How and Why to use Video Within Your Content Marketing Strategy.
I have seen first hand, through my career travels, how positive the results from implementing video can be for businesses and brands whatever the size or sector.
You may have been one of the few people that were skeptical of exactly how video would take off as another means to market content, however, it has persevered and is growing in strength and determination, to a place where YouTube is now the second largest search engine, and online domination within the sector is in sight, so take note.
It isn’t a secret that visual forms of media are successful, as advertising is based almost entirely upon the use of imagery and representations, however using video within a content marketing strategy is still a unique and brave decision to make, but one that should definitely be considered, before you get left behind.
Just as it took a while for brands to fully understand, embrace and implement social media knowledge, video is proving the same. However, this has set the bar high and everyone wants a piece of the campaigns that take the web by storm by becoming viral.
Successful campaigns include The Old Spice series of ads that was based upon obscure humor targeted at the most popular demographic of online sharers, the 18- 25’s. More recently #DancePonyDance has been shared, liked and retweeted beyond belief considering the concept is a moonwalking miniature pony. Similarly Harlem Shake, a song that people notoriously freestyle dance to wildly, has swept the world.
With personal interpretations popping up from the Armed Forces, right through to television channel presenters and multinational corporation employees from the boardroom, I don’t think Baauer, the songs creator, quite anticipated the reaction he has received.
These examples are, granted, quite zany experimental ideas that are based upon likeability and ultimately, silliness. Creating something similarly successful is very difficult and in most cases the response can’t be predicted as it is purely based on taste and judgment but targeted market research, as with other forms of content will give as clear picture as anything else. Scale these enormous concepts down and there is a real possibility to get your brand talked about by creating something imaginative and extraordinary.
A key message that I should add in here, is that video cannot be used as a cop out or quick fix for content that is lacking in quality. We have all heard the ‘content is king’ discussion many times, however this must still be the case, whatever the medium.
Proof it Works
Video has other benefits, such as improving SEO. By including relevant keywords within the videos description you can help rank that particular page for that term. Lets not ignore that the infamous Panda penalty is also watching the bounce rates of sites closely.
Videos keep users on the site for longer therefore can actually help keep away from being at risk of penalisation. Fortunately for the Marketers among us, it is human nature to respond completely differently when met with video content to the usual reams of text.
This is also clear by looking at the amount of impact different content has in the graph below. For example, a human face and voice is proven to make the viewer trust the source more fully as well as convert the information into more memorable information that can be drawn upon, therefore achieving the marketers holy grail to create not only a brand supporter but advocate too.
The key themes and messages you spend hours deliberating over how to portray, need no longer be such a task. Let a video take the strain whether it is a ‘presenter’ talking directly to the audience, a role-play scenario or alternatively a compelling kinetic typography piece (using only graphics in the form of animated words).
This may all be ringing alarm bells or making you nervous as to how this medium could make a huge dent in your budgets, but, surprisingly it doesn’t need to. Even more reason to give it a chance!
As you can see from the content funnel, video is shown to raise awareness of your company and campaign but also converts that awareness into sales and leads, making a positive ROI, which is a rarity for one medium of content and realistically often the decider between giving it a go, or not.
This may seem like the ‘trendy’ thing to be doing, and lets face it, there always seems to be something that gets portrayed as the new, in thing for marketing, that will blow your competitors out of the water, but I’d like to suggest that video might indeed be one of the best tools for the job. Your content doesn’t need to be any less targeted and its success is as measurable using readily available metric tools, as any other parts of your strategy.
Video is as accessible, if not more so, than a lot of other types of content due to the emergence of apps to allow consumers to not only view video content on mobiles and tablets but to also contribute and create their own.
This availability of every content type, whenever and wherever you are, has happened within the same time frame as the steep increase in the popularity of social platforms, which has inadvertently created a fusion of the two, resulting in the way we receive and share information has drastically altered.
It is clear that video is instrumentally important within this with sites such as Twitter and Facebook undergoing huge redevelopment to optimize for this, more interactive content. The emergence of other moving image apps like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine are on the market due to demand and are being lapped up by audiences worldwide.
Where to Start
Some handy considerations to make before you start shooting or looking for an agency to help you out are similar to that of written content, as the two need to not only compliment each other, but also bring something a bit extra to the table in order to make it interesting.
Think about the style, tone, video length, shot choices, locations, presenters or storylines, graphics and of course the social sharing options or ability for the viewer to interact with what they are watching using a hash tag or specific twitter handle, for example.
Create a document so that the entire team understands what remit they are working to and encourage input, all worthy campaigns are continuously evolving, if things are left stagnant the likelihood is it won’t be so effective.
Once the video is created and ready to launch, plan the best way to amplify it using a variety of social channels, as well as featured within your company website. If you plan to make several videos then it may be useful to create a branded channel on You Tube but show the links in a video specific tab on the website.
The advantages of doing this are the space and speed your website will run at if rammed with large video files as well as the ease of quantifying views and shares which would be simpler by utilizing an existing platform.
Getting it Watched.
One of the best ways to ensure your video is a success on social platforms is to amplify its reach to a relevant audience on Facebook. By using Facebook’s Power Editor you can specify which post to amplify and ensure that the audience you target only get served the ad as a news feed placement amongst the posts of their friends and liked pages.
The great thing about promoting your video in this way is that you can specify exactly who you would like to see your video, whether they like your page or not.
In a recent campaign we ran, we achieved over 10,000 views for a very targeted audience for a client in the financial services sector. This worked out at 4p per video play, which with the high returns in that sector worked out to be a very cost effective method of promotion.
The great thing about amplifying in Facebook is that whilst you achieve your primary aim of video plays, you will also see secondary benefits such as an increase in page likes and engagement.
A Word from the Experts
First up is Brendan Cournoyer, Content Marketing Manager at BrainShark. When quizzed about his feelings towards video he said,
“Video allows you to repurpose old ideas into new formats, and generate more content. It helps you extend the reach of your business by exposing your brand to new audiences that prefer video to text."
"It creates more impactful content that engages viewers, as people tend to retain more information when they can see AND hear it. It can improve overall SEO as search engines like Google continue to place more value on pages with video content. It creates new resources for your audience to share with others via email and social media"
"It allows you to reach new mobile audiences who can now watch video content via their smartphones and tablets. It can even help boost open and click-through rates for demand gen and email marketing campaigns.” Amen Mr Cournoyer!
“There’s a powerful psychological factor in actually seeing someone make a concerned comment, critical review or passionate personal opinion. This kind of message just pops up out of the social stream because it’s a living, breathing engagement. I call it “social proof” because you get more than the words, you get the holistic message – the subtle body language, the mild inflections and the look. Everything coupled together brings true authenticity to the message"
"So consider “social proof” as a newborn, hot and emerging trend going forward. This heightened form of social engagement is being used by forward-thinking and savvy marketers. They’re leveraging video in ingenious ways, and building up their social stature to boot. It’s social proof in action. Why is it working? Because as social grows, so does the value of and the demand for more meaningful digital relationships, or social engagement. My prediction? Social and video will find pure bliss in 2013.” Here, here Sean, we at Zazzle agree with you.
Finishing off my expert perspectives with a few words from Rand Fishkin, CEO and Founder of SEOMoz on the technical benefits of video.
“Video content is helpful for SEO in two ways: directly and indirectly. Directly, video earns interest, links, embeds, and social shares, all of which contribute to rankings and visibility in the search engines"
"Video also gives publishers a direct opportunity to compete in the YouTube search results, and YouTube's actually the second largest search engine (by query volume) in the US, behind only Google itself. Indirectly, video has the opportunity to earn rich snippets, which increase click-through-rate on organic listings and to earn greater branding value than raw text or images by themselves"
"Video is memorable and engaging to a degree that other content types are not. Here at Moz, we consider it a win when a video earns half as many views as a standard blog article because we know the brand value of a video is so much higher.”
Twitter updates, earlier this week has encouraged video sharing from the top video sites, such as Vine and Youtube as it now doesn’t support Moby Picture, Vodpod or Posterous. This constant updating in the methods in which we can distribute and share video information is narrowing the options available to us forcing us to use these ‘premium’ sites.
This will result in one superior set of social platforms containing well-made content. More than half of these platforms will be visual media, after Twitters recent purchase of Vine and Facebook’s investment in Instagram.
Platforms are now as passionate about being successful and social as they are for promoting good quality content that isn’t just a regurgitation of material done before.
This means we are literally on the cusp of a hugely exciting turning point within the industry where the quality of what’s being produced is higher and more competitive than ever before.
The most thrilling part about it all, as a content marketer, is that there are no boundaries for what companies can produce regardless of what their business is or does, so the bar is well and truly raised. This means companies are going all out to make their content more fun, more obscure and unique than not only their competitors but also those in other sectors and countries completely.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, to be memorable, go viral or be viewed as different in any way it’s going to take a lot of thought, planning and choosing an agency to work on your behalf that fully ‘get’ your brand, themes and key aims.
Alternatively you may choose to create a department in house if you plan to provide this kind of rich, blended content regularly, in which case, choose wisely and although I usually hate this saying THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, it’s been done, it’s continuing to be done and the market is already saturated. Create your own “wheel” and take advantage of those who can provide valuable insights into successful and unsuccessful concepts.
This will enable you to not only produce something new, innovative and groundbreaking but something that will take the world by storm rather than fall at the first hurdle, like minidisc players, 3DTV and robotic vacuum cleaners, which lets face it, plummeted faster than Felix Baumgartner.
With a strong creative team in place, combined with those able to analyse and provide valuable assistance to the ideas process, you essentially have a dream team that are capable of creating the perfect content strategy.
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