You put in long hours making your video the best it can be. You’re careful about the camera, the lighting, the performance, the post-production stuff. When you upload the fruit of your labor to your video hosting platform, you want people to see it. Whether it’s to drive traffic to a web site, promote an idea, or just to share your creative genius, the whole point of broadcasting a video on the Internet is to have people watch it.
Problem is, there’s a lot of stuff out there. It’s not easy to stand out from the other grains of sand on the beach. Still, there are ways to improve your visibility and get people to see your video. Here are seven proven ways to increase video traffic.
1. Create a Video That’s Timely, Interesting, and Great To Watch
Here’s the most basic thing you can do to increase video traffic: give people something they’ll want to watch. This goes beyond technical quality, although of course, that’s important too.
Topics should be things that people are interested in, not outdated material or subjects no one cares much about. A funny video will usually grab people’s attention. Something unusual and thought-provoking is also good.
It’s important to put something interesting and attractive in the first few seconds of your video. Statistics show that people tend to leave websites in the first few seconds, with the chance of departure dropping off steadily the longer they remain. If you can get people to watch your video for at least a minute, chances become much higher that they’ll stay for the whole thing.
2. Make Sure People Can Find Your Video
No matter how good your video is, anyone who can’t find it won’t watch it. Do a bit of keyword research to find out what relevant terms people are searching for. Set up your video’s metadata (title, description, tags, etc.) to make use of that research. Follow other good SEO procedures as well, like seeking inbound links to your web page.
3. Have a Good Title and Thumbnail
If your SEO is good, people will be able to find your video — it will show up in common searches — but that doesn’t mean they’ll click on it. Your title and thumbnail image should be as engaging as possible. Ideally, you want it to be so eye-catching and compelling in a symphony of words and images that anyone scrolling down that search-engine results list will simply have to check it out. The reason for this is that Google can still index your content under their “Video” search, and the snapshot you choose will be what represents your content.
4. Keep Any Sales Pitches Subtle
Your video may be out there in order to sell something. It may be intended to drive traffic to a web site where goods or services are offered for sale. Or it may just be for brand-building and name-recognition purposes. Either way, a blatant sales pitch is so 20th Century. Viewers can recognize something that’s for your benefit instead of theirs seconds into the video — and that’s all of it they’re likely to watch.
It’s okay to include a sales pitch, but keep it subtle, and for heaven’s sake don’t lead with it.
5. Promote Your Video on Social Media
This is probably obvious, and you’re probably doing some of it already. But there are lots of things you can do to promote your video on social media that you may not be doing. That includes making sure your video is enabled for sharing on social media networks, and encouraging viewers who liked it to share it. Social media works best when it’s not you doing the promoting. There are subtle ways to encourage others to promote it for you, and you want to make that as easy as you can.
6. Optimize Your Landing Page
This is part of SEO, and so, in a sense, this sixth tip is part of #2 above. But the landing page where people find your video is especially important. You can find some great tips on how to create an engaging landing page here.
The most important considerations are the appearance of the page, the positioning of the video itself, and the text. The appearance should be pleasant and attractive to your potential viewers. The video should be the main item on the page and should not compete for attention with anything else. The text should clearly explain what your video is about and why it’s interesting and worth watching.
7. Build a Fan Base
The seventh and final tip is a long-term proposition rather than something you can do immediately. Over time, though, it’s the most important thing you can do to improve video traffic. Fans come back for more content. Fans tell their friends and share your content on social media. Fans are pure gold. An artist in any field (writing, music, visual art, video, anything) builds a following one fan at a time.
A lot of the art to building a fan base is simply common courtesy. The main thing to remember is that anyone who watches one of your videos is a potential fan, and anyone who watches more than one of them is someone to cultivate. Stay in contact with those people. Say hi from time to time. Keep an active mailing list going and let your fans know about new offerings. The bigger the group of viewers who will check out a new video just because it’s from you, the better.
It’s never going to be easy to increase video traffic. Occasionally, lightning does strike and a video will go viral, but you can’t count on that. What you can count on is your own hard work and professionalism, as well as social media savvy and awareness of basic SEO procedure.
Create the best video content you can. Present it well, and make sure people can find it and that it’s easy to share on social media. Treat your viewers like the crucial partners in your enterprise that they are. It’s not quick or easy, and there aren’t any shortcuts that reliably work. But over time, it does work — and it’s the only thing that does.
By Elise Lagarde.