You could be a video marketing rockstar. Just imagine it. Using a combination of animated brand overview videos, live-action vlog posts, high-quality screencast tutorials—and much more—you regularly deliver visual content that educates and entertains your potential customers and keeps them coming back for more.
Doesn’t sound half bad, does it?
But let’s be realistic. You’re more likely the “one hit wonder” equivalent of video marketing. Maybe you’ve got that sweet animated explainer video on your landing page, or perhaps you’ve got a handful of live-action client interviews collecting dust on your testimonials page. And that’s it. You stopped there.
Don’t get me wrong – these are good things, and even if you did stop with just one killer landing-page video, you’re certainly better off than you were before. Some high-quality marketing video is better than none. But if you know just how beneficial video is for marketers, if you know that everyone—from individual consumers to members of a company’s C-suite—are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video, and if you know that video can kick your conversion rate, sales, and search engine results into overdrive… Well, why on earth would you stop at just one video?
Maybe you do want to use more video, but you’re just not sure what to do next. What you need is a video marketing strategy. You wouldn’t even dream of executing your other inbound marketing efforts without a plan, a schedule, or a purpose, would you? Every good content marketer has a blog schedule. And the same holds true for video. You need a strategy, a roadmap that tells you where you’re going, how you’re going to get there… and why you’re even going there in the first place.
So, let’s talk strategy. There are four crucial elements of any good video marketing strategy.
In his brilliant blog post on marketing with a mission in mind, Wistia’s Chris Savage defines mission-based marketing as “creating content that furthers your mission, instead of making content that sells your product.” In other words, content marketing is bigger than just making the sale; it’s about building up a body of materials that educates, delights, and informs your customers – and furthers your mission.
The first step toward developing a rock-solid video marketing strategy is to define your mission. Why does your company exist? Beyond the product or service you’re offering, what kind of value do you want to add for your potential customers? How are you empowering them and equipping them to more knowledgably interact with your product and the space your product is in?
At Wistia, their mission is “to empower everybody to get more out of video.” At Explainify, our mission is to help brands tell a compelling story through video. That mission frees us up to write about a wide variety of topics, from marketing to scripting, from video hosting to explainer video cost. The point is that our content emerges from our mission. Our mission is the destination we have in mind whenever we set out to create content.
Let’s get one thing straight: content without mission is meaningless. Think of your mission as the strong roots of your marketing strategy, and your individual pieces of content as the shoots and leaves that emerge from the rich soil of a well-defined mission. Remove the roots, and your content is disjointed and anemic. But if you do have a mission, you have a clear goal that helps you define what kind of content is or is not helpful for your audience.
Where your mission is the bedrock of your video content, your plan is your actually strategy, the framework that will help you accomplish your video marketing goals. This goes beyond simply having a schedule for your content – although that is important. There are a few questions you should ask yourself in order to establish an actionable plan for your video content:
What visual content do I need?
The first step is to figure out what kind of visual content you actually need. Of course, not every blog post needs video, and some of your testimonials can be text. You need to be judicious about what kind of content you’re going to create with video. Are you missing a top of funnel overview on your home page? Then you probably need an explainer video. Do you find that your clients frequently ask questions about how to use your product or service? Then a screencast tutorial might be in order. Or perhaps you need to build a strong emotional connection with your potential customers? An interview with one of your staff could give your company the human element it’s missing. Brainstorm the possibilities, and make a list of the videos that fit within your mission and provides the most valuable information for your customers – especially at crucial points along the buyer’s journey.
What do my customers want?
The answer to this question will also help you decide what kind of content to produce. What questions do your potential and existing customers ask the most frequently? What misconceptions do they have about you, your service, or your field of expertise? What information do they need in order to make the most of what you’re offering? Questions like these can help develop very specific—and very helpful—videos for your audience.
How will I get it done?
Once you know what kind of content you’re going to create, you need to figure out how you’re going to make it happen. If you’re looking for an animated video with motion graphics, or a live-action brand positioning piece, you’ll need to hire a production company to make a high-quality piece worth sharing. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to film some customer testimonials or educational vlog posts, you might consider investing in the necessary lighting, backdrop, and camera equipment to film them in-house. Once you have your own equipment and a space to film, you can schedule even more video content for the future – the best part is, since you own the camera, you have control over when and where these videos get made. You can also maximize your time by filming multiple interviews or vlog posts, then rolling them out one at a time over a series of weeks or months.
Finally, you need to know when you’re going to share your videos with the world – on your website, through your social media channels, via email. As with a blog or social media schedule, you should decide where these videos fit into your marketing calendar. But you can’t just decide when you want to publish the video. You also need to budget for the video’s production. How long will it take to get the pieces in place to film your video? How long will it take to edit? If you’re creating videos in house, you’ll need to figure out a realistic production timeline for your video content. If you’re working with a production company, you’re of course more or less bound to their production pipeline.
Developing a video schedule is important, because this timeline is your roadmap that ensures you have a clear sense of direction and keeps you moving forward.
If you’ve set forth a clear purpose and a clear plan for your video marketing efforts, the execution should be the easy part. All you have to do is get it done. Hire the right production company. Buy the right camera. Write a great script. Make a killer video. Host it through the right video service (*cough* Wistia *cough*). And promote it like crazy.
Your only responsibility in this stage of your video marketing strategy is to stay on track. You’ve got a list of topics; make videos about them. You’ve got your production schedule; stick to it. It can be easy to get distracted, but the final key to a great video strategy is….
It would be ideal if you could consistently churn out top-notch visual content once or twice a week, but for many companies that’s just not possible. If you don’t have the resources to make videos on such a regular basis, I’ve got good news for you. Phil Nottingham of Distilled gave an unforgettable lecture on video marketing strategy, and in his lecture he argues that consistency of quality is infinitely more important than consistency of quantity. It’s much more important that you offer your audience truly valuable content than a lot of mediocre material. As I said earlier, a little of high-quality video is better than none. It’s also better than a lot of low-quality drivel.
It all comes back to your mission. Don’t worry too much about creating enough content. Instead, focus on creating video content that jives with your mission and empowers your audience to do more.
So hop to it! Define your mission, make a plan, and start making videos that matter.