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).
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.
- 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.
Use videos in other stages of your conversion process, not just on your main landing page or email opt-in pop-up.
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.
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.
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.