The idea of using video to promote products or services is not a new idea. But, when it comes to online video, businesses are still getting used to the idea of creating great video content for their websites. Just like blogs, video has been fairly slow to catch on.
But, it’s there and it’s vital to your digital marketing strategy.
So how do you create effective video content, something that will really leave an impression with visitors and customers on your site?
It’s as much art as it is science.
First thing is first: a great video does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact, some of the most successful videos out there are low-budget pieces. While a high-cost, professionally done video will look great, the low-budget videos often appeal more to viewers because they can relate to it more.
Target your audience
A good video is a targeted video. You want to identify your target audience and appeal to them. It’s just like any other form of content on your website. In order for it to be truly effective, the content has to be relevant to them. It has to help them solve the issue their having, which is why they are at your website, perusing your content. By doing this, you are branded as a thought leader, and nothing could be better for your business.
Your target audience will determine whether you go for high-quality, very polished video or for a more laid back, casual feel. As the “casual” becomes more and more normal (think of all the businesses out there that have adopted the casual workplace attire policies), the more and more video and podcast content has become more casual. So if you are selling hats to a 18-25 demographic, they’re probably not going to be impressed by a high-quality production that involves sales statistics and other metrics that attract other business types. They want the information and they want to be entertained (at least partially) by the content. You want to engage your audience, not only with great content, but with the look and feel of the video.
If you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want your video to say, you need to decide how to deliver that information in a clever, creative way. Interviews have become a very popular way to get the right information to potential buyers. What better way to persuade them to buy than with the opinions of other buyers?
But what about video release forms? David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, has a great idea for what to do with those pesky deterrents.
“When I first press record on my video camera, I simply ask the person I am about to interview if it’s okay to post the video on YouTube. I also ask about name spellings and company affiliation and title. I then know how to refer to my interview subjects throughout the video, and I have a record of them giving permission to record!”
The thing about contracts is that it can often turn people off. They are less likely to stand in front of your camera and give their testimony if they have to read through paperwork.
Determining what type of video you will make can be hard. Will you make it an informative comedy? Purely informational? A faux customer video? There are many different options out there, but here are a few of the basics:
Comedy – This is a fairly general term, but I’ll give you an example to help you out. Absolut Vodka came out with a series of “commercials” to promote their brand. They enlisted the help of Zach Galifiniakis, Tim Heidecker, and Eric Wareheim. What they got wasn’t so much an ad for the brand, but a comedy bit that included their vodka. Because they made the video memorable, including some of the most memorable lines including their brand name, a whole generation of new drinkers associates Absolut Vodka with this comedy sketch.
Vodcasting – A vodcast is exactly what it sounds like. It combines video elements with podcast elements. You can tie it to iTunes or an RSS feed. BMW does a great job with these types of videos, making the informative and fun for car lovers.
Faux customer video – This is an interesting category. It’s also one that can backfire on you pretty quickly. There are many companies out there that will make their own low-budget video and try to pass it off as a customer’s video. Of course, if you are found out, you risk being called out and having to explain yourself, but if you do it correctly you could have something viral.
Customer–made videos – This is another pretty interesting category. There are some companies that hold their own video contests. The reward is usually having their video online or on TV, but the real reward for the business is that they now have free content. Doritos has taken to doing this for their Super Bowl commercials and it’s always successful.
Vlogging – Vlogging is video blogging. Anything you might say in a blog entry, you then say in the video. What makes this particularly effective is that you can create the video and embed it into what is called a companion blog. The companion blog basically gives extra insight that wasn’t discussed on the video into whatever it is that you’re saying.
There are many different forms of video you can choose from. There is also room to be creative and come up with something new.
Get it seen
Of course, once you’ve created the perfect video, you need to make sure people can find it. There are a few different ways to do this.
YouTube – YouTube is the world’s biggest video sharing site, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. There are also sites like Vimeo and blip.tv that can certainly help you disseminate your new video. From YouTube, you can easily send the link to people in the industry, your email list, or customers that have bought from you in the past. This is usually how videos go viral.
You can also use the YouTube embed codes to post the video directly onto your site, in articles or other forms of content, or even in news releases.
Develop your own channel – Some companies create their own video channel (separate from their YouTube channel). Take for instance Weber Grills’ Weber Nation website. This is a website that is dedicated to videos of grilling classes.
Place in content – If you’ve got a website, it behooves you to have many different types of content. You can put your videos into other forms of content, such as news articles, blog entries, or on the homepage of your site. All of this is an effective way to get that video you’ve worked so hard on seen.
Creating great video content for your customers and potential customers brands you as a thought leader in the Internet world. But making great video content can be a challenge. First, you don’t need to make high-budget features all the time. Second, you need to target your audience before doing anything else. Then you’ll need to decide the format and execute it. After all that, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to get your content out there. The better the content, the more the customer will appreciate your brand and the information you dispense.