How Do I Make Video Content Interesting?

We don’t need to tell you that the world of video content is booming: you’ve probably already watched several videos today. Video is everywhere on the web. Where there used to be blogs, now video is king. Not convinced? By 2019, 80% of all consumer internet traffic was videos. And that was in 2019! We’re way past that now.

But with all of that video content out there, and you wanting to get in on the action, the question is how you stand out from the crowd. How do you make your video content interesting enough that viewers will choose to watch yours instead of someone else’s? That seems to be the million dollar question, but we’re here to tell you: it’s not brain surgery. 

The truth is that people have been telling stories for as long as humans could talk, and what is video if not storytelling? Yes, it’s different from writing a book or a poem or talking around the campfire, but those differences are all about medium—the things you use to tell a story—not about the actual process of telling a story. The way to make a video interesting is the same way you make a book interesting is the same way you make a blog interesting is the same way you make a joke interesting. You tell a good story. 

Don’t know how to tell a story? Here are four things you need to know to tell a story: you need to know what it’s about; you need to know who your audience is; you need to know about yourself; and you need to know what to say. Let’s break each one down.

Know What It’s About

At first this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how hard it is for some people to answer “What is your video about?” A lot of people make videos with only a vague premise, or maybe going in too many directions. The throw everything at the wall and hope that something sticks. This isn’t the way to tell a good story. This isn’t the way to make a video interesting. You need to know why you’re posting a video to begin with. 

Have A Point

Every good story should have a point and every interesting video should have a point. We’re not saying that every video needs to be a doctoral thesis, but they all need to have a reason for existing. 

Start at the very beginning: are you attempting to entertain? Are you attempting to persuade? To inform? To calm? To frighten? There can be a thousand reasons for your video to exist, but “because I need to post a video today” should never be one of them. If you don’t have a reason for posting a video, but you throw one up anyway, your viewers will know. They’ll be bored or annoyed, and they’ll skip this one—and maybe they’ll skip the next one, too. Maybe you’ll have lost a regular, because you didn’t know the fundamentals of what your video was about.

But then once you get the big picture out of the way (you know whether you’re trying to entertain or persuade or inform, etc) then you need to focus on the smaller picture: What are you trying to entertain them with? What are you trying to inform them about? How are you trying to persuade them? This is where we get to specific video topics like “Things That Are Wrong With Marvel Comics”, or “How to Help Maternal Mortality Rates in Sierra Leone”, “Why You Should Become a Vegetarian.” 

But even that isn’t enough, because how many videos do you think there are about “Why You Should Become a Vegetarian”? Thousands! Tens of thousands. You need to think smaller, with more of a point. What is it that you are saying specifically that is different from what everyone else is saying about vegetarianism? “Fifteen Reasons Dairies Are Dangerous to Cows,” or “The Day I Saw The Inside of a Slaughterhouse,” or “The Reason I My Boyfriend Dumped Me: I’m a Vegetarian”. See? Those headlines sound like interesting videos. Even if you are not interested in vegetarianism, by hearing a specific story hook like that, you’re drawn in to learn more. 

This is how you make interesting video content: with a point.

Should You Be Controversial?

The question then is: should you be controversial? If every video has to have a point, then does every video’s point need to be a hot topic? The answer is: the hotter the better!

Now, we’re not saying you need to turn your videos into gossip columns or tabloids, but by taking a stand on something—whether that something is “Batman can beat up Superman” or “We Should Raise Taxes on the Rich” or “The Red Carpet at the Oscars is High Drama”—you are causing the viewer to engage with you. Because you care, they’ll care. Because you take a stand, they’ll take a stand. That’s where you start your video: with both of you in a corner of the boxing ring. And the video—the interesting video content that you want—is the boxing match. 

Of course, you’re not really fighting your viewers. They’re your audience! They have probably seen you before, like you, and are coming back to see more of you. But what you are doing is fighting for space in their heads. Find a reason to gain space in someone’s head, and you’ll have interesting video content.

Know Your Audience

If you’re really going to get into your audience’s head, you need to know them. If you’re just starting out and don’t have an audience, you might think that this doesn’t apply to you: you don’t need to know your audience because there’s no audience to know. But what you need to do is define who your ideal audience is: are they teenagers who love skateboarding? Are they moms on the go? Are they college kids with spare time?

The better you know your audience, the easier it is to craft a message that they will connect with. Remember: you’re trying to make a point—that’s what makes interesting video content—but you can’t make a point if you don’t know who you’re talking to. 

Take this example: let’s say you need to explain the founding of America in a video. How would that video be different if your audience was middle schoolers in Ohio? How would it be different if your audience was from Saudi Arabia and had never been to America? How would it be different if they were a Navajo? 

The point is: knowing who you’re talking to changes the way that you talk. It changes the way you tell the story. 

And if you don’t have an audience? You need to reverse engineer the process. You’re looking for a target audience. You’re looking for the people you want to be watching your videos. Figure out who you want to be watching, cater the video content specially to that audience, and then when those people come across you they’ll be in love! 

Know Yourself

More important than knowing your audience, though, is knowing yourself. Of course, this may seem very simple to you: you’ve been with yourself every day of your life! How could you not know yourself? The thing you need to know is what part of you is the video content coming from. Why you? 

What is Your Voice?

What does “voice” even mean? It means the way that you portray yourself, the way you talk, the jokes you tell, the grammar you use, the questions you ask. If you were a business, this would be your brand identity.

Let’s look at some examples of voice: do you use humor in your videos, and if so, how much, and what kind? Are your videos snarky and sarcastic, with non-stop jabs? Are they even-keeled and moderate, with a sly joke thrown in every once in a while for the people paying close attention? Is your humor broad and loud, going for the easy jokes and the punching bags?

None of these is a wrong voice. There are thousands of video content creators who fit into each of these categories. So why does it matter? 

Voice matters in video creation because you’re building a reputation. It really is a brand. When people come to see you, they expect to get a certain kind of thing, and that’s your voice. The YouTubers Jake Paul and Lindsey Ellis could both talk about the same topic, but their content would be completely and totally different because they’re such individuals with such clear voices. 

Again, there’s no wrong voice. And you probably won’t even hit your perfect voice on your first video, or your first dozen. It may take a while to find your voice. But you want to be actively looking for it, identifying what makes it different, and what makes it you. 

Know Your Script

So you’ve got a point, you’ve got an audience, and you’ve got yourself—what’s left? The story. You may or may not work off a script. You may be a planner who needs everything perfect in advance and written down, or you may be great at improv and you can make it up as you go, or you may be a little bit of both and you find your story during the editing process. Either way, you’ve got to have a story. 

(We’ll give you a little tip: most people need to plan this out in advance, at least with an outline. Many videos may look unscripted, and indeed many are, but most of the people who make videos have planned things out in advance, and if they haven’t then they’ve just been making videos long enough that it’s second nature to them. The point is: if you’re going to be an interesting video content creator, you need to plan out your story, 99 times out of 100.)

So what makes a story? That’s simple: a beginning, a middle, and an end. In story terms, we call these, the exposition, the rising action, the climax, and the resolution. Let’s talk about each one in turn:

The Exposition: This is setting the stage. This is telling us where all the pieces and players are at the beginning. The setup. You know how when someone tells you a story, and then they say “Wait a second, let me back up”, that’s because they haven’t given enough exposition. You can’t tell a story without exposition.

The Rising Action: This is where problems start to happen. This is where things start to go wrong. The characters are in danger. The plot thickens. The mystery gets more mysterious. Remember that point we talked about way at the beginning? The thing that your video is about? This is everything that is leading up to that point.

The Climax: The climax is getting to the point. It’s when you have laid out your facts in front of the jury and say “I rest my case.” This is where the most exciting point is, the thing that you’ve been hiding or waiting to reveal. It’s the surprise. It’s the finale. This is what makes an interesting video an interesting video.

The Resolution: The resolution is the end after the end. It’s also called the falling action. It’s the winding down. It’s the part of the story where they’ve won the victory and then we find out where they went and how they lived happily ever after. 

All of these parts of a story exist in every video, whether you’re trying to entertain, inform or persuade. Again, think of yourself as a storyteller when you’re making your video, and you’ll be sure your video is interesting content.

Connect To Current Trends

A great way to have interesting video content is to make sure that it connects to something in the present. Something that is going on today, now. That could be an event in politics, or it could be the release of a movie, or it could be the death of someone beloved, or it could be a thousand other things. Not every video needs to be breaking news, but every video should be relevant. That’s the whole key: why is this video, why is this story, relevant to the audience?

The Long and Short of It

So how long does your video have to be? The movie critic Roger Ebery once said of movies that no good movie was ever too long and no bad movie was ever too short. Basically what that means is that if you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll enjoy yourself until you’re no longer enjoying yourself. The last thing that you want is for people to get bored of your video and leave early, so it’s best to “always leave them wanting more”, but whether that means your video is four minutes or forty minutes depends entirely on how long you can hold your viewers’ attention.

Conclusion

So that’s the story of how to make video content interesting: know the point, know your audience, know yourself, and know the script. When you’ve got those things nailed down you’ll be like the ancient storytellers around the campfire—or you’ll be like the political commentator on cable news—or you’ll be like the school gossip whispering in ears—or you’ll be like the bestselling novelist. Or you’ll be an amazing video content creator.

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