While online viewers may be more willing to sit through an advertisement compared to traditional television, there is still a growing portion of viewers who would prefer to skip ads entirely. In comes Vimeo. For the last two years, its Video On Demand product has grown to a library of over 17,000 titles that are direct to consumer. Vimeo VOD is an alternative to the more popular ad-based form of income for creators, but the content still needs to be able to sell itself.

Luckily, Vimeo has just released its new guide to optimizing content for Vimeo On Demand so let’s take a look at some of the tips it offers creators who want to attract as many paying viewers as possible.

Optimizing Video Content to Succeed with Vimeo on Demand

If you are ready to take advantage of Vimeo’s On Demand feature, you should have a completed piece of work and a trailer, poster and the detailed synopsis ready to go.  Load it all up to Vimeo and you’ll be rewarded with a landing page that is ready to sell it.

The landing page is the home for your title and can be customized to serve any number of purposes.  Best of all, the trailer will link back to this page, streamlining the buying process for interested viewers. As with any marketing, the more compelling you can make this landing page, the better. It’s a shop window for your product so use the very best images and enticing text that you can. Visit the landing page for Feral for a great example:

Vimeo On Demand landing page

Landing Page Features to Optimize

The Vimeo Handbook advises that creators do the following to optimize their content landing pages:

  • Have a Custom Background Image
  • Set your Custom URL
  • Craft a Compelling Description
  • Completely Fill Out Your Profile
  • Connect Your Social Accounts
  • Add Genres and Tags for Discovery
  • Customize Embedded Player Settings
  • Consider uploading closed captions

Your Vimeo on Demand landing page summary is absolutely key as it’s there to sell your content to the potential viewer. Pack as much detail into the first sentence as possible, and remember to include any press quotes you have received. Also, mention key cast members because potential customers may be searching for individual actors. As with other forms of online video, be sure to have an eye-catching thumbnail that is:

  • True to the Video
  • Uses Contrasting Colors
  • Is Bright and In Focus
  • Features Close Ups

A great thumbnail may be your viewer’s first introduction to your work so make it pop out, whereever it appears. Here are two really clear examples that do an excellent job of capturing the user’s attention:

vimeo on demand thumbnails
You should also be prepared to make a trailer and poster for your content.  These items will serve as companion pieces to help sell your video and are the first step in making it a VOD success.  A detailed synopsis of the work will also help complete the first line of tools to get your work noticed.

Vimeo on Demand: Pricing and Regions

The last step to uploading a piece of work is to choose the pricing and the regions you want to sell it in.  Realize that you are making your content for the Web and that traditional DVD style pricing may not apply.  You’ll have the choice of offering a simple 24 hour rental price, a purchase price, or both.  I personally recommend doing both, especially if you want to put a premium on your purchase price.  If your purchase price is low enough, you could forgo the rental price.

Price It Right:

  • Keep Price Affordable
  • Make it Available Worldwide (if possible)
  • Allow it to be Rented or Bought

The same steps apply to both a single piece of work and a series for Vimeo on Demand, the only difference between the two is having the added benefit of adding new episodes.  As you add new episodes, you’ll follow the same steps as you would for a single video, however you can add another set of pricing for the series as a whole.

Promoting Your Vimeo on Demand Content

Remember that hard work I talked about in the beginning of the article?  Promotion is where most of it resides, NOT in creating the original piece of work itself, so you had better embrace promotion. While good content is a must-have, even mediocre content can become a VOD success with great promotion.  Set specific goals for your content and work to get it in front of anyone that can help achieve those goals. Promote your video through:

  • Press
  • Related Message Boards
  • Social Media
  • Contests
  • Discounted Rentals/Purchases
  • Pre-order Hype
  • Other Successful Videos

It is one thing to create a one-off video that sees some success, but a loyal audience is invaluable. A passionate fan base can spread the virtues of a video faster than you can by yourself, so take special care in developing a close relationship with those who love your work the most.  That relationship can catapult a one-off video or launch an entire series. So build it like you mean it and:

  • Reply to All Comments
  • Stay connected with Top Fans
  • Interact on social media outlets

Making a piece of work with a bigger budget can be a particular challenge for creators, that’s where crowdfunding can help. Vimeo has partnered with Indiegogo to offer matching funds for select films when exclusive distribution rights are granted to Vimeo on Demand.  They have also agreed to free fulfillment of the digital download perks associated with an Indiegogo Campaign and the opportunity to have your video featured in the “Indiegogo-Funded Films” collection.

Above all else, if you are signing up for a Vimeo Pro account you had better have one or more pieces of work you are proud to call your own. Aside from the yearly fee and the required PayPal account, you need to work hard for your VOD content to succeed. An entrepreneurial spirit is a must have!

Creators can learn more about optimizing for Vimeo on Demand via its new handbook.