Prior to getting involved in marketing, I taught English in China. While teaching, public speaking was a common focus for a number of classes. Most students approached the topic with nervous excitement. They recognized the power of articulate, well-delivered speech while simultaneously recalling the gut-sinking, mind-wiping terror of stepping in front of an awaiting audience.
Before practicing delivery, pace, and voice, I asked students to discuss and rank in order of importance – delivery, humor, content, language ability (it was an English class after all), voice, body language, and knowledge of audience.
While responses varied, and younger students tended to place higher importance on language ability, every student with professional speaking experience confidently contented that knowledge of audience was without a doubt the most important factor to consider when preparing a public presentation.
While digital creators don’t need to worry about stepping in front an actual crowd (at least not while recording digital content), there is still the need for a clear, articulate, well-delivered message because what you say and do will be seen and judged by hundreds, thousands, or even millions of viewers.
As a video creator, understanding the basics can be enormously beneficial when talking with your audience. Otherwise you run the risk of producing dry, unengaging content. So with that in mind, here are four public speaking inspired questions to ensure that your YouTube videos will be highly engaging and leave your viewers wanting more.
What Value Will My Viewers Get From This Content And How Do I Communicate It?
Vloggers should always consider why somebody would watch a particular a piece of content. You should determine whether your video will entertain or inform, and then communicate the purpose of the content to viewers upfront and in an intriguing manner (firstly with a descriptive title and thumbnail and then again with a brief synopsis at the beginning of the video).
For example, coming out videos are enormously popular on YouTube not just because they are generally raw, incredibly personal and emotional stories that help others in difficult or confusing situations, but also because viewers know what they are going to get. Among YouTuber, Andy Lalwani’s, many well-delivered videos, the one which has received by far the most views is his Coming Out to My Family video.
Andy used a clear title that tells viewers exactly what to expect and provided even more information with a thumbnail of him staring off into the distance as if fondly reflecting into the past as he sit between his mother laughing and his brother staring slightly less deeply into the past.
Just by looking at these two pieces of information, viewers know exactly what to expect and have a reasonably good idea of the value they will get out of the video. As a result nearly thirty thousand people have clicked and watched Andy’s video.
Online viewers have an average attention span of 8 seconds, so you need to immediately give them a reason to keep watching. Once your YouTube video thumbnail and title has caught the attention of someone that clicks through to your video, you have a momentary window to hook them and convince them to continue watching. If you successfully hook them, you have the chance to convert them into a fan and then a subscriber.
Your hook should be reflective of your personal brand and the style you have developed as an online personality. You could open with an overly animated greeting or provocative snippet pulled from later in the video or just jump right into a personal story.
Whatever you choose, it’s important that you find something that works and is consistent with your established brand. Although while you definitely want to provide consistency to regular viewers on YouTube, it is also important to keep in mind how catching your introductions will be to a first time viewer. Will it make them want to keep watching? Will it make them want to subscribe?
How Do My YouTube Viewers Currently Feel About This Topic?
A lot of the most engaging vlog content is aimed at informing viewers or providing insight or perspective into complex issues. When creating such content, it’s critical to consider how best to present the information and your point of view. Do you need to convince your viewers of your stance or do they already agree with you? If you need to convince, what is the best way to do so?
The most effective way to gain that type of insight into your viewership’s attitude is to engage with them. Create remarkable content and then responded to their remarks, analyzing how they feel about you, your content, and the topics you cover. Test out different topics and delivery styles and see what performs best. And as always, continue to tweak, refine, and develop.
What Type of Humor Will My Viewers Enjoy?
Similarly, if the point of your content is to entertain, what will your viewers enjoy? Many comedians spend night after night in comedy clubs practicing silly voices and ridiculous movements to gauge audience response in order to refine their routines.
While digital creators have both the luxury and disadvantage of not receiving immediate feedback, you can still test out different styles of delivery and analyze how well they perform.
Psychologically, laughter can function to create social bonds. If you can make your viewers laugh, you’ll create a subconscious connection with viewers that will make them want to further engage with you, resulting in more views, likes, and comments.
You can potentially start by looking at creators who are similar to you and watch which of their content is performing best. You certainly don’t want to copy their style by any means, but you can gain valuable insight into what types of humor performs well with your desired target audience and use that insight to further develop your distinct online persona.
Will This Content Create Conversation on My YouTube Channel?
Last and most importantly, you can only really gauge your viewers’ views if they responded to your content. While you can encourage viewers to engage with your content by posing questions and asking for opinions, that only works if you create thought-provoking, conversation-evoking content.
Discuss important and popular issues, or just silly but engaging topics. But find things that people will want to talk about and that will get viewers on your YouTube channel excited.
Why It Matters For Vloggers on YouTube
The internet is an immensely powerful tool for spreading ideas and generating important conversions. Open dialogue and diverse opinions are essential for the development of society and content creators are in a unique position to provide unique perspectives to audiences both large and small in order to stimulate, direct, and encourage increasingly important discussions.
Content creators play a vital role in shaping societal opinions and as a result society itself. You have a soapbox from which you can potentially reach the ears of millions which is both incredible and enormously powerful.
But no matter the size of your audience, you are in a position to influence others and because of that it is important that you use your platform to promote social awareness and a positive message.
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