Are Your Videos News? A 5-Point Checklist

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On the back of revealing a few best practice guidelines for video, Google has recently announced that it is developing the Google News platform to integrate the medium more closely. Although videos can already be found on Google News, a recent redesign of the News platform prioritized video integration, meaning the search engine will be indexing new videos quicker than ever in an attempt to deliver multimedia-based content in the same timely fashion as it delivers textual news. The move by the search engine may have big ramifications for broadcasters – and signifies big opportunities for website publishers and business owners.

With the growth of citizen journalism and popularity of YouTube, video news development has been a very real possibility for Google for some time. With the new look Google News all about making it easier to share and personalize your own individual news experience, video news stories are a quick route into the consciousness of a target audience for website publishers.

Producing video releases in the same way as you’d traditionally put out a news release to announce a product launch or important event is an excellent opportunity to reach a new and more diverse audience immediately. To make the most of this chance, try these best practice guidelines, tips and techniques…

1.  Timing is everything: News becomes old news very quickly, particularly online where every second there are millions of other publishers submitting their news and views, all eager to have their minute in the spotlight. Where news can be consumed and replaced in the time it takes to click a mouse button, speedy uploads of news videos is the difference between publication and viewing by a large audience and languishing in the outer echelons of online current affairs.

Try and upload a video the same day as the story breaks, within an hour or two if possible. Any longer than 24 hours and unless it’s a major story that is likely to run on for days and days, it simply isn’t worth investing the time in filming, editing and uploading.

Professional news outfits turn stories around in a matter of minutes sometimes but non-professionals can also become quicker with practice – taking half an hour a day to familiarize yourself with the various aspects of your digital video camera or committing to attending a video editing course after work will really cut down on delays. As you become more familiar and more comfortable with shooting and editing functions and the equipment to hand, you should be able to create a short news video and upload it within hours.

2.  Be specific: The traditional rules of search engine optimization apply to videos to some extent; the title should relate to the content and the story should be specific and focused, making it easier for search engines to understand the video and how it should be grouped. It’s better to limit yourself to one story per video when it comes to multimedia News as that ensures ease of classification for the search engine spiders. You’ll also be less conflicted when writing an accurate title and description, as you won’t be trying to shoehorn four or five different keywords in to a space designed for one.

3.  It should be classified: When uploading your news videos to YouTube for Google News consideration, you’re far more likely to be featured in the higher realms of the News page if you accurately categorize your video. General news videos can be filed under the News and Politics category but anything else will have its own dedicated area. Think of YouTube as a library and yourself as the librarian to work out where best to locate your video to get as much traffic as possible. This is one of the reasons point two (above) is so important as its effects will filter down and either aid or hamper the rest of the process.

4.  Descriptions: The five W rule in journalism should be applied to the description filed. Forget long-winded and teasing intros, when describing a news video stick to Who, What, Where, When and Why. This information will play to the Google News gathering process, helping the spiders to understand which News category and which group of stories the video should be added too.

Tags will also help here so list the names of key figures in the video, as well as any locations that are significant to the story.

5.  Embed: Videos must be embeddable if they are to be found on Google News.  This technical requirement is actually a great reason to take the time to upload your own news videos to your own website. Embedding them within your own pages will have other benefits, particularly from an SEO perspective.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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