Video Strategy 101

Ben Cecil Best Practices, Content Strategy, Ongoing Video Content, Video Strategy

You don’t need videos.  You need a video strategy.

Video is good.  Good for online content.  Good for online marketing.  Good for storytelling. Good for SEO. Ok.  So, what’s your video content strategy?  Yes.  You need to have a strategy.  Don’t just commit “random acts of marketing.”  “No strategy” translates into “no objective.”  This is bad mojo.

Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:

  1. Start with the objective of the videos. Think long term. Think big picture.Is the goal of this content an intentional marketing play or is it actually resource information?  Is it a little bit of both?  Answers to these questions will help guide your message.  Also very important are the measurables.  I’m speaking of some basic, key online metrics.  Stats like page views, bounce rate, time spent, % exit and referral sources are some good basic analytics to gather before deploying any content or marketing campaign.  Then, set a date in which to review these stats again.  It will help keep your video success out of the abstract.
  2. How are you going to get eyeballs on this content?

    We call this the “what now” part of the video strategy.  It’s where many companies fail miserably.  They spend thousands of dollars and dozens of hours on quality content, then the content just sits on an index page deep in their website.  No hope for ROI.  Hopefully, you’ve already got some effective channels to distribute your message.

    The usual methods are great like social, eNewsletters, landing pages, vendor portals, etc., but don’t forget there are other ways to drive traffic to your content.  The YouTube ad network, pay-per-click, and PR are fantastic even though they usually have a hard cost.  If you don’t have budgeted resources for the “what now,” then you need to rethink your strategy.
  3. Identify stories that build your overall narrative. Yes, think of video content storytelling.Look at your products, services, blog articles or look at your marketing calendar.  What stories can you tell more effectively by incorporating video?  Are the topics you select actually good for video? Don’t miss:  Telling Stories with Video.

    Good for video means that they’re better told with audio, visual and/or an emotional component (personality).  If during your brainstorming you use words like, “show” or “demonstrate” or “experience” or “personality,” then you’re on the right track.  If your idea involves having the dude from product marketing regurgitate a blog post or spec sheet, then maybe incorporate some graphics that better communicate the info or maybe don’t use video to tell that story at all.

    Also, remember to keep your company’s SEO and/or PR strategy in mind.  Do the topics you’re planning compliment this plan?  Because, if you’re deploying video content that doesn’t help build search value or awareness for a key search term or topic, you need to ask yourself, “why are we doing this particular video?”

  4. Video ProductionThis is where many get antsy.  “How much $$ do we spend?”  “If we do it ourselves, will it look unprofessional?”  “Wait, how do we learn to actually do video?”  “Should we bring in a video company?”

    Quality:  if the content is going to be a front-facing part of the sales cycle, then it needs to look and feel professional.  If it’s more of a resource, like a “how to” or maybe a current events video such as one highlighting a recent tradeshow, then the lack of professional quality may not kill you.  Just think about the objective and use your instinct.

    Outside Help:   If your objectives are humble, you may be ok just doing it in-house, as long as you keep it simple.  WARNING:  video is a seductive mistress.  One moment, you’re spending 10 minutes on it, shooting on your iPhone, then, you’re getting called into the boss’s office because your team has spent all week learning how to do a star wipe transitionon Adobe Premiere.  It’s a time suck.  If you want to get more out of video, talk with a professional first unless you have the resources in-house to chase this dragon.  If not, this is a sure fire way to crash your video strategy quickly.

  5. Stick to your plan.Once you lay out your storytelling calendar, reference it frequently.  Make sure you’re staying on the path leading you to the narrative you’re trying to build.  But, don’t miss any opportunities that pop up along the way that would be better served using an additional video component.

    If you keep the production effort in-house, there’s a good chance you won’t be in love with the first few videos you produce.  That’s ok.  Stick with it.  You’ll get better.  Use a “crawl, walk, run” mentality, only taking on more when you’ve developed a better understanding and comfort level.

    And if you bring in an outside video company, lean on them.  Leverage their expertise.  Let them challenge you and make them explain what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.  This video thing isn’t going away.  The more you understand about the whole process, the better off your team will be.