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5 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting ‘Staff Picked’ by Vimeo

Johnathan Paul

Use Vimeo as a platform to jumpstart the reach of your film or video project. We’ve pinpointed 5 quick tips to increase your chances of getting ‘Staff Picked’ by Vimeo.

The coveted Vimeo Staff Picks. Having your film or video project Staff Picked by the folks at Vimeo immediately puts it out in front of a massive audience. The types of videos chosen as Staff Picks are wide ranging – music videos, animations, documentaries, branded content. Trying to get your video picked can seem overwhelming – is there even a science to it?

We examined other projects that have received this ‘award’ and talked with other filmmakers and video producers who’ve previously been picked. Through this research we’ve come up with 5 quick tips that we feel will help you inch ever closer to gaining that most coveted of seals.

Solid Concepts

I recently sat in on a conversation with filmmaker Evan Burns who was staff picked for his documentary film The Junk King. One of the things he mentioned in our discussion was that concept is king.

This may be a no-brainer to seasoned pros, but it is a statement that bares repeating. All of the other tips that we give you from here on out won’t amount to anything if you don’t have a solid and unique concept. Take Evan’s The Junk King – he went into this film not knowing everything he was going to capture (which is often the case with documentary). But he had a very interesting ‘character’ and a fascinating subject. The concept was strong from the start.

Like the story of The Junk King, it seems that many Vimeo Staff Picks are well crafted stories about distinctive individuals and subjects.

Dynamic Thumbnails

When selecting a thumbnail for your video create something dynamic or eye catching. This is the first thing that anyone will see in regards to your video on Vimeo, so be bold or interesting. An interesting thumbnail may lead Vimeo users to click, watch and possibly like/comment. This immediate interest may signal Vimeo that your video is one to look at for the possibility of a Staff Pick.

A good example of this is the short experimental film SOLIPSIST by Andrew Thomas Huang.

Your Pitch

After you have your thumbnail, turn your focus to your description. Your video’s description should be thought of as your ‘pitch’ – keep it succinct yet interesting.

Your full description may be longer and include information like key cast and crew members or festivals that your video is played at. You may also want to include a link to a blog post, Facebook page or webpage where the viewer can find more information on the creator and the project. It’s important though to lead with your pitch, and separate the ancillary info below it. This will make the pitch jump out from the rest of the text.

Here is a great example of this from “Coral City” from The Creators Project, which sums up it’s description in two sentences.

Take an exclusive look at the process behind Coral Morphologic’s living artworks, colorful reefs created using coral polyps native to Miami. Watch as the scientific art collective explores the visual storytelling potential of coral reef organisms through film, multimedia and site-specific artworks. Additionally, learn how rising sea levels, combined with government dredging projects, are impacting not only corals, but the entire fate of Miami.

Don’t Just Preach, Have Respect

This was one of the most interesting things learned during my research and discussions…

On more than one occasion I was told that any videos that overtly preaches a specific message, whatever that may be, probably won’t bet picked as it may alienate a large portion of potential audience members.

It’s not that Vimeo doesn’t want you to tackle subject matters that are challenging to talk about. From the list of current Staff Picks, it would seem they simply want you to take an ethical stance and be mindful of the target audience as a whole. You should find a balance that will allow you to relay an effective message without being controversial or oppressive in your delivery.

Use Online Resources to Boost Views

The more views you have the better chance you have of being picked. So look to other web resources to distribute a link to your project on Vimeo. Promoting on social media has the potential to drive a significant��amount of traffic back to your video’s page. You may want to reach out to blogs that share the same topic or subject that your project deals with. Encourage them to embed your video on their own sites and share with their audience.

If you had a crew that helped you, get them on the same page and have them share as well.

Add your videos to appropriate ‘Collections’ on Vimeo. Collections may be groups or channels that are somehow related to your film (this may be in subject matter or production style/technique). If you can get your video into the right collections it will exponentially increase the potential eyeballs on your project.

Take Watchtower of Turkey by Leonardo Dalessandri for example. Watchtower of Turkey has been added to countless groups and channels, dramatically increasing it’s reach.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Vimeo!

Have you had any luck getting your videos Staff Picked on Vimeo?
If so, share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!

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