Think of the business of making an online promotional video as being a bit like Moby-Dick (stick with us on this one…). We, as in the alliance of video-maker and commissioning client, are jointly the Ahab of our tale, pursuing our goal with single-minded determination. The ‘success’ of the video is Moby Dick itself, the object of our obsession.
And what of the ocean? The restless, relentless, endless ocean? Well, that must be YouTube – unimaginably vast… and the lonely graveyard of many an ill-starred video campaign.
See, as mentioned in one of our recent blogs on video marketing, though YouTube has immense potential for harnessing a genuinely huge audience, there exists the equivalently immense potential for a video vanishing without trace if sufficient forethought isn’t given over to how your audience is going to find it.
Obviously a range of steps can be taken to promote your video, with the likely effectiveness (or not) of these steps needing to be assessed against the nature of the content being uploaded. But one simple measure which every new YouTube video can, and should, be subject to is ensuring it is as fully optimised as possible.
Last time out, we talked tilting and its importance in Search Engine Optimisation. But there are plenty of other simple things to take care of too. To offer just one example, make sure that each video description contains links to the relevant pages of your website, in addition to interesting, keyword-optimised copy.
But for there to be good YouTube practice for video production, then that means there must be not-so-good practice too. And here a couple of examples of where things might have been improved…
CASE STUDY # 1: ‘University of Roehampton’
If the titling of your YouTube video is very important then so too is your choice of thumbnail. At present, only YouTube partners are given carte blanche to select their own thumbnail, but we mere mortals can still pick from three that are offered.
The thumbnail should be thought of as an admittedly modest answer to the blockbuster movie trailer. It needs to tempt, to entice, while also conveying the essence of what’s on offer to the viewer.
Which makes it surprising that the University of Roehampton’s recent overview film has a thumbnail not of any students, nor of the University itself, but of a turtle sat on a log.
Cute as the li’l turtle is, it doesn’t say a great deal about the University of Roehampton, and as such it’s unlikely to serve as a completely effective draw for prospective students searching for possible study destinations.
CASE STUDY # 2: University of Buckingham ‘Buckingham News’
One perennial YouTube tip is to keep the content coming at regular intervals, in order to keep people checking back to see what’s new, thereby building you an audience. Bearing that principle in mind, a university news channel is a smart idea; a cost-effective route to delivering regular content and keeping students informed and, ideally, entertained.
The University of Buckingham has an offering in that area, but it makes a fundamental editing error: each episode commences with a silent, completely still shot of a church. In the episode highlighted in this case study, the static shot lasts 20 seconds.
Now, bearing in mind, YouTube only registers a view after a certain percentage of a video production has elapsed (that percentage, incidentally, is purposefully kept secret to forestall view-rigging), one wonders how many potential viewers have been lost to a fault which could have been corrected with the simplest of edits.
But happily, the fault has been picked up on, and is absent from the most recent edition of Buckingham News. Hurrah!
Take a look at our own student recruitment work here.