YouTube Marketing: 3 Elements of a Successful Video

Recipe For Success with Video Marketing

Video is the way to go for creating content that gets attention. But making a successful video requires more than just pushing the record button, talking away, and throwing in some cool b-roll and fancy transitions.

First, let’s define what a successful video is: It’s content that gets your audience’s attention. It’s content that motivates, and hopefully, inspires someone to take a specific action. Second to that, it’s content that furthers your brand through rapport and the relationship you develop with the viewer.

The easiest way to create successful video content is to focus on these three items: the hook, the solution, and a call to action.

The Perfect Hook for Your Video

The hook comprises these three elements:

  • Title (Headline)
  • Thumbnail
  • Video intro

You thought the hook was just the video intro, didn't you? But what good is a fantastic video introduction if you can't get someone to click on your video to start with?

It doesn't matter if we're talking about a video suggestion on YouTube or a post that shows up in someone's Facebook or Instagram feed – the same principals apply even though I will be specifically referencing YouTube for the purposes of this blog.

How to Create an Effective Video Title (Headline)

Spark curiosity… but also: Be clear. Be concise. Make a promise and stick to it.

My number one tip for creating catchy titles that get attention is to not get too cute. Spell out what your video is about. Vague titles do you or the viewer no good. Yes, a pro-tip is to sprinkle in a little intrigue but don't be coy or cute about it.

These oldies-but-goodies are always effective for getting attention:

  • Top 10 Reasons Why X
  • 5 Ways to Improve X
  • Why You Should (or shouldn't) Be Doing X
  • How X Does X

You get the idea.

Your title (and thumbnail to a degree) sets the expectations for the audience, so be sure it accurately represents your content. Misleading, clickbaity, or sensational titles (and thumbnails) may get you clicks short-term but will hurt you long-term with growing your audience.

Last tip: Make sure the most important info in your title is upfront. You can write long titles, but make sure the most important info is spelled out in the first 60 characters in case the title gets truncated. ABTM – Always Be Thinking Mobile.

The Best Video Thumbnails

The biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to a YouTube thumbnail is not planning out and creating one custom.

Don't just use the recommended screen-grab that comes up when you're uploading your video. You want to spend the extra time and create a custom thumbnail.

According to the folks at VidIQ, thumbnails with faces get more clicks than thumbnails without… but not too many – 3 or more faces start down the diminishing-return path. Also, if you include text in your thumbnail, keep it short – like 1-3 words short.

Think of your thumbnail as a billboard you would pass down a busy highway. You want to grab someone's attention but don't clutter it with a busy background or a lot of text.

VidIQ also discovered that solid backgrounds often worked best. Black backgrounds, surprisingly enough, get the most clicks. That said, don't be afraid to experiment with bright, bold colors if it fits your subject manner. And don't be afraid to have some fun as well by letting the subject's personality come out in the thumbnail.

Two great tools to create those custom thumbnails are Canva and Adobe's Spark.

My point is before you start, you need to know where you want to go.

Tips for Improving Your Video Intro

Five seconds tops. That's all the time you have to catch someone's attention. One well-known way to increase your search rankings in YouTube is to increase your watch time. So, it's crucial to get your intro right and ensure they stick around to watch.

Think of the video intro like the beginning of a story. You want to set up the problem and tease how you have the solution.

Conflict is essential to any story, and that even applies to a marketing video. Describe the situation. Explain the conflict. And then ask them to stick around to hear the solution.

The intro is where you'll also show some of your best b-roll clips.

The standard intro can always sound like:

"Having a problem with X? Stick around, and we'll show you how you can X."

Of course, you can spice it up a little or wax a tiny-more poetic, but you get the point.

Solution (aka the Story)

The meat. The content. The answer to my problem.

This is the heart of your story where, after presenting the problem, you show the solution.

For a YouTube video, it can take two minutes or 20. But, if you're new to video, I would suggest keeping below 10 for starters.

In another blog, we'll breakdown this section in greater detail. For now, just remember you're telling a story.

For our purposes, a story is a situation with a conflict followed by a solution. It's that simple. If I can relate to the problem, you'll keep me hooked to the end to discover the resolution. It's story 101.

Yes, there is a lot more to it in terms of all the technical stuff like a script, camera angles, camera settings, lighting, audio, editing, music, transitions, etc. But none of the technical stuff matters if you can't hold your audience's attention and solve the problem that drove them to your video in the first place.

How to Craft a Video Call to Action

Let's not forget why you took the trouble to make a video in the first place. Like any good piece of marketing content, you should include a CTA.

That CTA, though, can be many things. It can be telling someone about the link to your PDF download. It can be a request for someone to call or email about your services. It can even be as simple as asking someone to subscribe to your YouTube channel and like this video.

But no matter what, always ask the viewer to take action.

It's the simplest element of the three, and the one that's often forgotten.

These three elements are the foundation of a successful video. Going with this metaphor, yes, a nice house includes walls, a roof, and window dressing. But your house won't stand up without a solid foundation.

Next week: We'll get into how you plan a video shoot.

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