How-To Get More Views On Your BMX Videos – 9 Tips For Riders & Companies
By Fat Tony.
Let’s face the facts…It’s 2011 and a huge part of BMX and the way riders and companies promote themselves revolves around videos posted on YouTube or Vimeo. The Web vid craze has taken over, and from the looks of things it’s here to stay. BMX companies have had to put more emphasis on online and viral videos than ever before, riders have had to step up and produce Internet-only edits on a regular basis, and we as a media Web site have had to shift how we run things to accommodate for the influx of great BMX content that is uploaded every day. While people understand the importance of producing and uploading good BMX videos, what isn’t so obvious to everyone is what they can do to get their videos seen more. From riders looking to make a name for themselves, to companies showing off their newest products and best riders, here are 9 things everyone can do to help their online videos get more views.
Illustration by Broc Raiford.
One of the biggest things that people overlook when they upload BMX videos to the Internet is the power of searched traffic. You must remember that just because a BMX Web vid only has a shelf life of a few days on the homepage of a BMX blog, that doesn’t mean it dies after it is bumped into the archives of those blogs. The video continues to live on the sites that host it, and, believe it or not, continues to get views for years to come. Because so much of a video’s traffic comes from searched views a lot of what we will discuss in this post has to do with the reoccurring theme known as search engine optimization, or SEO. This is a term that us tech geeks use when we talk about how easily a search engine like Google (or the ones built into YouTube, Vimeo, and BMX blogs) can find your video. The title of your video, the description under the video, and the tags on the video page should all be optimized for search engines, and we are going to help you learn how to do that.
In a nutshell, if you use enough of the keywords that people may use to search for your type of video in all the right places you will in turn make it easy for search engines to find your video, and ultimately you will get more views on your video.
1. Post On Vimeo AND YouTube
YouTube and Vimeo are the two main video hosting sites you should always put your videos on. There are a few other hosting sites out there that you can consider too, but these two are the most important ones. With 35 hours of footage being uploaded every minute of every day all around the world, YouTube is the largest and most popular video hosting site. Because of it’s sheer size and number of users you can generally expect to get more views on YouTube than Vimeo. However, Vimeo is thought of to look better and be more of a “high end” site, and in the BMX world most sites and blogs that aggregate content (like ridebmx.com) prefer posting Vimeo videos.
So why post on both sites? Well, if your goal is to get more people to see your video, then that’s the answer right there…If you host on both sites you will naturally get more traffic. Even if your Vimeo video gets picked up by BMX blogs and aggregate sites, your YouTube video will still get traffic from people that go to YouTube to search for videos.
2. Give The Video A Good Title
This tip is two-fold. The first reason you want to give your video a good title is because the first place search engines look for keywords is in the title. For example, if a kid is searching YouTube for videos of Dakota Roche he will probably type “Dakota Roche” into the search field. If your video’s title is “Dak Quick Edit,” then that kid will likely never find your video of Dakota. However, what if you made the title of your video “Cult Crew: Dakota Roche BMX In Huntingon Beach”? If someone was to search for “Cult,” “Dakota Roche,” “BMX,” “Huntington Beach,” or any combination of those words, they would have a pretty good chance at finding your video.
The other reason you want to give your video a good name is because one of the first things people see on YouTube and Vimeo when they are searching for a video is the title. The title can easily either pull them in and make them click on the video, or turn them away and make them click the “next page” button.
Just like the title, a good description is important for putting in keywords that search engines will pick up, and for enticing viewers to watch your video or learn more about it. However, whereas the title has to be short and concise, the description can be several paragraphs. I suggest you make the description as long as you can and include as much information as possible. The more pertinent information you put in the description, the more keywords the search engines have to pick up on, and the more information you give your viewers about the video.
Bonus Tip: Companies should always include some information about yourself or company in the description, even if it is a simple call to action to visit your Web site. This is a great way to build brand awareness and drive traffic back to your site. If you are a rider and don’t have a personal Web site, it would be a good idea to include information about yourself such as the city or region you live in, your age, and anything else about you that someone watching the video may want to know if they aren’t familiar with you.
While the title and description have the same two reasons behind them, the tags on a video are only there for one reason only…searches. Web sites group content together when they are tagged with the same word, so if someone is looking at an Odyssey edit, and they click on the “Odyssey” tag, all the other videos tagged with “Odyssey” will show up. This is just another way to help people find your video when they are searching for it, or others like it. Use as many tags as you can including the who, what, when, and where. For example, if Stolen is uploads a video of their team rider Morgan Long riding three skateparks in Socal, they could tag the video with the following terms: “Stolen,” “Stolen BMX,” “Morgan Long,” “BMX,” “Bike Riding,” “Socal,” “California,” and then the specific names of the skateparks featured in the video as well as the specific cities they are in.
Bonus Tip: Don’t put commas between first and last names in tags because the name will be broken into separate tags. No one wants to sift through 2,500 videos tagged with “Nathan” when they could be looking at 25 videos specifically tagged with “Nathan Williams.”
5. Upload A Thumbnail
Uploading a proper thumbnail image to your video on Vimeo will not only make your video look professional, it will also give people more incentive to click on the video simply by showing them something they are interested in instead of a random screen shot from your video.
Unfortunately YouTube does not allow you to upload a thumbnail of your choice, so when hosting on YouTube you are stuck selecting from the three screen grabs they pick for you. However, Vimeo does allow you to upload a specific image to be the thumbnail, so take advantage of this feature. Uploading a custom image that has graphics and text is ideal because it brands your video and sets it apart from the rest on the e-shelf just like a DVD case does at for videos at the video store.
6. Post On Your Site
If you are a company or a professional rider with a personal site you should have a page on your Web site for all your videos to live permanently. That way if people come to your site looking just for videos they can easily find them all. Also, you’ll want to post the video on your news page or blog to let people know that you just dropped a new edit.
Bonus Tip: A proper title and corresponding text for the blog post will also help with SEO.
7. Post On Your Social Networks
Sure it’s sounds like just a trendy buzzword, but you can never underestimate the power of social networks. One of the best ways to push your videos out to the masses is through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other similar sites. Posting the video link (again with some SEO-friendly text) on your Facebook and Twitter feeds will attract viewers. To get better results, try to make the post during times of the day when most people are actively using the sites. For example, more people probably use Facebook in the early evening than at three in the morning…
You can post the video a few times throughout the day without seeming like you are overdoing it because not all of your friends, fans, and followers are going to see the video each time you post it. You can then re-post the link the for a few days following the initial post along with some text like, “In case you missed it…” You can even go as far as to post old videos with some text touting the link as being “From the archives.”
Once the video is on your social networking outlets you can expect to see views not only coming directly from your personal page, but also from your connections who retweet, share, and link to the video as well.
8. Email Link To BMX Sites
How does a site like ridebmx.com find all the videos we post on a daily basis? Well, a lot of them we find by searching through Vimeo and RSS feeds, but of course we don’t find everything, so a lot of them are emailed directly to us. If you put out videos on a regular basis you should already have a list of family, friends, and colleagues that you send all your edits to. Along with that list you should make a list of BMX media sites and blogs you send your videos to. Generally speaking, the more sites your video is on, the more views you can expect to get on it.
While I’m not going to list off every site you could potentially send the video to, I will let you know that to submit edits to ridebmx.com you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course if you’ve done your job correctly up to this point and the Vimeo and YouTube page have proper information and descriptions on them, you can simply copy and paste that text into the email along with the URL link to let us know about the video you are submitting.
(Just A Heads Up: When you send in a video, please don’t expect a response back. Here at Ride we look at all videos sent in, and if they are a good fit for the site, we post them. And if they aren’t, we don’t. It’s that simple.)
9. Make It Good
Maybe this one goes without saying, but the fact of the matter is if your video is really good people will notice, share it with others, and it will get lots of views.
Now get out there and film some bangers!