Today, many brands make video content part of their overall marketing plan. This is not surprising, because videos let one pass on not only verbal and visual information, but also employ extra-linguistic means of communication such as tone of voice, facial expression and gestures, which help make greater impact on the audience.

That’s why many brands these days create “About us” videos, product demos, video tutorial, etc. If you are doing this as well or are planning to start with video production, here are a few things to keep in mind to make your videos more “digestible” and effective.

Keep it short

Brevity is indeed the soul of wit. When creating a video, try to keep it as concise and up-to-the-point as possible. There have been studies that show how video length affects viewer retention. And even though some of them provided contradictory findings, most researchers seem to agree that videos up to 2 minutes long usually perform best.

By the way, another advantage of your videos being short is that such videos tend to rank higher in YouTube search. That is because YouTube now considers “time watched” a ranking signal, and uses it to estimate how popular your video is with the viewers.

Don’t overload

When I was in college, our professor of psychology played a trick on us. Some 15 minutes into her first lecture, she suddenly asked: “Does anyone remember my name?” Seeing blank stares on our faces, she explained that we didn’t remember her name, because people tend to look before they listen. Our professor did introduce herself when she walked it, but we were so busy looking at her that we didn’t pay attention to what she was saying.

So, in fact, people’s sensory channels tend to compete with one another. Why is this important to know? As Doctor Susan Weinschenk says in her video called 5 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, sight is our primary and most energy-consuming sensory channel. So, if what you are saying in your video is fairly complex, by no means should it be accompanied by any hard-to-read text or a complex diagram.

For instance, I really liked Google’s Search plus Your World vid in this respect. In this video, not a single word is uttered, yet it makes a clear point:

Say one thing at a time

Take a minute to think what the primary message of your video is, and make sure you’re not deviating from it in the course of your video.  Just as you wouldn’t tell a person two pieces of information at once (unless you’re trying to confuse them), stick to the principle of one difficulty – that is, your video should tackle only one subject matter at a time.

Well, the subject matter may be complex, in which case its compound parts must be clearly defined, and you’d probably be better off repeating them several times (e.g., at the beginning and throughout the video).

Don’t make allegations

As an old marketing wisdom goes, “if you have to say it, then it is probably not true”. Hence, make sure your video is free of self-praising blabber such as “the best blue widget provider in the world”, “the most reliable company in the market”, etc.

This can be potentially harmful for 2 reasons:

(1) It’s not too believable coming from the brand themselves and only makes you look like a bragger;

(2) This could make people wonder why you have to say this. Could it be because it’s not true?

Instead of making ungrounded claims, provide testimonials, customer feedback or factual information. Let the number and names speak for themselves, so to say. For example, this is what Energize Media did in their business card:

Include a call to action

You should make it clear what you’d like your audience to do after they watch your video. If it’s a video business card, you may want to encourage viewers to go ahead and check out your website, try out your product, follow you on Twitter, etc.

If it’s a video tutorial, you might want to tell your audience to try to do what you just demonstrated for themselves, to go to another webpage for more information, etc. Whatever it is that viewers are supposed to do upon watching your video – it should be stated, and it should be stated clearly.

Find your appeal

Apart from informing the viewers about something, your video should also appeal to their subconscious. If it doesn’t do that at all, people may have a hunch, this gut feeling that something is amiss with your company. In other worlds, your video should connect with the viewers on the subconscious level.

Simon Sinek calls it “finding your WHY”. You should ask yourself why you do what you do, and make that “why” an integral part of all your marketing products. This will let people relate to your mission and ideals, and will eventually influence their decision making.

How is it possible to integrate that into a promo video or a video tutorial? For example, you can simply include your mission statement into the opening or closing credits. Or you can tell the viewers what they will get from following the call to action in your video, that is, why you’re showing them this video and why they’re watching it.

Optimize for YouTube

Sometimes a company can’t decide whether it wants to host their marketing videos on their own site or upload them to YouTube. I’d say go with YouTube, since there are so many advantages of having your videos there (well, unless you’re a movie maker or something).

First, this way your videos will be searchable in YouTube search. Second, this will help your videos show up on Google Videos. Not to mention that YouTube videos are in general easier to share, link to and engage with.

Besides, it’s really a no-brainer to take a few simple steps to help your video rank on YouTube for certain keywords:

1. See what keywords people are search for on YouTube using YouTube’s Keyword Tool;

2. Use popular keyword in the title, the description and the transcript of your video (if you have one)

3. Remember to provide a link to your site in the video description or encourage viewers to take any other action you’d like them to take.

And, if you would like to learn more about optimizing videos for YouTube, check out the interactive YouTube Marketing Checklist we put together not long ago.

The bottom line

All in all, when creating marketing videos, try to put yourself into the viewer’s shoes. Ask yourself: would you have the patience to watch this video to the end? Would you easily understand what it is about? Would you feel moved to take certain action upon watching it? This and the tips in this article will help you produce videos that inspire and convert.

Image credit: iLexx via iStockPhoto

Alesia Krush is a blogger and a Web marketer at Link-Assistant.Com, home to the industry’s best SEO and SMM tools. The software developer’s most recent initiative has been the release of the revolutionary BuzzBundle SMM tool that lets one easily manage their brand’s reputation and wage viral campaigns in social networks, blogs, forums, Q&A sites and other Web 2.0 properties.