7 Tips for HYPNOTIC VIDEOS That Compel Your Viewers into ACTION!


There has been a pretty big shift in the way YouTube organizes their content in the past year.  Up until now, the 4 Billion Daily-Viewed Goliath would reward videos and channels that received the most “clicks” and views.  This means, if you had a more attractive thumbnail or title, YouTube would help push you to top and get found in more “related video” searches.  But this race for “the most views” conflicts with YouTube’s BIG GOAL: “To Become the MOST Important Media in People’s Lives.”  Why?!

Just because you have a “view,” does not mean someone actually watched your video.  How many times have you clicked away from a video after 10 or 15 seconds?  Well…now YouTube is factoring that into their “Ranking algorithm!  The better you captivate and engage your viewers to watch your entire video, the more YouTube will support you!  With a higher “Audience Retention” and “Minutes Watched,” you just may find your video ranked higher and showcased on other “related videos.”

It appears that “minutes watched” is the new means to the end (more views), and not the other way around.

The GOAL is to create videos that people actually watch…all the way through.  We do this by making BETTER videos!  But.. how do we do that?

7 Ways to Make Better Videos & Get Them Watched!

Because my students over at Video Traffic Academy are WAY smarter than I am, I decided to ask them how THEY would go about improving the quality of their videos.

Here are a few of their answers…

1. More Planning, Scripting & Story boarding

I am a HUGE advocate for planning your videos.  Most people try and save time by skipping this step and jump right into production mode.  Ironically, this can slow you down AND produce lower-quality content.  Take a moment to script  and storyboard before you record.  It will make all your post-production work much easier…trust me!

Tommy Walker is the host of “Inside the Mind,” an engaging YouTube series for Online Marketers located at: https://www.youtube.com/user/tommyisastrategist

2. Get to the Content Quick!

You have 3 seconds to get the attention of your audience.  In that short time, they determine if they will watch on, or leave for good.  Don’t waste this precious time rambling on about you and your business, or showing off that fancy new “logo animation” you paid too much money for. Do what Alenadra says and “get to the point of the video fast!”

In April of 2011, Alejandra Costello posted her first video on YouTube.  Today, she is just shy of 2 Million Views.  Her “home organizing” tips are great for de-cluttering our lives!  Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/user/HomeOrganizing

3. Niche it Down!

Be polarizing. Be Entertaining. Yes. But these are much easier feats to accomplish when you know your audience.  And the more you narrow your focus of who you target, the more you know your audience.  Get specific and targeted.

Mark Hughes is the CEO and Founder of Funky Social Media and his videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/FunkySocialMedia

4. Add Bloopers

I frequently add my bloopers or outtakes to the end of each of my videos.  This trains my audience to stay to the end of each video for a little “reward.”  After reviewing my comments, it’s the #1 most-commented topic…who doesn’t love a good blooper?!

Christina is a rockstar JV Manager who’s videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ProfitQueen2

5.  Create a Payoff

Ahh…the payoff!  Every GREAT movie, story, etc has a GREAT Payoff.  This is usually the result of an unexpected ending, twist or “pattern interrupt” that throws your viewer off.  Anything you can do to keep your audience on their toes and guessing, will also keep them engaged!

Scott is CEO of the Wealth Squad: http://www.facebook.com/WealthSquad

6. Add a Moving Background?

Alejandra jumped back into the conversation with a second comment chalked-full of great tips.  Yet one stood out…”a moving background.”  Move your audience (both metaphorically and literally).  Take them along a journey, whether it’s a tour of your house, a ride in the car, or a stroll in a park.  Could a “change of scenery” keep your video-engagement up?  Give it a try!

7. Be Likeable!

We tend to buy from who we know, like & trust…it would make sense that we watch videos from only those who we know, like and trust as well.  How can you be more likeable?  What do your friends and family like about you?  Is it your humor? Your passion?  Maybe it’s your “No BS” attitude.  Crank it up a notch (or ten) for your videos!

Penny is a wedding officiant at http://www.facebook.com/ReynoldsTreasures

A Few Other Comments I enjoyed…

Should I Make Shorter Videos?

I am a BIG FAN of making shorter videos…but it’s ONLY because I think most content-creators love to hear the sound of their own voice.  They end up rambling in their videos. Don’t say something in two minutes, if it can be said in one.

However, with this being said…

…YouTube “officials” admit that a shorter video doesn’t help your ranking one bit.

From the Official YouTube Creator Blog:

“…we’ve heard from some creators who intentionally made their videos shorter in an attempt to get a higher retention rate. Unfortunately, this won’t help. While high retention on your videos is a good indication of engagement, we are actually optimizing for how a video contributes to a longer viewing session on YouTube. So your video isn’t more likely to be seen just because it’s shorter.”


Conversely, a longer video won’t help ya much either!  My guess is that YouTube’s new algorithm is a combination of time watched AND “percentage of time watched.” It’s all relative.

At the end of the day, the goal is to simply raise the bar and make better videos!  That starts by knowing how to provide MORE VALUE to your audience!


I am a mad scientist with my videos.  I study audience’s behavior with YouTube Analytics, and the conversations they have on my channel.  I am a student to what my viewers WANT and ENJOY.  And I am always working on growing & evolving my content to tailor their needs.  I encourage you to do the same.  Yet, we can shortcut this process by learning from each other.

Leave a comment below sharing your TIPS and TRICKS for making better videos!  …or give your insight and feedback on what elements of videos trigger you to keep watching.  What “hypnotizes” you to watching more?  Your feedback and insight is valued!  So share below and be heard!

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  1. carlos says

    What I like about these comments is that they’re fairly easy to execute.

    Additionally, looking at some of the links to your reference comments above is that anyone can do it and be effective without being a Speilberg.

  2. says

    Glad to have you back bro! Great tips as usual. I definitely agree that story boarding a bit is more critical now than ever before because of the new YouTube changes.

    One word of caution…don’t get intimidated by this step. I think it is still better to shoot an unstoryboarded video than not create a video at all 🙂


  3. Michele says

    I learn something new in every article you write James! Great ideas here…I’m especially intrigued by the moving background idea and am going to check out Alejandra’s videos next! Thanks so much!!

  4. says

    First, I agree with Hani in welcoming you back from Hurricane Sandy, James! But I need to push ahead with this comment as I was momentarily “speechless” after that first line.

    There are two aspects of your blog post, James, that particularly caught my attention. The discussion about the length of videos is the primary one. Come on, YouTube, you are pulling our (collective) legs! I believe that my biggest obstacle to getting more “love” from my viewers is that I just love to hear the sound of my own voice too much … uh … I mean that my videos are too long, at least on average (considering that they (mostly) all revolve around the comedic theme).

    The other aspect concerns Ben’s comment. Ben, as you can tell by the name of my YT channel ( maybethismaybesomewh ), which is a forced shortening of my website URL (never-mind, but it includes the word “different”), I am all about attempting to be “different” (perhaps too much so), and I think that I just confuse the heck out of people in my “differentness,” so much so that they don’t know what to “make of me,” and so they just … hey, is this sentence a bit long?

    Warren Freedlund

  5. says

    Great tips. Thank you. We have been story boarding and scripting for our last couple of videos. Lots of ‘strong’ discussion but It makes a big difference to the end result.

  6. says

    One thing I am already seeing, as I get close to completing VTA course, is that you are all about continuing education for your students. This is hugely appreciated, James, especially in this rapidly-evolving world of social media. As YouTube makes tweaks (or big changes!) in how it ranks videos and other operational changes, if we can all keep up with those changes through our continuing involvement with your organization, that becomes worth the price of admission all on its own.

  7. says

    Great tips from everyone, plus I ended up subscribing to Alejandra’s channel after watching one of hers!!! I started to question her comment about logo intros. After all, James uses one. But then I went to visit one of James’ videos, and yes, he has a fancy logo, BUT he has an in-person intro, teaser first. Ahhh!

  8. says

    @Michele: Hi Michele! The moving backgrounds work well. I’ve been advised to use these to increase attention. Some suggestions are filming in a car, walking from one place to another. Some people I know lead the viewer to where they’re filming e.g. from a car ride/car park to a studio or as has been said to a relevant place that’s part of the story they’re telling.

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