What The Hell Do I Do With My Damn Video? (For Free)

Yes, pat yourself on the back. You’ve spent a fair amount of cash to get a professional video made for your business. You’re even pretty happy with the final product….Only now you don’t know exactly what to do with it. You don’t know how to take this “thing” and translate it into something of value for your business.

While obviously every video is a snowflake and has a different purpose, at the end of the day there are some important (and free) things you can do to both promote and optimize most videos in order to see a better return on investment.

Just as you optimize and tweak websites, landing pages, etc., you need to optimize your videos for the best results. Just hoping to “go viral” is a bit of wishful thinking.

First things first, some key actions you can take to make your video more clickable and shareable on the main video hosting sites, YouTube and Vimeo:

  • Choose an enticing thumbnail image: This is not something to be left to chance. Choosing the right image frame for your thumbnail is key to enticing viewers to click. The image should be eye-catching while also giving an accurate hint as to the content of the video.
  • Plan your video title and description carefully: Likewise, you need a well-thought out title and description. Do searches for similar types of video content to yours to see what words come up frequently in the auto-complete section. When writing your description, don’t just say what the video is, but rather explain the value to the viewer.
  • Use relevant keywords and tags: Again, do some research to find which tags and keywords you can associate with your video so that it will come up in search results more often. YouTube has a “Keyword Suggester Tool” to help you. If your video content is particular to a specific location (real estate videos, for example) be sure to tag the video with your location city. On Vimeo, you can also place your video into “categories” (select up to two), which will also help with discoverability.
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  • Use video annotations (and “YouTube Cards”) when appropriate: You can add annotations on top of any portion of your YouTube video with clickable links to related content. For example, you can link directly to your eCommerce store to a specific product mentioned in the video, or to your main www site. These annotations used to only be available for desktop views, but now YouTube has introduced a similar product for mobile called “Interactive Cards” that has most of the functionality of annotations. Be careful not to use TOO MANY annotations and cards, as it will annoy the viewer.
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  • Allow embedding: In most cases, it makes sense to allow others to embed videos into their own articles or websites, because it will draw more attention to you. So allow embedding before making your video public, unless it’s a particularly sensitive video or you’re afraid other people will use it without giving proper credit.
  • Add a CTA at the end of your video: Prompt the viewer with a strong CTA at the end of your video–to visit your website, schedule a demo, etc.– in order to move the viewer quickly from passive viewing into action. Some video hosting platforms (Wistia, for example) allow you to set up “email gates” which require entering an email before watching a video. However, this should only be used by viewers who are further down your purchase funnel, as it may alienate those who are just discovering your product.

Next, a quick recap of where else you can post or utilize your video outside of the main video viewing platforms. Where else should you post or send your video? These may seem a bit obvious, but it’s worth going over:

  • On your website: Feature it prominently on your home page and specific landing pages as appropriate, especially if it’s your first video.
  • On your social media properties:
    • Facebook: Because Facebook employs the “autoplay” feature, when you upload your video natively to Facebook instead of linking from YouTube, Vimeo etc., you will rack up views much faster.
    • Twitter: Twitter has a 30 second video length limit. If your video is longer, create a short teaser that you can promote and link to the full length version in your tweet.
    • Instagram: Instagram has an even smaller 15 second video length limit. Again, you’ll need to create an enticing teaser and then in the description tell followers to click the link in your main profile. Use appropriate hashtags to attract more attention to your video.
    • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is not currently known as a go-to place to share video content, but you can of course link to a video when sharing an update from your company page. You can also post videos in various industry groups, but be careful of not catching LinkedIn’s spam filters.

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  • Ask friends, family and colleagues to share your video in an authentic way across their social networks.
  • Signature of your emails: An easy way to draw attention to your video every time you send an email is to add an unobtrusive link with enticing descriptions at the bottom of your signature.
  • Email blasts/newsletters: Likewise, featuring your videos in email blasts or newsletters to your customers or prospects is also an easy way to spice up your regular communications and increase view counts.
  • In investor/pitch/sales decks: Adding a video to your investor and pitch decks can be a smart way to add a strong cinematic element to the typical PowerPoint presentation.
  • At conferences: You can play your video at conference video booths, though we recommend producing custom video footage for booth screens.
  • Send to bloggers and journalists: This tactic should be used sparingly, and only if you have a really sensational video or you’re sending it conjunction with some vital piece of news about your company that the writer can make a story about. You may be able to generate free media coverage for your videos this way.

These are just some of the most “low-hanging fruit” things you can do in order to take your video content and get optimal ROI. Of course, as you produce more and more videos, you’ll perhaps need to find an enhanced video marketing platform for your business in order to really take your optimization and analytics to the next level.

Two last tips:

  1. Plan the goal of your video in advance so that when you produce it you know the purpose
  2. Video is the king of content when it comes to memory retention, so don’t hesitate to share your online videos again and again.
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