Hacking the YouTube ‘Creator Playbook': Engage Your Viewers

/ Mar 3, 2014


You probably could have guessed the first step to YouTube success: make sure to keep your viewers hooked! Since YouTube creators see rewards for increased watch-time (not just overall clicks), it’s important to have content that not only pulls your audience in at the get-go, but also keeps them hooked for your whole video (or even series). Here, we hack into the “Creator Playbook” to provide you with some ways to do both.

To pull them in:

1) Address the Viewer: Directly welcoming your viewer helps them feel more included in your video. An intriguing intro about yourself and your content should excite viewers about what’s to come.

2) Start with a Bang: Without going over the top, do something right away to engage your viewers, whether it means flashing your bright personality or starting off the bat with your great content.

3) “Tease” Your Audience: Teasers are a great way to ensure longer watch-time from viewers. It gives them something particular to stick around for.

4) Avoid Lengthy Intros: If you take too long to cut to the chase, viewers are liable to get bored and click elsewhere.

5) Keep Branding to a Minimum: According to the creators of the “Creator Playbook,” five seconds of branding is more than enough for your video. Keep it under for maximal viewership.

To keep them watching:

1) Great Production Value: If your video is as painful to watch as a low-budget infomercial, no one’s going to want to stick around for the end.

2) Texture the Visual Experience: Alternate angles and make some daring cuts to keep your content moving and your audience waiting for the next surprise.

3) Pay Attention to Structure: If you have a longer video, different segments will help keep viewers from feeling like they’ve been watching too long. Techniques like annotating videos and using recognizable graphics will allow viewers to skip around. This way, viewers can easily navigate your videos when they don’t have enough time to watch the whole thing from beginning to end.

4) Contextualize Serial Content: Let your audience know from the start if a video is part of a series. Include quick recaps of prior episodes to keep viewers invested. Arrange your video so that getting from one episode to the next is a simple and engaging process. Try using playlists, annotations, in-video message, and including episode numbers to accomplish this goal.

Tomorrow’s tips focus on getting viewers to react to your videos. Check back then for more decoded information from the masterminds behind YouTube.

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