tips for video marketing from US PresidentsEach February we celebrate the great leaders of our country. While Presidents Day was originally established in honor of George Washington’s birthday, other famous presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were also born in the month of February.

There’s no doubt that many lessons can be gleaned from the tenure of these three esteemed leaders on the topics of foreign policy, economics, reform, and civil rights, but the list does not stop there.  Leaders from all industries have turned to history as their greatest source of wisdom to inform decisions for the future.

You don’t have to be a political scientist, historian, or even a History Channel regular to apply the lessons from the annals of history to the business world of today.  Let’s take a step back in time to examine three lessons for video marketing from U.S. Presidents past.

1.  Be Revolutionary

George Washington led the way in establishing a framework for the new republic at a time when its citizens were seeking anything but a return to the status quo.  The United States Constitution was the answer they were looking for, as it proposed a separation of powers that revolutionized governing in the modern world.

While not every piece of content can be as revolutionary as the Constitution, there’s an important lesson here for video marketers:  original content that breaks the norm truly resonates with audiences.

With an ever-growing abundance of digital media just a mouse-click away, it has become even more important to stretch the creative boundaries and try something new. Consider using humor to create a light-hearted piece of content that conveys your message in a unique and memorable way.  Remember, just because your content is funny doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice substance; you can effectively use humor to both entertain and inform, as Bettina Hein describes in this Q&A.

2. Make Every Word Count

Abraham Lincoln delivered what would become one of the most iconic and powerful speeches in American history on November 19, 1863.  There’s no doubt that the Gettysburg Address is one of the best-known speeches in history because of its monumental significance to the Civil War, but it also stands out because it is one of the shortest speeches of all time.  The entire address was only two minutes long, but every carefully crafted phrase was succeeded by another of equal substance, with not a wasted word to be found.

For video marketers, making every word count is vital to the success of the message, especially with so much content competing for viewers’ attention.  While video length can vary based on subject matter, most marketing experts recommend, keeping video content under the 90-second to two-minute mark.

With a limited window to engage viewers, it’s crucial that video marketers efficiently deliver the key points of their message in a clear and concise manner. With that in mind, when creating the outline for a new piece of content, write a detailed script to use when recording your video.  This will not only make the finished product flow smoothly, but will also serve as a helpful exercise to review your message and trim any unnecessary phrasing.

3. Know Your Audience

Ronald Reagan’s second term in office was marked by the culmination of the Cold War.  As has been well documented in American and world history, the circumstances surrounding the Cold War were incredibly delicate, and a wide range of approaches were considered over a 44-year period to deescalate the crisis.

Crucial to the Reagan administration’s ability to negotiate, and ultimately bring the war to a close, was a careful understanding of where Soviet leaders stood.  By recognizing a change in tone of the Soviet leadership, the Reagan administration was able to shift its approach from military build-up to diplomacy, and end the war.

Knowing your audience is essential for video marketers as well, since certain messages will resonate better with one audience than another.  Understanding where your audience is coming from goes beyond just optimizing your messaging. It should also include consideration for what marketing channels you are most likely to reach them through, and from what device they will be accessing your content.

Consider the statistics in this infographic about the power of video when designing your content. Based on your target audience you may want to consider optimizing content for mobile viewing by reducing text in favor of images, and increasing font size where text is necessary.  You may also need to tweak your messaging and create multiple versions of your content to best suit each channel.

Designing unique, effective content that resonates with the target audience is the challenge every video marketer faces, and the formula for success is constantly evolving as video continues to grow in popularity.  Just remember, when creating content for the future, it can’t hurt to keep an eye on the past.

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