The much sought-after and elusive Vimeo Staff Pick is a badge of honor and a surefire sign you are about to get a lot more views. There is no specific type of video that is chosen by Vimeo as a Staff Pick and trying to become one can seem overwhelming and almost impossible. There is no secret sauce to guarantee you will be featured as arguably one of the best videos on Vimeo, but there are a few areas to focus on to ensure you have the best chance.
1. Have a solid story to tell.
You might be thinking to yourself: "well, no duh," but this is the cornerstone of your success. Your video has no chance if your concept is not unique and your ideas not original. Vimeo Staff Picks are not just pretty visuals and tight editing; there is always a solid story arc and dynamic subjects. Make sure your video has an interesting "character" and contains a beginning, middle, and end.
Not every video has to be a narrative. Many time-lapse videos and animations do not have a central, human character, but they do have a protagonist of some kind, and in the case of time lapse, sometimes that is even the viewer. Your drone footage mismashed together isn't going to win any awards, but if you think through your editing and try to tell a story about a place or location, you might be on to something.
2. Grab them with the thumbnail.
The thumbnail of your video is your movie poster. It needs to be intriguing and informative. Catch a viewer's eye and convince them to watch your video. Before anyone even clicks play, they see your thumbnail; so, it needs to represent your film correctly and attract your audience.
There is debate on if a thumbnail should include text. It depends on the content. If you can tease your story through a strong visual and the title, stick to that. Don't overcrowd your thumbnail with irrelevant information. Your thumbnail should accurately represent your video and let your viewer know what they are about to watch. The conversion from clicking play to finishing the video needs to be seamless, and viewers like to know what they are about to watch before they view something.
3. Have an awesome description.
"In rural Pennsylvania, a young man's life is forever changed when he goes behind the back of his drug-dealing mentor."
You have a solid video and now a great thumbnail. Your next area of focus should be your description. The first sentence or two should be a logline that boils the video down to its essential dramatic narrative in as succinct a manner as possible. This is your sales pitch to your viewer.
Include anecdotal information after these few sentences. It's okay to include web links, cast and crew, detailed location and camera information, and social pages, but make sure those are separated from your main description so it stands out.
4. Reach a wide audience.
It's rare to see a video that makes it to the Staff Picks that alienates people or is overly controversial. That's not to say Staff Pick videos do not tackle hard subjects, but you won't see a Staff Pick that only appeals to a narrow audience. Take an ethical and unbiased approach to the storytelling if covering particularly difficult subject matter. Vimeo regularly highlights strong documentary work, but keep your audience in mind and try not to alienate a particular group that could become quite vocal in the comments.
5. Do some self-promotion.
You might have a great video, but if you only have a few views, Vimeo's Staff Pickers probably won't see it. Drum up some views, likes, and comments using your own social media channels. Share your piece throughout Vimeo in specific groups and collections that contain videos with similar subject matter. Utilize your network and have people that starred in and worked on your film share it as well. Reach out to blogs and media sites that deal in similar topics or might have an interest in sharing your video's story. Having your video emended in a lot of different places around the web will grow your audience and increase your chances of getting picked.
Finally, not every great video is going to be a Staff Pick, and that shouldn't be a sign of failure. Keep doing great work and telling important stories. If you're making films for the recognition, you're in the wrong business.
Have you had your video chosen as a Staff Pick on Vimeo? What was your experience like?