How To Build an Audience for Your Videos
In 2012, Dutch writer and journalist Ferry Piekart completed the first film to be made entirely on an iPhone, including developing the script, scouting locations, and casting the actors, as well as the actual filming and editing. This was followed up by the release of Searching for Sugar Man, which won an Oscar despite the South African director Mark Bendjelloul turning to a $1.49 iPhone app after running out of money for more film.
It has been possible to shoot video on cell phones for a number of years now but the level of sophistication of today’s smartphone cameras is taking video to a whole new level. Suddenly, amateur videographers who previously only shared their creations with family and a few close friends are now looking for a wider audience.
But how do you find that audience?
While there are many places online where you can share your videos, including Facebook, Vimeo, Shutterfly and more, YouTube remains the dominant force when it comes to Web-based video distribution. And, as the production values of videos have risen, so has the quality of YouTube, both as a broadcast platform and a potential production partner.
If you believe your videos are ready for primetime, YouTube encourages you to create your own channel, to generate a loyal following, and to raise the quality of your work along the way. The YouTube ‘Playbook’ incorporates important tips, best practices, and strategies on how to build an audience for your work. Here are a few of their recommendations:
Grab your audience early
Most people’s attention spans are short. With millions of videos to choose from, your audience will decide in the first 10-15 seconds whether they want to continue watching. Make the opening scenes of your video compelling and you will hook your audience for the rest.
Feed your feed
“A consistent audience requires consistent content!” This quote from Top YouTuber Freddie W. neatly describes the approach to building a fan base. Not only do you sustain an active channel by uploading videos but also by constantly engaging your audience through comments, ‘favoriting’ and ‘liking.’
Use trailers and short form video to get the audience interested
In much the same way that movie theaters tease an audience with trailers for future films, you can interest and excite your audience with clips and trailers from longer videos. And don’t be shy about publishing deleted scenes or bloopers!
Use analytics to understand your audience
Maybe your audience favors your more humorous offerings; or maybe they tend to watch more on weekends. Use whatever tools are available to understand your audience and tailor your videos accordingly.
Cross-promote and collaborate
Don’t try and exist in isolation. It’s much harder to get noticed and it greatly reduces the chances of one of your videos going viral. Collaborate as much as you can and see if you can ‘guest’ on other people’s channels or appear in other people’s videos. After all, YouTube is not just a home for video but it’s arguably the biggest social network of them all!