No, don't just put a cat in your video, either. It might've gotten you to click though to here, but it isn't enough for a video these days.
This is inspired, in part, by a primer marketing blog post Intuit, er, posted recently. First off, here's a great mentality to have as you read the rest of it (from that aforementioned post):
Putting up a single video and waiting for the revenue to start rolling in isn’t a content strategy. After all, you wouldn’t send just one email, put up just one blog post, or have a TV commercial air just once and expect to really connect with your target customers.
To get the best results, come up with a series of short videos that you can release over the span of a quarter. It may sound daunting, but if planned correctly, you can shoot and edit 12 videos over a couple of weekends and then have enough content to release a weekly video for three months.
Which is, I think, pretty dang true. People tend to think they need to write one "great" song to become a rockstar. Or they need to hone their perfect five minutes as a stand-up to get onto SNL. But does anybody really think David sunk Goliath with his first-ever slingshot? Or that when we go to the movies we see the first draft the screenwriter churned out at their local Starbucks?
No. Of course not.
And yet, with video, I feel like people are treating it much the way social media used to be treated when it was still relatively new: As if the point of having it is just to say you have it. But just like having a Twitter account that's still got an egg for its icon doesn't have much influence, neither does a single video posted somewhere. It needs to be part of, as Intuit says, a content strategy. Much as I loathe the word "content," the point still stands.
You should, seriously, take about 10 to 15 minutes, sit down, and just think about what it is that's successful in the videos you envy. How can you do something similar or in reaction to it? I'm not saying copy it, but it helps to know what you're shooting for and what you're measuring yourself against. You don't want to make the "Scary Movie" of videos -- you want to shoot for something that will inspire knockoffs, something that people can't help but quote and with a jingle so catchy people can't help but keep singing it to themselves.
How do you do that? By knowing for sure what you're going for and that you have the right people there to facilitate it.
You do that by being honest with yourself and communicating those goals to your team. Not by shoving a video on YouTube and "hoping" it'll take off.
You can also do that by reading the rest of the Intuit post and, really, sitting down and making that list I mentioned. Just writing it out and being able to see those attributes will help you. Really!
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.