We’re not here to report the news or comment on what North Korea’s motives are, or anything about politics.  But oftentimes I run across “political videos” or “news videos” and wonder if there’s something that can be learned from them in any way.  You run across these every day and say, “No, there is nothing I can learn from this, no matter how hard I try.”  So today, there is a video North Korea put out that depicts the U.S. Capitol building in the crosshairs of a supposed missile.  But as dramatic as that sounds, what we can learn from this video is how not to make one.  This could have been a lot better.

The Mistakes Made by the North Korean Propaganda Video

First, let’s take a look.  That is, if you can make it past the first few seconds:

The YouTube Creator Playbook says that you should get your viewers’ attention in the first 15 seconds.  The problem with this one is that it starts off with some really loud music and still images of tanks.  I don’t see any action there.  I can go on the internet and find pictures of tanks.  When a video starts with pictures I don’t think I’m going to see anything that moves.

It is in fact about a minute and a half before I even see a camera movement in this thing.  What, were you trying to bore your possible recruits before they could even think to sign up?  I think the sound quality alone might turn people off.

Also, there’s no engagement.  I can’t comment on the video?  Turning off the comments means you are shutting off people from really getting to interact with the video, or you.  Showing appreciation for your potential fans goes a long way.  Look, I know it’s a controversial stance you’re taking here, and the nearly 9:1 dislike/like ratio shows that it’s unpopular.  But creating discussion only gets people riled up and telling other friends to watch it and hate it.  You can either be very popular, which is something that seemingly everyone wants to be, or you can embrace your role as the villain and welcome the hate.  Either way, it translates into views.

Captions.  There is a caption overlay on the video, which is good for the hearing impaired who speak Korean.  But there doesn’t seem to be an option for any other major language.  This is especially troublesome for a political video because you want to get people around the world interested in what you have to say.  And, as a side effect, you want to let the United States you mean business.  Now, I’m sure the government has a bunch of translators who can help them, but what about everyone else?

No call-to-action to subscribe.  Look, if you made it as far as the late 3-minute mark and into the 4th minute, then you are a champion video watcher my friend.  But you know what’s missing?  I have no reminder to subscribe.  The channel “uriminzokkiri” has a little over 6,500 subscribers and nearly 6,000 videos.  Amazing production, actually, considering they joined YouTube in 2010.  So regular content is not a problem.  But if you have a ratio of about one video for every subscriber you have, then you aren’t giving enough people a reminder that “Hey, we come out with these kinds of videos all the time.  Come join the fun.”

No descripton.  For SEO purposes, it’s good to have a description of the video.  That way if I’m on Google one day and I want to find “North Korean Capitol missile video” then it easily turns up in search.  Luckily for the North Korean government, they’re always in the news these days so I’m actually pretty likely to find the video in Google with those words.  But what if you aren’t so special that you’re not in the news all the time?  A little help for those not-so-popular videos can go a long way if you put in a relevant description.

No links to other videos.  With a library of over 5,700 videos to choose from, that’s a lot of leveraging that can be done.  And there should be some playlists.  I don’t have time to weed through all that content to find the best, or find videos that appeal to similar tastes.

Look, I think the video is a nice try for, maybe, a first-time YouTuber.  You got a lot of coverage out of the controversial content, but now what?  With all the other mistakes made with the video, the coverage didn’t matter.  Word got around it’s not a good video and no one can engage with it, so what’s the point?  Anyway, better luck next time.  Hopefully you’ll learn on the 5,775th video.