The most important part of any video is the intro or the first 10 seconds.
From there, as the old saying goes:
👇👇 It’s all downhill from here. 👇👇
You’ve probably seen this graph from a previous article:
What this graph shows is audience retention or what I prefer to call the audience attention. When users click on your video for the first time, they get all excited and want to hear from your expert voice.
But eventually, people click away at different parts of the video. There could be various reasons from getting a phone call so they stop watching your video. Perhaps, they get an email.
Or perhaps your viewers got to a point in the video and thought “it’s just not interesting to me.”
You can’t control the first two, but you can certainly influence the last point as a video creator.
The first 10 seconds is the most crucial because it’s where most people drop off and click away. Once you’ve got them watching, they’ll likely stick around for a while. This results in better watch time which is a very crucial metric (that helps rank your videos) on YouTube or Facebook.
Finally, if a user watches 5 seconds and bounces from your video, that’s a very bad signal to the Google, Facebook or YouTube algorithm.
It’s a big red flag that you’re video is not up to snuff when it comes to entertaining or educating the viewer.
One of my popular video services is our 30 in 1 plan, where we shoot a full month’s worth of social media videos in one day (assuming you post daily).
If you post only 3 times a week, this amount of content can last you 10 weeks or 2 and half months (which is a full quarter for many companies).
This doesn’t even include the photos and text blogs you can generate from the video as you can spin video content into a variety of formats.
Contrary to what most of my clients think, the actual hard work is not in the film production itself, but in the preparation.
We ask clients to create an outline with a list of questions to answer. Then they create stories to backup their answers.
Then comes the pattern interrupts. Finally, they need to come up with hooks at the beginning of each video.
The hooks are crucial (just as much as the thumbnail) because they keep your viewers watching past those crucial 10 seconds.
These techniques are from Russell Brunson’s books and I’ve adopted them in my videos because they work. If you watch all the gurus on Facebook and YouTube, you’ll see nuances of these techniques in their videos and/or ad copies.
We tell our clients they have 5 ways to create a 10 second hook, which I cover in my 3 quick tips guide for business videos:
Here’s an in-depth look at each one. I’ll use video marketing as the subject matter to further explain each point.
You state something that not everybody knows about but it can be the difference maker.
In all my video marketing playlist, I often cite voice search as one of the main reasons to use video as a marketing tool for any business.
Most people understand and appreciate the value of video when it comes to search engine marketing. However, most people also don’t realize voice is becoming a larger component of search queries on the Internet.
If you’re not making podcasts or videos, then you’re missing out on this trend. So one way to introduce the topic of video marketing could be to simply say:
“People don’t understand that the biggest reason for doing video is voice. Not the actual video. But the voice. So listen up if you wanna know why…”
Then you cut straight to the video.
You state something that everybody knows its importance yet doesn’t appreciate the magnitude of its importance.
Going back to the topic of making videos as an example, let’s use voice as another example. Most people know or at least understand that the voice quality of a video is important. But they underestimate it.
Personally, I feel the audio quality is far more important than the video quality. You can always hire an Oscar winning editor to fix the video but no one… I mean no one can fix bad audio.
So if I was making a video about how to make better videos. My hook could be the audio:
“What’s the biggest rookie mistake when making videos? It’s not the camera silly. It’s bad audio. A good microphone is more valuable than a good camera. Stay tuned and find out why…”
You state something new or something very few are doing right at this moment. And this big change will dramatically impact your business.
Going back to the topic of video marketing as an example, I often use the idea of video as a scalable piece of content. When you make videos, you not only get the video, but you can spin it into a text article (from the video transcript) and into a podcast.
So when you make videos you get 3 pieces of content!
Most people who make videos don’t think about this, and this is one angle I use when I talk about the importance of video marketing.
If you’re a business owner, you must have big ideas that no one has thought about. Start with this and state it at the beginning of the video.
If it is indeed unique or new, you’ll get people’s attention.
In this scenario, you look into your crystal ball and anticipate the next big thing in your industry. It’s something that has shown great potential yet hasn’t gotten mainstream yet.
Let’s get back to a familiar topic. In video production, the next big thing could be virtual reality videos. In certain industries, like real estate, virtual reality tours would be the next logical step to real estate sizzle reel style videos.
One way to hook someone to watch a video about video could be to mention this potential game changer in video production.
Here’s an example of what you could say in a “predict the future” opener:
“Are you still making the same videos that every real estate agent is making to sell property? Wanna learn how to stand out? Then stick around and I’ll tell you how you can start making VR videos that will surely wow your clients…”
In this scenario, you peer into the landscape (of your industry) and see all these complex theories and processes. Everything has become too complicated and what’s really needed is a return to the fundamentals.
Let’s say every video about making videos started talking about virtual reality videos. And you see everything is about virtual reality videos.
One way to stand out is to make a “back to the fundamentals” video.
Here’s something you can say at the beginning of a “back to the fundamentals” video:
“All you people making VR videos are all wrong. What you really need to level up your video game is to get back to the fundamentals. The fundamentals people! Here’s how you do it…”
Now that we’ve covered what to say in the beginning of your videos. Let’s briefly cover how you should be saying or approaching the openers for your videos.
Questions are amazing ways to deliver your query because:
If you look at the sample quotes above, many of them start with a question. This is a good way to start. People are curious beings.
By starting a video with a question, you peak their interest instantly.
Moreover, the question (when framed correctly) is likely very close to their search intent (why they decided to search for a specific topic and why they chose your video).
So with a properly phrased question, you are reinstating the reason why they clicked your video in the first place and you’re setting the expectation that you’ll solve their search query.
Finally, a properly posed question is a form of challenge to users, like how much do you really know about this topic?
The “predict the future” and the “back to the fundamentals” video are both similar in that both types challenge a viewer’s perspective about a topic.
In the “predict the future” scenario, you are challenging their incomplete perception of a specific topic. Like how much do you really know when you’re ignoring what’s about to come?
In the “back to the fundamentals” video, you’re challenging the processes of the viewer.
“Look hot shot. You don’t know shyte about video. Do you really know what you need? You need to get back to the fundamentals.”
Back in the day, the biggest thing on the on the Internet (and popularized by Buzzfeed) was quizzes.
Quizzes were designed in such a way that it tested how much a person really knows about something.
People like being challenged about what they really know. If you pose the right question or questions to start, you tap into this part of their brain and they’ll keep watching your video.
Or do something unexpected. The opening of the video is a form of pattern interrupt.
In today’s digital world, people are addicted to the scrolling behavior with their phones. This is why a thumbnail or ad copy is important when you post on social media. It gets them to….
See what I did there… I created a form of pattern interrupt to get you to focus on the words “stop scrolling.” Thumbnails is a form of pattern interrupt to get people to click on your video.
The opening statement of your video (or opening image in narrative films) is the next step in hooking your audience.
It’s a 10 second pattern interrupt so they stick around for the 11th second… when you’ll likely need another pattern interrupt.
So what’s a good pattern interrupt?
One say something off the wall but still somewhat related to the topic at hand —
Let’s say you make virtual reality videos and you landed a big sale for a client. One way to start is to say:
“Let me tell you how I make $600,000 last week with this virtual video…”
A caveat —
Don’t be like these fake gurus who fake numbers. Numbers are definitely powerful pattern interrupts in a video, but please use real numbers.
You might fool a viewer once, but if you fool them enough times (and you get called out for your shady tactics), then you’ll lose your integrity and your clients forever.
Another way is to wear a cool t-shirt and mutter “I quit my job because of it…”
Here’s the video:
If you can’t find something interesting to say, then do something that catches the viewer’s eye.
One way to do this is to use eye catching b-roll and complement it with voice over. Going back to the virtual video for real estate, you can start with an actual tour of house while saying something like:
“This client sell this 1 million dollar home… Wanna know how?”
The first 10 seconds are key to making your viewers stick. If they stick past 10 seconds, there’s a high likelihood they’ll stick around and give you those valuable watch time.
In this article we focused on what to say for better intros for your videos:
And how you should approach the opening image for your videos:
These are basic techniques that I use when working with my clients.
Use some or all of these techniques to improve the intros for your videos.
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