Creating Great YouTube Content

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

Part of YouTube Channels For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Whether you grab a 10-second video of a gathering of friends to put on YouTube, have something meaningful to say on your video blog, or plan a highly structured production with sets and actors, you’re creating content.

Almost every topic under the sun is represented on YouTube. That diversity in topics is matched by an equally broad range of production levels. Some videos are quite sophisticated, displaying amazing production values, but many are fairly average. And a great deal are just poorly done and end up getting shown in film classes as examples of what not to do.

Better production values increase your ability to grab viewers’ attention — maybe enough for them to watch the entire video and maybe enough for them to even consider watching whatever else you have to offer. The Holy Grail, of course, is having them feel so enthusiastic about what they see that they then share it with others.

But great video quality doesn’t happen accidentally; rather it’s done consciously, from conception to upload. Here are some key suggestions to always keep in mind.

  • Plan before you film: Great videos begin in pre-production. That means having an idea of the shooting location and working with some sort of script (or at least a storyboard of the kind of shots you want for the video).

  • Great planning leads to great production.

  • Know your audience: When you’re just getting started, you try to make solid videos tagged with good descriptions and hope that your audience finds you. After you have attracted a following, it’s still important to understand who they are and whether your content is right for them. For example, if you start an entertainment blog that talks about up-and-coming hip-hop artists, you should use language that’s consistent with a younger demographic. Don’t overlook the importance of being highly aware of your potential audience.

  • Keep viewers entertained: Regardless of the subject matter, it’s important for viewers to enjoy the experience so that you hold their attention. Remember that hooking a viewer’s attention starts with the first ten seconds of the video (why? Because viewers may leave before the good stuff) and continues until it’s over.

  • Let them learn something: People generally click on a video link in search of information. If they find it quickly and they were entertained, chances are good that they will love you.