Turning your articles into videos is one of the most effective ways of re-purposing your content.
This simple growth hack can radically extend your reach and more than triple your traffic in a matter of months.
In this article I'm going to show you how to setup a YouTube Channel and how to turn your blog posts into videos that bring boatloads of traffic back to your blog site.
Let's dive in!
Here are seven reasons why everyone who writes blog posts should be creating video content:
1.1 Entire Segments of your Potential Audience Prefer Video
The simple fact is that some people naturally absorb information better in the form of video than in written format.
By turning your articles into videos, you’ll be reaching an entire new audience that doesn’t read blog posts.
1.2 Extend your Reach
YouTube is now the third most visited website on the Internet.
So, by turning your articles into videos you’ll be tapping into a completely new audience.
1.3 Become a Real Person
Your existing readers may love your writing.
But there’s nothing like seeing your face and/or hearing your voice.
Turning your articles into videos will make you much more real to your audience. Videos allow you to build confidence in you and your brand in a way that writing simply cannot do.
1.4 Get Listed in Google
Have you ever looked up a YouTube video on Google?
There’s a whole channel of Google results that are just videos.
And the ones at the top are nearly all YouTube videos.
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? That might explain why YouTube videos rank so well in Google search.
So, by turning your articles into videos, you'll not only get traffic from YouTube, you'll also get traffic from Google Search.
1.5 It’s Easier to Get Ranked on YouTube
It’s easier to get a high-ranking video on YouTube than it is to get a high-ranking blog post on Google.
Because far fewer people are turning articles into videos than are writing blog posts.
The vast majority of bloggers think that making videos is too difficult or too time-consuming. So, the competition to get ranked on YouTube is far less than the competition to get ranked on Google.
Turning your articles into videos will put you in a less competitive space than Google Search.
If you still have any doubts about why you should turn your articles into videos, here are some YouTube statistics that are, frankly, mind-blowing:
- YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet and the third most visited website (Google and Facebook occupy positions one and two)
- 45% of Internet users watch more than an hour of Youtube or Facebook videos per week
- YouTube has localized versions of its site in 88 countries and supports 76 languages
- YouTube has more than 1.5 billion users around the world, which is more than 30% of all Internet users
- 58% of American adults regularly use YouTube (Pew Research Center). Compare this with 26 percent who use Instagram and 15 percent who use Twitter.
- Searches on YouTube for “how to” videos are growing by 70% every year.
- Watching videos comprises 30% of all Internet activity
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
So, now that I’ve got your attention, you’re probably asking:
How do I turn my articles into videos?
The first step is to set up your own YouTube channel.
That’s what I’m going to show you in the next section:
It's quite simple to setup a YouTube channel.
Login to your YouTube account and then click on the circular profile icon in the top right corner:
In the dropdown menu, click on ‘My channel’:
On the next screen, click ‘Create Channel’:
On the next screen, click on the ‘Creator Studio’ button:
You’re now ready to start uploading videos:
There many tools for turning articles into videos.
In this post I’m going to describe two of them:
To use Screenflow you’ll need to purchase some software and learn some new skills.
Lumen5 is free and there’s virtually no learning curve.
But be aware that Screenflow and Lumen5 produce entirely different kinds of videos (more about that later).
Screenflow is video editing and screen-recording software for Mac.
It’s the software I use for creating videos and I highly recommend it.
When making a video, the key thing to grasp is that the sound track is the most important element of the video. The soundtrack is the equivalent of the ‘text’ of your article.
So, make the soundtrack your primary focus.
The visuals (such as images, photos, screenshots etc.) are simply props that amplify or help to illustrate the soundtrack.
So, with this focus in mind, the first thing you want to do is record your soundtrack.
At this point I’m going to take a tip from Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Café.
Ana suggests turning your edited script into a PowerPoint (PPT) slide show and then reading from the slide show into your recording software.
I’ve used Ana’s technique and it’s a great tip!
This is how to do it:
First, take the text of your blog post as a Word document and edit it (heavily).
Because, the shorter your video, the better.
ComScore reports that the average length of online video is 4.4 minutes. YouTube videos are on average a bit longer than that.
But you still want to keep your video to about 4 minutes or less, as those are the videos that get maximum engagement.
Reduce your paragraphs to one or two short sentences.
If you’re using Windows, follow the steps in this video and your headings and body text will be imported automatically into PowerPoint.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work on the Mac platform, as the Mac version of PowerPoint (PPT) will not import a Word document.
So, if you’re using Mac, you’ll have to simply copy and paste the text from your Word document into the PowerPoint presentation (you can save the Word document as a text file and import the text file to PowerPoint, but then all the text will be placed in the headings of your PPT slides).
Once your PPT presentation is ready, make a Screenflow audio recording, using an external microphone:
Then, in PPT, click on Slide Show > Play From Start and read the text out loud.
Once your soundtrack is ready, go to the Screenflow Timeline and arrange the visuals (images and screenshots) so that they appear at the relevant point in your sound track:
Lumen5 is an online video creation platform, powered by artificial intelligence, that turns blog posts into social videos.
Just enter the URL of your published blog post and Lumen5 will pull in the text or ‘the story’ and place it in the left-side panel:
The software also pulls in all the images from your published article so that you can place them where they need to be:
It’s important to realize that Lumen5 simply places the text of your article on a series of slides with background images:
This is not a spoken video but a silent video (unless you add a music soundtrack).
So, this is not really comparable to a blog post video created with Screenflow (as described in the previous section).
I haven’t published any blog posts on YouTube using Lumen5, so I can’t say how effective they are or how much engagement they get.
But Lumen5 is certainly a good option for quickly re-purposing written blog posts into video format. And there’s no significant learning curve in order to get started, as there is with Screenflow (or any other video recording software).
Once you've setup a YouTube channel and uploaded your first video, you need to create a thumbnail.
A YouTube thumbnail is the visible face of your video – it’s the first thing people see when your video turns up in YouTube Search.
First impressions are brief and decisive. So, a lot hangs on your thumbnail.
I’m going to give you 7 tips for creating thumbnails that people click on.
But first, how do you make your thumbnail?
There are a handful of free online tools for creating YouTube thumbnails.
You can also have a thumbnail made for you on Fiverr for as little as $5 to $10:
Here’s a thumbnail I created for my first YouTube ‘blog post to video’.
I include it here because I’ll be referring to it in the following 7 tips:
Your YouTube thumbnail should:
- Have a resolution of 1280x720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
- Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
- Be 2MB or less in size.
- Use a 16:9 aspect ratio
This may seem obvious, but a lot of YouTube thumbnails don’t contain the title.
Your title is the key element on your thumbnail – it tells the searcher that your video is going to answer their problem or query.
Don’t try to include the entire title of your blog post, just the key words. In the example above, the full title of my blog post was: ‘My WordPress Site Is Stuck in Maintenance Mode – What Do I Do?
For my thumbnail I cut the title down to: ‘WordPress Site is Stuck in Maintenance Mode’.
If you try and include more words than that, none of them will be legible. You need to make your thumbnail easy to read, without squinting.
Your thumbnail is competing with dozens of others, so you need to use contrasting colors – make your thumbnail pop off the page.
If you stick to a consistent, uniform design in your thumbnails, you’ll quickly build brand recognition.
Whenever people see those particular colors and design elements, they’ll immediately know that it’s you.
Notice how Neil Patel builds brand recognition with this simple, consistent design:
This tip follows from the last one: include your logo and any other branding elements from your website (e.g. color combos).
If you do a search in YouTube, you’ll notice that 95% of the thumbnails all have one common element: a human face.
Because human faces grab our attention.
The simple fact is: we’ve been programmed over millions of years of evolution to read, analyze, and interpret human faces.
So, in any kind of graphic, the human face is the first thing your eyes are drawn to.
YouTube often obscures the lower right corner of the thumbnail with a timestamp, so don’t put any important design element there, such as a logo:
Here are some tips for getting your videos found in the YouTube search engine:
Instead of uploading your video with a filename like ‘v00000045.mp4’, use keywords in your video filename: your-keyword-phrase.mp4
YouTube videos, like blog posts, have meta data that tell the search engine what the article is about.
On YouTube, this meta data comprises:
Write succinct, concise titles and descriptions using keywords or keyword phrases that people searching for your video would use.
Use YouTube’s Auto Suggest function to find related keywords:
Install VidIQ’s Chrome Extension and use it to examine and copy the keywords being used by high ranking YouTube videos on the same topic as your video:
By adding Closed Captions to your YouTube video you’re adding text to your video, and that text will contain your keywords and keyword variations.
Not only that, but with YouTube’s Auto Generated Closed Captions, your video becomes accessible to a much wider audience.
So, adding Closed Captions improves the SEO of your YouTube video on two fronts.
Here’s how to add Closed Captions to your YouTube video:
In your YouTube account, click on ‘Creator Studio’, then click on ‘Subtitles/CC’, and then click on ‘Add new subtitles or CC’:
On the next screen, choose the language for your Closed Captions:
On the next screen, choose the third option, ‘Create new subtitles or CC’:
YouTube’s algorithm does a pretty good job of converting your voice into text (as you can see below). But if there are any errors, you can correct them in the box at the top:
YouTube’s Audience Retention is the percentage of your video that viewers watch.
If viewers leave your video after viewing an average of 25% of it, you’ll have a lower retention rate than a video that viewers leave after watching 65% of it.
YouTube watches this metric carefully (just as Google watches ‘time on page’) and will rank your video accordingly – the higher your retention rates the higher your video will rank.
Here are two tips for increasing retention rate:
- Explain immediately what your video is about. When someone starts watching your YouTube video, they just typed in a search term and they want to know (immediately) if your video is going to answer their query.
- Don’t place your video Intro or your ‘logo sting’ at the start of your video. Lots of people do this and it’s a primary cause of viewers leaving videos. Instead, explain immediately what your video is about, and then after 3 to 5 seconds, insert your video Intro.
The whole point of turning your articles into videos is to get traffic from your YouTube video to your website.
And to do that you need a ‘Call To Action Overlay’.
The CTA Overlay is a small rectangle that sits on top of your video:
A YouTube CTA Overlay contains:
- a Call To Action (‘More Blogging Tips’)
- a link to your website
- a small image
In order to enable CTA Overlays in YouTube you need to:
- Set up an account in AdWords
- Link your YouTube account to your AdWords account
- Have your destination URL approved by YouTube
This process can be quite tricky – it took me a couple of hours to get it all sorted out.
I’m going to go through the process, step-by-step.
Creating your AdWords account:
Login to your Google AdWords account and click on the blue plus sign:
Next, click on ‘New campaign’:
On the next screen, choose ‘Video’:
On the next screen, choose ‘Website traffic’:
On the next screen, you’ll be asked to insert the URL of a video. This can be any video, as you are not actually going to run this ad:
Next, choose your ‘Video ad format’. Again, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, as we are not going to run this ad:
On the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter a CPA bid:
You won’t be running this ad, so don’t worry – just enter $0.01
On the next screen give your ad group a name:
You will now see a ‘Success’ message – just click ‘Continue to campaign’:
Now log back into your YouTube account and click on ‘My Channel’:
Next click on ‘Creator Studio’:
On the next screen, find your video and on the dropdown menu, click on ‘Info & Settings’:
In the ‘Info & Settings’ panel, you should now see an item titled: ‘Call-to-action overlay’:
Click on the ‘Call-to-action overlay’ item.
Then add the following information:
- Your headline
- Your headshot
- The display URL
- The destination URL
- Tick the ‘enabled on mobile’ checkbox
When you click back into the ‘Creator Studio’, you’ll see that your YouTube video now has a ‘Call-to-action overlay’:
This one element is the key to getting traffic from your video to your blog site.
Of course, you still need to end your video with a clear CTA in the soundtrack.
Tell the viewer what you want them to do next:
- Visit your website for the full article
- Subscribe to your blog
- Subscribe to your YouTube channel
- Download a pdf
Converting your articles into videos is a must for any blogger who wants to tap into a new audience and be part of the fastest growing content format on the Internet.
In fact, video is becoming so important that if you don’t make the move to video, you may well get left behind.
But creating good videos does involve some initial costs and some technical challenges.
Which is why very few bloggers are turning their articles into videos. Most of them are happy just producing blog posts.
But that's good news for you! It means that ranking your content in YouTube Search is much easier than ranking in Google – there’s simply less competition.
So, go ahead and complete these key steps for turning articles into videos:
- Create your own YouTube channel
- Convert your articles into videos
- Add a ‘Call To Action Overlay’ to each video (that sends YouTube traffic to your blog site)
Wishing you every success!