We are rapidly becoming a visual society, one in which visual communication is taking over from reading. The rise of YouTube demonstrates that people want to see what others are doing, they want to learn ‘face-to-face’. It’s as if the notion of ‘seeing is believing’ has taken over from trust in the printed word. It’s not surprising that when a HubSpot survey asked where people preferred to get their information, 54% said video.
But YouTube’s status as the video platform of choice has a challenger. Facebook is catching up, with one Facebook executive claiming Facebook will be all video in a few years. This is where your potential customers are searching for products and services – the humble web banner may soon go the way of newspaper classifieds.
With this in mind, let’s look at why it’s important to have a plan for video as a part of your wider content strategy, how to set goals for campaigns, and ways to measure their success.
Why success requires strategy – not luck
You need a strategy because it informs the development, planning, creation and delivery of your video content. It takes into account who you are marketing to, what products you want to highlight and where you will place your content for maximum impact, such as social media or on your website. Without a strategy you have no blueprint for success.
Know your audience
Defining an audience for your product is step one. You do this by segmenting the population into useful categories then zoning in on those you think will engage with your product. Categories can include:
- Lifestyle & interests
- Stage of life
Next, create descriptions, or personas, based on the choices you have made from the list. For example:
Jan is a 46-year-old high school teacher. She’s single, enjoys travel, gets great holidays, and loves history and exploring different cultures. Her salary is $71,000 and after raising two kids on her own, she’s ready to spend some on herself.
If you run a travel agency specialising in European tours, Jan would be an ideal audience for your video. And the more you build up Jan’s persona the better. What social media does she use? As a teacher, what times of the year would she be looking to travel? What are the hot travel spots for women like Jan? Tuscany? Provence? Will she travel with her partner or alone?
Personas are about turning a target market – ‘Women over 40’ – into a real human being. Once you do that, you can make a better connection, because you are focusing on people, not a demographic.
Set your goal – and measure the results
By creating personas, your video audience gradually comes into focus and you can plan your content accordingly. But your persona is inextricably linked to your video strategy’s goal – the two constantly modify each other, and a change to one has repercussions in the other.
The strategy goal might be to ‘Increase sales of our Greek Islands package tour by 25% on last year’s figures by October 15.’
This goal has an easily measured goal and a deadline. But the effectiveness of the video itself, how many people watch it, is also measurable, and this is one of the great things about digital media. Not only can you collect information on how many people click on the video, but you can see how many watched it through to the end, and how many then followed the link back to your landing page, and where they found it.
Set KPIs or a target for the number of leads you generated. You can do this by tracking how many people come to your landing page from the video.
Most businesses host the video on their Facebook site or on YouTube and then allow viewers to click through to a landing page on the business website. That way, you use social media to attract customers to your product – a key principal of inbound marketing campaigns.
If course, your goal doesn’t have to be so obviously sales-driven. You could use the video to increase your company’s profile in general, or to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. What differentiates you from your competitors? Find the answer and you can develop your own market niche.
Scripting your video
Your video needs a script, even if you don’t stick to it exactly. But before you write the script, ask yourself:
- What is the video for?
- What do you want people to do after they watch it?
You should already have decided on point one. Is it to increase sales by a certain percentage? To raise awareness of your product? To demonstrate that you are a trusted expert in your field?
We’ve already discussed landing pages – that’s where you want people go after they have watched the video. This call to action will be included at the end of the video, with a link provided. Once they click to your landing page, there may be a downloadable eBook or a form they need to fill in to register for a special offer.
If your video has lots of locations, or a number of products or services to feature, you might want to storyboard it. A storyboard is a list of the shots you need to film that will be edited together to make the video.
That’s because a video of you speaking to camera might be appropriate in some cases, but if you are spreading awareness of your products, you might want parts of your script to be a voice over.
For example, if you’re a florist you may have video of staff preparing bouquets and the flower types you stock. When you storyboard these shots you get a good idea of how the video is going to flow, and which images are going to be on screen at any point in the script, so you can match your words to what people are seeing.
If you’re not sure about creating a video script or storyboard, contact a content marketing agency for some professional guidance.
Making a decision on production
At the start of the new millennium, professional-looking video was still in the hands of a few who could afford expensive cameras and powerful video editing suites. Editing video on a home PC involved installing costly processor cards and software.
Now, the high resolution 4K video standard, which is used to film professional feature films, can be found on a number of smartphones. This means there’s no reason to hire expensive cameras or editing rooms – you can do it all by yourself, and cheaply.
If you own a DSLR camera, these are equipped with enough data storage to shoot a video then download it to your PC for editing. Check the manual for details.
If you decide to hire equipment, there are businesses that hire packages including a camera, lights and microphones.
So there you have it – a quick guide to video strategy. The key: before you go near a video camera, plan carefully what you will do and why. Just like a Hollywood movie, the story is everything. Find out what your special story is, and you have the beginnings of your business blockbuster.