🔎 RR#19 – Imagine you’re explaining a board game

Hey Reader,

Ok… I want to be honest about something.

I’ve been exchanging secretive messages with people on Twitter about something I really wasn’t expecting… and it’s only fair that I ‘fess up.

Oh gosh. Ok I’m just gonna say it, but… let’s pretend I’m whispering, ok? 🤫

People have started asking to… ok, you can do this… they’ve started asking to…

Sponsor me 😬

I know, I know.

Believe me, whenever a small, indie band that I love suddenly gets a little bit of traction, I find myself inexplicably annoyed at them.

BUT! You may know I’ve been working with Justin Moore for half a year now, so I’m ensuring I do this sponsorship thing RIGHT.

When done properly, a sponsorship is a win-win-win… you get connected with a cool brand, the brand gets connected with you, and I make a little money for facilitating that connection.

With that in mind, I wanna make sure I only ever promote something I already love, or that I believe will serve a solid portion of my audience.

⚡️ So… would you be willing to spend 2 minutes answering this quick survey to teach me a little more about you?

Thank you Reader!! Ok, that’s enough waffle – let’s hit it…

Video #1

Title: I Have 100 Days To Beat Explosive Primal Fear
Creator: NaturalCauzes
Average % viewed: 28.2%

What worked

(1/2) Hook

Breaks down his goal during the hook.

Not only does this make the idea more digestible (step 1, step 2, etc), but it also shows us clear payoffs to look forward to ahead of the finale.

(2/2) Context

After explaining the concept and getting into the action fairly quickly, the creator then zooms out a little to explain a little more context about the game (and the challenges to come).

Taking a moment like this to get everyone on the same page helps the audience feel “in the loop”.

Think of it like teaching someone a board game.

You might start by giving them a brief overview of what’s going to happen.

Then it’s easiest to just start playing a bit so the words you’re saying actually mean something in context.

But NOW you can go back to explaining things again, only this time with a little more nuance and depth, because the person you’re talking to has a greater understanding than during your first explanation, having seen the game it in action.

What to improve

(1/2) Pattern Interrupt

Watch the first minute after the hook, and see if you can spot what’s missing.

*George waits*

Did you feel that?

After the initial tension built by the hook, the video falls into a pattern of “and then, and then, and then”.

In fact, the first “but” doesn’t come until 1:42 (I checked the transcript 😉).

This risks making the video a little boring because there’s nothing to re-engage our brains.

This issue popped up a few times, especially during S2 (where viewers are gradually falling away).

(2/2) Payoffs

The miniboss teased in the hook doesn’t appear until 10 minutes and, when it does, it’s not the one that was pictured.

For the next five minutes, I no longer knew what we were building towards.

Then, we finally see the creature that was teased in the hook… but it’s only to tease us again about its eventual appearance.

It started to feel like the BBC teasing Moriarty’s death – it ends up testing the audience’s patience.

Takeaway

Be conscious of how you set your audience’s expectations during the hook. You only have so many “fake-outs” (even if they’re accidental) before they’ll lose patience.

Video #2

Title: We Need To Talk About Envato Elements (2023 Updated)
Creator: Shaun Notcutt
Average % viewed: 32.8%

What worked

(1/2) Curiosity

Shaun speaks directly to the fears/desires of his audience during the hook. How?

By directly acknowledging the comments and questions left on a previous video.

This opens multiple curiosity gaps related exactly to the interests of his audience.

(2/2) Depth

Yes, this video is ultimately about promoting one website over the others.

But the amount of detail Shaun goes into about all three is immense. He’s spent time digging up about every stat you could want from a digital asset platform review, which avoids making it feel like a giant ad for one platform.

What to improve

(1/3) Fast cuts

The end of the first sentence is cut off. There’s also an unnatural-sounding cut at 0:16.

Your audience is looking for any reason to click away in the first and last 5% of your video. Choppy dialogue is easily on the list of reasons to go.

(2/3) Visuals

The comparison screens are pretty bland – a fully white screen with text and logos popping up. And this is on-screen for 4 uninterrupted minutes.

A more interesting way to display these stats: pick the most interesting takeaways in each category, and use B-Roll of the actual websites (or footage downloaded from those websites) while discussing them.

There’s a choice to be made here about being informative vs entertaining, but 4 minutes of seeing numbers read out on a white screen understandably loses people (see S3).

Perhaps the full comparison/breakdown could have been available in the description as a free download for anyone who wanted it.

(3/3) CTA

We find out which website is best (final payoff), but then the creator spends another minute talking about the winning choice.

To my mind, we should have understood why this one was best over the course of the video, rather than having it summarised (or new info added) at the eleventh hour.

Tied into this, we also get asked to comment, subscribe, watch the next video, and sign up to the product through an affiliate link.

Too many CTAs lead to decision fatigue, and we’re more likely to do nothing.

Takeaway

Don’t give heaps of new info after a conclusion/payoff. If it feels like you need to, I suggest going back through the video to thread those thoughts in throughout.

Video #3

Title: Quit Procrastinating with THIS 1 Technique (in 2 minutes)
Creator: Karl Avillo, MD
Average % viewed: 70.3%

What worked

(1/2) Subject Framing

Borrowing frameworks from other types of content and applying them to your niche is a great way to come up with new ideas.

Atomic Habits has oversaturated the productivity space in the last couple of years, so it’s nice to see Karl reframing the discussion in a two minute summary.

(2/2) Structure

He builds a nice new layer of curiosity into the video at the midpoint.

We learn the theory behind building habits, but then Karl implies that there’s even a way to make it easier (rather than giving us all that information out the gate).

What to improve

(1/2) Technical

Audio is out of sync from 1:10-1:30.

When you’ve been staring at your edit for hours, it’s easy to miss things like:

  • Audio/video sync
  • Multiple text/effects popping up out of time with each other.
  • Typos

No need to explain why this isn’t good. Give yourself a day away from the edit and look over it with a clear head (whether you’re editing it, or giving feedback to your editors).

(2/2) Concept

This video is one of the lowest performing on Karl’s channel from the last 6 months, and the minor technical issues aren’t to blame – the video looks great overall.

But, despite what I said about the framing, the problem is this – distilling the key lessons from Atomic Habits has been done to death.

Of course, it’s important to take inspiration from other channels when getting started, but a creator eventually needs to lean into their own style a little more. This video is too close to 2021 Ali Abdaal content to feel exciting in 2023.

Takeaway

You can (and should) take inspiration from others, but you eventually need to lean into your style/format/angle to stand out.

That’s all for now!

Speak soon,

George 👋

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