Video is a powerful storytelling medium: Not only can it serve as a prime proving ground for your business’ promotional campaigns, influential ideas, and experimental content efforts, video’s emotionally resonant combination of sound, motion, and visuals can also help you drive deeper, more satisfying relationships between your brand and its audience.
Videos are among the most versatile tactics content marketers can leverage. For starters, they can be cooked up, loaded up, cut up, and served up in a wide variety of ways. They can:
Thrive in virtually any content platform – e.g., your website, blog, or other owned channels; in emails; on third-party video sites like YouTube; or inside SlideSharepresentations and webinars
Be imminently shareable on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat
Of course, video may not always be the ideal format for your content. For example, as CMI’s Vice President of Content Michele Linn points out, there are times when your audience might prefer to read a brief article rather than watch a video since it’s faster and does not require as much of their attention.
Tip: How can you tell if creating a video is the right decision? Ask yourself if anything about your story would be lost if you tried to tell it without the benefits of visuals and sound. If the answer is no, consider starting with a format that requires less of a commitment (both to produce and consume). If the text version is well received, you can decide down the line if you want to repurpose the content as a video.
How They Work
As is the case with any tactic, the decision to create content as a video should trace back to your marketing goals. Fortunately, from a marketer’s standpoint, video offers a range of creative and strategic options that can be applied to virtually any content marketing goal or purpose. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Driving brand awareness and interest: Through video, you can offer a unique, entertaining, or immersive experience that helps viewers forge a positive, memorable association with your brand and what it stands for.
Video’s Key Challenges
While video offers a lot of marketing muscle, it’s not the easiest technique to master or manage. There’s a price to be paid: While the availability of smartphone cameras and low-cost editing tools have made the tactic more affordable than ever, if you want your video content to be seen as professional and authoritative, you need to maintain a certain quality standard. That typically means at least some investment in cameras, editing software, lighting, and sound equipment, as well as in the specialized expertise required to manage the production process from conception to completion.
The video landscape is noisy and competitive: According to CMI’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research, 79% of B2B marketers and 82% of B2C marketers in North America are using some form of this tactic. Considering how crowded the playing field is, just because your business has the budget and production resources to create compelling, high-quality video content, doesn’t mean your efforts will automatically achieve the desired brand recognition and marketing results.
Get The Most From Your Video Investment
Considering the high costs and tight competition, brands need to be smart in how they plan, produce, position, and promote their video content if they want to see any returns on their investment. Here are some tips for making sure your offerings are as relevant, memorable, strategic, and purposeful as possible.
Invest in the process, not just the product: Your video strategy should be considered part and parcel to your content marketing strategy – not an indie feature. Before you pick up that camera, think about the role you want video to play in your brand’s story, and what steps it will take to plot out, produce, position, and measure the performance of this content. Doing this legwork ahead of time will help you make smarter decisions about which video projects will be worthy of the resources you have to spend.
Start Smart, Scale Up, and Stand Out With Video
Keep your end goal in mind: Whether it’s awareness, leads, or another goal, every video you create should have a purpose – and a means of fulfilling it.
Too often, video success is equated with views rather than with actions taken after the views or other desirable changes of consumer behavior. You can avoid falling into this trap by including a call to action that directs viewers to take the next step on your designated path, as well as by creating a landing page that will guide their journey toward conversion.
Tips to Create a Great Script for Successful Videos
Know when to host and when to post: Before you distribute your video content, give it a home base. There are two main options, each with its own strengths and limitations:
Host the video on your site using a video platform like Vimeo, Brightcove, or Wistia. While this method might limit your videos’ overall reach, the flexibility these tools offer means you can customize your videos to look, feel, and operate exactly how you want. It also makes it easier to publish video playlists that encourage visitors to spend more time on your site, as well as to gate your most valuable video assets as a means to drive subscriptions.
Post it on a video-hosting site. Using popular video-distribution platforms like YouTube can help get your video in front of a larger audience. Not only is basic use of these services free, their tools are typically easier to configure than self-hosted options, which makes your videos easier to share across your other content channels and embed in your other content efforts.
Set the right stage for social plays: Should you share your videos everywhere and anywhere, or only on certain social channels? Will it benefit your brand to get your video uploaded and running immediately when a new social network emerges, or would it be wiser to wait until others have tested the waters?
The answers to questions like these – and most other distribution channel decisions you need to make – lie in your buyer personas. Knowing who your audience is, how and where they like to spend their online time, and which channels they prefer for what tasks will help you choose the social networks that offer the best potential for engaging your audience’s interest in your video content.
Content Marketing: Forget About the 5%
Include a transcript: Search engines aren’t as adept at indexing video content as they are with text. Creating a full transcript of the copy included in your video helps you overcome this SEO shortfall.
Tag your work: Add relevant tags, titles, and descriptions to the metadata of your video content. This will help get your videos associated with your target keywords and get them indexed to rank for relevant content searches.
Push videos to influencers, subscribers, fans, and followers: A screen capture of your videos (along with a link) can be featured in an email that you send to the members of your mailing list. This alerts your audience that you have new video content for them to check out, and gives you a forum for requesting their feedback and asking them to help you spread the word.
Jump-Start Your Video Optimization and Promotion
Track attention span to evaluate value: Engagement data can provide important insights on your audience’s preferences and behaviors, which you can use to refine and customize your video strategy. For example, if you notice that prospects are dropping off 10 seconds into your videos, your intros might need to be trimmed.
It takes a lot of work to position video as the high-performing centerpiece of a successful content marketing strategy. But with the right plan, a little creativity, and some smart decision-making, just about any business can benefit from its powerful potential to tell engaging stories and inspire audiences to take action.