It’s no secret that video is an essential element in a successful content marketing plan. In fact, 82 percent of all Internet traffic will be video traffic by 2022 (up from 75 percent in 2017). As the mobile-first generation morphs into mobile-only, and as trusted platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn become even more integrated with video and live streaming, it’s more valuable than ever to leverage video wisely. But video can be a significant investment, both of time and money.
How can you ensure you’re incorporating it intelligently? We’ve come up with 3 steps to shape your strategy.
Step one: Get Specific.
This foundational step will influence every aspect of your content planning. We’ve all heard the advice “know your audience.” That advice is pure gold when it comes to, say, an e-newsletter sent to your clients, or a direct response campaign aimed at tradeshow attendees. But when it comes to video, the term “audience” is way too vague.
What you really need to know before diving into video strategy is your niche. Know your wheelhouse. Know your expertise. How can you add value for others –value they can’t easily find elsewhere?
Think of it this way: McDonald’s and Wendy’s both sell hamburgers. But only one is associated with “fresh, never frozen” beef. (And Frosties.) The two drive-thrus share a single audience- but Wendy’s has found a singular niche within that audience, giving them an advantage when it comes to targeted marketing.
Another key area that depends on specifics? Your goals. Set realistic and measurable goals before setting your strategy in place.
Here’s a handful of questions to guide your goal setting:
- What categories of video do you want to produce? Your goal here is to map out how many educational videos you’ll make, how many company culture videos you’ll make, how many advertising videos you’ll make, and so on.
- Where will your videos be published, and what type of engagement are you aiming for on each separate platform? For example- if you’ll publish all of the educational videos to YouTube, you might want to reach a certain number of impressions. If you’re putting all of your company culture videos on Instagram, you may be striving to get to a certain number of followers on Instagram.
- How will you measure your video ROI? This question isn’t just about metrics—although you’ll definitely want all the metrics!—it’s about how you’ll get those metrics. Make sure your platforms have tracking and analytics in place, and think about how to glean even more information elsewhere (through surveys, A/B testing, and so on).
- Sketch out a schedule. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but take your video goals, examine them alongside your broader marketing or company-wide goals, and map out the timing accordingly. Think about major milestones or events that might depend on video to drive awareness. Considering that not all videos take major lead time to produce, but some will, these timing goals will be an excellent tool once you start executing on strategy.
- Make a commitment to evaluate your video content strategy at least quarterly, and to adjust as necessary based on the results you see.
Step two: Find Your Video Voice.
You’re confident in your niche. You’ve done your goal setting. It’s time to shift your focus to actually getting these videos from your brain to the small screen. That means you need a unified voice for your videos. Take a look at the videos your favorite companies (or your competitors) have on their YouTube channel, Facebook page, LinkedIn feeds—anywhere you’re planning to put content of your own.
Note what works in terms of compelling you to take action, watch longer, or explore their offerings further. Do cute kittens prompt you to click a link? Or would you prefer a longform video that thoroughly explains a topic? Also note your own behavior and how it differs depending on the platform (for example, 80 percent of LinkedIn videos are watched with the sound off). Identify your content subject matter experts (SMEs) and start collaborating. Go back to your goals and develop a list of topics by video category. Then think about just how you’re going to develop your voice.
Come up with a hashtag, one that is consistent across each and every video, no matter the topic, category, or platform. Ideally, your hashtag will contain your company name or slogan. The hashtag can appear in the video and can also be used across social media to promote your video content.
List out the elements you want to include in your videos for brand awareness and continuity- that way you can create basic iPhone videos or complex animations and with just a little editing, it will still be obvious that they’re in the same family of videos. Consider using branded bumpers, a logo watermark, or even music to lend uniformity across your entire content strategy.
Finally, establish a tone and tactic for each separate platform. Meet your viewers where they are, and communicate with them appropriately—remember, you can always augment your tonally on-point video with content elsewhere for those who want to learn more. In other words, if you plan to be conversational and casual on Facebook, create videos that are short and sweet, and accompanied by links to more substantial information.
Step three: Create.
Whether you’re planning to produce your own videos or partner up with an agency, when it comes to creating your videos, remember why videos are so wildly popular in the first place- video is aces for engagement, awareness, and action, all key components of a robust content marketing strategy. So while you’re telling your story through video, think about those three components and how you’re building them into your videos.
Engage viewers by telling your stories in a captivating manner. Filing an insurance claim is a fairly mundane story- until you add Allstate’s Mayhem character or the instantly recognizable Farmers Insurance jingle. Avoid getting too gimmicky, but draw upon your authenticity and expertise to create a story that viewers will want to watch until the end.
Drive awareness by maximizing your reach. If you’re creating a how-to video for YouTube, be sure to promote it on other platforms- publish video excerpts that work for different platforms or create related content like infographics or whitepapers that can live elsewhere.
98% of the time, include a call to action, however subtle or explicit. Even if it’s just a slide containing your logo and contact information, your viewers still get the hint as to what they should do after watching the video.
Video best practices shift constantly, depending on trends and platform capabilities. Keep an eye on those variables while reviewing your goals and achievements. And keep a running list of trusted partners you can turn to when production needs arise, whether that’s voice talent, captioning, translating, producing, editing, or a company that can do it all.