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:
• Work well in both long and short formats – from 6-second Vine videos to full-length documentary films, and everywhere in between
• Be timely, standalone statement pieces or ongoing serialized conversations that unfold over time
• Be presented as the main course or served as a pre-roll advertising appetizer
• 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 SlideShare presentations and webinars
• Be well suited to being consumed on both the desktop and mobile environments
• Be repackaged, repurposed, and republished in conjunction with your other relevant content efforts
• Be archived for the ages or produced on the fly as live-streaming events on messaging platforms like Meerkat or Periscope
• Be imminently shareable on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat
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.
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.
• Raise awareness of important social or community issues by creating a short film on the subject.
• Treat your audience to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a popular industry event or other relevant activity that few people might get to experience in person.
• Leverage interactive features and technologies to your videos to enable viewers to participate in the story as it unfolds.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Write a script your audience will want to follow: Video content runs the risk of getting bogged down by overly complex ideas, heavy jargon, or focusing on too many things all at once. If you want your video to communicate simply and brilliantly, remember these scripting guidelines:
• Use a conversational tone – it makes the video sound more natural, instead of stuffy or forced.
• Have your talent speak in short, concise sentences to emphasize key points. It makes it easier for your audience to grasp them.
• Avoid jargon like “optimum” or “accomplish” when simpler words like “best” or “do” will work just as well to get your meaning across.
• Read it out loud (or have someone else read it to you) before you hit “record.” This gives you a sense of any words or phrases the speaker might be likely to stumble on, and how long the finished project is likely to run.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
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