Even though it's a technological mainstay and a part of our everyday lives, good video content is still a beast that eludes even the most proficient marketers. That's probably because even a minute-long video can take a lot of art direction and technological skill to pull off, not to mention equipment beyond an iPhone 7 (sorry, but it's true). Considering that over 75% of global mobile traffic is expected to be comprised of video content by 2020, the format is only going to get more influential with time.
Don't let that freak you out, though. Video content is accessible to anyone with the courage to dive in and learn how to do it successfully. Let these five tips guide your path to crafting your best video content yet.
Get your feet wet with small- to medium-sized projects first.
You might watch an online seminar or a meticulously produced hiring video produced by another company and feel inspired enough to start tinkering with iMovie, but you should pump the breaks if you're a video content novice. Why? Making quality video content is an art as much as it is a skill, and flubbing yours can be a detrimental waste of time and resources; not to mention programs like iMovie can be cumbersome to work with if you don't know your way around.
Instead, launch your own video content education initiative by crafting and executing a few small video projects. For instance, you might put together a minute-or-less Q&A session with a team member about your company. Some of the best video content is also short, sweet and to-the-point, so don't let big ideas hold you back from the small steps you need to take first. Plus, this type of content is perfect for your social media content calendar.
For projects big and small, make sure you have an objective first.
While poor production is certainly a detriment to video content, so is not having an actual objective. Your very first step should always be to ask yourself what the goal of your video is. Sure, it seems obvious, but a lack of an objective is a catalyst for creative projects of all kinds.
And if the word viral is on the tip of your tongue when launching into a video project brainstorm, think twice. Brandon Goodwin, executive producer for Springfield, Mo. video production studio Blend, said it best: "No viral videos started with a company saying, 'We should make a viral video!'"
Goodwin went on to say that a truly focused project gets its start with specific objectives in mind first, none of which mention virality: "An example of a good, focused video project might be a property management company that needs to showcase 12 newly renovated apartments in a series of 30 second videos shown on Instagram over 30 days," he said. "The goal is that they'll drive enough awareness to bring occupancy rates to above 95%."
Another thing to have in mind, Goodwin said, is who is being targeted and where they reside, which is a great segway into this next tip.
Know who your customers are and what they'll respond to.
It bodes mentioning that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what video content you want to create if your customers don't care about seeing it or if you aren't even sure who's watching your content.
"Most businesses' instincts are to keep the intended audience broad," said Goodwin. "Resist this! The trick is to be specific."
While it may require some investigative work on your part post-video launch—or even before the video launch with customer surveys and polls—it's worth the effort because it'll keep you from spending time on video content that completely misses the mark. Pre-production surveys can help you understand if video testimonials, for instance, might influence your customers' buying decisions. Plus, knowing your audience is just good marketing and will help you make better decisions no matter what form your next project takes.
Craft a content calendar to keep your video plans top-of-mind.
Like many creative marketing efforts, video content is one of those that's quickest to fall off the priority list when companies inevitably get overwhelmed. Get ahead of your inevitable lack of follow-through by folding video content into your editorial calendar. Even if they're just quarterly, the regular reminder—not to mention a reliable person in charge of managing the calendar itself—will keep the content coming even when regular business interjects.
And when you sit down with your creative team to craft your calendar, set aside 15 extra minutes to brainstorm content ideas so you're not left drawing a blank when the next deadline rolls around. You'd be surprised how easy it can be to generate 20 solid ideas for video content when you crank up the team think tank. Practice the same methods when it comes time to find measurable objectives and desired outcomes for a video project intended to promote some aspect of your business.
Finally, when a big idea is on the horizon, partner up.
A little training and a lot of dedication can make simple video content projects a breeze over time, but it's still best to leave bigger projects to the folks who do it for a living—and do it well. Before talking with a potential video partner like Blend, though, don't set up a meeting without these essential questions answered:
- “What do you want to say?” (Message/Information/Story)
- “Who is the video for?” (Audience)
- “What do you want that audience to do because they watched your video?” (Specific End Result)
"When we meet with a new client, we first try to get a basic understanding of who their company is and where they are in the greater context of their industry. Then we move on to discussing their answers to the three questions above," said Goodwin. "If we can’t get specific answers to all three of these questions, we can't start the project."
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