story in the video doesn’t go anywhere. It’s missing a narrative. To create narrative, look to the storytelling greats for help. There aren’t better storytellers out there than the folks at Pixar and George Lucas. Even if you’ve studied storytelling, they can offer good reminders on how to construct your work and characters. Two valuable resources include Pixar’s 22 Rules to Perfect Storytelling and the work of Joseph Campbell. Pixar’s list isn’t a new one, but it’s a good refresher.

Google the work of Joseph Campbell. He’s written many books such as “The Hero’s Journey” and “The Power of Myth” of the common archetypes that infuse all religions and myths, archetypes and situations that have endured thousands of years. The story goes that George Lucas used one of Campbell’s books to focus his screenplay for Star Wars. Even if you employ only one of his ideas, it will give your video more interest.

Remember People Want a Bit of Escape

Remember, TV and video is rooted in entertainment. People for years have been watching video as an escape whether it’s The Love Boat, or Desperate Housewives or I Love Lucy. It’s not that you have to make campy cat videos, but remind yourself that people think of TV/video through an entertainment lens. Focus on what video content does best—elicit emotion, demonstrate a product/service, take people into a world or show them people who are unique, and do it in a way that’s different. Fun fact: Buzzsumo researched what video content was the most shareable based on the emotion it generated. Video content that gave people a sense of awe, made them laugh or smile and gave them a sense of joy ranked highest.

Surprise Your Audience

While story will draw people into a video, the look of the piece is just as important. Your visual brain appreciates beautiful images and finds pleasure when the visual look of a piece complements its message. Cinematic video content doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be properly lit, employ clear audio and have been shot with attention to the piece’s overall tone.

Surprising your audience can mean surprising elements within the video, or just the fact that you’re using video in unexpected ways.  A colleague of ours told me a story about how a company used video to incite people who were trying a service to subscribe. The company used video as a welcome message and a subscription on-boarding tool, with the ability for the audience to communicate directly with the CEO. In comparison to their page without video, they saw a big lift in conversion to subscribe. They think that providing the appearance and accessibility of a person, it allowed people to identify with the brand and people engaged with the brand further. It was using video in a surprising way that made them watch.

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