If one out of 12 branded video campaigns passes the 1 million-mark, you might be tempted to think: “Let’s make a viral video.” But wait. That’s 11 out of 12 that don’t. But yet, there are still plenty of ways to achieve success in online video for small businesses, brands and producers. That’s why I asked Jay Miletsky, CEO of online network MyPod Studios and an author of several branding books, to share best practices for building a loyal audience over time. 1. Keep it short and punchy. “When people watch TV, they tend to be in a fairly relaxed state of mind, and they’re conditioned to watch shows for 30 or 60 minutes at a time (or longer). Watching videos online is different. It’s more active. Our faces are mere inches away from our monitors and tablets, and our fingers are on alert to click us someplace else at the first sign of potential boredom,” Miletsky said. His analytics indicate that more than half of all viewers will drop off after the second minute that a video plays so keep your videos short and punchy. 2. Allow videos to exist independently. “If online viewers aren’t ready to watch videos for longer than two minutes, they’re certainly not prepared to emotionally invest in an ongoing storyline, new characters, plot lines, etc.,” Miletsky said. He advises brands and producers to aim for thematic content that doesn’t require viewers to have watched the other videos in a series. 3. Be about something. Rather than trying to be funny or silly, make sure your videos are educational, interesting and/or informative. 4. Worry less about the camera, and more about the lighting. “You can do just fine with a Flip camera,” Miletsky said. “Instead, keep your eye on the lighting of your shoot. Lighting can be the difference between your videos looking well produced and being produced by a high school A/V squad. Keep the lighting consistent throughout, watch your shadows, and don’t let people’s faces look too blown-out. Lighting isn’t easy, but take the time to play around with it before hitting the record button.” 5. Make it easy for networks to promote. Keep it clean, Miletseky said. MyPod Studios drew nearly 19 million unique visitors in January, according to Google analytics numbers shared by the company. For the video version of this post, check out my New Media Minute this week.