How to Create Engaging Video Content

Written by
Kevin Alster
Published on
June 12, 2024
Table of contents

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Wow, what a straight-laced, one-dimensional way to describe how your audience responds to videos.

This synonym does a much better job of describing what video creators are really after — Participation.

When your audience starts participating in your video content, you'll see much more than views and clicks. You'll notice:

  • Longer watch times per video: People pay attention for longer and watch the entire video because they're emotionally committed. 
  • More detailed comments: When someone takes the time to comment their own opinions and expression of how it made them feel, you know they're truly involved in the subject.
  • Different traffic sources: Your video's traffic sources are coming in from a diverse number of platforms. And that means your audience is sharing your videos like crazy.

Engaging video content captures and holds the attention and has the potential to create a wildfire of reactions with your brand right in the middle of it.

Here's how you can make engaging videos and enjoy all this attention. 👇

  1. Make sure what you say matters
  2. Use striking imagery and visuals
  3. Share a story
  4. Tap into emotions
  5. Get your message across fast
  6. Add meaningful interactions
  7. Be genuine

7 tips on how to make engaging videos

It doesn't matter whether you're a marketer looking to boost your content marketing strategy with an explainer video or a content creator looking to up your social media game; these seven tips are universal.

Here's how you can create the most engaging videos, increase your video views, and connect with your audience.

1. Create content relevant to your audience 

Understanding your target audience is a fundamental aspect of making engaging videos. To truly engage your audience, it's crucial to delve deep into their habits, struggles, and preferences.

Metrics play a vital role in this process, as they provide essential data that helps you tailor your content specifically to your target audience. The more you know about them, the better equipped you are to create videos that resonate with their needs and interests.

Your video script should be so finely tuned to your audience's mindset that it feels like you're reading their thoughts. When viewers encounter a video that speaks directly to their internal dialogues, it creates a powerful connection and a sense of relevance.

This "Aha! This is for me" moment is what every video marketer strives for. This technique of 'mind-reading' has been employed for decades in marketing, with classic examples like the Tupperware ads of the 1920s, which resonated deeply with their target audience by aligning with their desires and aspirations.

1920s Tupperware ad that nails voice of customer.

In this ad for Tupperware, “less work — more leisure” instantly resonated with their target audience of busy women seeking more freedom.

💡 Write video scripts using voice of customer research as input. You can find these words by running customer surveys, reading reviews, or even just chatting with people in your audience. 

2. Use striking imagery and visuals 

We're all suckers for gorgeous graphics. It's not our fault. We're hardwired that way. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. We are, by nature, hyper-focused on our visual world.

In this age of AI, you can still create videos that “wow” without even picking up a camera. There are billions of stock images, videos, and animations out there, AND you can try tools like DALL-E 3 to generate images with unnerving ease.

You can even use a free AI video maker like Synthesia to generate training videosexplainer videos, marketing videos, or tutorial videos with AI actors and voiceovers. 

So what makes a visual “striking”? 

Over the years, we've found that while creating video content, there's a place for panoramic shots, impressive drone fly-bys, and stunning photography; they must be relevant to your topic to be effective.

To keep your viewers engaged, you need a reason behind showing any images you choose to include.

💡Consider how you can use imagery to make your script more powerful. Combine animations, motion graphics, dynamic transitions, and kinetic typography. And remember, you can play with colors, contrasts, and color grading to evoke moods or emotional responses.

3. Tell a story with your video

Storytelling is an integral part of human nature, deeply ingrained in our history and psychology. The earliest recorded story dates back about 30,000 years, found on the walls of the Chauvet cave in France, illustrating the timeless nature of storytelling.

This innate attraction to stories is not just a historical fact; it's rooted in our brain's wiring. For instance, hearing a story can increase neural activity fivefold, as MRI scans reveal how different words stimulate various brain regions.

In the context of a marketing strategy, especially video marketing, leveraging the power of storytelling can significantly enhance engagement. An engaging story in a marketing video resonates more powerfully with the audience than mere facts or instructions.

For example, instead of using a monotone voiceover to guide viewers through a product's functions, incorporating these steps into a story format makes the content more captivating and memorable.

Compelling stories in explainer videos share several characteristics:

  • They're believable, easy to trust and to engage with.
  • They're relatable, reminding you of people and places in your life.
  • They entertain and keep you wondering what will happen next.
  • They teach a soft lesson, leaving you with a message that wasn't preached; you've figured it out yourself.
  • They're memorable, either through their humor or how they inspire you and even through a branded line like Etsy's “Why buy boring?
  • They have a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end and usually incorporate some tension or conflict

This 30-second Etsy video tells a story relatable to any parent and ends with a branded point, “Why buy boring?”

💡 To boost audience engagement, consider adopting story-based frameworks. Positioning the viewer as the “hero” of the story or using the “hero's journey” narrative structure can be particularly effective. This approach makes the content more engaging and ensures that the message resonates deeply and endures in the viewer's memory, much like a catchy Disney musical soundtrack.

4. Evoke emotion

When viewers are emotionally connected with the video, they become invested in it and seek a resolution or a satisfying conclusion. 

Using emotive words in your video script is one way to create more engaging video content. But you could also consider other emotional reactions your audience will have towards the sound, color palette, actors, environment, and overall style of your video. 

Different actors can elicit different states of mind: 

  • The CEO can narrate a brand story in an explainer video and inspire confidence.
  • An employee can share a work-related experience and inspire trust.
  • A customer can show up in a video testimonial and encourage authenticity.

You can use basic emotions like humor, sadness, excitement, fear, anger, happiness, or even playfulness to get viewers on your side. However, you can use a few deeper emotional beliefs to lead your audience to a “that's right” feeling. 

For example: 

  • It's not my fault; the system is against me.
  • It's us vs. them.
  • It's too late for me.
  • There must be a better way.
  • Others know a secret I don't.

💡Use the tone of voice, color, chill music and visual elements to work together to create memorable emotional connections through your video content.

5. Hook your audience from the start 

Capturing a viewer's attention in the initial moments of a video is crucial for engagement.

A study by Microsoft found that the average human attention span has significantly reduced, now standing at just eight seconds. This dramatic shift highlights the urgency for content creators to produce video content that grabs their audience's attention almost immediately. Videos that fail to engage viewers within these critical first few seconds will likely experience high drop-off rates.

Interestingly, there isn't a one-size-fits-all rule regarding the optimal length of a video.

The key is not the duration but the content's quality and relevance. Videos should be long enough to convey the essential information, but not a second longer.

On platforms like YouTube, which boasts 2.2 billion monthly users, the ideal video length is generally around 10 minutes. However, viewer engagement significantly drops for videos that exceed 60 minutes, with only 16% of viewers watching such videos to the end. Conversely, videos shorter than 60 minutes retain 62% of viewers.

💡 If you've got an audience constantly on the go, break down longer videos into micro-videos for each topic or task. You'll force yourself to get to the point fast and create engaging videos perfect for social media platforms.

6. Add meaningful interactions

360-degree views, clickable buttons, links, quizzes, checklists, and anything that requires viewers' active participation will help them feel more immersed and committed to completing your video and putting it to use. 

To take it a step further, you could gamify the experience by creating scenario-based videos to let viewers shape how the video evolves through what they click on.

💡Create engaging online video content using interactive quizzes or polls and add annotations or clickable links directing viewers to related content, additional resources, or calls to action. Directly prompt viewers to leave comments, ask questions, and share their thoughts, fostering a sense of community and engagement.

7. Be genuine

A genuine personality helps foster a sense of trustworthiness with your audience. Personality helps people decide if they resonate with you enough to trust what you're saying and take action on it. 

78% of consumers say it's more important to them that authentic and relatable video marketing attracts them more than just polished and high-quality videos.

Different personalities attract different types of audiences. Just think about Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, two distinct chefs, each one with a distinct large audience. 

The point? It's not as much about what you stand for as it is about attracting the audience who shares your stand.

When someone chooses your video, they begin doing the marketing for you. They engage with your content and share your videos with others, increasing your reach and endorsing your work with a “Hey, this is awesome!” shoutout. 

💡 If you're creating videos with yourself as the presenter, tell personal stories, experiences, or behind-the-scenes insights. While filming, avoid an overly scripted or rehearsed delivery to let your natural personality shine through. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, addressing feedback, or incorporating user-generated content. Show up for everyone as much as possible.

Start making great video content today

Time to make the most of these tips by putting them into practice.

You still need to plan your next successful video. Still, with the tips above and the insights in our following post on the FOCA video creation framework, you’ll create engaging video content that is replay-worthy in no time.

Further reading 📚

FOCA is a four-step video creation framework built on the most valuable actionable steps you can take in the planning phase. It’s like your step-by-step formula for planning engaging videos every time. 


Frequently asked questions

What makes a video engaging?

Engaging videos captivate their audience and keep them interested throughout its duration. Several key elements contribute to making a video engaging:

  1. Strong storytelling: A compelling narrative or story is crucial. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and ideally, it should evoke emotions or provoke thought.
  2. High-quality visuals: Good quality visuals are important for holding viewers' attention. This includes clear, high-resolution images, appealing color schemes, and thoughtful composition.
  3. Relatable content: Content that resonates with the audience's interests, problems, or experiences can significantly increase engagement. Understanding the target audience is essential in creating relatable content.
  4. Good pacing: The rhythm of the video should match its content. Fast-paced for excitement and slower for more dramatic or informative parts. Proper pacing keeps the viewer engaged without feeling overwhelmed or bored.
  5. Clear and concise messaging: The message should be clear and conveyed efficiently. Overly complex or ambiguous messages can lose viewers' interest.
  6. Interactive elements: In some formats, like online videos, interactive elements such as clickable links, polls, or questions can increase engagement.
  7. High-quality audio: Clear and high-quality sound, whether it's dialogue, music, or sound effects, significantly affects how viewers perceive the video.
  8. Professional editing: Good editing can enhance storytelling, maintain pacing, and improve the overall aesthetic of the video. It includes transitions, sound editing, and visual effects.
  9. Emotional connection: Videos that evoke emotions, whether happiness, sadness, excitement, or inspiration, tend to be more engaging.
  10. Uniqueness: Offering something new, whether it's an original idea, unique perspective, or innovative format, can make a video stand out and keep viewers interested.
  11. Call to action: Encouraging viewers to engage further with the content, whether by commenting, sharing, or exploring more, can increase engagement.

How do you make video content interesting?

To make video content interesting, experimenting with various video formats can be highly effective.

  1. Incorporating behind-the-scenes footage offers a unique and authentic glimpse into the creation process, humanizing your brand and fostering a deeper connection with your audience.
  2. Diversifying the video format, such as alternating between interviews, how-to guides, or animated explainers, keeps the content fresh and engaging.
  3. Leveraging live video formats can add an element of spontaneity and real-time interaction, inviting viewers to engage directly with the content creators. 

How do you engage viewers in a video?

To engage viewers in a video, it's essential to strategically answer questions and spark curiosity throughout the content. Begin by addressing common questions or concerns your audience might have, providing valuable insights or solutions that resonate with their needs.

Simultaneously, sprinkle elements that spark curiosity, such as intriguing facts, thought-provoking questions, or teasers about what's to come later in the video. This combination of answering questions and igniting curiosity keeps the audience invested and eager to watch your video to the end, as they're constantly intrigued and finding value in the content.