So…you have made a great video with interesting content, and you may have even spent good coin to make the video. You then put it up YouTube and hope that it generates views. You wait for a week; then two. A month later you see that the number of views have barely hit 100.
Your reason for producing the video probably was not to become the next YouTube sensation – nonetheless it is a little de-motivating to see that your target audience isn’t even biting. With little to no results, your conclusion may be that videos are a waste of time and money.
I was doing some research recently and found that City Council videos seem to be having trouble gaining traction. Most of these videos have informative, interesting and shareable content, many of these videos are high quality and well produced – but they all share one common factor – they barely have any views.
It led me to think about why this is. After talking to some of my colleagues, we came up with 3 simple things that can be done to dramatically improve your audience reach and views – without having to spend extra money.
1) Target your title
“XXX City – Discover the walking trails of your city” or “Highlights from XXX festival” are commonly used styles of titles on many council videos. They are functional but really boring; these titles do not entice viewers to watch and are also not fully optimised for search.
Take the first example of the walking trails, while there are people who search for walking trails, it is far less than people who are searching for ways to ‘get fit’, in a fun and non-gym related way. So, if the same video had this title: “Getting fit, and a grab a great coffee along the way,” it targets two great keywords, “fit” and “coffee.” Plus the content sounds much more exciting. (Of course, this is assuming that the video is about walking around the city trails, and visiting shopping strips along the way).
It costs nothing to rename a video on YouTube – it will not only make your video more noticeable and interesting.
2) Place your videos where your viewers go
Now this requires you to do some research. What sites and platforms are your audience visiting, and is it within your control to also place your videos there?
Something that jumps immediately to mind would be a council website and obviously the main page. If a council has a new or promotional video, it needs to go on the main page. It does not need to be there for a long time. Even if it is up for 2 weeks, the chance of someone seeing the video with an interesting title will be much higher than having the video buried 3 pages into the “About us” or “Media” pages.
Or, if many of the city’s constituents are going to the “Rubbish Collection” page to find out about how to book hard rubbish collection or recycling days, then put the video on that page. You may have to be clever about how to make the video somewhat relevant.
Using the walking trails video example again. You could lead into the video with a one liner about how keeping the city clean is making the walking trails a more pleasant place to be. You may not even need to try to make it relevant, if it is placed on your home page and it looks interesting- viewers jumping on to your website are likely to watch it anyway!
3) Plan your message
So far, the previous 2 tips will apply to existing videos; this tip is an extra that should be taken into consideration in future videos.
Plan your message and target it to the appropriate audience, their preferences and their needs. Then create videos to meet those needs. Have a clear sense of direction about which platforms to use to host your video and who you want to be watching it. Get this right = Much higher views!
So with the walking trails example, if the video had been targeted towards the idea of fitness and healthy living (which is on the top of everyone’s minds nowadays), you could actually craft the video content towards it. The video can still be about promoting the businesses around the walking trail, but the string that ties it all together is the message focused on fitness and having a healthy lifestyle.
In a nutshell, the key to helping drive more views to any video is to target the message, and to place the video where people will actually see it. It is a simple solution that costs nothing more than a little time and research.