Storytelling is as old as time. In all cultures across the globe, stories have been handed down from generation to generation to preserve unusual experiences or poignant historical facts. As we sit back and watch how technology and the Internet are evolving, we see that storytelling is just as strong as it has ever been, just with a different vehicle. Video. As we watch Instagram’s release of its feature, “Stories” and Snapchat’s user base grow and grow, it’s hard to ignore the fact that video is something that businesses should be using in their content strategy mix.
Just like there are different forms of blog posts - long form, short form, listicles, infographics, etc. A video also has various types and should be applied appropriately to a content strategy to achieve the highest, expected outcome. The reality is that we skim written content, where we consume video, almost in it’s entirety. Check out the results from the latest State of Inbound 2016 by HubSpot:
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you can produce long or short form videos. Long form videos are usually a higher production value, while short-form videos could be used in a blog, with less risk associated with it. Also, using apps like Instagram or Snapchat carry a different video quality to help get your brand out there. Furthermore, the familiarity of these apps will set user expectations immediately, and viewers will know how to navigate your video.
Let’s get started!
1. DEVELOP A PLAN
As with anything, you must come up with a plan on why and how you’re going to use video in your content strategy. Be intentional. If you’re planning on making a video just because I’m telling you it’s important, the results will be disastrous. So take the time to understand how your video will fit into your content and plan on what you want the viewer to DO after watching. Every piece of content that you produce should have a call to action and video should be no different. Furthermore, we are WAY past the point where it is even possible that we can consume the trillions of minutes of content that is circulating on the Internet. Plan to target a niche. Plan to give your audience something they don’t know they need.
2. BE HUMAN
The greatest thing about video is that you can shoot take after take, then edit the footage until you look PERFECT! But we know and your audience knows that no one is perfect. So just be human. I’m not suggesting that you lower your production quality, but what I am saying is to remember that being imperfect is endearing to most. It’s relatable. So inject humor or be dramatic. Deliver your content in a manner that reflects the tastes of your target audience.
3. BE AN EXPERT, SHARE KNOWLEDGE
In your content strategy, you’re probably already doing this. Being helpful to your audience and giving away knowledge. But can this knowledge be demonstrated in a video? If so, then get out a camera and start recording. Video can be very expensive, but for a blog post, video can be very affordable and easily executed. The main idea is to create a video that will help your audience gain the knowledge that they are searching for. One note of warning, don’t be a talking head. What I mean by that is, don’t just turn on your camera and talk and talk and talk. See 1. Develop a Plan. Plan on how you can deliver your knowledge to your audience in a way that will be engaging and entertaining.
4. LET YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE GET TO KNOW YOU
Be your best self and have fun! Making a video is at first a bit awkward if you’re not used to being in front of a camera. But don’t let that stop you from allowing your audience from getting to know you. As you share the personality of your brand, your audience, both prospect, and current will get to know you, get to like you, and then get to trust you. Video allows this trust process to develop and in turn, will help you help your target audience.
5. USE DIFFERENT VIDEO DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
In the new State of Inbound 2016 report, 48% plan to use YouTube, 39% plan to use Facebook Video, and 33% plan to use Instagram in their marketing efforts over the next 12 months. Creating a plan to use a mix of video distribution channels will help extend your reach. Some channels may be well positioned for your target audience and others may not. You’ll have to determine that at the beginning, but do not put all of your eggs in one basket.
6. MEASURE AND ANALYZE
As you add video to your content strategy, you’ll want to measure and analyze all of your efforts. YouTube does a pretty good job at providing you with analytics. Furthermore, YouTube has a pretty decent distribution reach, thanks to Google. However, there are some online video tools to help pull together data. One of my favorites is Wistia. They do an excellent job of breaking down how people watch your videos. They give you an idea of how much of the video people are watching and provide what they call “heat maps” to tell you where someone rewatched a portion of the video. This feature is just one of what they can provide and offer a broad range of data points. With this information, you can learn to adjust and adapt to cater to your audience.
In closing, video will not be the ANSWER to driving more traffic to your site and increasing conversions. However, it is an adamant tool that should be highly considered to integrate into your content strategy mix.
What are your thoughts on using video in your content strategy?