By Marcia Riefer Johnston published November 8, 2017

What to Do After You Press Record: A Formula for Videos People Love

formula-videos-people-lovePeople are flocking to Amy Schmittauer’s YouTube series, Savvy Sexy Social. As of this writing, she has 75,947 subscribers. Wait, 75,948 … 949.  Wouldn’t you love to know why?

Hint: It’s not because her brand name includes the word “sexy,” a word she chose because she advises marketers on how to bring out the sexy in whatever they sell.

Her popularity comes, at least in part, from her discovery of a formula for making videos that people love.

Amy Schmittauer Landino, a consultant in video content marketing and author of the book Vlog Like a Boss, spilled her secrets at Content Marketing World in her talk How to Create and Repurpose Video Content for More Attention. While I won’t reveal everything (how sexy would that be?), I will share her nine-part formula for what to do after you hit record.

The Formula

Amy asks, “Once you hit record, do you know what you’re doing from start to finish? Do you know what should be happening throughout your video?”

She knows. Here’s her answer in one tidy image:

amys-authority-video-formula

Here are the nine parts of Amy’s authority video formula (moving from left to right, from the video start to its finish):

  1. Put your main subject first.
  2. Give people the loyalty treatment.
  3. Engage people in the first eight seconds.
  4. Minimize your branding.
  5. Keep people’s eyes moving.
  6. Be generous with your content.
  7. Factor in time to close.
  8. Give an audible, clear call to action.
  9. Keep your video (at least for starters) two to five minutes.

When you master this formula, all that remains is to make your content compelling – the ultimate secret to great video. Amy explains, create video “that is going to trigger a human emotion and make someone go ‘I have to, have to, have to share this. I have to tag someone I know.’” Ask yourself, “Would I share this?’ Make sure the answer is not ‘of course’ but ‘yes!’ ”

Create #video that is going to trigger a human emotion & get shared, says @schmittastic. Click To Tweet

1. Put your main subject first

Whatever your video is about, get right to it. “Don’t waste any time getting to your subject. Whether it’s human, like a brand rep, or an item that you’re showing off, get that thing on camera immediately – especially if it’s a person. Faces are very relatable,” Amy says.

After you say hello – you don’t want to be rude – start on your topic. If your video is about how to bake a cake, talk about cake.

“Do not go into your elevator pitch. Don’t introduce yourself and tell what your website is, where you work, your fancy title, all those things. No one cares yet,” Amy says. You wouldn’t start a conversation like that in real life, so don’t do it in video.

Listen with your own ears as Amy says, “The main subject of that video should be the first thing you see … just dive right in.”

2. Give people the loyalty treatment

Treat people as if they’ve been loyal followers for years. Imagine you’re sitting down to coffee with an old friend. “That’s how somebody gets on the party train and stays on board,” Amy says.

In the video below, she reinforces this point, saying, “If you treat your audience like they are loyal, they quickly will become loyal.” In explaining why you shouldn’t introduce yourself in the beginning, she puts it this way:

Get into the reason that people decided to show up for your video, and I guarantee you, your conversions will change dramatically because you will be recruiting people who are brand advocates and addicted to your videos, not just people stumbling upon something in search.

Treat your audience as if they are loyal, and they quickly become loyal, says @schmittastic. Click To Tweet

3. Engage people in the first eight seconds

On average, Amy points out, people decide whether to keep watching a YouTube video in the first eight seconds, and in even less time on other channels. If you don’t engage them immediately, she says, “they’re probably bailing on you. You’ve lost audience retention. You’ve lost minutes watched. YouTube doesn’t like any of that, and they don’t send you more traffic.”

People decide to keep watching a @YouTube video in the first 8 seconds, says @schmittastic. Click To Tweet

Notice how she uses the first eight seconds of this video (as in all her videos) to lasso her listeners.

4. Minimize your branding

Keep your branding subtle. You may love the idea of floating your logo on a beach with pretty music for a 30-second intro as a way to make the video seem “more professional,” but that kind of self-indulgence won’t buy you the attention you’re looking for, Amy says.

Keep your branding subtle when creating #videos, says @schmittastic. Click To Tweet

Consider ways to weave in your logo:

  • Integrate it using a watermark.
  • Wear it.
  • Display it at the bottom of the screen.
  • Incorporate it into the content itself.

In this video, Amy’s guest, fellow YouTuber Roberto Blake, wears his Create Awesome slogan on his shirt as he talks about visual branding.

youtuber-roberto-blake

5. Keep people’s eyes moving

Everyone on the planet seems to have some sort of attention-deficit disorder, Amy says. “You have to keep the eyes moving. A talking head is okay if you can integrate some other visuals to keep things interesting.”

Suggestions:

  • Use text overlays.
  • Integrate video on top of what you’re saying so people can see what you’re talking about.
  • Zoom for comedic effect.
  • Use an editing technique called “jump cutting.”

Amy uses jump cutting regularly. “You typically don’t hear me take a breath in a video. I like to cut those out and make it a fast process. It jars the attention and keeps you coming back,” she says.

Here’s one of Amy’s videos that not only uses jump cutting but also explains how she does it.

amy-jump-cutting-youtube

6. Be generous with your content

Look back at Amy’s authority video formula diagram, and notice the middle section note “Gradient = Content Generosity.” That note refers to the blue bar (the video timeline), which is darkest at the left. Amy wants you to understand two things: Be generous with your content, and do so especially in the beginning of each video.

Harking back to her timing rule, she reminds us, “You have eight seconds so be generous. Get into that content.”

Generosity means willingness to give away your secrets. If you withhold information because you think it’s better for you to protect some of your information, remember people are going to find out somewhere. If you don’t give your secrets, somebody else will. “You are not their thought leader after that. You’re gone. You’re done. Who are you? I don’t even remember you,” Amy explains.

As an example of Amy’s own generosity, here’s a video in which she declares, “It is amazing how much you can grow over time,” as she shares 19 minutes of vlogging advice she wishes she’d had when she started.

 

7. Factor in time to close

Plan time for your video closing. You might find it helpful to search and see how long your competition’s videos are. Did they get it done in five minutes? You’ll want to be right there with them, Amy advises.

Let’s say your video needs to stay under five minutes. You may want to allow 30 seconds at the end to close. Factor that in.

Here’s one of Amy’s videos – How I Plan My Videos – which allocated 20 seconds for a closing.

8. Give an audible, clear call to action

What are you going to say at the end? What’s your call to action? Make it relevant to what’s going on. Make it audible and clear. You can’t just display the thing you want people to do.

“You’re their thought leader. You got them to this point. Tell them what to do next,” Amy says.

Don’t make too many calls to action, though. It doesn’t work to say, “Get the PDF, follow me, subscribe, comment below. Also, come grab a coffee; I’m downstairs. If you give people too many things to do, they do nothing. Be clear. Choose the thing or two.”

In the final 20 seconds of this video, for example, Amy makes two clear calls to action: Subscribe to her channel, and leave a comment.

9. Keep your video (at least for starters) two to five minutes

In general, Amy advises to keep videos between two and five minutes.

Keep #videos between two and five minutes, says @schmittastic. Click To Tweet

At the same time, she’s an advocate of long-form content. The main question is what kind of following you have. If you’ve built a following, longer videos may make sense. People are waiting to hear what you have to say; they value it.

But “if you only ever do 20-minute podcasts on your YouTube channel, and no one’s ever heard of you, it’s still zero minutes watched out of 20,” Amy says.

Here’s Amy talking about why she’s making longer videos now that her following is established.

Conclusion

In the few hours that I’ve been sketching out my draft of this post, Amy’s Savvy Sexy Social subscriber count has grown by more than three people per hour. Wouldn’t you love to have a subscriber base that grows at that kind of rate?

If so, consider creating a video series, and consider the nine things Amy recommends in her formula.

Is your team already doing some of these things? Got tips of your own to share? Please let me know in a comment.

Here’s an excerpt from Amy’s CMWorld talk

Grow your knowledge about taking a strategic approach to growing subscribers with your content and attend Intelligent Content Conference March 20-22 in Las Vegas.

Author: Marcia Riefer Johnston

Marcia Riefer Johnston is the author of Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them) and You Can Say That Again: 750 Redundant Phrases to Think Twice About. As a member of the CMI team, she serves as Managing Editor of Content Strategy. She has run a technical-writing business for … a long time. She taught technical writing in the Engineering School at Cornell University and studied literature and creative writing in the Syracuse University Masters program under Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter @MarciaRJohnston. For more, see Writing.Rocks.

Other posts by Marcia Riefer Johnston

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  • https://animaker.com Arvind Kesh

    Thanks a lot for introducing Amy to me! All it took was 30s of her video to make me click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button!

    This comes at the perfect time – I was planning to start a Vlog this week!! 😀

    • http://howtowriteeverything.com/ Marcia Riefer Johnston

      Arvind, You’re welcome for the intro to Amy. Best to you in your new vlogging adventure!

  • Adam Crombleholme

    Thank you for taking a granular approach, especially including the ideal timeframes. Extremely helpful

    • http://howtowriteeverything.com/ Marcia Riefer Johnston

      Adam, You’re welcome. I’m glad you found the granular approach helpful. Thanks for taking time to let us know.

  • warhammergrimace

    I originally come from a video/TV background, but I still learnt a lot from watching Amy’s videos. Her videos have a lot of great information especially for video designed for on-line social media channels such as YouTube. Would definitely recocomend people watch/subscribe to her channel.

  • Torsten

    Well, great article. Sums up so many must-haves. Loved the vids even more (watched them after reading), ’cause that explained a lot WHY some content never goes past national.