The $500,000 Organic YouTube Video
What makes a video produce, and produce, and produce… ?
For those looking to YouTube and video as the top of the sales funnel, the broadest free outreach we have for our products, a successful organic YouTube video is, as they say, “worth its weight in gold.” And, of course, it is oh so elusive.
I have been producing videos for X10 Therapy for many years, first cutting my teeth at cutting video on Final Cut Pro 7 during and well past its prime (I have returned to Adobe Premiere by the by). Most of my work centered around patient testimonials but in the very early days, really near the beginning of marketing the X10, I put a two camera setup together and shot hours of video of Physical Therapist, Lisa Alarcon. I had no idea the role this video would play for the business over the next seven years… all they way up to, well, today.
Wait, But Why?
Diagnosing why a video is so successful might very well help us replicate its performance for other companies in other categories, so let’s do just that. First – take a look at at least a minute or two (of the nearly 9 minute video) for yourself, below.
What Makes It so Good?
I’ll start with a list and then a short discussion.
Truthful, Believable, Credible
Educational & Informative
Lengthy (but not too long)
Sales Message = Embedded in the Middle
A Descriptive and Compelling Title
Taking them One-by-One
TRUTHFUL, BELIEVABLE, CREDIBLE
When we approached this interview we had one thing in mnd… help those seeking information about knee surgery in advance of their surgery. We had a great subject in Lisa Alarcon. She was willing to help us with her vast knowledge of knee surgery and recovery. We really wanted to spend all of our time on our product, but as we did the interview we found that there was so much more that Lisa could offer than an endoresement of the X10. As deep learning about a perticularly topic goes, we had struck a rich vein.
EDUCATIONAL & INFORMATIVE
When you have an authority on a topic who is well-spoken your job as a video producer becomes much easier. From the nearly 120 minutes of footage we had lots of nuggets of information from which to chose for the final product. From our research with prospective patients we knew that there were a lot of quesitons surrounding the post-surgical recovery process. And for any people who had surgery in the rear-view mirror and were struggling the challenges centered around swelling and the fear of scar tissue.
LENGTHY (but not too long)
You hear, all the time, that people have a short attention span. You have to grab their attention in the first 5 seconds of a video. Nobody has time, nobody reads, we’re all “visual learners.” I say to that – in my best olde English – “Poppycock!”
This 9-minute video sees most viewers through at least 7 minutes. We never dwell too long on an individual topic, keeping the information flowing. The viewer really learns from the piece, and the new knowledge is actionable. It’s not preachy either. The information is explained with clear analogies so that the messages are easy to grasp.
So, no, short is not always the answer, particularly on YouTube where so many are seeking answers to complicated questions, and do not shy away from a slightly longer form to get them.
SALES MESSAGE (in the middle)
We do not introduce our hero, The X10 Knee Machine, until 4.5 minutes into the piece. True there is a third of the audience who might never hear the product name, much less learn about its virtues. That is the risk we had to take in our effort to instill in the video truthfulness and credibility. If we jump to a sales message too early we have given up the game.
I think of so much of content marketing just as Mary Poppins might in today’s digital world. “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Our sugar is well-presented information delivered by a smart, attracive, knowledgable source. The medicine, of course, is our product message, carefully couched amidst highly useful and relevant information.
DESCRIPTIVE AND COMPELLING TITLE
What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to ultra-quick decisions on whether or not to watch a video on YouTube, you really want to get the name right. As a CMO I want to point to research that told us that “Swelling and Scar Tissue” was the optimal name for the video. Well – not the case – we just did not think it through that far. It is certainly not brilliant – or even interesting for that matter. Maybe in its brevity there is something to note. Or maybe it is just that the topic resonated with those in need of information on the subject.
And, I’ll bet there is an even better name yet out there. I did try to replicate this video a year and a half later with a cleaner edit, and nice “you are here” menu system. But that version never came close to the popularity of the original. With all its flaws, this video endured and continued to work so hard for the business.
The Impact of This Video
We introduced the video on YouTube just like any other video. Over the years we did multiple cuts and integrations into other videos to great effect. Within six months YouTube started to share it organically in the suggested videos panel. And it gained traction. We added 30-40 videos each year and the audience for The X10 Therapy YouTube Channel continued to grow each quarter. But it was always this single long-form video that led the pack.
$500,000 in Sales (and counting)
Each time a new prospective patient signs up for the X10 machine it is worth $1,500 to $4,000. And with this single organic YouTube video accounting for 15-25% of the views it became obvious how customers were first coming into contact with X10. “The video with the physical therapist was great. I was looking for help with knee swelling and scar tissue and I found this video…”
The gift that keeps on giving
Sure, the (insert expletive here) YouTube algorithm has had its impact. In the summer of 2019 this video crashed and traffic on the X10 Therapy YouTube Channel mostly went along with it. And then, as it happens on YouTube, that wonderful viewership all roared back to normal a few months later. With organic video we are always working at the pleasure of YouTube. That said, the price is right. Other than a tiny boost on occasion, this video has produced over $500,000 in revenue for little more than the cost of the shoot and edit.
Those numbers certainly work out.