video, smartphone video, videography, audience engagement, smartphone, audio quality, video quality

Imagine a room of 15 college students. One pair of students is playing a card game while another pair takes turns reading “The Cat in the Hat” to each other. It may sound like recess, but this particular scene from my mobile journalism class is anything but a break.

On the fringes of each pair are 11 students with iPads on tripods learning to shoot video sequences of their classmates. I’ve just shown them a series of powerful videos, and told them that whether they plan to be journalists or strategic communicators, video will be a big part of their careers. Oh, and whoever can put together a perfect sequence of “The Cat in the Hat” or Slap Jack gets extra credit.

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Did you know that more video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks have created in the past 60 years? According to YouTube’s VP of Global Content, Robert Kyncl, video will soon be 90 percent of all Internet traffic.

Video content improves your chances of appearing on the front page of Google by a factor of 53, according to Cisco. Video search results also have a 41 percent better click through rate than text, and videos are shared 1200 percent more than links and text combined.

Perhaps your company blog is in place—maybe, it’s even thriving! But with those numbers, it’s going to be hard to ignore blogging’s little brother much longer.

“Today, subtly branded video is popping up everywhere—on Facebook, on Vine and even in GIF form—meaning that short, attention-grabbing clips and videos won't be reserved to YouTube in 2015,” says Irfan Ahmad of Digital Information World.

In September 2014, Facebook began offering a “call to action” tool that invites your audience to visit your website, view more of your videos, or make a purchase.

Outside of social media, even good ol’ fashioned press releases that contain video receive 20 percent more attention, according to PR Newswire.

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So, if you’re planning to follow the trend and tackle video, here are some tips to do it right.

  1. Keep it short. According to Wistia, videos shorter and one minute lose only 1/3 of its audience by the end of the video, whereas a four-minute video loses twice that.
  2. Follow the 10-second rule. Your audience makes up its mind whether or not to watch your video within the first 10 seconds. It’s important that you have an attention-grabbing intro so you don’t lose them before it’s even begun.
  3. Audio still comes first. People are more likely to click away from bad audio than bad video. At least with good audio paired with bad video, they are able to imagine a lot of what they should be seeing. But…
  4. Avoid shaky shots. Unless you’re going for that “this-just-in” breaking news look, or you’re parodying The Blair Witch Project, leave the shaky shots for the amateurs.
  5. Get a variety of shots. Even if you keep the video short, no one wants to see talking heads for an entire minute!

With video’s well-deserved spot as a top trend for 2015, it’s time you take advantage of the medium as another accessible way to engage with your audience.

Top 5 video tips > Keep it short. Follow the 10-second rule. Audio still comes first. Avoid shaky shots. Get a variety of shots.

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