Professional Podcasting: Maintain Attention from Start to Finish

The big secret of online media is that most viewers only tune in to the first 7-14 seconds of any given video before making the decision to move on. Encouraging your viewers to watch your content in its entirety is an important way to engage the audience and present them with your entire message from start to finish. For YouTube content creators that engage in ad share and YouTube Partner services, maintaining attention from the first second to the last is vital to your show’s financial success.

Since video sharing sites such as YouTube thrive most from viewers staying tuned from the first word to the last, these tips are geared towards video podcasts shared through these sites. Many of these tips can be just as valid for audio podcasts released through a more traditional RSS feed.

Here are a few tips on how to maintain viewer attention from start to finish.

Pay Attention to YouTube Insight Stats

YouTube Insight is a great tool for content creators. By paying close attention to demographics, discovery, and hot spots, you can better understand what draws your audience in and maintains its attention.

You might be surprised by the demographics, especially if you assume that the majority of your audience is in one country and the reality is that your channel is extremely popular in another. This can help you when organizing your episodes and determining which stories to cover. If your show has a large following in the US and Ireland, throwing in a couple of topics that appeal to your Irish audience can assist in maintaining that follow base.

Hot Spots is a great feature in YouTube Insight that allows you to see where the majority of viewers are dropping off or gathering. Do you have a particular story that played well with your audience while others fell short? This statistic can be the most vital to determining how your show should be organized. Saving the best for last, and placing an appealing grab near the beginning, can work wonders for keeping the audience engaged from start to finish.

Put Something Extra at the Very End

Some podcasts include bloopers and various other extras after the official ending of the video. This gives your audience something fun to enjoy at the end of a show, and leaves them with a positive impression of the episode. Another great tactic is some behind-the-scenes moment that took place during that episode’s shooting. Believe it or not, your audience will remember that this exists at the end of your videos and will actively stay tuned in to see them.

Another great tool for maintaining engagement throughout the video is ending each episode with community feedback. Popular YouTube content creator Ray William Johnson ends each video with a comment question of the day, giving viewers the chance to have their witty comments appear in each episode. This also encourages viewers to comment on videos, which is an important part of YouTube demographics and ranking.

Philip DeFranco, host of popular YouTube channel Sxephil, ends each episode on his channel by giving something away. This can be an expensive endeavor, but this can be possible with the support of sponsors that would like to have their products given away during an episode. Alternatively, you can give away something inexpensive like a piece of show swag or a cheap gadget.

Make Your Lead Story the Last Story of the Episode

Your lead story should always be the final story of the podcast. This means that you’ll need to tease it during the beginning and middle of the episode to keep viewers engaged. This lead should be the one subject you believe most viewers are tuning in specifically to see. Think about it like a Black Friday promotion for a store. If you put the hot ticket item at the entrance or near the cash registers, customers will grab it and go without picking up any additional items on their way out.

Tease Your Best Topics During the First 7-14 Seconds

That first precious few seconds of any video is where users make the decision of whether or not to invest their time watching the rest of the video. You have to catch their attention immediately, and explain why they want to stay tuned before they hit the back button. Teasing out subjects covered in your podcast at the beginning can be done in a serious or fun manner, and is best recorded after the show is over. Unless you’re a single host reading from a pre-written script, you’ll never know what story or event will end up being the most interesting of the show. Saving your teaser until after the episode is recorded can be one of the best ways to structure an accurate and interesting tease.

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