The following is a guest post by Chad Hill. His bio is at the bottom of the article.
Internet users are using video more and more every year. As technology is allowing video content to become easier to consume with faster uploading and streaming times, it’s being adopted more quickly by marketing professionals as a tool to engage users than ever before. According to a 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey, 73% of marketing respondents said they’ve used video in their content marketing strategies.
Technology innovations in recent years have contributed heavily to this new era of digital media. Video content has become ubiquitous, allowing users to stream from their smartphones, tablets, and televisions. Barriers to entry have been reduced and the production process simplified now that cameras come standard on most new laptops, monitors, and other devices.
Simplify the process with Google+ Hangouts on Air
The process of creating video content can seem intimidating. Writing a script, filming, editing, and uploading are all steps that can cause roadblocks if made too complicated and may even discourage companies from considering this approach. The good news is that it is possible to create engaging, quality video content in a short amount of time using free tools you’re already familiar with.
For a little background, in 2012 Google introduced Google Hangouts on Air on its Google+ social networking platform. Hangouts on Air allow users to broadcast their webcam and record it to YouTube, in real-time, from right within the browser. Using Google Hangouts on Air, you can bypass the need for expensive equipment or advanced knowledge of editing techniques and produce high-quality video quickly and efficiently.
Concentrate on engagement
When recording, it’s best to keep the video short so that users are engaged throughout the duration, typically between one and four minutes long. Once you’ve finished recording Google automatically uploads to YouTube where it can be edited by using YouTube’s creation tools. You can also download the clip through Google Drive and using third-party software if you prefer. Keep in mind that simplicity often reigns supreme and extraneous bells and whistles are sometimes more likely to distract from rather than enhance the experience.
Some quick tips to improve user engagement and retention include:
- Add an intro and outro – By including an intro and outro, your brand and identity are front and center while giving yourself the opportunity to present important information about your brand, including your website URL and calls to action
- Add graphics – Graphics give viewers a reason to continue watching, rather than hitting play and minimizing the browser window or switching to another tab.
If you’re using YouTube’s creation tools, the video is already available on YouTube — just hit ‘Publish,’ and it’s live! If you’re using third-party software, like Camtasia or iMovie, the software includes settings optimized for online viewing, making it easy to upload and share.
Another publishing platform is Wistia. Wistia allows video content to be uploaded and made embedded within your personal or business website, which is especially useful if your objective is to increase traffic. Wistia includes other features for search engine optimization, including a call to action feature, a feature in which users can be asked for their email address allowing an opportunity for lead generation, and a service where a transcription can be ordered.
Optimize for search engines
Pro tip: Search engines understand text content much more easily than other media, so your videos should always be accompanied by a transcription. Rather than writing an independent blog post and stuffing it with keywords, a video transcription allows keywords to be included on the page in an organic and natural way with minimal effort. It also provides authentic context for search engines to determine the theme of the overall piece.
One of the most underrated strategies to optimize video for search engines is to include Schema.org markup. Schema.org markup is supported by all major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and enhances the likelihood that the URL shows up in search engine results pages. Google has created a page in its Webmaster Tools to help content creators optimize video content for SEO with Schema.org.
Tips for a streamlined process
The key to creating consistently engaging content is sticking to a defined process. The following tips should help you in your quest to create appealing content through video:
– Make it engaging – Adding a few unique elements will keep your audience engaged and more willing to share. An intro and outro increases brand recognition, and allows for the inclusion of your website URL and other important lead-capturing calls to action. Adding static graphics will also keep viewers watching throughout the video.
– Create a social sharing strategy – If you have a marketing budget that allows for social media advertising, promote a tweet or create an ad on Facebook to share the content that you’ve made. Encourage friends and colleagues to repost and sharing to increase brand recognition and reach.
– Rinse and Repeat – Polish your content to make it easier to digest and continue to create it consistently – this increases your audience and can improve future engagement.
About the Author
Chad Hill is CEO of HubShout, a US-based white label SEO reseller and web marketing firm with offices in Falls Church, VA (Washington, DC Metro) and Rochester, NY. HubShout’s full service web marketing program includes SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, website development, lead and sales tracking and reporting services.