video content

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Amazing Online Video Content for Your Brand

It’s was our monthly Community Chat during this week’s #ContentWritingChat!

That means we gave our audience the chance to vote on which topic they were most interested in dicussing.

And the one that came out on top?

Video creation tips!

It’s no surprise this was the chosen topic, considering video continues to be the HOT content format for brands across the web. So, if you want to step-up your YouTube and live streaming game, this recap is for you!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Create Amazing Online Video Content for Your Brand

Our chat discussed video platforms to focus on, how to create captivating videos people want to watch, and more. Now, let’s dive into this recap!

Q1: Do you currently create video content for your brand? If not, do you plan to start using video in 2018?

To kick off the chat, we decided to gauge just how many people were currently using some form of video and how many were ready to get in on the game. Here are some of the responses we received:

Here at Express Writers, our CEO is working to build her presence on YouTube. She recognizes it’s a valuable platform to be on, as video content provides an amazing way to connect with your audience.

Eddie focuses on both edited and live video, which is a great way to reach your audience. Plus, live video adds that element of real-time engagement, which is always nice.

Jade is all about video content, which is pretty awesome!

For Cheval, he records his podcast every week when he has a guest live streaming on Facebook. It’s a great way to repurpose your live stream.

Zachary stepped up his video presence by uploading one video a week to his YouTube channel last year. Very impressive!

Zala knows video is where it’s at! She’s created short videos, long videos, and even live videos. This is a great way to make sure you’re creating content that resonates with your audience.

Ankitaa creates videos for her clients, but she hasn’t branched out to do it for herself yet. Hopefully 2018 is the year she makes it happen!

Paul has only done one promo video so far, but he’d love to create more this year.

Iain hasn’t gotten started with video either, but he’s planning to later in 2018.

Q2: What types of video are you most focused on this year? (YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.)

With so many platforms where you can utilize video, it can be difficult to determine where to direct your attention. These are the types of video some of our chat participants will be focused on:

As Narmadhaa said, YouTube is a search engine itself. It’s a worthwhile platform to be on if you want your content to be discovered.

For Julia, it’s mostly about YouTube because she knows it’s beneficial to get videos ranking there. However, she also recognizes the power of Facebook Live. Being able to do those and connect with your audience in the moment is very special.

Eddie also loves Facebook Live because it’s a great way to humanize your brand. Your audience truly gets to see your personality through each live broadcast.

Putting more effort into Facebook Live this year is definitely a good idea if your audience is tuning in. It’s one way to ensure you’re standing out with their tricky algorithm.

Ray is planning to primarily do webinars in the year ahead, which are an amazing way to provide tremendous value to your audience.

Just keep in mind that it’s important to focus on the platforms your audience is actively using! That’s how you’re going to find the most success.

Maria agrees that it all depends where your audience is spending their time. Figure out where they’re most active and where they engage and try it out for yourself.

Q3: To get started with video, how do you determine which topics you should talk about?

You’re ready to film some video, but what on earth should you talk about?! To help you come up with some great ideas, check out these tips:

Ray knows that a great video addresses the needs and wants of your audience. They wouldn’t bother watching otherwise! You need to deliver what they want in order to hold their interest.

Julia focuses on finding the biggest pain points for her audience and she addresses them through videos. It’s the best way to leave them wanting more.

Sarah suggests seeing what your audience is already engaging with. It’s a good sign that they’ll be likely to tune into a video on the same topic.

Eddie agrees that it’s worthwhile to check out your analytics. You can easily see what people are interested in through engagement rates.

If you still aren’t sure what your audience wants to see, ASK THEM! As Elise suggested, a simple survey will get you all the answers you need.

Doris like to turn to Facebook groups, which allows her to directly ask people in her audience what their biggest concerns are. It’s just like conducting a survey, but done through social media.

You can also see which topics are trending in your industry. That’s a great way to get people to tune in since it’s relevant and timely.

Paul is looking into repackaging old content that’s been successful in the past. If it’s evergreen, it’s a good sign it might perform well as a video too.

You can always dig through your blog’s archives to find popular posts that would make fantastic videos. It’s an opportunity to expand on them even more.

Q4: How do you get people to tune into your video and make sure they continue to watch?

You’ve got the topic, but now you need to get the viewers. Is there a secret to getting people to tune into your video and watch all the way through? Here’s what you need to know:

Make sure you’re sharing your videos on the platforms your audience is actively using. Otherwise, you risk them not seeing it at all. Sarah also suggests offering a teaser or a promise of a solution, which will intrigue them enough to keep watching.

Don’t forget to be smart about your title and video description. That’s the first thing people will see and it’ll likely be the deciding factor in whether or not they watch.

Paul shared some great advice from knowing your hook and wrapping everything up with a call to action.

Your screen presence makes a huge difference as well. If you’re boring to watch, people won’t tune into your videos.

Always be yourself!

Warwick suggests cross-posting, mentioning influencers, creating custom thumbnails, and more. These are all amazing tips to get more views.

Having a consistent schedule allows your audience to anticipate when your next live broadcast will be. It’s also great for YouTube channel as well since viewers will know your upload schedule.

Julia agrees that consistency is key. She suggests creating a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule to stay in front of your audience.

Eddie’s advice is to promote your video beforehand. It’s a great way to build excitement and get people to tune in.

Jeff agrees that promoting your videos ahead of time is key!

Make sure your videos have a purpose. If they don’t, why would anyone bother watching?

Q5: When it comes to video creation, what does your process look like to plan, record, and publish your work?

Now, let’s dive into your video creation process! These are the steps some of our chat participants take to create amazing videos:

Who, why, when, and where. These are all great things to consider when creating video content.

Zachary’s process includes brainstorming ideas and then deciding how to film. Sometimes you might create a video script to help with the filming process. From there, it’s time to edit and upload.

Terry focuses on writing out ideas first. It’s important to see which topics are going to be the most valuable to your target audience.

Chloe tends to condense her content into short talking points to guide her during the filming process.

Writing out video scripts beforehand is very beneficial because it gives your team time to review it.

Batching is a major help since you’ll be able to knock out filming in a short window of time.

Q6: Which metrics will help you determine the success of your video?

Your video is live, but now you need to measure its success. Which metrics should you pay close attention to? These are great ones to track:

You’ll want to pay attention to metrics such as watch time, link clicks, and audience engagement. And hey, if your viewers get bummed when you cancel a video, it’s a good sign they love you!

On Facebook, you’ll want to see if people turned the sound on and when they dropped off. This will provide good insight into the success of your video.

Cheval pays attention to the number of comments and minutes watched on the video.

It’s smart to see where people stopped watching because it allows you to see if there’s something you can change.

Are people funneling to your website or engaging with the video in some way? That’s important to look out for!

The meaningful discussions that spark as a result of your video are definitely the best.

Maria focuses on view time and the number of comments.

You can even compare one video’s performance to another video. It’ll allow you to see how you’re improving over time.

Q7: Are there any tools you rely on to create amazing video content?

Which tools help you be a video superstar? These are worth checking out:

Terry relies on iMovie to edit videos, which is a great tool to use.

Cass is a fan of Lumen5.

The Franco team loves Lumen5 as well for creating social media video content.

Lumen5 and Adobe Spark are two of Ankitaa’s favorites.

Cheval uses Blue Jeans Network to record his Facebook Live shows.

When he goes live, Eddie uses BeLive for optimal functionality.

Don’t forget to take advantage of YouTube’s free music library!

Q8: Which brands really shine with their video content? What can we learn from them?

For some major video inspiration, you’ll want to check out what these brands are doing!

Doris loves video content from Gary Vaynerchuk and Neil Patel

Mashable and Allen are favorites of Ankitaa.

Julia enjoys watching videos from Ai, Brian Fanzo, and Madalyn Sklar.

And if you’re a food lover, you can’t resist watching Tasty’s videos whenever you see them!

Cheddar is really making the most of live streaming to reach their audience.

How would you like to join us for #ContentWritingChat? Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest and be sure to join us every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time!
practical content strategy & marketing book cta

#ContentWritingChat April 12 2016 Recap: How to Create Your Most Engaging Brand Videos

If you missed #ContentWritingChat this week, then you missed an amazing conversation all about online video creation and marketing techniques. Video content continues to grow in popularity online, with more brands joining YouTube or using live streaming apps. If you want to learn how to best utilize video content for your brand, read on for a full recap of this week’s chat!

#ContentWritingChat April 12 2016 Recap: How to Create Your Most Engaging Brand Videos

Award winning broadcaster and video expert, Michael Kinney, joined us as our guest host this week. Michael has been a regular at #ContentWritingChat and we were thrilled to have him share his expertise with us. He has over 25 years of professional television production experience and he shared some fantastic insight throughout the chat.

Q1: How can you tell your brand’s story through video?

Telling your brand story is the best way to connect with your audience and allow them to get to know you and what you do. But how can you tell your story more effectively through video? Check out these tips:

Michael suggests doing video interviews with the people behind the brand. This gives your audience the opportunity to get to know you better and also help them understand WHY you do what you do. Be sure to show how your brand is impacting customers and fans. Case studies, profiles, and testimonials are great for this.

Kristen agrees that giving your audience an inside look into your brand is a must. It’s the best way to show them how passionate you are!

As Searcy said, show your personality. Don’t be afraid to just be yourself. Your audience wants to get to know the real you.

Jeremy said to turn the focus to the characters of the story instead of making it all about you.

One important thing to remember about videos, as Pratik mentioned: Establish a strong emotional connection. Build that connection with your audience and they’ll be sure to stick around.

Co-op Social said it best: Touch hearts, not wallets.

Q2: What are best practices for writing/developing engaging, outstanding video scripts?

When it comes to video content, you need to make sure you’re grabbing the attention of your audience right off the bat. Creating a script ahead of time can really help with this. Here’s how to engage your audience with amazing video:

As Michael said, you need to write for the ear, not the eye. Speak in a way that is natural and conversational. Your words show flow easily.

Kyle said to keep it concise when considering your content and the length of your video. Your audience will not stick around for a video where you’re rambling on. Stay focused and get to the point!

Kristen and Varun remind us to consider our audience when creating video content. You need to speak in language that your audience will relate to.

Laura says to ditch the jargon and corporate-speak. This all goes back to knowing and understanding your audience. You need to speak in a way they will understand.

A great tip from Jim: Don’t forget to include captions/subtitles in your videos. Keep in mind that some people may not be able to listen due to their location. Having subtitles allows them to get your content without hearing the sound. Also, this helps you cater to hearing-impaired audiences as well.

Q3: What are the ideal video formats and lengths for your audience?

When you’re creating video content you need to consider the format and the length. How do you know what will work for your audience?

As Michael knows, video formats can vary. You can go for live-action, screencast, vlogs, interviews, documentaries, etc. There are so many ideas you can turn into a great video.

When it comes to video length, Michael says that a video should be as long as necessary to “concisely deliver the ‘take-away’ value of your video.” Focus on providing value to your audience and make your videos as long as they need to be in order to get your point across, no longer. If you start rambling on, your audience will tune out.

Keep in mind the audience you’re marketing to when creating videos. As Searcy pointed out, some will prefer shorter videos, while others are more willing to tune into long videos. Clair said to consider how much you want to share, but also how long your audience is likely to tune in.

Jeff said to consider mobile consumption when creating videos. We consume so much content via our mobile devices today and you want to make sure you keep that in mind.

If you aren’t sure what length of videos your audience prefers, test different options! Kristen suggested creating short videos and longer videos to see what your audience responds to.

Pratik said to consider the type of content you’re sharing, the platform you’re sharing it on, and what the goal of your video is when trying to choose the right length.

Your videos should be as long as the content is engaging. Don’t let your videos drag on. And as Jim said, you don’t have long to hook them!

Q4: What are some ways to get your video seen on social media? On your site?

Now that you’ve created some amazing video content, how do you make sure it gets seen? Check out these tips for promoting your video on social media and your own website:

Michael said to make sure you write keyword-rich video titles, descriptions, and summaries. This will help boost your organic search results. Don’t forget to include a transcript of your video content as well!

Another great tip from Michael: Include your video link in your email signature. Email signatures are often overlooked, but can be a great place for promotion.

Our CEO, Julia, knows that paid advertising works. Don’t write off paid advertising on platforms like Facebook. A small amount of money can work wonders to get more views and engagement on your videos.

If you have a video coming out that you know your audience will love, give them a little teaser beforehand. Pratik knows this is a great way to get their attention and get them excited about what is coming up.

As Alberto said, don’t forget to embed your videos onto your webpage, your blog posts, and your social media platforms. This is a must for increasing views!

A great answer from Dagmar: Upload your video to YouTube (or the platform of your choosing) and embed it on your site. Optimize your video title and description with accurate keywords.

Q5: Which video platforms are key to be on in 2016?

From YouTube to Vimeo to live streaming apps such as Periscope and Blab, there are so many video platforms available today. How do you know which ones are worth your time this year?

Michael said to make sure you choose a platform for hosting your longer-form video content. You can go with a platform such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia.

He also said he feels the best video strategy is a combination of content-rich, produced videos and live-streaming videos. It’s definitely worth trying out for your brand!

As Kyle and Jeff said, consider your demographic when choosing the platforms you’ll use for video content. You need to be where your audience is.

Varun suggested YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Blab, and Snapchat. All of these are great platforms for video content.

Pratik and Clair know that platforms such as Periscope and Blab are great options for live streaming. Don’t forget Facebook Live, which has been growing in popularity lately.

Searcy and Brittany both mentioned Snapchat in their answers. Snapchat has become a great way for brands to connect with their younger audiences.

As Zala said, live streaming video gives your audience behind-the-scenes access into your business, which they’re sure to love!

YouTube is great for helping you to rank in search results, while Facebook is good for internal searching. Blab is a fantastic platform for live streaming Q&As, as it enables you to have multiple guest hosts on your broadcast. Snapchat helps you connect with your audience in a new, fun way. Great answer, Dagmar!

Q6: What video metrics for engagement should you be measuring?

You want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on your metrics so you can see how well your content is performing. These are the metrics for engagement you should watch:

Michael said to consider how many people are watching the video in its entirety. You want to make sure people are watching the full video instead of dropping off halfway through.

As Kristen pointed out, the drop off point in your video tells you about your audience’s attention span.

Searcy and Varun said to track average % completion, unique views, repeat viewers, and engagement (shares, comments, likes).

Don’t forget to keep an eye on user actions within your videos. Also, are people subscribing? Are they sharing? Are they leaving comments?

Q7: What are some tools or apps for creating great video?

Creating great video doesn’t have to be hard as long as you have some tools and apps to help you out along the way! Be sure to try out these suggestions from the chat:

You don’t necessarily need to have a fancy camera to record an amazing video. As Michael said, if your smartphone shoots HD video, it can be a great tool to use for filming.

Michael also suggested getting an external microphone so you can ensure the sound quality is great. A tripod and tripod mount for your smartphone is helpful as well so you don’t have to worry about unsteady video.

For editing on a Mac, iMovie is a great tool to use!

Kyle and Zala also agree that your phone camera is a great place to start filming video.

Dolores likes using apps such as Fly, Tempo, and Hyperlapse for editing social media videos on the go.

For simple video editing, Kristen recommends using Splice App.

For more editing options on your computer, check out Final Cut Pro, Sony Vegas Pro, or Adobe Premier Pro.

Q8: Where do you see the future of video content going?

It’s obvious that video content is here to stay, but how will it change in the future? Here’s what some of the participants of Tuesday’s chat had to say:

Michael said video is going to become the standard for attract, engaging, educating, and persuading your audience. If that isn’t enough to get you filming video for your brand, I don’t know what is!

Scott shared some statistics from Cisco that stated Internet video traffic will increase to over 80% by 2019. Crazy!

Brittany, Searcy, and Rachel know the popularity of live streaming video apps isn’t dying down anytime soon. It only means we’ll be seeing more and more video content.

Dolores said video is going to get more personal and will encourage brands to use it as a way to connect with their audience and enhance storytelling.

With so many people turning to video, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to stand out from the crowd!

Final tips from Michael:

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing 😉 

video content

13 Ways to Optimize Video Content

Optimizing written content for people and search engines is relatively simple when compared to video content optimization. After all, you usually only have a limited amount of space or words to use in conjunction with the video. And, let’s be honest, if you open the “About” section on a YouTube video and see more than a few hundred words it quickly dives into “tl;dr” area and you might find yourself thinking “I came here to watch a three minute video, not read War and Peace

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to optimize your video to get the results you want whether it’s encouraging your customers to purchase something, getting shares, getting noticed by search engines, or simply getting views.


13: Know The Goals


This is just good advice for any time in life, but it also applies to marketing your video content. Knowing goals doesn’t just mean knowing your goals. You obviously know your goals. It’s important to know the goals of your customers. Keep them in mind and you’ll be able to make great video content that truly connects with them. This means that you should know how your customers feel at the moment, know what you want your customers to feel, and evoke those feelings. If you are evoking a negative emotion (like fear) then your video content should lead your customer to a remedy for that feeling. If you are going for a positive emotion (like joy) then you should let your customers know how you can help them continue that feeling.

Let’s be clear: evoking a negative emotion doesn’t always mean making them paranoid or generally unhappy. Allstate’s Mayhem commercials do a great job striking the balance between raising their awareness of certain concerns while having a sense of humor about it.


12: Create a Call to Action


Making sure that you have actionable content is absolutely necessary for any type of success with your video content. There are several different ways to do this. One of them is obvious: put a call to action somewhere in the video. Another, less obvious tactic, is to put a call to action in the description of the video (for example “Buy the album here” with a link following).

The call to action that falls in the description is frequently used by musicians, although this particular video features both types of call to action:


11: Know Where to Host Your Video Content


Now, when most people think of optimized video hosting they think of sites like Metacafe, YouTube, or Veoh. They’re quick, easy, and cheap. What’s more is that they have a built in audience that might accidentally stumble onto your videos while looking for something else, allowing you to passively build a crowd. It’s like being the opening act for The Rolling Stones (if there were 3 million other bands playing at the same time).

While that sort of video hosting does have a lot of merits and is very tempting, it won’t necessarily keep people coming back to your site. If you want to do that then it might be better to host it yourself on your own site (or host it through a major hosting site but only have it viewable on your website).

But what if you don’t have any frequent visitors but you want them? Then it might be nice to give them a taste of what you have on YouTube and then direct them to your site for more frequently updated video content.

One example is how the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen uses this strategy to bring people to additional content on the Food Network website as well as tuning in for the shows (although Alton Brown does the call to action in a very… Alton Brown-y sort of way):



10: Analytics, Analytics, Analytics


This is a ridiculously obvious tip but it likely has a place in every blog post on this site. Use your analytics to their full potential. They’re not there for no reason. If you’re an American from Nevada and you find out that a strange amount of your views are coming from Iceland, it’s probably important to find out why. Maybe your views are peaking in mid-October.

Knowing why a lot of your viewers are coming from a certain region or at a certain time can help you ask specific questions that you need to know to expand your market and keep the viewers you have.


9: Use Better Meta


According to, metadata is an interesting little background figure because it has such an impact on our content but kind of blends into the background. It’s like a really good bassist in a band. You may not notice that they are there, plucking away during your favorite songs, but you’d notice if the instrument were gone from the mix.

Basically, metadata is the data that describes the data. It’s the text portion of the dating profile that is your content. “I am your YouTube video on how to properly iron your socks. My keywords are: How to, laundry, ironing, housekeeping. I enjoy walks at dusk on a sandy beach but am paradoxically annoyed by sand between my toes.”

You’re only fighting half the battle if you just know what it is. Using metadata properly is another beast entirely.

For an example of high-quality metadata, check out the title and description of this TED talk about tying your shoes. It mentions the name of the speaker and a concise, accurate description in the title (that doesn’t have unintentional ellipsis at the end) and describes the talk and the speaker, including the date, in the description. It will also tell you how you’ve been doing a basic skill slightly wrong for your whole life, which is always humbling.


8: Amusing or How To Videos


People love funny videos and how to videos is usually one of the best ways to get views online, if you’re not already an established brand.

The ExpertVillage channel is positively made of how to videos. It has everything from cat health care to how to properly ice a cake (and that’s just videos that were uploaded in the past month). And it’s kind of a big deal with nearly 3 billion views.

Maru’s YouTube channel is an example of how amusing videos can drive views. As you will surely note, the channel is primarily dedicated to an obese cat’s struggle to fit inside of various types of cardboard boxes. The comedian Wyatt Cenac, when talking about the popularity of amusing cat videos, said this:

Millions of people love this video. They’ve seen this video of this cat jumping in and out of this box. It’s really popular. And I was thinking to myself ‘I wonder how other popular things do on YouTube.’ I was thinking, ‘You know who’s popular? The president.’ … So I went to go look at one of his videos… Five hundred people had watched that video.

The following video is a perfect storm of being both amusing and a how to video and has 1.4 million views in its two year run.


If there were a microphone here, the microphone would be dropped.


7: Lead Capture


A lead capture is basically asking for the commitment of your viewers/listeners/readers before they are able to access your content. It can be through registration or through simply requiring an e-mail address in order to activate content. Although it’s not a video site, Bandcamp uses this method every time you purchase an album through their site so that the bands you are buying from can contact you in the future.


6: Stay Relevant


Unless it’s a popular topic, like World War II or Ancient Egyptian culture, you’re going to want to stay as topical and relevant as you possibly can, writes. Don’t make too many Milli Vanilli jokes or talk about the merits of Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign. No one cares about those things anymore. Talk about troubles Justin Beiber is facing or the recent Russian/Ukrainian unrest (if you’re reading this in the future then you can insert the pop star scandal or political turmoil du jour).

This video, although not as relevant right now, was created toward the tail end of Breaking Bad’s run and got several million views rather quickly because of it:



5: Transcribe Your Videos


Sometimes your videos will work just as well through text with just a little tweaking. Transcribe your videos and give them touch ups for blog posts or articles. It’s also good to simply have your video content transcribed and close captioned because, if you’ve ever used YouTube’s embedded closed captioning system, you know how quickly “I’ve been taught by some of the best chefs in the world” turns into “be told by some of their ships in the wells.”

Speaking of clearly food-related videos, many cooking YouTube channels will do this very thing by teaching you the recipe visually and also having it as a written recipe either in the description or on their site. This is a great way to bring people to your site or bring people from your site to your YouTube channel.


4: Allow Embedding


There’s only one reason you shouldn’t allow embedding (especially in email) and that was already discussed (hint: it involves hosting a video on your site to drive pageviews). For 99.99% of cases, you’d be an idiot not to allow video embedding. Every time someone embeds your video others see it, driving your views up. Those people can be directed to your channel, but it also works in your favor in the YouTube rankings. The higher your views are, the more likely you are to be featured or recommended to others.

And if you’re not on YouTube for that then… well, what exactly is your plan?


3: Internal Video Links


YouTube allows users to add links within their videos (kind of like hyperlinks) to other places. This can direct people to your channel or to other places quickly and easily. It can be used to link to related content, previous or subsequent videos in a series, or simply things that you may think are interesting.

For a look at how this is used here’s a video of Gordon Ramsay that doesn’t involve him yelling (watch until the end):



2: Don’t Forget the Titles


Just like your page titles, don’t forget about the titles when optimizing videos for YouTube search. If you end up making a mess of your titles your video will be difficult to find or might be inaccurate. On the other hand, if you make it short and to the point, you can get views from people who are looking for your exact video.

If you want an example of this in action just type in a musical artist you like followed by the name of the song. You’ll see quite a few videos of just that. Some may have “music video” after it, others may have “live performance,” and others may even have “cover,” but you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you click on the videos.


1: As For Your Playlists


Your playlist titles are just as important as your video titles. If your playlist titles don’t make sense then no one will click on them. If they’re accurate then you will be able to get a lot more views just because people are watching the playlist all the way through.

For instance, Numberphile’s playlists are quick and easy. If you want videos about the number pi, click on the “Pi” playlist. Do you like the videos he does with James Grime? Click on “Feat. James Grime.” Titling your playlists really is that easy.
Videos can be one of your most powerful tools if you use them right. They take little or no effort on the part of the viewer and can often simply be listened to. How many times have you turned something on while you’re doing a task just to have something to listen to? Now, how would you like to have someone doing that with your YouTube video?