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More than Just Viral: 3 Ways to Create Engagement with Videos

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By 2019, videos will make up almost 80% of the content viewed on the internet. With all of that clutter out there, videos can’t just go viral, they must also need to make a larger impact if they’re to draw more of an audience and increase engagement from the audience.Viral videos have their moment in the spotlight but don’t often last much longer than that. A viral video is one that receives over 5 million views in a short period of time – less than a week. It might become part of the cultural zeitgeist for a short time before it’s forgotten. Your prank video might be one that you want to go viral, but is it truly what you want for your recruitment marketing content?

Going beyond viral videos to make an impact

This month I spent a weekend in Austin Texas for the Public Relations Student Society of America’s National Conference. During the conference, I attended a session from Tod Plotkin, Creative Director for Green Buzz Agency.

While Plotkin may not focus on employer branding or recruitment marketing, his experience in video is helpful across all industries using video creation as part of their marketing strategies. The three-time Emmy winner has overseen content such as the Love Has No Labels campaign.

There are a variety of ways to interact with consumers or (for our purposes) future employees. Whether that’s longer form documentaries, tutorials, live videos on social media, or short narratives, the most successful videos are those that keep the audience engaged in an authentic way.

Here are Tod’s tips for videos that go beyond having a quick viral moment and instead make a lasting memory and impact on the viewer.

1. Surprise the viewers.

In only five seconds, the viewer will decide whether they are really going to watch this video. That means those first five seconds better grab attention and keep it! There is no science to deciding what will catch the audience’s attention, but Plotkin suggests using a powerful sound bite, interesting background footage known as B-roll, or motion graphics. Throughout the video, creating contrast with different angles, affects and transitions can help keep the viewers brain engaged.

2. Make sure there is a payoff.

Have you ever seen the famous exploding watermelon video? Basically, people put rubber bands around a watermelon until it final burst. The videos were very monotonous, but people kept watching to see when it would finally burst. Some videos are only a couple minutes, but others are significantly longer and still have hundreds of thousands of views.

So, what can we take away from this? As long as there is a payoff to the story, people will keep watching. Each social platforms have different recommendations for how long videos should be, but the best length for a video is as long as the viewer stays engaged.

3. Set the mood with different colors.

When it comes to video editing, color is broken up into two hues that can be manipulated, orange or blue. By changing these colors, it can change the perception of the video or picture. Take a look at the examples from George Washington University and John’s Hopkins. George Washington University uses a red/orange hue, which presents a warm, welcoming atmosphere. On the other hand, John’s Hopkins shows a slightly more blue hue, which makes it look more futuristic and innovative.

What I learned? There isn’t a scientific formula, equation, or rulebook to making great content. The first step is approaching it from a viewer’s eye and creating your content by keeping them in mind – how they’re watching and engaging with your videos.

The engagement is in the details

Think about how often you watch a mobile video with the sound on. For me and 85% of other viewers, I watch Facebook videos without sound. It is the small things to think about, but those small things can help video content reach and engage more people. Set the mood, focus on the details, tell stories, and surprise your viewers every once and a while, and you’ll find your videos will create more of an impact than a viral video ever could.