Month: September 2019

Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video

If you printed out all the emails sent each year, they’d stretch to Mars and back three times. And that’s not even counting texts or tweets.

People get more marketing and sales outreach from brands than ever, and without a unique angle, your chances of reaching them are about as remote as the red planet.

That’s why 87% of marketers rely on video.

What is Video Email Marketing?

Video in email is one of the best ways to boost your marketing conversions. Videos are intriguing, and they make the most common marketing channel on earth more engaging and effective. It’s easy to insert and track videos in email, especially with a video platform. But to get great outcomes, you’ll need to know the basics.

Benefits of Video in Email

Video gives you the best possible chance of breaking through to your audience. It makes complex topics simple, audiences crave it, and it builds a connection which fosters long-term loyalty. Video in email captures people’s imagination in a way that text just can’t—especially in B2B, where buyers want to see interesting things, but all too often, don’t.

Video Email Marketing Statistics

That’s not all, either: Email marketing helps you build a library of videos that you can reuse over and over to achieve a similar lift across social media and your website.

 

graphic showing what it looks like to see a video in an email then be sent to a landing page

How to Add Video in Email

Saying video “in” email is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like video through email, because the best way to send videos these days is by emailing a thumbnail image that links back to the video on your site. There are a few reasons for this.

It’s Tough to Keep Up with Email Providers

Email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail each have their own quirks. Some don’t allow you to embed videos within emails directly, and it varies by device. For marketers who don’t care to remember that people using Gmail on their old Samsung device won’t see the video, linking saves a tremendous amount of time. It also ensures that your audience, no matter how they view your email, has the opportunity to watch your video.

pie chart showing the market share of different email clients

Email client market share data via Litmus.

Linking Lets You Gather Valuable Data

When visitors watch the video on your site, you get to capture all sorts of data that you wouldn’t have if you had simply embedded it. You’ll see how much of the video they watched, what parts they skipped or rewatched, and whether they shared it. You can use that data to personalize future emails, score the lead, or alert a sales rep.

How to Attach Videos to Your Emails

How to Add Video to Email with a Video Platform

Video platforms like Vidyard integrate to all the top email marketing tools like Hubspot, Marketo, Act-On, Eloqua, and more. Simply upload your video and you’ll have the option to insert it when you create an email campaign.

Start embedding video in your emails today. Try Vidyard for free.

How to Add Video to Email Yourself

If you don’t have a video platform, it takes a little work. Take a screenshot of your video to use as a thumbnail. In a photo editing tool, add a triangular “Play” button to the screenshot so people will know it’s a video and want to click on it.

Upload your video to a video hosting site and save the public URL. Create a new email in your email software. Add the video thumbnail and link it to your video’s URL. Make sure the thumbnail file name says what’s in the video, just in case the thumbnail doesn’t load.

What Kinds of Emails Can You Put Videos In?

There’s lots of ways to start using video in email marketing, beyond standard campaign emails: Triggered emails, nurture emails, newsletters, and in your team’s email signatures. You can use videos to provide news roundups, advertise events, provide event follow-up, explain products, announce a new release, or offer a tutorial. Videos belong in any email where you want to increase opens and conversions.

For example:

  • Email blasts
  • Targeted emails
  • Event invites
  • Event follow-ups
  • Customer communications
  • Triggered emails
  • Nurture emails
  • Email signatures
  • Newsletters

The more personalized your videos, the better. In one study, personalized videos in email earned 16x higher click-to-opens and 4.5x higher click-throughs. If you’ve got a video marketing platform, you can personalize videos automatically—inserting each recipient’s company name or logo within the video itself.

10 Video in Email Best Practices

1. Use the Word ‘Video’ in the Subject Line

Adding the word “Video” to your subject line can increase opens 19%. Put it in brackets at the beginning or end of the subject line to make it extra clear. For example:

[Video] How to master the product experience

or

How to master the product experience [Video]

vs.

How to master the product experience

2. Place Your Video Below the Email Copy

Write a few words to introduce your video, if for no other reason than that an email without text will look like spam. The copy should convey your message on its own, just in case the video doesn’t show up on their device. (This can happen if their email client is set to not automatically download images.)

3. Enable Autoplay, But Turn the Sound Off

Autoplay can bother users who don’t know it’s coming, but email marketing is the big exception. When viewers click your thumbnail in the email, they’ll expect the video to play instantly. If they have to click again once it loads on your site, they’ll get frustrated. But do keep the sound off by default. Nobody wants to get blasted with noise in a quiet office.

Pro Tip: To set a Vidyard-hosted video to autoplay, simply add “?autoplay=2” to the end of the URL, like this: https://video.vidyard.com/watch/t6rxuZhNgAyybFGYW7CMLR?autoplay=2

4. Include Video Captions

Most videos these days are watched with the sound off, especially by people at work who don’t have headphones in and don’t want to disrupt those around them. Make sure your video has captions so that even viewers watching on silent get the message.

5. Use an Animated Thumbnail

Animated thumbnails attract even more clicks than images, and with a video platform, they’re easy to insert. Not every email client supports them—Outlook 2007, 2010, 2014, and Windows 7 phones only show the first frame—but the vast majority do.

In 2018, over half (57%) of email marketers that sent videos said they sometimes used GIF thumbnails, according to Litmus. You may hear people talk about cinemagraphs too, which are a slight variant on a GIF where just one part of the image plays in an endless loop. For the purposes of email marketing, you can treat them as the same thing.

See the difference between an anchor link to a video, an image thumbnail, a GIF thumbnail, and a cinemagraph thumbnail below.

example email mockup showing a video link woman in a purple dress stands in a field of grass

6. Reduce Your Thumbnail File Size

Large files from unknown senders can trigger spam filters. While there’s no specific pixel size to shoot for, Litmus found that well-optimized emails typically don’t contain more than 2.7MB of images. If your thumbnail is larger than that, adjust the size or compress it with a free tool like TinyPNG. (If you have a video platform, it’ll do this automatically.)

7. Film Your Video to Fit the Medium

Before you film your video, know where and how it’s going to be viewed. For instance, if you’re in B2B, know that 87% of videos in business are viewed on a desktop computer where screens are large and a low-resolution video will look grainy. If you’re in B2C, it’s more likely viewers are watching on a smartphone where it may be hard to read text on the screen.

When filming your video, consider:

  • Device and screen size
  • Viewing time of day
  • Viewing location and context

Read The Complete Guide to Video Production

8. Get the Sales Team Using Video

Now that marketers own the entire funnel, it’s time for us to help our friends in sales. Personalized sales videos can increase salespeople’s connect rates by 400%.

9. Embed Videos in Your Team’s Email Signatures

Make every email your company sends a marketing email by adding a video to employee email signatures.

“We all spend a LOT of time in our email,” says Justin Keller, VP of Marketing at Sigstr. “Most of the space in those emails is under-utilized real estate. If you combine the personalization potential of one-to-one email with something like a bright banner ad or video, you’ve got the potential for serious engagement.”

screenshot showing video in an email signature

 

10. A/B Test and Measure Your Results

Video in email is a best practice, but situations and audiences vary. Use A/B tests to see what converts better: Video or no video, static thumbnail or animated thumbnail, more text or less text, and so on. Record your results in a test log so your teammates can build upon your knowledge.

Read The Complete Guide to Video Marketing

Video in Email Marketing Examples

The screenshots below are actual examples of video in emails from brands. Click on each image thumbnail to see the full-sized email.

A video email from Later featuring their free Instagram course
Triggered email from Vidyard containing a video
Video email from SmartBug
Vidyard's holiday video in an email
PortoBay's personalized video email
Vidyard's Groundhog Day video in an email
A video email from Funko promoting a new product
Vidyard event invite using a video in email
A video email from Michael's

The following are a few examples of videos featured in email marketing—all cases where teams increased their opens, clicks, list growth, and revenue with video in email.

Marketo Increased Click-Throughs 144% with Personalized Videos in Email

Marketo uses video in email to guide buyers along their journey. If someone watches part of a video on their website but doesn’t finish, Marketo automatically emails that video to them. Personalizing these videos increased click-throughs 144%.

Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video 1

PortoBay Hotels Drives 22,000 Email Opt-Ins

When GDPR went into effect, the marketing team at PortoBay Hotels and Resorts needed a way to politely ask subscribers to opt in to further communication. They used personalized video to differentiate themselves and drive 28% higher opens, 11% more clicks, and 22,000 opt-ins.

Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video 2

Igloo Software Boosted Email CTR 189%

The digital workplace provider Igloo Software wanted to broadcast its team culture and personality to the world without a global presence. They used Vidyard to create 200 videos in 90 days and sent them in email, which beyond improving their brand image, nearly doubled their email click-throughs.

Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video 3

Amnesty International Earned an 83% Click-Through Rate

The team at Amnesty International used video in email to engage donors and elicit an emotional reaction—something that’s difficult when donors are spread across the world. The team added personalized touches to the videos and 75% of donors watched the whole way through.

Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video 4

Getting Started

Ready to start embedding video in your marketing emails? Try Vidyard for free today, upload a video (or create a new one using the Vidyard Chrome extension), and get started.

The post Video Email Marketing: How to Boost Your Sends with Video appeared first on Vidyard.

Vidyard and Media One Creative Expand Partnership to Help Brands Boost Audience Engagement with Personalized Video Experiences

Expanded three-year partnership makes automated video personalization a core part of video production services for brands across B2C, B2B, and not-for-profit markets.

KITCHENER, Ontario – Sept 17, 2019 – Vidyard, the leading video platform for business, today announced an expanded partnership with leading video content agency, Media One Creative, to offer automated video personalization as an integrated part of their global video production services. Through the expanded partnership, clients of Media One Creative can now run fully integrated personalized video campaigns that are executed and supported by the Media One Creative team, powered by Vidyard’s innovative personalized video technology.

Personalized video is an innovative way to cut through the noise and drive deeper engagement with online prospects and customers. Proven to increase response rates and engagement time, brands are turning to personalized video to support digital marketing campaigns, customer communications, automated responders, account-based marketing, and even online website interactions. Brands have seen more than a 500% increase in audience engagement when sharing a personalized video experience compared to traditional campaigns and text-based communications.

“With so many marketing messages competing for attention, brands are having trouble standing out. Brands want to communicate in a personalized way with their customers and through this expanded partnership, we are enabling this to happen at scale,” says Derek Rider, CEO & Co-Founder of Media One Creative. “With personalized video, brands can deliver more compelling and memorable experiences that not only take advantage of video as a powerful medium, but also leverage individual personalization to make that content irresistible to watch.”

With Vidyard’s personalized video technology, Media One Creative delivers video marketing campaigns that can weave each individual viewer’s own name, company name, account details, or other unique information about them directly into the video itself. More than just a way to increase click-through rates, viewers stay engaged longer when the personalized aspects enhance the storyline. With years of experience in creating personalized videos for clients, Media One Creative is Vidyard’s preferred partner for personalized video production due to their experience with the technology and in developing concepts that take unique advantage of personalized elements.

“Personalized video is an exciting technology that has an immediate and measurable impact on modern marketing programs,” says Michael Litt, Co-Founder and CEO of Vidyard. “But the greatest value is realized when you have the right video content agency who knows how to use the technology in a creative way to enhance the story and optimize results, and that’s why we’ve partnered with Media One Creative. It’s all about delighting customers through thoughtful storytelling and creating memorable moments that turn viewers into customers, and customers into advocates.”

Vidyard and Media One Creative have been partners for more than five years, helping to create personalized video experiences for large enterprise clients including Hyundai, OMERS, Cogeco, Reckitt Benckiser (Airwick), Return Parth and the YMCA. New projects are underway with Personalized Video applications in Automotive, Retail, eCommerce, Financial Services, Insurance, Sports and Entertainment

Through the expanded partnership, Media One Creative offers integrated personalized video services for one-to-many marketing campaigns, automated workflows, and real-time video personalization on websites and landing pages.

“Media One Creative’s mission is to deliver what we like to call, ‘Content Worth Creating’ and continuing to provide Personalized Video with our partner, Vidyard, helps us achieve this goal,” said Rider, “We’ve been working together for over 5 years – this renewed commitment will serve both of our customers well into 2022 and beyond.”

Specializing in strategic content creation, Media One Creative relies on its deep roots within media, journalism, broadcast, branded content and digital, to help clients tell their stories through brand films and engaging content that leverage the latest innovations in video technology.

More Information:
Personalized Video from Vidyard: https://www.vidyard.com/marketing/personalized-video/
Media One Creative: https://mediaonecreative.ca/personalized-video/

About Vidyard
Vidyard is the video platform for business that helps organizations drive more revenue through the use of online video. Going beyond video hosting and management, Vidyard helps businesses drive greater engagement in their video content, track the viewing activities of each individual viewer, and turn those views into action. Global leaders such as Honeywell, LinkedIn, Citibank and Sharp rely on Vidyard to power their video content strategies and turn viewers into customers.

About Media One Creative
Media One Creative is an award-winning creative content company specializing in video and film production for the world’s largest brands. Leveraging the centers of excellence we have built in Canada, USA and Europe, Media One Group is able to deliver earned, paid and owned content, globally.

Across our group of companies we over 900 journalists and producers and over 300 production and post-production professionals. We have completed over 3,000 content projects around the world.

The group’s client list includes: ASUS, Bank of Montreal, Bell, Budweiser, CFL, CGI, Choice Hotels, Cogeco, Corus Entertainment, Danone, Deltek, Disney, EY, Ford, Hershey’s, HTC, Huggies, Hyundai, Jaguar, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, Mark’s, Marvel, McDonalds, Mazda, Microsoft, Netflix, Nintendo, Nike, Paramount Pictures, Pepsi, Pfizer, Reckitt Benckiser, Salesforce, SAP, Scotiabank, Staples, Subaru, Sunlight, Tim Hortons, Uber, Xerox and YMCA, among others.

Media Contacts:
Sandy Pell, Head of Corporate Communications, Vidyard
press@vidyard.com

Derek Rider, CEO & Co-Founder, Media One Creative
derek@mediaonecreative.ca

Video:
Case Study – Personalized Video with Hyundai Canada and Media One Creative

Vidyard and Media One Creative Expand Partnership to Help Brands Boost Audience Engagement with Personalized Video Experiences 6

The post Vidyard and Media One Creative Expand Partnership to Help Brands Boost Audience Engagement with Personalized Video Experiences appeared first on Vidyard.

How Long Should Videos Be? The Ultimate Guide to Video Length

Most marketing videos should be two minutes or less. Generally. But the length for any particular video depends entirely on the use case, channel, industry, and where it fits in the marketing and sales funnel. The earlier the stage, the shorter. The later, the longer. Below are recommendations for nearly every conceivable scenario.

Some video stats:

infographic displaying average video length in 2018—copy reads: "4.07 minutes was the average length of videos published in 2018."

How Long Should Social Media Videos Be?

No two social media sites are the same, so no two video lengths are the same. A YouTube viewer, for instance, may happily watch for four minutes whereas an Instagram user probably won’t give it more than 15 seconds. On top of all that, social algorithms are always being updated, so what’s true today may change. Below are tips for each channel.

Instagram Video Length

Make your Instagram videos around 30 seconds long. Although the platform gives you up to 60 seconds, the midway point is the sweet spot for Instagram’s busy, multi-tasking, often traveling audience. When it comes to video ads and Instagram Stories ads, try to cover your key message in the first 15 seconds.

For IGTV (short for Instagram TV) videos can be 10 minutes long. Larger brands can petition to have their video limit increased to one hour.

For Instagram Live Videos, hit record and just keep filming. The longer you roll, the larger the audience you’ll have the opportunity to attract. The maximum length is 60 minutes, but you can start another live broadcast immediately after, if desired. Shoot for at least 10 minutes, but longer is often better when ti comes to this format.

Facebook Video Length

Successful in-feed Facebook videos tend to be 24 to 90 seconds long. Facebook videos are permitted to roll for an epic four hours, but just because you can upload Gone with the Wind doesn’t mean you should. It probably far exceeds the Facebook user’s attention span, and that’s a lot of video to produce.

On the other end of the spectrum are Facebook Stories—those user-generated videos that expire after 24 hours—which can’t exceed 20 seconds. For Facebook ads, put the juiciest information in the first five to 10 seconds, though these can also be four hours long.

Facebook Live is a great way to connect with customers in real time. You can broadcast for up to four hours and, as with Instagram Live, the longer your live video runs, the greater your chances that people will discover it. Just make sure not to go below 10 minutes, which is about how much time it takes for people to be notified and tune in.

Pro Tip: To make your brand’s Facebook page more engaging, replace the cover photo (the large picture at the top of your profile) with a 20 to 90-second video, or swap your profile picture with a seven-second profile video or animated GIF.

LinkedIn Video Length

We recommend that LinkedIn videos run between 30 seconds and five minutes, with a maximum of 10 minutes. LinkedIn’s viewers aren’t your standard social media surfers: They’re professionals at work with more time to digest. Nearly three quarters of business executives, almost all who are on LinkedIn, say they watch online videos every week.

If you’re running LinkedIn video ads, however, make them shorter: 15 seconds is ideal, with a maximum of 30 seconds.

YouTube Video Length

Make B2B videos on YouTube two minutes or less. Though YouTube videos can run for up to 12 hours, demand for that type of content probably isn’t there for most branded content.

As for video ads, our advice is to stick to 15 to 20 seconds if you’re using pre-roll ads, or six seconds for what are known as bumper ads, which are intended for brand awareness.

Twitter Video Length

Video tweets and Twitter video ads should both be 20 to 45 seconds long. Though they can be as long as two minutes and 20 seconds. It should come as no surprise that on the platform built for brevity, people don’t linger long.

Pinterest Video Length

Pinterest videos should be 15 to 30 seconds, unless they’re an explainer or demo, in which case, longer is fine. Pinterest bills itself as “the discovery platform” and people go there for how-to answers similar to how they use YouTube. While demos on the platform can be up to 30 minutes long, yours shouldn’t be. Offer a short and sweet answer with a beautiful, pinnable thumbnail.

Snapchat Video Length

True to its name, Snapchat videos are over in a snap: 10 seconds, that’s it. Don’t try to compress your entire message into that tiny blip. Rather, give your audience an intriguing taste of what you do and leave them with a link, hashtag, or URL to learn more.

How Long Should Video Be on Digital Channels?

Once again, there is no one video length best practice. It depends on the channel, how users behave there, what they expect, their vertical, use case, buying stage, the product, and the video format. A rule of thumb, though: If it’s cold outreach, keep it under one minute. Below are guidelines for each channel and format.

Website Video Length

The optimal length of a homepage video is similar to that of a TV commercial—30 to 60 seconds. You can go over, but only if the video is substantive. Website videos don’t necessarily need to offer complete answers, either. Homepage explainer videos that tease the value of your product but leave some questions unanswered are more likely to drive viewers to schedule a sales call.

Landing Pages Video Length

Make your landing page videos short: 30 to 60 seconds. Studies show that one fifth of landing page viewers bounce after 10 seconds. One-third bounce within 30 seconds. Videos can help hold their attention, and can do a lot to increase conversions; simply including them increases conversions 80%.

Pro Tip: Place your video above the fold so it’s one of the first things viewers see.

Email Marketing Video Length

There’s no optimal video length for emails but in most cases, we recommend keeping it to 45 seconds or under (unless you have a highly engaged audience). Make sure the subject line contains the word “video,” which can increase open rates 19%, and the email body contains a clickable thumbnail, which increases clicks 65%.

Sales Video Length

The earlier stage the outreach, the shorter the video, generally. Cold outreach videos should be 30 seconds or under, but mid and late-stage outreach usually involves answering questions and those videos can be several minutes long.

How Long Should Different Types of Video Be?

Make your top-of-funnel videos short and snappy—think a matter of seconds, not minutes. Window shoppers and unaware prospects typically won’t invest much time. The further you go down the funnel, however, the longer your videos can afford to be—think minutes. The optimal video length is whatever viewers are willing to consume.

Explainer Video Length

Make your explainer videos 60 to 90 seconds. These are generally top-of-funnel assets but, unlike ads, they imply some intent on the viewer’s part to learn about the product. If it takes over a minute to deliver on that answer, it’s not the end of the world.

How-to or Tutorial Video Length

Mid-funnel how to videos should be between two and 10 minutes. By this point, you have your audience’s interest and engagement, and the goal is to teach more than it is to entertain. Or, perhaps they’re customers, and the goal is to teach them how the service or product works, in which case, they’re probably fairly forgiving. But the more you can condense your message, say things concisely, and let viewers get on with their day, the more the videos will be appreciated and perhaps even shared.

Demo Video Length

Make your demos two to five minutes long. It’s better to produce several smaller demos, each on one aspect or feature of the product, than one big one. It’s a lower barrier to entry for your viewers, and you can always string them together in a playlist for those who want the whole thing.

Case Study Video Length

Case study video length can vary widely, but viewers are likely mid or late-stage prospects who are apt to consume five to 10 minutes of video. You can always cut up longer video case studies into bite-sized 60 to 90-second testimonials, which are useful on your website, in email, and on social channels.

Webinar Length

Make webinars 15 to 60 minutes long. Webinars are for deep-diving into topics and often feature multiple speakers, segments, and a Q&A. You can experiment with shorter ones, though: In the B2B marketing world, the webinine, or nine-minute webinar popularized by Jay Baer, is gaining traction.

One-to-One Sales Video Length

Sales outreach, especially to cold prospects, should be short: 30 to 60 seconds. Any longer and you’re liable to spoil their appetite for talking more. Mid- and late-stage sales outreach to reconnect with prospects who have gone cold or who have paused their evaluation, should be about the same. But if you’re answering a prospect’s question, the video can be longer. They requested it, after all.

Promo Video Length

Make your promo videos the same as traditional TV advertisements: 30 to 60 seconds. It’s a tried and true format and, if it’s good enough for the big advertisers, it’s good enough for most businesses.

Culture Video Length

Make your company culture videos two to four minutes long (think fun holiday video_, or if you’re trying to attract candidates with a recruiting-style culture video, go shorter: One to two minutes.

Interview Video Length

If your CEO interviews a special guest for a fireside chat, it’s probably okay that it runs longer that most—say, six to 10 minutes. That gives them enough time to go back and forth a few times, and for the conversation to explore multiple stories and perspectives.

Thought Leadership Video Length

Thought leadership video length depends heavily on the use case, format, and content. If you’ve got a well-rehearsed, revelatory message, 10 to 15 minutes is appropriate. (That’s about the length of a TED Talk.) If you’ve only got a short, informal update recorded on your smartphone at a conference and bound for Twitter or LinkedIn, 45 seconds to two minutes is probably all you need.

Video Length Best Practices

The best practice for video length is to test and find what works for your audience. If the video will be viewed by someone who doesn’t know you, and who hasn’t signed up to view it, assume it should be less than two minutes. If they’ve requested the video, it can probably be longer.

Shorter is (Almost) Always Better

Two-thirds (68%) of viewers watch business-related videos all the way to the end if they’re less than 60 seconds, but only 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes long. Use analytics to find out where people drop off, then edit accordingly or, at the very least, apply the lessons to future content.

Different Objectives Call for Different Lengths

Video length is dependent on the video’s ultimate goal and the target viewer’s funnel stage, and therefore a viewer’s level of investment and commitment to you. Remember too that view counts don’t necessarily equal success. Judge video success by richer metrics like signups, conversions, pipeline, and revenue.

Track Your Efforts

Use video analytics so you know what’s working and what isn’t, what changes to make to increase conversions, and your return on investment (ROI). In 2018, 85% of businesses reported using some form of video analytics, up 19% over 2017, and those using analytics tended to be more successful.

Capture Attention Quickly

If the majority of your viewers only make it halfway through your video, but the most important message is three-quarters of the way in, then they’re missing the point entirely. Get to your message quickly—ideally within the first quarter of the video.

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Fantastic Video Podcasts and How to Record Them

It seems like everyone and their dog has a podcast these days. As of this writing, there are over 700,000 active podcasts with more than 29 million episodes! The average podcast listener tunes in to an average of 6.5 hours each week.

Business is the second most popular category, which means podcasts are a great opportunity to engage with new audiences as a brand. But with so much content available, it’s important to consider how you can promote your awesome new podcast to stand out from the crowd.

The golden ticket to viral popularity is still social media, where video is the preferred format. Podcast teams are just starting to realize how they can leverage video to reach new audiences. Luckily the two formats go hand in hand, and it’s easier than ever to record podcast episodes with video.

Vidyard runs three video podcasts and we’ve tested the waters of this uncharted territory through trial and error. So if you’re unsure of how to get your podcast going with video, read on as I unpack our learnings from the last few months, and help you choose the right video podcast format for your business!

3 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Video Podcast

Think a video podcast might be right for you? Before you start, ask yourself the following questions.

1. What is the podcast about?

The first thing to do is identify your niche and stick to it. If you veer off-topic, your audience might get confused or feel left out. It would be pretty confusing if the next episode of “My Favorite Murder” was a review of their favorite pizza place (unless a murder had happened there). An audience will only stay with you if they can rely on consistent content from week to week.

2. Who will host the podcast? 

I’m sure you and your friends or co-workers are hilarious, but you also have to have something to offer. For example, on first listen, the 2 Dope Queens podcast sounds like two friends chatting about current issues with cool interviewees, but Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are actually highly experienced comedians with backgrounds in feminist theory. Make sure your hosts match well with your chosen topic if you want your podcast to last!

3. How will you format each episode?

From rom-coms to pop songs to talk shows, every piece of content follows a format in order to present unique information within a familiar structure. No matter what your podcast is about, content is more digestible to an audience if they know what to expect. Choosing the right format will depend on your hosts, topics, resources, and goals.

Video Podcast Formats to Choose From

Now that you’ve figured out your podcast’s direction, it’s time to choose a format that will work well for video and audio both. There are a few popular options to pick from.

The In-Studio Video Podcast

This format features one or more hosts who talk conversationally in the same studio set up each episode. You record the entire episode on video and isolate the audio in post-production for distribution on podcast platforms. This format requires very little editing. Simply upload the footage into your editing program of choice to mix the audio, music, and add in a pre-recorded intro and outro animations. The success of the in-studio format largely depends on the strength of the hosts. They should ideally be equal parts personable and knowledgeable about the subject matter.

In our Video Island Podcast, hosts Blake Smith and Mat King are video production experts, who also happen to be good pals. They field questions about production every day in their roles, so this podcast is their attempt to share that knowledge with the world. They know their stuff, but maybe more importantly, they have a natural ease in their communication. They don’t use a lot of jargon, but manage to keep things moving without dumbing it down. Other examples of the in-studio format are The Joe Rogan Experience and The Morning Toast. This format can include guest interviews, but they all take place in the same studio space.

Pros: This format is quick and dirty. There’s not a lot of finesse required for this one-take conversational podcast so you can produce these quickly and even record multiple episodes at once to build yourself a reserve. 

Cons: Only choose this format if you have a lot to say about a specific topic. If you don’t, you risk running out of things to talk about by episode 3. If you think you can carry a podcast talking about what you ate for lunch that day, you’re wrong. Not even Jeff Goldblum could do that. (Okay, maybe he could. But no one else!)

Hot TipKeep an ongoing list of topics as they come up and make sure to ask your listeners what they want to hear. This format is extremely personal—take advantage of it! 

Fantastic Video Podcasts and How to Record Them 7

The Remote Interview Video Podcast 

There’s a reason why interview podcasts are so popular. Speaking with a new guest every week offers variety and allows your podcast to cover areas outside of your host’s expertise. 

But, depending on where you’re located, it can be hard to schedule and bring in guests to record in the studio. The remote interview format opens the door to a global network of guests and is cheaper and more efficient than booking your guests into Airbnbs. Neil deGrasse Tyson often uses the remote interview format to talk to scientists from across the globe on his video podcast, StarTalk.

This format puts a lot of responsibility on your guests to maintain the quality of your recordings, so be sure to work out technical difficulties in advance. This can range from sending detailed instructions for software that needs to be downloaded to mailing equipment (like a good quality microphone) to your guests in advance. 

Pros: Hosting guests remotely allows you to create a high volume of episodes with a great variety of content, without ever leaving your studio!

Cons: Only attempt this format if you have a vast existing network of potential guests. If you don’t, it’s going to be hard to book speakers, especially when you’re just starting out. 

Hot Tip: Try adding a border or colorful frame to jazz up your split screen display and make it look more interesting and professional!

To learn more about how to set up for high-quality remote interviews, check out this informative episode of Unmissed Connections. Host Chris Carroll has his remote recording set-up down to a science! 

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Check out our blog post, The Secret to Filming an Awesome Remote Interview for more in-depth instructions.

 

The Mixed Footage Video Podcast 

This format combines host-delivered knowledge with featured guests to create a narrative around a central theme. It requires more planning and post-production than the previous formats, because it mixes together remote interviews, on-location footage, and B-roll in order to weave together a cohesive story. Just be sure that the cut-aways are not exclusively visual.

When planning our own podcast, Creating Connections, we usually start with an interview and then build out a full story arc around it. For example, in this episode, within our special sub-category “Video in Focus”, guest Fergus Dyer-Smith talks about the strength of storytelling in 1980s ads. We took this opportunity to add in B-roll footage of the ads he mentions, as well as asides where our host Tyler Lessard delves deeper into the concept of creative storytelling and delivers a dramatic impersonation of Marty McFly à la Back to the Future.

Due to the creative nature of the format, there is more than one way to produce mixed footage video podcasts. You might start with a big idea or theme and seek out guests to speak to that topic (that’s what investigative podcasts like Serial do). Or you might do it the other way around, choosing interesting guests and adding supplementary information afterwards to round out the story. 

Pros: Using narrative storytelling, as opposed to conversation or interviews alone, can make dense or complicated subject matter more digestible, allowing you to cover more ground in a creative way. 

Cons: This format requires more pre- and post-production than the other formats since you’re essentially making a short film. Don’t attempt this podcast if you don’t have the time or resources for lengthy research and editing.

Hot tip: We upload the video versions of our podcasts to Vidyard before pushing to YouTube so we still get Vidyard’s extensive metrics and customizable features.

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Going Forward

Whether you choose the in-studio format with your hosts in the limelight, a wide-reaching guest-focused show using remote interviews, or your very own mix for optimal storytelling—once you’ve found the right podcast format, stick to it!  Grow your listener base by providing consistent, quality content that your audience can rely on. 

 

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