Strange and Random web shows are great, but if you’d like to do it professionally, and make some cash one day, you’re going to need to impose at least a little structure to your podcasts, videos, youtube shows, whatever you plan on spending your valuable time and energy promoting and growing, because in the end, most projects die because lack of focus.
While we’re on the subject of focus, let’s talk about that without getting too carried away. Having focus in your show or podcast is a good thing but that doesn’t mean you need to stay “on topic” like a dictator. Human minds wander and so should the conversation. When I’m talking about structure, I’m talking about the structure of the actual show, the framework that is benchmarked by sounds, themes and stingers that bring your video marketing material to life.
Some of the best podcasts I’ve seen are quite random, I’ve watched a lot of YouTube video podcasts, studying their methodology and what might make them successful, aside from the cute factor, there isn’t much substance to most of them. What I like to do is take cues from the most successful and long running “variety” shows on television. One of the things that variety shows have in common are what we like to call “features”. Let’s dig into that concept a little more.
I spent 10 years in the radio business, I can tell you one thing all the radio DJ’s or “jocks” as we liked to call them, are fighting their program directors and top level management for…. Features. Features are the little recurring nuggets you can count on when you tune in at a specific time on the radio, or that handle a specific genre in a structured way or with consistent branding. One of my favorite features… “The Word” from the colbert report.
Jocks want features because it gives listeners something to wait for, anticipate, and discover once they see it. They want a skit, that reoccurs and they can craft into something larger that people follow and become familiar with. You’ve gotta dream up these features for yourself.
From my decade of observation in radio, unfortunately, there is no team to dream things up. Most of the time a sales person approaches the programming director and pitches them and idea they started to dream up with and advertiser, pitched it to their significant other the night before and cons the programming director into getting it on the air. We’re talking about multimillion dollar companies here. Yes that’s how it really works, kinda sad, but it’s real.
I hope see what I’m talking about with features.
Don’t’ Kill Yourself
You need a few features, you’re going to burn out your feature. You can’t do the same feature every day or week. Again, I’ll defer to Colbert who arguably built a mega-following of rabid fans on the heels of The Daily Show with John Stuart doing… what some might have criticized as the exact same show from a different POV. He did it. Steven Colbert has a lot of features, here’s a short list:
- Tip of the Hat Wag of the Finger
- The Word
- Alpha Dog of the Week
- Cheating Death
- Sport Report
Here’s a better list… found on wikipedia, imagine that. One of my main points in the section is that you need more than one. These little features are a treat, an easter egg, you can’t use the same one every time. Rather, fall back to the appropriate features when the content you’re trying to bring to life dictates it.
The key is with the little segments, you’ve got to brand them like they’re their own little show. Each little segment that’ll be recurring needs to have their own little opener to help bring the viewer into the game, so to speak. What you’re trying to do is visually engage the viewer and ask them to take a sep outside into the entertaining or informative world of your brand, something most easily done through video.
There are three things you need:
- An Opener, for brand identity and marketing
- Lower Thirds or Titles for on camera talent, this really saves them from having to introduce themselves too.
- Closer, to reinforce your brand or hopefully give the user some final meaningful action now that the video is over.
Once you have these core video branding pieces in place, you can start to expand on the basic structure of your show.
A few other quick tips, especially for getting more views on youTube:
- Share your video on Twitter and HASHTAG IT UP (with relevant tags of coarse)