According to Forbes, the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video than without. But, this should really come as no surprise — these days, there’s a video hanging out on just about every corner of the internet. Naturally, businesses big and small have jumped on this trend and are using video to share unique brand stories and build engaged audiences.
However, when it comes to optimizing for search and prioritizing accessibility, many businesses still have a long way to go. This is a huge missed opportunity for companies who aren’t already creating video content. Instead of focusing primarily on the production of the content itself, businesses should start thinking about what happens after the video is actually made. How will people find your content? And when they do, are you ensuring that everyone who wants to consume it can? That’s where captions and transcripts step in to save the day.
If you aren’t familiar with either of these terms, here’s how 3PlayMedia, a premium captioning and transcription company, defines them:
- Captioning is a process that involves dividing transcript text into chunks, known as “caption frames,” and time-coding each frame to synchronize with the video’s audio. The output of captioning are called captions, which are typically located at the bottom of a video screen. Captions allow viewers to follow along with the audio and video or captions interchangeably.
- Transcription is the process in which speech or audio is converted into a written, plain text document (a transcript) with no time information attached. There are two main transcription practices: verbatim and clean read. Verbatim transcribes the audio word-for-word, including all utterances and sound effects, which is great for scripted speech like a TV show, movie, or skit. Clean read transcription edits the text to read more fluidly, perfect for unscripted content like interviews or recorded speaking events.
With these definitions top of mind, the next question on the table is how exactly can captions and transcripts benefit your business? In this post, we’ll cover all the reasons why captions and transcripts are not only great for SEO, but even more importantly, how they ensure your videos are accessible for all!
For content marketers far and wide, getting your text-only blog posts or pages crawled by Google was a breeze back in the day. If you aren’t familiar with search engine lingo, Google describes crawling as the process by which Googlebot (Google’s web crawling bot, or “spider”) discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. But, once videos hit the web, Google changed what they looked for in order to crawl this type of content. To get indexed, people reassessed how to give Google a good read of their video.
Just like blog posts, optimizing your video file’s metadata (the titles and descriptions associated with your content) helps Google pull information to display in search results. However, the amount of metadata you’re able to provide is usually limited. Luckily, an easy way to make your content more “visible” and readable for search engines is to provide captions or transcriptions for your video.
“Luckily, an easy way to make your content more visible and readable for search engines is to provide captions or transcriptions for your video.”
In Google’s “Video Best Practices” guide, Google says it can extract information from the page hosting the video, including the page text and meta tags, but only some meaning from the audio and video of a file. So, it turns out this mighty search engine can’t see or hear everything, huh. And since that’s the case, transcribing your video and placing its transcript on the video’s page allows for better indexing all around.
By ensuring your videos all have captions and transcripts, you can potentially rank for multiple relevant keywords and increase search traffic with more than mere metadata. But as we’ve said before, the most important thing is to make sure your video is actually valuable to your audience. Otherwise, these optimization tips won’t help you if your content isn’t engaging in and of itself.
As Wyzowl reports in their 2018 State of Video Marketing Survey, 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their websites, which refers to how long a user spends on your site. With stats like this supporting video as a promising medium for marketers, isn’t it worthwhile to help viewers get the most out of your content? If you’re dwelling on a solution for keeping people engaged, captions could do the trick. And in turn, you just might see your viewers sticking around your site for longer periods of time (why hello, SEO).
While your content may be chock-full of outstanding value, it’s always possible people might zone out or miss something you believe is super important. Captions help people follow along and remember your content long after they’ve finished watching your video. And, if your viewer is on a mobile device, captions can help accommodate their viewing experience — especially if they can’t play audio out loud (we’re looking at you, public transit riders). PLYMedia even measured a 40% increase in viewing for captioned videos and found that people were 80% more likely to watch the entire video to completion when given the option to choose closed captions — those numbers are nothing to scoff at!
“While your content may be chock-full of outstanding value, it’s always possible people might zone out or miss something you believe is super important.”
If classic captions sound pretty sweet, then you might be interested in learning a bit more about a neat new Wistia feature called Interactive Captions. This feature provides Wistia users with a new and improved caption experience. With Interactive Captions, viewers now have the power to interact with your content as they wish. Let them scroll through, search, and select which parts of your video they want to jump to. Not only is this a step toward a more inclusive video experience, but it can also make a big impact on engagement.
Captions can make your video worthwhile to watch in less audio accessible environments and across a wider audience. And if more people are interested and engaged, we’re confident your dwell times will start rising, too.
Before you start brainstorming brand new ideas for content to fill out that calendar of yours, take a look at what’s right under your nose. It might not be immediately apparent, but transcripts of your video content can be the perfect starting place for creating derivative works to sprinkle around and grow your SEO.
Take an explainer video, for example. Wyzowl reported in their video marketing survey that 95% of the 570 people surveyed in their report have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service. A transcript for this type of video could be rich with statistics, key quotes, tips, and takeaways. If people love the things they’re learning from explainer videos, why not reformat the most memorable information? Extract valuable points from your transcript for use in shareable social graphics, link-building, or publishing topical blog posts.
Check out this product explainer video from Euromonitor International, an independent provider of global market research.
Euromonitor could easily expand upon some of the key benefits mentioned in this video in a series of in-depth, topical blog posts. Here are some topics they could cover:
- How to use Passport to analyze any industry, in any country
- Understanding the link between economic indicators and demographics
- Exploring the relationship between expenditure analysis and other economic indicators
- Recent trends in the trade, industrial makeup, and consumer lifestyles industries
If you’ve produced several related videos or episodic content, you could draw from their transcripts to compose an ebook, for example. Identifying numerical data for an infographic is also made easy with a transcription. We could go on and on connecting the dots, but by now, you get the picture!
Transcripts can lend to an explosion of supporting pieces that you can share across the web. When your audience starts seeing you offer value in different forms, you can thank transcripts for being your secret weapon.
With great power comes great responsibility, and the same is true for your business and its video marketing strategy. When over 5% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss, your business has a responsibility to make your online videos more accessible. It wouldn’t be right for those individuals to miss out on your content because they didn’t have an equal opportunity to consume it. In some instances, you’re even required to meet some accessibility standards in order to comply with the law — check out this post to learn more about various media rules and regulations.
At the end of the day, captions and transcripts play an important role in providing greater accessibility and better user experiences. ZVRS, a technology company offering video communication solutions for deaf and hard of hearing people, taught us about consuming video from a deaf person’s perspective. From this conversation, we learned once you caption one of your videos, it’s crucial to remain consistent if you want to meet your audience’s expectations.
With Wistia, you can upload your own captions, order computer-generated captions, or order 99% accurate captions through our platform (carefully transcribed by a real human).
Creating accurate captions is another factor affecting accessibility. Non-synchronized captions (captions that don’t align with audio delivery) are one of the most frustrating aspects of video to a deaf or hard of hearing audience. Does your business need to release a video in a hurry? Hey, it happens! Just make a transcript available and caption the video later.
Mindfulness for accessibility and accounting for positive user experiences helps your video hit a wider audience. If you do your best to check off all the boxes, you just might see your return visits rise as well as the number of people willing to share your content. You can bet that search engines will take note of your site activity and the SEO benefits will surely follow.
“Mindfulness for accessibility and accounting for positive user experiences helps your video hit a wider audience.”
Whether you’re thinking of making your first video or you already have a library full of content, we hope the benefits of providing captions and transcripts are now crystal clear. Without either, your video might not effectively get indexed by Google. You’ll risk losing viewers in environments where audio isn’t accessible, and you could miss out on a bunch of derivative content.
And all things SEO aside, accommodating for anyone in your audience who needs captions or transcripts to consume your video is simply the right thing to do, don’t you agree? Now you know what to do — start incorporating captions and transcripts into your video strategy!
How to Delete Your YouTube Channel
Over the years YouTube has become a massive video platform, and due to some recent changes, a pretty confusing one at that. For first-time creators and brands who want to grow a following, it can be hard to tell what rules apply to you, what “counts” as a video view, how to measure your success, and more. And while the Google-owned platform isn’t going anywhere any time soon, when it comes to building an audience with video, it’s no longer the only option for your business.
Now that businesses can more easily attract viewers with content hosted right on their own sites by embedding Wistia Channels or working with other tools, it might make sense to let that YouTube Channel of yours sail off into the sunset. If you’re considering removing your channel from the old ’Tube, read on to learn why that might be a smart move, how to actually get rid of it for good, and what to do once you’ve moved on.
YouTube is great for some folks and well … not so great for others. If you’re not sure why a business would want to delete their account, here are some reasons to ponder:
- Ads: While the opportunity for monetizing makes YouTube’s ad business model enticing for new creators, the fact is, unless you’re getting tens or hundreds of thousands of views on your content, chances are you won’t really benefit from ads. And unfortunately, for small channels, ads ultimately serve as a distraction that can draw people away from your content
- Autoplaying videos: YouTube’s algorithmically driven “Recommended” feature is designed to help viewers find content they may be interested in, but it also keeps viewers on YouTube longer. Chances are, the video that plays after yours won’t come from your channel, even if the viewer purposefully navigated to your channel to watch your content. Instead, viewers are likely to click into other channels, forgetting why they went to YouTube in the first place. Bummer.
- YouTube-centric design: From white backgrounds and red buttons to videos organized by most popular and date added, YouTube channels are not very customizable. The main ways you can control your branding on YouTube are with a banner on your channel page, a thumbnail profile image, and thumbnails on your videos. Which isn’t awful, but it could be better!
- Regular updates to the algorithm: Remember how we mentioned that YouTube can be confusing before? While changes to the algorithm can be a useful creative constraint, they can also be unpredictable and frustrating, especially if you’re relying on your videos reaching a particular set of people on a regular basis.
As YouTube evolves, it will continue to make decisions that help the company grow more than help their users succeed. If those decisions align with your own creative ambitions and marketing goals, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, it may be time to move on. If that time for you is now, then here’s a quick guide to deleting your YouTube account.
Phew, is it hot in here or is it just us? The first step here is to really make sure you’re ready to delete your channel (not just deactivate it). Wipe that sweat off your forehead and follow these steps to bid your channel farewell. You got this.
Note: Don’t choose “Account settings.”
This choice will permanently remove your video content and video data from YouTube. You won’t be able to retrieve it, so make sure you have saved the original files.
Always have a backup (or two) of all your video files saved on a hard drive or in another safe location. There’s no coming back from deleting your YouTube channel so quadruple-check that you’ve got back up.
5. Click “Delete my content.” You will be asked to enter the email address associated with your YouTube account to confirm.
That’s it! Your channel and all your videos are now deleted from YouTube. Keep in mind that the Google account you used to create the channel (business or personal) will still be active and recognized by YouTube.
If you’re looking for a new home for your videos and want more control over the entire viewing experience, Wistia Channels may be a great option for you. Don’t want to send viewers elsewhere every time you share a new video with the world? Luckily, Wistia Channels live right on your company’s own website and are easily customizable to match your brand. In case you aren’t super familiar with this Advanced Plan addition, here are some of the key features that’ll help you achieve your goals with Wistia Channels:
- No ads: This is an ad-free zone! We’re not taking any cuts here, so no ads will show up on your videos or to your Channel on your site.
- Designed for deep engagement: When viewers are almost done watching a video, our Up Next feature helps keep them watching more by showcasing the beginning of the next video on your Channel. Distracting ads and suggested content from other brands? Not a chance!
- Organized and customized: You can easily organize your content and tailor the layout on your Channel to suit your needs. Customize the design to match your brand by changing the color of the player, video thumbnails, header images, fonts, and more.
- Built-in lead capture: Add calls to action, annotation links, and email capture forms directly to your videos. Tell your viewers where you want them to go next and drive more action from your content!
If this sounds enticing to you, we’d love to show you how it works. You can get in touch with our team to learn more about Channels, pricing, or our other features whenever you’re ready.
For most businesses, simply uploading all of your content to a YouTube Channel and hoping for the best isn’t very strategic. After all, while YouTube is designed to encourage viewers to click around and watch as many videos as possible, that doesn’t mean they’re still watching your content. So, instead of trying to compete for attention on giant social networks, why not build an audience on a site that’s all your own? Start by deleting that old YouTube Channel of yours that’s been sitting around gathering dust and take more control over your content today.
The Social Media Video Checklist
Don’t think you have enough time to make a video for social media? Aren’t really sure where to begin? Pish posh! There’s no reason to let these hesitations stop you from making your social video dreams come true. And while there’s no secret formula for crafting the perfect video, there are some key steps you can follow to ensure your videos are not only well-thought out and impeccably executed, but also engaging and entertaining. So, without further adieu, here’s our comprehensive checklist for creating videos for social media.
Before jumping into the production of any video, it’s important to remember why you’re making the video in the first place and what you want it to accomplish. Do you want to increase engagement with your followers, share a glimpse into your company culture, or even promote another bigger piece of content? Ask yourself these types of questions before you shoot and you’ll have an easier time understanding what success looks like once it’s out in the world. Without a clear goal in mind from the start, it’ll be difficult to know which metrics matter most once its seen by all your followers.
This is a big one! Thinking outside the box is always encouraged, and especially by us (creativity is one of our company values, after all). But, it’s important to stay realistic here and make sure you’re not over-scoping your video. If your first idea is to shoot your video in a rainforest, maybe see if you can achieve a similar look by shooting in a park close to your office instead.
As for props, look around and see what you already have in your office before you buy anything new. It would be a real bummer to go out and buy a new top-hat only to realize you had one kicking around from a previous shoot. And speaking of using what you have, when it comes to building your set, you can usually work with a set up you already have in your office! Move things around, take a few test shots, and get creative. What may look “off” in one corner could look great in another.
This is also a good time to figure out if you’ll need any additional help from other folks on your team. Can you film this by yourself? Will there be scenes where you need some teammates to step in as extras? Before scripting, make sure you understand what resources you have available to you.
Even if you don’t have dialogue in your video, it’s important to have a concept and an idea of what each shot will look like. In the world of social video, nothing feels worse than getting to the editing stages and realizing you didn’t get the shots needed to get your point across. Take, for example, this educational video we made for social:
As you can see, there’s no dialogue or people present in this video, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t still need to write a script first to make sure we incorporated all the must-have information. We can’t say it enough — script, script, script!
Just because social media videos are typically short, doesn’t mean you should only book off an hour to get all the shots you need. It’s really easy to think, “Oh, a video for social media? That won’t take that long!” or “I’ll be able to get that shot later,” but if you don’t have a specific time set aside for filming, you run the risk of getting caught up in other things and not getting the shots you need. This is especially important if you’re working with other people — you always want to make sure you’re making the most of everyone’s time!
Shooting for the edit is a pretty simple concept — all it means is that you should keep in mind how you’re going to edit your footage in the near future while you shoot. Before pressing that sweet, sweet record button, make sure your actors have rehearsed their lines, the shot is in focus and well-lit, and double check that the camera is stabilized. Keeping these things in check will cut down on the amount of footage you need to sift through later on.
And as always, be sure to shoot some b-roll. You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually. So once you think you’ve got the shot, keep rolling for about 10 seconds. That’s usually when the good laughs and candid moments happen. Having those gems will help diversify your shots and make your editing process much easier!
“You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually.”
Social media is a superhighway of information. Viewers are constantly running into new content everywhere they turn. So, start with some action and eye-catching footage right away to capture your viewer’s attention. In this case, “action” doesn’t have to mean a car chase or something super outlandish. Take this post from Glossier for example:
In this video, Glossier is promoting its latest product, Bubblewrap, an under eye cream. It starts with the subject somewhat humorously drinking a cup of tea, which is a nice, subtle hook. It then quickly jumps into him using the product and explaining the benefits succinctly. The video only lasts about 20 seconds, but by the end of it, we know exactly how to use Bubblewrap and what it does. ~Chef’s kiss~ You only have your viewers attention for so long, so take a page from Glossier’s book and don’t waste any time!
This step mainly applies to Instagram, since the other platforms display auto-playing videos on their feeds. On Instagram, your video will live on your profile’s grid, so it’s important to make sure the video thumbnail is click-worthy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, but always be sure to stay away from blurry shots or drab colors when choosing your thumbnail.
Makings of a good thumbnail include, but are not limited to:
- Smiling faces
- Cute animals
- Bright colors
- Text overlays
- Crisp images
Here’s an example of one of our favorite, click-worthy thumbnails:
Our office dog Lenny sitting at a computer? Faris looking perplexed and surprised? Don’t know about you, but we’d definitely press play on this product update video.
Whether you leave a CTA in your company’s bio or actually write it into your script at the end of your video, you always want to tell your viewers where they should go next. Of course, some videos for social don’t require a call to action, so don’t add one in if it doesn’t make sense. Here’s an example of a video we shared of our team painting a mural in our office that didn’t require a call to action:
This video is an example of a brand touch video that often doesn’t require the viewer to take action afterward. When we wanted to promote our latest blog post, however, we gave viewers direction around where to go after watching if they wanted to get more intel:
Whatever the case may be, when crafting a CTA to support your social video, you want to make sure you are persuasive, but not too pushy. Adding something as simple as “Click the link in bio for more!” to your caption or including “Check out our new post!” at the end of your video can help get the job done. If a viewer loved your video and wants more, you should strive to make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step.
There you have it! From setting your goals and scripting your video, to adding captions and making snappy edits, you now know what it takes to make a successful video for social media. Keep this checklist with you and remember to take it one step at a time (and have fun with it!). So what you are you waiting for? Grab a camera or pick up your phone and get going!
How to Name Your Wistia Channel
With Wistia Channels, the name-picking power is in your hands. And believe it or not, the name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you get on that Channel. But how are you supposed to pick just one name that encompasses all of your videos, while still bringing all the views, clicks, and engagement you want? Don’t worry. We’ve got some tips that’ll simplify the process and make you believe in the power of name-picking in no time.
For businesses using video for marketing, a Wistia Channel turns your collection of videos into a destination where people can explore certain topics in depth and get to know your brand. Because this is a singular destination, it’s important to come up with a cohesive name that accurately describes the Channel. To do that, you need to think beyond your individual videos.
When you think about your Channel on a more holistic level, you should consider the following factors:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time. To dig a little deeper, let’s break down the three factors we mentioned above: branding, discoverability, and sharing. Shall we? We shall!
“Considering these factors as you set up your video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time.”
When you’re thinking about your Channel, remember that it should support your company’s brand but also have its own identity. Plus, the name you pick should align with your marketing strategy, whether that’s connecting with a particular audience, highlighting your product, or educating your viewers. To get just the right fit, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Regardless of your industry, it’s important to narrow in on a niche. Let’s take a look at the topic of real estate as an example. Real estate is far too broad of a term to use on its own for your Channel name. Instead, you’ll want to pick a more narrowly defined niche, like “The Smart Real Estate Investor” or “Architects Eating Lunch.” This will help you build an audience faster because you know it relates to the overarching subject, but there’s something specific your viewers can latch onto.
In addition to knowing your topics, you should have a good idea of who will be watching your videos. If you want to appeal to a certain type of viewer, then be sure to include terms they resonate with in the name! To keep up with the real estate theme, you could add words like agent, investor, or homeowner right in the name of your Channel.
Some people rely on the strength of their company names alone to build up a brand. But unless your company’s brand as a whole is the purpose behind your Channel, this can be both too general and too limiting for your business over time. Not only that, but you also run the risk of your brand changing. Brands evolve, and if there’s any chance that your company will pivot, or the focus of the Channel will change, we recommend trying to avoid using just your company name.
Something else to keep in mind is how your Channel shows up in search. Whether people are searching for your Channel by name, or for individual videos, you’ll want your Channel to appear in the results. If you align your name with commonly searched terms, then you’ll create more visibility for your content and have a better chance at boosting your rankings online.
For example, Brian Cox, aka The Travel Vlogger, has nearly 16K subscribers on YouTube, but the Channel itself ranks at the number two position on the Google results for “travel vlog.” His smart SEO strategy will help him continue to grow his channel organically, with little extra effort on his part.
This is a pretty straightforward strategy, but SEO (especially as it relates to video) can get complicated really quickly. With that in mind, here are a few SEO tips to remember when it comes to naming your business Channel.
Plug your potential Channel names into tools like Ahrefs or Keywords Everywhere to see what the keyword volumes are, as well as the competition score. That way, you can see exactly how many people are searching on Google for your terms and how hard it will be to land on page one of the results.
Do research to make sure that your name isn’t already in use on YouTube and beyond. Also, check for similar video Channels in your category. Less competition = more search traffic for your Channel.
When you create lots of high-quality content around a certain topic, Google’s algorithm will start to recognize your Channel as an authority on that topic. So, if you’re tying your Channel name to an SEO term (the wheel), make sure that the individual titles of videos are related terms (spokes). You can find related terms in your keywords tool. This will show Google that you’re continuing to contribute valuable and expert information through your videos.
SEO takes a bit of time to work (you have to prove your trustworthiness to Google). So, be patient if you aren’t instantly ranking where you’d like. Even a little bit of effort and research can go a long way in helping your results.
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