How To Make Shareable Digital Videos

Your stories will increasingly be judged by whether they’re good enough to be shared. Not only do you want your audience to watch and like your videos, you need them to share your videos. Here are some quick tips to make shareable content:

  • Pick an interesting topic. This sounds easy, but young journalists often pitch stories that they would never watch if they didn’t think of the idea themselves. Ask yourself, “would I watch this if I saw it in my social media timeline?” If not, think of a better story idea.
  • You’ve got to master the basics. If your headroom and lighting are off, people will immediately stop watching. Use proper framing, lighting and creative angles. Click here for videography basics.
  • Your video has to start with incredibly compelling video immediately. Many viewers will stop watching after three seconds. Put your best shots first.
  • Many viewers watch videos on their cell phones. Make sure your visuals are easy to see and your text is easy to read.
  • Many viewers never turn the volume on. They’ll watch your video in silence so you’ve got to include mobile-friendly text overlays.
  • Some viewers might actually be listening, so pick relevant and good music. Music should enhance the story, not just replace silence. Stop with that lame elevator music. If your story is upbeat, your music better be too. Match the mood of the video and the music.
  • If you’re on camera be active and creative. Here are some examples of good reporter stand-ups.
  • If you’re using clips from interviews, sound bites should be short. Very few sound bites are compelling enough to keep a viewers attention after 15 seconds. Aim for 10-second sound bites. That means you also have to be good at interviewing people. Coach the people you interview to talk in sound bites by rephrasing questions until they deliver a sound bite you can use.

My favorite mobile journalist is Yusuf Omar. He co-founded Hashtag Our Stories with his wife. He’s fantastic at engaging viewers on different platforms. He’s innovative and energetic.

Hashtag Our Stories is an international mobile journalism (MOJO) network, publishing vertical video stories on social media. Created by citizens. Curated by journalists.

Watch this video to learn more about their mission.

NowThis is growing in popularity on social media. Take a look at how they use text animations, music and file b-roll to create timely videos that inform and entertain. Also, consider the shape of the video. Their Instagram videos are square to fit the platform, while their Facebook videos are 16:9.

The company is branching out into niche groups like NowThis Politics and NowThis Who Is. NowThis Who Is identifies people in the news and gives viewers a better idea of who they are. Here’s one example about Robert Muller.

Want to know how to use a 360 camera? NowThis will teach you.

Here are some fun “Explore Tampa Bay” videos created by USF students.

“How To” videos are great for sharing. BuzzFeed really did a great job making these super popular online with their Nifty and Tasty videos. Now you’ll see similar versions all over Pinterest, IG, FB and YouTube. Pay attention to their SEO headline writing, steady tripod camera shots and extreme close-ups. Also, notice when they adjust the speed of the videos to keep their videos short.

USF student Deanna Lowe emulated Buzzfeed’s style in this video she made for class:

Check out some different techniques you’ll find more on social media, like vertical video made for phones and fun animations.

As much as I love editing video in Adobe Premiere Pro, I have to admit, some other tools are faster and easier to use. Head on over to the video editing lecture for tutorials on Adobe Premiere Pro.

For those times when you want to get the job done sooner, check out some tools you can use to make and share your videos faster.

Adobe Spark





YouTube Audio Library

Screen recording

Additional Tools:


Published by JeanetteAbrahamsen

I am an instructional designer and TV news instructor at the University of South Florida. My passion for innovating learning led me to pursue my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology. I love creating media to enhance eLearning and foster online engagement. I teach students to create multimedia stories for broadcast, web and social media platforms. I lead the Florida Focus class where students produce daily news shows that air on Tampa's PBS station. My reporting classes collaborated with Tampa's NPR station to produce award-winning stories. I am an Emmy Award-winning journalist. I produced thousands of hours of TV news in some of America's largest media markets at Tampa's NBC station, San Diego's ABC station and the San Diego Union-Tribune. I also produced immersive 360-degree virtual tours at the University of South Florida and reported for Hashtag Our Stories.

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