There have been very few content marketing formats that have made as great an impact as video has during the last ten years. Since YouTube became a global phenomenon and social media came to the fore during the late 2000s, video has become one of the most accessible and cost-effective formats for content marketing.
Online videos can stimulate interest in products and services in a way that the written word alone cannot. It is one of the reasons why two-thirds of marketers believe it is the single most effective form of online content marketing.
Can video make or break a campaign? Not quite, according to a recent study. Around half of marketers believe that video is an “essential” when attempting to drive growth, traffic and revenue. While you can probably get by without embracing visual-based clips, it is in your best interests to pursue video content creation if you have the time and resources available.
Seven in 10 small to medium-sized enterprises are publishing videos on Facebook Stories and Instagram and two-thirds are creating as many as five videos every month. With such a large number of companies using content, not jumping on board could put you at a disadvantage.
The time when video was expensive to make has also passed. Three quarters of marketers spend 20 minutes or less on a video and 49% say that they can come up with something with just a nine-minute deadline. You don’t need a crew of skilled professionals to get your video plans up and running.
Use published content first
The reason why many companies are able to release videos so quickly is that they already have a catalogue of content to use during the creative phase. 59% of marketers say that they use stills of their own photos and stock footage. A further 39% say that stock photos from free sources make up a large amount of video runtimes.
If you have recently partnered with an agency to create a compelling infographic, then this can be recycled for use in a video alongside a ‘talking head’, an expert within your marketing team or company who can embellish on some of the finer details. Using your articles and blogs as a springboard for video ideas is a great starting point.
Develop a strategy
Google offers a few of its own pointers for managing a video schedule. It recommends releasing clips regularly at a specific time each week in order to encourage viewers to return to your content. A schedule creates a sense of familiarity for your audience as they will know when to expect new content. It will also encourage new viewers to consume all of your videos at once.
“This year, the biggest trend that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should focus on for greater success is the emergence of YouTube as the leading social video platform,” video marketing expert Greg Jarboe says.
Using video is always a great way to explore certain topics, but it is especially useful during a pandemic when it can be much more challenging to connect, interact and engage directly with target audiences. There are many ways that you can use video to support your branded content and to push positive public relations during this difficult time.
You could start a series of helpful videos based on your particular niche and products, which can also be accompanied by blog posts and articles. How-tos are always relevant, as are behind-the-scenes footage of remote work schemes.
Sports organisations and teams have also recently discovered the power of video to maintain connections with fans during a crisis. Formula One, for example, used videos and a live stream of gamers playing a virtual Grand Prix to entertain viewers.
7F head of sport and esport Trev Keane notes: “In the last few weeks we’ve seen Formula One, Nascar, football clubs, football players and the NBA among others all do that. It’s that shift that’s really become very interesting and the industry has proved how resourceful it is.”
How long is too long?
Higher word counts are best when crafting articles for SEO purposes, but longer is not always better when it comes to video. You want your videos to be compelling and entertaining.
YouTube is the second most popular website in the UK in terms of traffic and users in 2020, behind only Google, so it makes sense to focus your output on there to begin with. However, it is probably not the best platform for anything too complex or in depth as it attracts more of a mainstream audience.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to make videos that are no longer than 16 minutes. Very short runtimes are unlikely to satiate audience needs, so try to get running times above four minutes before you decide to publish.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Guide Social CEO Matt Johnston recommends following the old content marketing adage of it being about the audience and not the brand first and foremost. This is as true for video as it is for blogs. You don’t want to come across as brand-centric or selfish.
Johnston also believes that “empathy will win” and that it is important to show how and why you can help your audience. Addressing pain points and offering value should always be a primary consideration.
To start your video marketing strategy in earnest, you should first allocate the required resources. You need a budget however small, a video camera, basic video editing software, and a set time for shooting the video or compiling images and stock footage.
When you have got everything together, you can start publishing your videos. Upload them to YouTube and cross link on social media platforms. Embedding them on your website is also a good idea.
Your videos won’t move the needle if you fail to promote them, so always follow up with email marketing and more social sharing. Now, you have everything in place to manage video-based marketing over time. Just remember to track metrics and analyse performance to inform future campaigns.