like just about any conversation about modern publishing is required to include
video. In some circles, they will happily tell you that online video is the
answer to all of your media ails. Well-executed video is certainly a powerful
publishing tool, but the key there is "well-executed.” Video alone is not
In fact, a report by Parse.ly suggests that video is not
nearly as popular with viewers as it is with advertisers.
analytics company analyzed information from more than 700 media outlets and
found that online video showed significantly lower user engagement that short,
medium, and long-form text items. In fact, online video was viewed 30 percent
less than a normal post — that is a non-video, non-slideshow item that is
between 200 and 600 words.
On the flip
side, long-form articles — posts that are more than 1,000 words — received more
than twice the engagement of a normal post. And slideshows were viewed 30
percent more than a normal post.
notice that no one is sounding the death knell of online video or suggesting
that publishers or media groups abandon video. Far from it. Video is a powerful
publishing tool, but this report does remind us of the importance of making
sure you’re using video properly.
The goal for
your videos shouldn’t be 100 percent viewer retention or virality though those
things are nice. The goal of your video is engagement from your target viewer.
Here are a
few things to keep in mind when planning video content:
content. Video content that is simply
regurgitated from another platform isn’t effective. If your member can get the
same information in another location, you are teaching them your videos are
simply repetition. They are much less likely to watch your new video if they
think they’ve already read all the content in an email blast.
content should play to the medium’s strengths, especially emotion, inflection,
and nuance. Make the viewer laugh. Make them cry. Make them angry. Make them
something or don’t count on return consumers. The old adage for writing applies
here quite well — show, don’t tell. Show real people in real situations. Show
the positive effects of a program instead of having someone sit and talk about
it. Show people celebrating instead of just saying there is something to
celebrate. This is a good opportunity to include your members in the process.
Show and share their stories as inspiration to the rest of your membership.
action. After you’ve tapped into the
proper emotion with the proper content, use it. Now that your member has this
information, make sure they know what to do with it. Make it clear how to
implement the best practices you just showed them. Make it easy to take part in
the program you just highlighted or sign up for the email, membership, etc.
A call to
action not only gives people a clear way to engage, it gives the experience
purpose. Again, you can teach people the value of your videos. If people are
taking action or taking something away from a video, they will remember that.
So when they see you’ve published a new video, they’ll be more likely to act on
the expectation of worth.
video interactive. A call to
action is great, but it also usually means viewers are required to stop
watching to do something. As with any type of content, any time you offer
people a chance to stop reading, watching, or engaging, you’re guaranteeing
that someone will take you up on the opportunity.
video asks the user to go to a different website and perform a series of tasks,
you’re giving them the option to disengage. So make it easy for people to watch
and act. Let people complete the action right inside the video player. Let them
sign up for an email list, share the video on their social media, make a
purchase, or whatever while they are still watching and emotionally invested.
working. Most associations are working
with niche audiences that will have dramatically different interests and needs.
You have to know how those needs translate to video. As the Parse.ly report
shows, video is not the silver bullet of content. You need to know exactly what
content your members want and in what way. Which topics are they willing to
watch a 10-minute video on? Which topics do they stop watching after 10
seconds? Are more people watching the videos on Facebook or through your
digital publication? If you don’t know, then you’re missing important
opportunities to tailor your videos to meet your members where they are.
Marcetti is associate editor of Signature
magazine. Signature is a
benefit of membership in Association Media & Publishing. Find out more about becoming a member now.