Video is an incredibly powerful way to spread your message and engage your audience. However simply having a video is not enough. There are plenty of people creating video content and so the demand for attention has increased. It is the people who leverage their videos that achieve the best return on investment.
When planning a video production strategy there are a few essential things you need to plan for.
What is the purpose of the video production?
While this may seem like a simple and obvious question it can sometimes be overlooked in the haste to just create video content. Far too often I see businesses rush out to create impressive videos without clearly thinking about why they need the video and importantly what action you want viewers to take.
By starting with this question you can focus on the outcome you want from the video and therefore what needs to happen along the way. This is a classic case of, as Stephen Covey, would say – “Begin with the end in mind”.
This will drive many of the important decisions you need to make about the video, such as what is the right type of video to produce and very importantly, who is the audience. It should also drive creative concepts for the production so that it captures the attention of your audience and drives them to take action.
As part of your purpose you should know where your video fits in the conversation you are having with your audience.
- Is it to educate them about your product or service?
- Is it to showcase your expertise and credibility through some valuable insights you can provide?
- Is it to encourage them to take a specific action – the next step?
It is important to be clear on what you are trying to achieve so you can tailor your video accordingly. It also follows that you will need the necessary collateral in place to support the next step you want the viewer to take. For example if you want them to download something, then you need the landing page set up and ready. If you want them to make a phone call then have the phone staff on standby. If they are to visit a website – make sure the website is live and working.
If your video is essentially a brand awareness piece you can still leverage the audience through further targeted marketing. This has worked well for our clients who have promoted their videos through social media. The same viewers have then be retargeted with a more direct call to action. This has resulted in an increase of 166% of enquiries.
How to leverage your video
Armed with your shiny new video you now need to implement a distribution strategy. This is critical to ensure you maximise your video return on investment.
Too often I’ve seen clients hide their impressive videos somewhere deep within their website. You need to be an Indiana Jones to uncover it. Don’t make it hard for your audience to find the videos.
When you know who you are making the video for, it makes it easier to develop different ways to share you videos to them.
The first mistake I see people make when sharing their videos is they think once is enough. It’s not. At a time where you are competing for your audience’s attention you need to keep promoting your content to them. Imagine if TV ads only ran once. Firstly what are the chances of you seeing it the first time around and secondly how many times do you need to see it before you actually pay attention.
On social media I often see videos being shared. The first time I see it I may not be interested or busy with something else. Second time I may think, oh someone else is sharing that. By around the third or fourth time, “I’m thinking okay what’s the fuss about. I should probably check this out.” So don’t be shy about sharing your videos. Expect to share them often, far and wide.
Also think about which audience you want to target and where they hang out. Will you find them via your newsletter database? Are they loitering in LinkedIn, tweeting on Twitter, following you on Facebook or impressing people on Instagram. Are they subscribers to your YouTube or Vimeo channel?
The thing to understand is that everyone has a different preference with how they consume content. So make it easy for them. Share your videos on every platform you have access to. And repeat it. Share it at different times of the day so that the chances of it being seen are greater.
Make your videos findable
Findable is not a word I use often (in fact I think I just made it up). By using clear relevant titles, good quality meta data and appropriate keywords you can make it easy for people to find your videos as they search.
Since Google owns YouTube it is going to favour YouTube videos in its search results. The easier you make it for Google to know what your video is about, the easier it will be for it to show up in the relevant search results. Here are a few tips to maximise the video SEO on YouTube.
Your title needs to be relevant to the video and for what your audience is looking for. If your video shows how to sew buttons on shirts then call it “How to Sew Buttons on Shirts”. Calling it “Fixing things at home” may technically be correct, but it won’t attract your ideal audience. What problem is your video solving? The more accurate it is the more relevant it will be to your audience and the better engagement you will get.
A colleague of mine helps sales teams improve their results. He’s produced a series of videos that inform his target audience on key insights he’s gained over the years. This one – “Why you lose big deals” provides a clear title that engages the relevant audience and clearly explains what to expect in the video.
Captions are critical for videos given that 80% of videos watched on a mobile device are viewed with the sound off. Captions also allow Google to better understand what the video is about. YouTube automatically creates its own captions so long as it can clearly interpret the commentary. If you want to use the automatically generated captions you will need to check them and make any tweaks if necessary.
If you need to create your captions from scratch then a quick way is to send the audio off to REV.com. They will transcribe your audio for $1 per minute of audio. They do a great job and turn it around within a day or two depending on the duration being transcribed.
If you are uploading your videos to Facebook or other social media platforms then include captions for better engagement.
3. Long Description (think blog post)
Beneath your YouTube video you have the option to include a description. Make the most of this. Include as much information as you can to help people find your video. You can also include links to relevant pages you want people to go to.
A good relevant engaging thumbnail will encourage people to watch your video. It should be a frame from within your video. Use a frame that is fun, interesting, sexy or whatever will capture your audience’s attention. Creating a thumbnail just to attract viewers is fine but it’s not from your video will earn distrust and annoy people. Don’t do it.
Start with the end in the mind – what are you trying to achieve with your video and what does success look like?
Share your video so that your target audience sees it – and remember do it more than once. Repeat, reshare often.
Make it easy to find your videos – Be aware of video SEO opportunities and maximise those.