Descriptions for video, audio

The work of making a video is not over until you write a good description for it. This can apply to other multimedia embeds, such as audio from SoundCloud.

The text in the description helps people find the video or audio. Think about how you search for content on YouTube. If you’re not following friends’ recommendations, you’re doing a text search. So write detailed descriptions for your own posts.

YouTube, or whatever site you’re posting on, will ask for a title and a description and tags. Spend some time to make these good or no one will find what you made.

Titles (headlines): Use nouns that describe your content and that you think people will use in search. Put your best nouns first: “Lansing crash injures 4, police say” works much better for search engines and readers than “Police say Lansing crash injures 4.”

Descriptions: Use about 150 words, minimum, to tell people what the story is about, once again putting your most search-worthy words, called keywords, near the beginning. They will help people understand what they will be seeing, encourage them to proceed and help optimize your post for search engines. Names of people in your video will help, especially if they are well-known people. If you need to do reporting to get more information, do it. It is good to repeat keywords you used in the headline in this description. If you Google YouTube videos, you can see how much of description shows up in search results. This is important, too.

Finally, state the post is by the Michigan State University School of Journalism and add an active link that brings people to a related article on our site. This is good for branding and helpful to people who find your content on places other than our site. After your video or audio and accompanying story are posted, announce this through your social media, including that link.

When sites allow tags, use some, keeping keywords and their synonyms in mind. It is helpful to use similar synonyms, such as Latino and Hispanic, because people use different words in search.

— Joe Grimm