I’m sorry to say this but you’ve just fallen for the oldest copywriting trick in the book, the open loop.
My story – completely made up by the way (sorry!) – had you so compelled that you couldn’t stop reading. You just had to find out what happened next.
This is exactly what you should be doing with your videos – hooking the viewer!
Before I show you real life examples of videos that use open loops, let’s first define what an ‘open loop’ actually is.
The best TV shows do this all the time.
You know how every episode always ends on a cliffhanger?
That’s an open loop!
A good open loop will leave you desperate to know what happens next.
Imagine if the videos you produced were so engaging that your viewers were desperate to hear every single word in the hope you’d provide them with a resolution.
That’s the power of a great video script!
Here’s A Very Simple Way You Can Use This In Your Next Video
Most viewers will leave a video within the first 15 seconds.
In order to avoid this, use an open loop at the start of your video to immediately hook your viewer by either making them curious, intrigued or certain that you have the answer to their problem.
I’ll show you 3 strategies for how to do this in a sec….
Remember, it’s important you close the loop and provide your viewers with a sense of closure otherwise you might annoy them and leave them feeling cheated.
If you promise to give them a resolution, you better deliver!
By the way, did you notice how I opened a loop with you just now?
I teased you with a promise that I’d show you 3 strategies…then went on to talking about something else….and you’re still reading because you want closure!
If my content was good enough – if I were able to keep your attention – I could go on and on for another 5,000 words before I came good on my promise…
But I wouldn’t do that to you…
Well, maybe just one more sentence…
Let me show you some examples of open loops in action…
STRATEGY #1 Don’t start at the beginning!
Think of your video as a story.
Don’t waste time setting the scene or introducing the characters. Jump straight into the action.
Give your viewer a taste of the excitement that’s to come…
If you tease them with the ‘good stuff’, you can go back and set the scene later. They’ll be more inclined to sit through to the end if they know there’s something exciting to come.
Here’s a few examples of this in action.
Note – for all the videos below, the open loops are within the first few seconds of the video. You can watch the videos in full if you want, but for each example the concept I’m illustrating can be seen within 15 seconds.
Notice how the video doesn’t start on Day 1, it starts with Day 12?
By dropping you seemingly into the middle of the story, you’re left wanting to know what happened to get them to this point…
Why did they decide to give up sugar?
Why is the lady depressed?
And why the heck did they punch the eagle at the start of the video? Strange…but effective!
Here’s another example:
Again, notice how the video doesn’t begin at the start?
We’re not told where Gary is, or why.
The scene hasn’t been set at all.
We’ve just been dropped into the middle of the story with Gary sat in a waiting room, mid conversation, only for an excited lady to greet him within seconds.
Your brain is screaming ‘What’s this all about?’
Where is he? What’s going on? Why’s everyone so happy to see him?
…and that’s why you’ll continue to watch – for closure!
STRATEGY #2 Start with something unexpected
Look at how Casey Neistat (one of the biggest YouTubers around) starts this video.
That’s an unexpected start.
What the heck is going on?
What are those clips on this arm?
Did she just burn him with that laser thing?
What are they trying to do?
It raises more questions than it answers.
And yes, if you’re pointing to your screen screaming “they haven’t started at the beginning” you’re absolutely right. Well done. You’re learning fast!
Here’s another example of starting with something unexpected…
Imagine you’re searching on Youtube for tips on how to convince people to pay for your service. You stumble across this video by Marie Forleo.
The first few seconds are definitely not what you expected, right?
But it’s effective.
It shows character.
There’s a lot of likeability there.
And given how seriously a lot of others take themselves, especially in Marie’s niche (the business world), it’s a weird and unexpected enough start to hook you in and keep you watching.
STRATEGY #3 Make or reaffirm your big promise
Why is the viewer watching your video?
What benefit will they get from it?
Don’t waste time. Let them know immediately that you’ll be answering their question and giving them the information they seek.
The longer you make them wait before confirming, the higher the likelihood they’ll leave your video.
Here are a few examples of how to make or reaffirm a promise within seconds:
“In this video you’re going to learn exactly how to rank your site in Google, step by step”.
Excellent! That’s exactly what I’m looking for. I’m in the right place.
“In this video I want to help you figure out whether or not you should sell an online course; pros and cons”
Excellent. I know what I’m getting. I don’t need to start skipping the video or strumming my fingers across the table impatiently wondering when he’ll get to it!
“In this video I’m going to teach you how to fall back asleep, or get to sleep, when your mind is racing”
Bingo! That’s what I’m here for. I know I’m in the right place. I’m going to stick around until I get it.
Oh, and did you notice the extra bonus open loop?
“Be sure to stay to the end where I share with you my 5 productivity hacks that’ll help you double your energy…”.
He’s made a promise. To get closure you’ll need to watch until the end of the video!