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How to Make YouTube Videos People Will Actually Want to Watch If you don't know your intended audience, your video could fall flat. Here's what to keep in mind when crafting videos your audience will want to watch.

By Jason R. Rich

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich's book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Knowing you have the communication capabilities to communicate with your audience and you have a goal in mind for your YouTube videos, the next step is to select the approach you'll take to achieve your objectives.

It's your job as a video producer to research your audience, figure out what types of videos will appeal to them, and then cater specifically to their wants and needs. A video that's designed to introduce pre-teen girls to a new product will need to be produced vastly differently from a video designed to appeal to men between the ages of 18 and 34, for example.

Figure out what types of video your target audience already enjoys watching on YouTube and then incorporate some of these production elements and concepts into your videos. Remember, your approach should be unique to your company and audience. Do not simply steal someone else's idea or try to mimic what your competition is already doing.

Using your own creativity, a YouTube video can adopt one or more approaches to capture your target audience's attention. For example, the video can take on the form of an infomercial, traditional commercial or an advertorial in order to promote and sell a product or service. However, you can often take that same raw material and package it into a video that takes more of an instructional, product or service demonstration, or a how-to approach that uses a much more subtle sales message. You may discover that your audience will have a greater interest and appreciation when you adopt a less sales-focused approach in your videos, which can also include customer testimonials, if applicable.

A YouTube video can also be used to tell a story. For example, using your video, you can take viewers behind the scenes at your company or manufacturing facility to show people how your products are made, introduce them to the people who create them, or have the company's founder share his story about how the company was conceived. Storytelling on YouTube can be a very powerful way to communicate with your audience, especially if the person featured in the video (or who's heard speaking) has a compelling, entertaining, and outgoing personality.

A YouTube video can also be used to showcase a presentation, speech, or special event, serve as a video blog (vlog or video diary), or have the goal of simply entertaining people. Keep in mind, video is a visual medium, so use it. Don't just talk to your audience, for example. Actually show them what you're talking about. Instead of just featuring a "talking head," if your video's goal is to showcase a product, for example, be sure to visually show off every aspect of that product within your video.

If you opt to share news, facts, or information with your audience, choose the most visually interesting and entertaining way to convey the information in order to keep your viewers' attention. Creatively using entertainment and/or humor, for example, is an excellent way to make otherwise complicated or boring information palatable in a YouTube video. You can also create and use colorful and animated charts, graphs, tables, and bulleted lists, when applicable.

Within the first few seconds of every video, and in using your YouTube channel as a whole, one of your core objectives should be to quickly build a rapport with your audience, while at the same time building up your credibility. Your viewers should want to hear what you have to say in your videos and also trust what you're saying.

Jason R. Rich, based in Foxboro, Mass., is author of more than 55 books on topics including ecommerce, online marketing, digital photography and interactive entertainment, as well as the Apple iPhone and iPad.

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