List videos are often viewed as ‘cheap’ and ‘easy’ content. And people often use them for affiliate marketing. But we need to make sure they add value to the audience and here are tips to help.
- 1 - Tease The List Early
- 2 - List Items In Description
- 3 - Add Timestamps In the Description
- 4 - Visible Markers for Each Tip Scene
- 5 - Don’t pad the list
- 6 - Expand in a supporting blog post
- 7 - Script Your Video
- 8 - Summarise Your List At The End
1 - Tease The List Early
Show your list very early in the video.
I see a lot of videos that are “In this video I’m going to show you 8 tips”, books, games, etc. But I have no idea if I want to stick around for them.
If I know what your list is, then I can stick around.
And if you list doesn’t need a video to explain it, then you’re not adding enough value.
Depending on your list you can do it in different ways:
if it is a physical product like a book or a game then show a big pile of stuff. Free comedy tip - drop the pile to make it look really heavy.
Some people aren’t going to want to do that because they are worried about giving all the value away in the first 5 seconds and losing viewers.
And it depends what you are doing the videos for - these tips are to maximise value for the viewer which hopefully leads to more views and subscribers.
And if you do, it allows you to do your intro while still keeping on point with a list video.
2 - List Items In Description
Do not hide your list. Putting it in the description allows people to self filter.
I read the descriptions for list videos to decide if I want to watch the video. I often don’t watch list videos unless they tell me in the description what they are going to cover.
Your list is probably going to be keyword rich so it also provides an easy way to write a good description that will also help you show up in organic search.
Do not hide your list.
3 - Add Timestamps In the Description
If you are releasing to YouTube then spend a little extra time when you create the description to add timestamps to jump to specific points in the video.
This again adds value to the viewer, and who knows, YouTube might give extra algorithm points for taking advantage of its functionality.
But the main reason is to make your content easy for people to extract as much value from as possible.
4 - Visible Markers for Each Tip Scene
Some people are not going to read the description. They are going to scroll through the timeline to find the tips.
Making the Scene change visible will help them be able to stop at the right point. You probably need to make this about 10 to 15 seconds long to guarantee it showing in the timeline for longer vidoes.
5 - Don’t pad the list
Do not pad out the list to make a ‘nice’ number.
Just have the necessary amount of stuff.
Edit out the items that don’t quite fit and add those to your supporting blog.
Dome people might tell you that 10 is better than 11 and more is better.
Forget that. Edit the list down.
Concentrate on value and add just as many as you need, but no more.
6 - Expand in a supporting blog post
Expand the list in a blog post that you link to in the description.
A lot of people use lists for affiliate links, which is great, but that might put you outside the YouTube terms and conditions.
Some people get away with this, others don’t. I play it safe.
Reduce your risk by creating a blog post that has the list items, and use your blog post to expand on the points in the video.
Remember if you transcribe your video then you pretty much have the text for the blog post and you’re harnessing the power of content repurposing.
7 - Script Your Video
List videos need to be really tight. Don’t rely on editing making your videos work.
Script them, so that you can make sure your balance for external promotional content works with the size and value of the list you are presenting.
Script it, and keep it tight.
8 - Summarise Your List At The End
You want to have your final promotional speech. You want to tell people to subscribe to your channel and remind them who you are.
Summarising the list at the End gives you a valid point in the video for doing that.
Tease the List in the Thumbnail
This is easier to do when it is a stack of books or games.
With games you can use screenshots. With books the spines and stacked books, or covers.
But it is an easy thumbnail idea, and can add value because remember, some of the tips are not going to be visible so people have to watch the video to see what they are.
Is it a list?
Make sure your content is actually suitable for a list.
I see too many ‘list’ videos that aren’t actually a real list, just 10 summary points strung out.
Remember you’ll be creating a summary blog post, like this, where you can add extra information and new items when you need to.