Thinking of adding video to your content strategy? Here are 5 lessons to consider.
Have you noticed? We’ve been dropping videos like Beyonce and we’re not alone.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, (CMI), 92 percent of marketers are developing content for their organisations, with most of their budget going toward video. The same survey revealed some pretty interesting data about how companies are using video. According to the numbers:
. 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns
• 84% are using video for website marketing
• 60% are using video for email marketing
• 70% are optimizing video for search engines
• 70% will increase spend on video
. 82% confirmed that video had taken on a new urgency within their marketing mix
When we embarked on producing our new digital lifestyle series using video we had not read these statistics. What we knew though, working day-in and day-out on social media campaigns, was that video and photographs got the most likes on our clients’ pages. Being content creators for other brands, we wanted to invest in our own so we got a studio space, bought equipment and looked for ways to be as innovative as possible with that announcement.
That’s when we thought of Forward Forty. With the tag line: “You deserve to be more successful and more beautiful as you age” Our Forward Forty (FF) blog and vlog went live just over a 5 weeks ago. In that time we released 7 videos, 4 blog posts and we’re currently working on 5 new episodes. While the romance with our new content studio has been whirlwind, actually producing the material has not been all roses. We are in sore need of a creative director. We’ve wasted plenty time in our early shows by paying little attention to pre-production (this has been corrected) and in some of the vignettes, we’ve had to spend money we didn’t budget for.
But the stories and the mishaps have given us plenty goofy bloopers and trial by fire lessons to share. If you’re developing video content for your marketing mix here are five lessons you’re going to want to pay attention to.
1. Before you invest in equipment, know your purpose and define your audience.
What was our public relations agency doing a series unrelated to PR? We heard that question a lot. Heck! We asked it of ourselves at least a million times. But from the beginning, we wanted to use our skills as story-tellers, writers, editors and designers to demonstrate that we lived, breathed and loved content development in all its forms. And we wanted to inject some innovative work into our creative mix.
But we also knew that our profession, both marketing and PR, was dominated by women and that these women, our clients and prospects would have the same concerns we’d address in our series. In truth they would comprise at least 25 % our audience.
We spent a lot of time refining a singular FF customer avatar. We discussed what her interests were, what bothered her and what made her laugh, cry ,worry and celebrate, love, purchase. We wanted to make sure that when we wrote and spoke, the information would be meaningful.
Your lesson: Generic didn’t interest us and neither should it interest you. If your goal is to develop targeted and effective video know why you are doing it and who you are doing it for.
2. Know how much you are wiling to spend
We love Amazon and got most our equipment from its website with other key pieces from retailer B&H. Everything was bought online. From the start, we worked with an experienced videographer who developed our equipment list. That helped us work backward to shape our budget. Of course, once we got online and saw all the drool worthy equipment, we wanted to keep adding to our equipment list but the budget allowed us set and manage our expectations and it meant that we began with a realistic vision of what our expense sheet would look like.
Your lesson: Knowing your budget ahead of time also frees you up to narrow down what you can and cannot do for any given project, and eliminates a lot of the second-guessing.
3. Before you produce, work with shot list and production schedule
I can’t emphasise this one enough. During our de-stress video shoot, we didn’t plan ahead for every single shoot and it cost us hours in terms of time and our lack of attention to detail sometimes showed. A shot list will take care of that problem and it’s the first thing I emphasise in our pre-production meetings. A shot list breaks down each scene and includes specifics, like camera placement, lighting direction and the set’s look and feel. Figuring out a storyboard and then your shot list in advance with your producer and videographer will save you tons of time during production.
Your lesson: Make your pre-production meetings as important as the shoot, in fact make it more of your time and attention.
4. Length does matter
The content marketing landscape is slowly be shifting toward longer, deep dive video. You Tube just announced for instance that Tubers could increase the time allocated to their videos. We aim to keep each video vignette under 7 minutes but as we go into interview style videos that time allocation could increase. Analise Kandasammy, the show’s Production Manager, always manages to slip in the fact that there is a direct correlation between video length and video drop off with a tapering off after the 5-minute mark. I’ve argued back that content governs the time. Still there are a few guidelines I follow the principal one being not to cram a lot of ideas into one shoot.
Your lesson: A tailored video with a specific message and a specific goal is what your viewers will like best.
5. Measure. Measure. Measure
This is fundamental if you have video as a part of your strategy. Of all the social platforms we are on, the ones that matter the most to us are Facebook and our blog, until the content moves over to its own website in May. For now the statistics that matter to us include the play through rate which is the heartbeat of our video strategy. Views alone don’t tell us how well our videos perform. Once people find our videos, the time they spend watching them tells us whether we’ve given them what they were looking for.
We know that a conversion rate will be critical one we monetize Forward Forty’s new website but for now video SEO are much more useful to us. This tells us which keywords drive video views. Remember videos do not include keywords so we are very particular about what we place as keywords in your titles and tags and we measure the success of those tags and titles. We are also interested in the video shares. How many people share our videos, and what influence do they have? Most video hosting platforms such as YouTube can give our videos share-ability to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social networks and we can track the reach of those shares by network and second-hand views. Our own blog on wordpress.org does this as well. Finally we are hooked on content detail and are keen to know if the style videos do better than our business videos, or if our blog posts more popular than our vlogs.
Your lesson: Don’t shoot in the dark and without metrics that’s exactly what you’re doing.