Becoming a Video Auteur

By Staff Published on .

The world of online video is crowded, and it can be extremely difficult to get exposure for your work. Believe it or not, creating and uploading a video is–in many ways–the easy part. Making sure your video gets seen can be much tougher. And getting paid for your work? Do-able, but it requires some research and effort. Following are my top five tips for realizing online video success.

Know Your Market

Who are you trying to appeal to? The easiest way to determine this is to look at what the most viewed or most popular videos are on the site to which you’re uploading. That will give you a pretty good idea of who your target audience is and what kind of content they like. There’s really a wide range of tastes out there, and you might be surprised at the diversity of genres that have quite a large audience.

Create a Great Video

This includes a good story, audio, lighting and editing. On the Web, less really is more–you only have a few seconds to capture the audience’s attention, so engage them right away and get to the point quickly.

Production value is also important. Not everyone is a professional videographer, of course, but do the best you can. Research different video techniques. Try to learn as much as you can about video production.

Solicit feedback from your friends and family–it’s always useful to see your work through the eyes of a first-time viewer (especially after you’ve been engrossed in a project for a while). And practice–you really will see marked improvement in pretty short order.

Make a Good First Impression

When viewers are surfing a video site, they make decisions about what to watch based on a video’s description and thumbnail image. Both of these can make or break the success of your video.

In order for people to click on it, there has to be something that draws their attention–and you’ll only be successful if that first impression is an accurate representation of what they’re going to get once they start watching. A description that quickly tells the general story in the least amount of words is best. Think of it as a headline to your video.

If you have the opportunity to select a thumbnail for your video, choose one that best represents the video and would attract a potential viewer.

Be Accessible

If you have your own Web site, include the address in your videos or their descriptions. Lots of video sites have embeddable players that can drive cross-promotional traffic from your site to theirs–and vice versa. Take advantage of this. Also, provide an e-mail address on your site or in your videos–making it easy for the people who like your work to get in touch with you helps put a human face on it.

This, in turn, can help drive viral distribution of your video because people have a connection to the creator. As you establish connections with people, start building an e-mail distribution list that you can contact when you have new work to share. Some sites will do this heavy-lifting for you through their “User Channels” functionality. This is a great way to collect and showcase all your work in one place. And you can even have people subscribe to your channel–with subscribers automatically getting e-mail updates when you upload a new video.

If the site you submit to allows people to comment on your videos, be an active participant–answer questions directly, and don’t take criticism too personally. And be sure to comment on the videos you like–the world of online video really is about community, so be a good online neighbor.

Put the Internet to Work

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Web sites and blogs dedicated to virtually every subject–and sub-subject–you can think of. Become familiar with those that focus on topics for which your videos are well-suited. Many of the people behind these sites and blogs are always on the lookout for content that will prove interesting to their readers.

When you have a video that fits the bill, let them know about it! Just send a note or use the “Tip the Editor” function. If the site you submit to accepts embedded views, these sites can help generate views without any effort on your part. This is putting the power of the Internet to work for you!

Kipkay is a videographer with 25 years of video production experience. In his spare time, he makes videos that reflect his personal interests in technology, gadgets and DIY solutions to everyday problems. Since November 2006, he’s made more than $50,000 from Metacafe’s Producer RewardsTM program. His work can be seen at

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