There it is again.
The nagging thought that surfaces from time to time:
I really ought to use video on my blog.
And usually, you try to ignore it.
Because making video is totally different to writing, right? And surely you can’t be expected to master everything?
But no matter where you look, you find another subtle reminder of the power of video to cast a spell over an audience.
It could crop up in a casual conversation with a fellow blogger. Or in the latest tip from your favorite online guru. Heck, even a family member might bring it up.
It’s like the universe is trying to stop you from missing out on a huge opportunity.
And you get it. You truly do. The magical properties of video are clear.
It’ll make you stand out – even if you just started a blog. It’ll help you bond with your readers. It could even bring you more search engine traffic.
So, every time the thought of video crops up, why do you wish you could be like Harry Potter and crawl under your invisibility cloak until it disappears?
The Vicious Cycle That Means You Never Press “Record”
This is what normally happens when you try to move forward with video:
- You jump on the web to find inspiration for your first attempt.
- You find tons of examples, each different to the last.
- You feel totally overwhelmed by all the options and give up.
And the truth is, other bloggers are to blame.
Some hold webinars, some create videos for their social media accounts, and some even swap traditional blogging for vlogging (video plus blogging).
In other words, they all seem to be doing something different.
It’s confusing. Even intimidating.
But guess what?
Despite the overwhelming array of options, for beginners, only three types of videos truly matter.
The Only 3 Types of Videos That Matter for Most Bloggers
If you forget what other bloggers are doing and focus on the following types of videos, you’ll give yourself the best chance to capitalize on your time and efforts.
These video types will help you generate more buzz about your blog, grow rapport and trust with your readers, and serve as excellent beginnings for your overall video strategy.
1) ATTENTION – Video That Gets You Noticed
Spreading the word about your blog can be one of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger.
Fortunately, video is a great way to get attention. After all, video has been doing this for decades.
Think about it: what would the world be without company commercials on TV? Or movie trailers before the start of a feature?
Likewise, smart bloggers are turning to video as a means of promotion. And since more people are sharing video than ever, a promotional video has the potential to reach people who would never normally find your blog.
To get started with video for getting attention, you could make a video introduction for your entire blog. The entrepreneurially-oriented guys over at Fizzle do this on their homepage (the video doubles as a conversion tool too).
People will gladly check out what you’re up to on your blog if your promo clip resonates with them and is entertaining, informative, or comical.
You could even create an introductory clip for your YouTube channel that complements your blogging efforts (like Pat Flynn did with his Smart Passive Income TV promo).
Or, you could try several other types of promotional videos, like trailers for your best blog posts, video-based guest post pitches, or personalised video introductions for influencer outreach.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a film school student or graphic designer to create amazing-looking videos.
Now it’s easy for anyone to produce DIY slideshows, ads, explainers, or social media videos from ready-to-go templates with video creation software like Biteable.
Here are some tips for making the best possible attention-grabbing video for your blog:
1. Steal tricks from the viral hits
YouTube is the home of the Internet’s genuine viral hits. And while a promo for your blog is unlikely to rival Gangnam Style for “eyeballs,” you can still learn lessons from the web’s most popular videos.
Try using humor, a quirky visual style, or a must-watch stunt (like putting an iPhone in a blender), and you’ll be as golden as a Quidditch snitch.
Or you can take a more inspirational or motivational approach, touching on topics that resonate deeply with viewers such as social issues or lifestyle freedom. People will more likely share your video if they think they are helping a cause.
2. Leave viewers desperate for closure
An easy way to make your promo video compelling and convince viewers to head over to your blog is to use an age-old TV script tactic: end with a cliffhanger.
You could end your video right as you’re about to reveal an intriguing statistic, or you could promise a valuable “how to” secret before telling viewers they can read more on your blog.
3. Don’t forget the real star of the show
It might seem obvious, but don’t forget to show viewers how to find your blog. In the excitement of creating your first video, this detail is too easy to overlook.
Put your blog’s URL at the beginning and end of your promo video. You can also include a link in the video description.
And if you’re hosting your video on a site like YouTube or Vimeo, make sure to use annotations, end cards, or interactive links that make it even easier to send viewers to your blog.
You’ve got plenty of places to look for awesome promo video samples. In addition to Pat Flynn and Fizzle’s work, you can use the classic Dollar Shave Club commercial as an example of an extremely clever, engaging video that drove so much traffic that it crashed the company’s servers.
Another great promotional video idea is Gary Vaynerchuck‘s YouTube channel trailer (it’s a hoot – mimic this for your blog and you’re sure to generate more interest.)
If you are monetizing your blog and have a product to offer, create a video preview. The Fizzle guys make trailers for their video courses, Jeff Goins put up a trailer for his new book The Art of Work, and Steve Kamb provided a video overview of his Nerd Fitness Academy product.
2) CONVERSION – Video That Turns Visitors Into Subscribers and Customers
Do you sometimes wish your opt-in page produced more email subscribers? Or that your “Work with Me” page generated more leads?
Then you must improve your conversion rates.
Most bloggers rely on the written word to persuade people to sign up to their list or purchase a product, but videos consistently convert better than text.
Online marketing software company Wishpond discovered that videos on landing pages increase the average page conversion rate by 86%.
So why is video so effective for conversion?
First, video engages more of the senses, which appeals to a broader audience base than just the text-inclined crowd. Watching a video also requires less work from the reader than reading text – and video is more difficult to skim.
Additionally, video helps build trust between you and your readers. (Reel SEO found this to be true even if they don’t watch the video!) And if done right, video keeps people on your site for longer, which means they’re more likely to explore your content, subscribe to your email list, or even buy a product.
Following these tips will help maximize the conversion impact of your clips:
1) Start with a great script
Seems obvious, but a succinct, tightly-edited script will deliver your message clearly and smoothly, without extra fluff.
You can follow this conversion video scripting format used by Demo Duck (a company who specializes in creating explainer videos for product landing pages):
- Describe your readers’ problem or pain point.
- Bring up your offer.
- Explain how it helps fix the readers’ problem.
- Finish off with a call-to-action.
2. Create a short, not a feature
Online video hosting company Wistia discovered that most site visitors will watch an entire video if it’s 30 seconds or less, but they’re less likely to stick around for longer clips.
(Though conversion videos can usually go up to 90-120 seconds and still convert at rates higher than pages without them.)
At the scripting stage, practice reading the lines and editing for clarity until you’re at 90 seconds or less.
3. Tell people exactly what you want them to do
This is essential. You can’t make a conversion video without clearly understanding what action you want the viewer to take.
Usually your call-to-action (CTA) will be a prompt within the same page – for example, to fill out an opt-in form or click a “Buy Now” button beneath the video.
And to increase impact and improve conversions you can combine CTAs with directional cues.
Physically point in the direction of your email form or button. And remember that left and right are flipped when you’re recording; in person, you’ll have to point left to draw attention to a conversion goal on the right side of your blog, and vice versa.
If your video doesn’t have an on-screen presenter, simply use an arrow instead.
Need a good example of a conversion video? Animoto specializes in videos and slideshows; the visually-inclined company has a short (49-second), to-the-point clip on its landing page for businesses interested in its video production product.
You can also check out this explainer video for one of Crazy Egg’s products, which helped that site earn an extra $21,000 per month.
Use videos in other stages of your conversion process, not just on your main landing page or email opt-in pop-up.
For example, my fellow blogger John Corcoran places a “thank you” video on the confirmation page readers see after signing up for one of his webinars.
And Groupon became famous for their unsubscribe video, which convinced some people to re-subscribe fairly easily (a tactic Hubspot later copied).
3) RETENTION – Video That Grows Engagement and Loyalty
Now that you have attracted readers to your blog, and even converted many of them to subscribers, you want them to keep coming back to your blog, right?
You should because loyal readers are more likely to become your own personal evangelists, spreading the word about your blog and your general awesomeness. They’re also more likely to become buyers of any products or services you might offer.
So how do you get them to stick around?
Here’s an idea: use video!
(Seriously, did you expect me to say something else at this point?)
Video gives your content more variety and helps you stand apart from other bloggers. It also entices readers who are naturally more visually-inclined, drawing them into the rest of your content.
And, of course, videos are one of the easiest ways to build an immediate sense of trust, empathy, and bond with your readers. If people can see and hear you, they’ll start to feel they actually know you – an important step to them becoming loyal fans.
(And even those readers who prefer to read most of the time, like Hermione Granger, will appreciate the variety video offers.)
Consider starting with a free how-to video or tutorial, picking a topic that suits a visual explanation or a walk-through. Embed it into a regular blog post to help regular readers get accustomed to the idea of video content on your blog.
Think of other ways video could enhance your regular content roster. For instance, expert roundups are popular, but how many bloggers actually interview each expert on video?
Or you could create a short subscribers-only video course. Nothing makes a subscriber feel special like bonus content that casual visitors don’t get to see. (And a short course could be a useful trial run for your first standalone product.)
Finally, look beyond the obvious places – almost all your blog’s pages can be made more kick-ass by adding video: your home page, the about page, and even the 404 error page. Let your imagination run wild!
Here are some tips for making the best retention-style videos possible:
1. Shamelessly promote your blog’s brand
It’s fine to use a variety of locations or formats when creating your video, but you should use some kind of consistent visual branding to tie them together.
If someone stumbles across your video outside the context of your blog (e.g., on YouTube), a prominent brand means they can easily link it back to your blog.
So include your logo or blog title at the beginning (and preferably also at the end) of all retention videos you produce. Hire someone to create a logo for you on Fiverr, and consider making a video intro with your logo using Splasheo, Animoto or Wideo.
2. Match the format to the function
To maximize your videos’ retention value, be sure to pick the most effective format to achieve the overall purpose of the video.
For example, a “how to” post showing people how to knit a Hufflepuff house scarf could be accompanied by close-up video of you demonstrating the key techniques.
A tutorial video revealing Microsoft Word tips and hacks would work best with a screen capture program like Camstudio or Jing to show the application in use.
And a video on a lifestyle blog showing readers how to apply makeup for a party is best filmed live-action – perhaps with the camera positioned in place of the mirror.
3. Avoid the one mortal sin of video
The possibilities for video are endless, but here’s one thing you should never do:
Unfortunately, videos filled with lots of information and content can easily be dry and unengaging. (Remember those instructional tapes your teacher would put on in high school? Yeah, like that.)
Don’t do the same mistake with your clips. Add humor, background music, graphics, or anything else that makes your video flow and snags the interest of anyone watching.
And please, for the love of all that’s holy, edit out any long pauses where nothing’s happening.
Probably the best example of using video to retain blog readers is from business coach Marie Forleo.
For years, she’s used videos as her main form of content in blog posts. By adding some contextual explanation, she’s able to attract both word- and video-loving followers.
The same goes for Derek Halpern. The majority of Derek’s posts over at Social Triggers are complemented with an explanatory video.
Not every video on your blog has to be made by you. Or even made exclusively for your blog.
Embedding a well-chosen video from YouTube can dramatically enhance your blog content and save you the time of creating your own clip.
Your personality as a blogger still comes across through your choice of clip – so spend some time picking a video that perfectly complements your content and style.
Web and brand agency Bluegg used the original screaming sheep video as an entertaining way to give their 404 page some personality not normally found on other sites.
Let’s Unleash the Magical Power of Video on Your Blog
Let’s be honest.
You no longer have a good reason to keep ignoring video.
Sure, the myriad options can quickly make you feel overwhelmed.
But just relax and focus on one of these three ways. Start by asking yourself:
What does your blog need most right now?
If it needs a higher profile and more traffic, make a video for attention.
More email subscribers? Focus on making a video for conversion.
Greater engagement and participation? Make a video for retention.
More opportunity for you and your subscribers to earn? Create videos to encourage affiliates.
It’s really that simple.
And once you get started with one type of video, you’ll find it a lot easier to decide where video will take you next.
So crawl out from under your Cloak of Invisibility and give yourself a shot at becoming highly visible via video.
I promise you, the results will be magical.
43 thoughts on “How to Magically Transform Your Boring Blog Using These 3 Types of Videos”
Great post. Video is a great way to help grow your blog and it’s been something I’ve been contemplating for a long time.
The only thing with video, that many people have told me, is that it takes a lot of time to edit. And even though I know there are many editing softwares out there, it still takes time.
In that sense, would it make sense to get or hire someone to do it or try to do the edits on your own?
Also, you said something about a script. Should a script be created and a person should try to memorize it? Or just read from it?
Great points and tips here.
Editing does suck. Pretty badly. Some people love it, others hate it. But everyone agrees it is the longest part of video work. However, some people are faster at it because they’ve been doing it for so long. If you don’t want to learn to do it yourself and invest the time, I suggest hiring someone to do it for you (of course, you’ll have to consider the logistical problems here, how much you can afford, etc., so you need to weigh the pros and cons for your particular situation).
And yes, you should always memorize a script. Reading from it will sound forced, and that will create the inauthentic mood you’re NOT going for. 🙂 Memorize the script and practice, practice, practice. Then feel free to improvise as you record. Makes it more genuine!
Thanks for that Bree.
When I did podcasting, I did all the editing myself. And it was a pretty lengthy process. Probably took 2 – 3 hours to edit a 30 podcast.
But if I do video, I’ll be doing it much different than I did for podcasting. And I’ll probably still do most of the editing myself.
Also, what are your thoughts on creating videos of blog posts that you write? I see people like Nathalie Lussier and even Marie Forleo doing that. Is that something you suggest to do as well?
And should there be a separate script for that or pretty much the same thing you mention in the post?
Like I wrote in the post, Andrew, making videos of blog posts is a good way to add more variety to your site and keep readers around (and yes, I gave Marie as an example). I think in terms of script and content, you need to figure out what works best for your individual audience!
Great post, Bree! I especially appreciate the reminder that not every video I put on my blog has to be created by me.
I usually focus on writing my blog posts and only do a video every once in a while – I feel like I’m a stronger writer than videographer – but I can definitely see how video would be a great way to connect with my audience. I’m definitely going to put your ideas in my back pocket for next time I create a video. Thanks!
You’re already a step ahead of other bloggers then, Jenna. 🙂 Most have never done video before, in any way, on their sites.
Excellent info here, Bree, thanks. I’ve been trying out video both using myself in head-shot talking to the camera and with slides. It’s not as easy as it looks and does take a lot of time, even when using a slide deck platform like myBrainshark.com to make your videos.
A pointly reminder for how we can embed other people’s relevant videos on our blogs. But it’s a little risky, for instance, if the “video maker” deletes it on their Youtube channel. And, yes, there are some popular bloggers out there doing great things with video. But their videos can be too slick and overproduced.
I am going to invest in Camtasia because I want to use video to show clients how to do things and because I want to use webinars. I think Google Hangouts have done much to increase interest in using video. And made it more accessible.
You’re definitely right in terms of another video creator deleting their clip, but I would counter-argue that as a blogger, you should be checking everything on your site at least once a month to make sure everything’s working (not just your posts).
Camtasia’s great. And Hangouts is probably the MOST accessible live streaming and free recording tool I’d recommend.
Two thumbs up for recommending that video be kept short. I have clicked on links that automatically started a video that proved to be 20+ minutes (yes, I said *minutes*) long–comes across like a bait-and-switch, and doesn’t do much for my opinion of the sender.
Another thought: people who receive items by e-mail tend to be in more of a hurry to get the point and move on (after all, there are all those other items waiting in the e-mail line) than those who find them directly online.
Katherine, I’m not sure what your point is about the email. Do you mean keeping a video short in case you send it to people via email, too?
I suppose I’m atypical, but I HATE to receive ANY video links by e-mail and am not too fond of them in general online surfing, either. The reason: I’m almost always in a break-all-records hurry when working online because the “to do list” of “click me next” items multiplies like rabbits–and nowhere so much as with e-mail where the “180 unread messages still in box” message is constantly staring one in the face. Hence, I find my teeth regularly grinding over the “do it at OUR speed, rushing through by speed-reading is impossible” nature of video.
Gotcha. Well, for people like you, yes, video may not be the best medium. But not all your readers or clients necessarily have as many emails as you do. Plus, video may actually be the one thing that DOES catch their attention among all that text; for them, it will be intriguing, instead of annoying like it is to you.
Sounds good. I might just have to give a how-to tutorial a go. With my blog content, I’d be able to plug my model tutorial sessions as well to push sales. I guess I really do have no reason not to now!
Nope. I expect to see some on your site now. 🙂
I’m a big fan of using video on my blog. For many of the reasons you pointed out above, it really does do a lot to increase the connection you have with your readers, and helps you stand out.
As has been mentioned – creating videos isn’t easy. But like with most things, the more you do it, the better and more comfortable you get. So my suggestion is to get started, have fun, and don’t expect that you have to be perfect on the first try 🙂
Perfection in video (however you define it) can only come after practice!
Video marketing is the surefire way to get ahead of your competition (if they rarely depend on videos).
And what a great post! Repurposing is the best way to get more eye balls. I’m definitely gonna try this!
Great post, Bree! I’m always looking for ideas to increase traffic and conversions, so I’m very excited to give this a try. I was surprised to read that videos build trust with your audience even when they don’t watch them. Sounds like this the next step I need to take. Thanks for the help!
Yep, that’s why I think many bloggers shouldn’t worry as much as they do about how they look or sound on video, considering some people may not even watch it. 🙂
Great timing for this post! I just put my very first video on my blog 2 weeks ago and it went over like gangbusters. I told my readers up front that it was 8 and 1/2 minutes long and I also provided a transcript as a “content upgrade” opt-in.
I got some great ideas today from you and thanks so much for that.
I love that you clarified the video length up front – that’s an excellent point others should take note of and utilize, too. That’s being honest with your readers; whoever wants to stick around for the whole thing can, and the others can choose to skip through or not watch the video if they don’t feel like it.
No, I can no longer ignore video, uggh! Maybe you should make a service offering of that (consult, come up with the scripts and hold them to deadline and then upload/format?)….why not, right? Great post!
You’re like, the third person who’s told me that. 🙂
I hear you on the boring one. Independent of even sprucing it up presentation-wise, if you’ll just inject positive energy, laughing, smiling and yes, joking here and there, you’ll reel in more viewers and readers because your energy becomes infectious.
All of my most viewed videos – videos where folks note the video, through blog comments – are just about always funny or super eye catching, in some way. Do something spectacular! I am blessed because I have a 1080 HD camera AND a stunning villa stay here in Bali, so I shot a video here a number of months ago and it drew in a few views. The energy point is huge though. Really get yourself going before getting in front of the camera to yield optimal results.
Smart tips all around Bree!
Great tips, Ryan! Lots of your natural self will come out the more you practice, which will in turn help your energy levels, too.
A note about 1080p cameras: anyone with a newer smartphone has the ability to film in 1080p. I plan on using my Galaxy S4 to film future videos, and I also purchased a 1080p webcam used for $50 from someone on Craigslist. So it’s not like you have to go out and buy an expensive DSLR Canon or Nikon camera just yet!
Great post…very informative!
I do have to say that I’m one of the ones that aren’t as attracted to video like a lot of people, although I made a few and added it to my blog.
Yes most people love to watch video so that they can see the person behind the blog. I was blogging for a long time and I always tend to ignore doing video. But video tends to get a lot of response so I thought why not make a few.
These tips do help a lot, but like Andrew said I keep hearing that the editing portion takes a long time. That’s one thing that I don’t have is a lot of time, but I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind!
Thanks for sharing! Have a good one!
If you don’t want to learn editing yourself (and more practice will definitely make you faster), you can always hire out the job. If you can’t afford much, consider hiring a local college student who’s majoring in digital media or video and needs samples for their portfolio. Most are willing to do this for cheap!
Thanks for the great read, I do believe video is a way to for some people. But, maybe not for all.
For someone like myself, who has very thick southern accent. It wouldn’t work me. With that being said I have thought about it, then swayed from the idea.
Again thanks for the great read
As a linguist, Jason, I understand how people are sensitive about Southern accents. But I bet if you gave it a shot, you’d find people like your videos as long as you provide good quality and good info. Those who don’t weren’t meant to be your viewers anyway!
As always nice article, thank you! =)
Great thought Bree, any tips for those who are a bit shy to self promote themselves on the video? I feel if people look at your true self on the video , it adds a credibility to your blog.
The old adage “practice makes perfect” is as true today in terms of video as it is for piano playing, speeches, or any other learned skill. 🙂
You perfectly described me in the first lines of your blog. I don’t think I am ready to publish videos yet but it’s been on my mind. It’s a quite huge step to take when you are not used to filming yourself (I’m sure a lot of us have the “gosh I sound so stupid” feeling when watching ourselves on video).
Your article is so useful to get started. I just bookmarked it to use later :). I have a feeling I will need it one day!
PS: Love the Harry Potter references throughout the article 😀 make me laugh few times.
Aurelie, being worried about what you sound like is mostly why bloggers haven’t started with video yet. It’s natural to think like this, but it shouldn’t hold you back. There’s no rule saying you must publish the first few videos you make; I like recommending people just make a few videos and do different takes as many times as possible before you feel comfortable posting your good one online. (Thank you for noticing the Harry Potter references, btw!)
Great article. I have been thinking about video for a long time now, and as usual left it way too long.
It’s interesting you mention Derek Helpern, I think of him when it comes to video, I enjoy his content. I’m going to make the first steps today and start jotting down a script.
Great post! Nowadays articles is growing up and thanks for sharing this nice information with us.
Hey Bree, Its really a great post. I loved to read this article. Thanks for sharing this kind of information with us.. 🙂
Your site is loaded with great tips! Thank you! I suggested to my client that she needs to put a video on her site. For me SEO and Content marketing is not just on analytics, link building and on writing. Creativity helps like making a nice video that has the potential to attract many viewers.
Wonderful article. Love it!
Thanks for pointing this out.
I do realise the power of adding videos to my blogs, but somehow, like you rightly said, I do absolutely nothing about.
This must change . . . Now, I’ve got so much work to do!
I love all the tips you have given on making videos. I was one of the reluctant ones too so I took the bull by the horns and made about 20 of them in a few weeks. That got me over the hump and now I am more comfortable making them. The strategies you have shared will help me go to the next phase of video making. I especially like the idea of doing 90-second attention-getting videos. Thanks for sharing these tips with us, Bree!
Videos make blogs more interesting for readers like me. Rather that a very long video, 3 to 5 minutes could be ideal especially if it has a decent sized article along with it. Any way making your video viral can surely get more attention from the audience.
just being a new blogger , i was unaware that making video also helps to get the attention of the audience