It's no secret that embedding videos in blog posts is a great way to attract readers. However, using video to its fullest potential involves more work than slapping an embed code on an otherwise empty post.
Here are four common mistakes I've seen, as well as some tips to help you make the most out of a video in your blog post.
1. You don't tell people there's a video in the post.
You should tell your readers right away that your post contains a video. You can accomplish this in two ways:
- Specify it in the post's title. A good way to do this is to include "(VIDEO)" in the title. This will let folks know right away that the blog post contains a video. Following "(VIDEO)," write your title as you normally would. For example, a good title would look something like: "(VIDEO) A private tour of our offices."
- Put the embedded video at the top of the post. You don't want the video to be below the fold if you can help it. This way, even if readers ignore the post's title, they will see there is a video in the post.
2. You don't include text in the post.
Too often I see blog posts comprised solely of an embedded video. It's a good idea to give your readers some context before you ask them to watch an entire video.
Introduce your video with a few sentences; then summarize the video in a paragraph below. If you transcribed the A-roll in your video, use some of that content to form the summary paragraph.
3. You don't customize the video.
Another common mistake bloggers make is that they don't match the size of the video to the width of the blog. Whether you use an embed code or an iframe from YouTube, the first line of the embed code will always start with:
<object width="560″ height="315″>
Make sure the width of the video doesn't exceed the width of your blog's content column. It's best to set your video width to slightly less than the width of the column.
Don't be afraid of trial and error. Set a resolution, see how it looks, and then make a tweak if necessary. The height will always conform to the width—black bars will automatically appear at the top and bottom of the video to maintain the aspect ratio.
You can also customize the code for other aesthetic elements and advanced functionality, like allowing/not allowing related videos and setting a specific start time. Check out this post from the 12 Stars Media blog that talks about ways to customize your embed code to enhance the overall viewer experience.
4. You forget a call-to-action.
Once you write a nice post that includes a customized, embedded video, it's important to give readers a call-to-action at the end of the post. If a reader asks himself "So what?" after he views your post and video, you not only wasted his time, but yours as well.
The end of a blog post is a good place for an opt-in, like a newsletter sign-up form or a "Like us on Facebook" button. You can even refer to your call-to-action in the video.
Rocky Walls is CEO of 12 Stars Media Productions. A version of this article originally ran on Convince and Convert.