Video is so important these days, which is why you should include it in at least some of your website articles. You don’t have to make the video yourself. Sharing a video you’ve found on sites like YouTube is also valuable – it’s a version of the Sharing Post – but here are some twists:
Summarize and Comment
Just as you wouldn’t simply point visitors to someone else’s article without giving a summary and your thoughts, do the same for third-party videos. And link to their website as well, as a thank you for being able to share their video.
And if it’s your own video, do the summary part.
I remember seeing a video on someone’s site called 7 Reasons Not To Email Customers. I was intrigued by the title, but didn’t want to sit through the video. They had no summar, no list of the 7 points, etc. They were forcing me to watch the video. I left.
Keep It Short
Whether you’re creating the video or sharing one, make sure it isn’t more than 3 minutes long, unless it’s crucial to the content (like showing a process, giving complex instructions, etc.). It isn’t just that people can tune out of longer pieces – they can only absorb and remember so much at a time. Do multiple videos that break up content into useful pieces, where necessary and possible. You may even have separate articles for each video – turning it into a series.
Video Transcripts and Materials
If it’s your video, I recommend including a full transcript of the video, plus important elements you might use within it, such as charts, screenshots, and so on. Even if you ad-libbed the video, include at least the outline or notes that you used.
The Video Thumbnail
When a video sits on your web page waiting to be played, there’s an image that’s displayed. YouTube calls this the thumbnail, while WordPress refers to it as the poster image. Like any image, you want it to be appealing to visitors. Very often these images aren’t. Look at the difference between these:
On YouTube, you can control that thumbnail if your account is verified, else YouTube will grab a random image from your video and it usually isn’t very good. On other services, check to see how you control the thumbnail. It’s very important and can even be worth upgrading your account if need be.
Whether you’re hosting your own video, running it from YouTube or another service, or you’re embedding someone else’s video, you can control the thumbnail/poster image directly from your post or page, using a video shortcode. I’ve created instructions for using a custom poster image here.