How To Promote Videos Online [Tipsheet]

Promoting digital video

I’m speaking on a panel about digital video at a wind-energy conference in Houston this week, and I prepared this piece as a one-page handout to leave behind with the audience. We could say a lot more about about video promotion online, but this list hits the high points for an audience of communications professionals who are not necessarily digital experts. Download the original tipsheet as a PDF.

1. Design for the Medium

Digital video is not television! TV ads rarely perform well online: online videos usually need to catch a viewer’s attention in the first 2-3 seconds, since it’s easy to click away. Even longer-form videos should generally start with a bang. Also, caption your videos for social media, since they may play without sound by default.

2. Design for Mobile

Most digital video views are on mobile devices, so make sure that your videos work on the small screen, where details may get lost.

3. Post Natively

If you’re reaching viewers via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, post your videos individually to each site. Don’t just post them on YouTube and share the links via social media, because the platforms punish content that’s not published natively.

4. Write YouTube Titles, Tags & Overview Text with Search in Mind

YouTube is functionally the second-largest search engine in the world, so be sure to title, tag and describe your videos using language people would employ when searching for your topics.

5. Leverage Your Lists

People can’t see your videos unless they know about them. Use your company or organization email lists to share important videos with your employees, members or supporters. Include links they can click to share the videos immediately on Facebook or Twitter.

6. Be Relentless

Don’t spend the time and money to create and post a video and then just let it be. Instead, promote it repeatedly through new content that highlights it, for example daily or weekly Facebook posts featuring different quotes or screenshots. Tweet about the video repeatedly and embed it in blog posts and other relevant web content. Also look for partner organizations that may share your video content with their own audiences.

7. Pay for the Privilege

If a video’s worth paying to create, it’s probably worth paying to promote. Consider “boosting” your video content to your Facebook followers or to people you choose through targeting. Videos can also be promoted as ads on YouTube and other video sites.

For more information, see “How to Use the Internet to Change the World — and Win Elections” or contact Colin Delany.


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Colin Delany
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