How to make effective video content

Obey these seven golden rules to ensure your content marketing videos hit the mark

The future is video. That’s the received wisdom and, by and large, it’s true. Video is arguably a slightly less powerful play in the B2B marketing arena where more content is consumed in a desktop office environment, but just think about your own behaviour and preferences: nothing engages like a good film.

The problem is that quality video is expensive to produce, that’s why it’s vital to get it right. Here’s how to justify the spend and meet your marketing goals.

Select an audience

Your business almost certainly has multiple audiences (think of all those marketing personas). It’s tempting to create a video that is aimed at all of them. Don’t! Focus on a specific group or groups that you want to engage with.

Know your purpose

Marketing is purely a means to an end. Be clear about what the purpose is for your video. It may be as simple as boosting brand awareness but most marketing should be targeted towards an outcome, often related to drawing potential customers along the sales funnel. Don’t proceed until you have decided what viewers should do having watched the video.

Meet a need

We’re talking content marketing here. There’s a place for straight adverts but don’t let your video become pure promotion that doesn’t meet a stakeholder need. That need doesn’t have to be directly linked to the viewer’s day job; it could be an emotional driver that makes a video work. Just be clear about why people will want to watch.

Decide your route of discovery

How are people going to find your video? Will it only sit on your website or will there be a marketing campaign around it with email blasts and social media outreach? Will there be paid promotion and if so, where? Does advocate marketing form part of the mix, and if so, does this add any requirements?

Keep it short

Want your video to be shared? Then keep it under 30 seconds. Want it to be watched to the end? Then cut it down to under two minutes. A really hungry audience may watch for up to five minutes but only if they’re learning something vital. The temptation is always to cram a little more in, but 90 seconds feels an age in our blink-and-its-gone digital age. A series of brief videos is more likely to be watched than one long one. Less is almost always more.

Establish the format

Will most people watch your film on a phone? If so, you should consider a vertical, portrait format rather than the traditional widescreen landscape approach. The video producer needs to know this before filming starts so they can shoot appropriately. There’s scope to re-edit into a different screen ratio but you should always shoot for your primary purpose.

Make it shareable (or not)

Everyone wants their video to go viral – but you need to be realistic. A film that is longer and focused on a product or a service is unlikely to be shared. That doesn’t make it a bad video: it may be perfect for explaining a technology as a last step in the sales process.

Think what would make you share a video: there probably needs to be some ‘wow’ factor, either in terms of how it looks or what it says. Or perhaps it demonstrates how astute or well informed you are. Often we share content via Facebook and Twitter because it shows we have a great sense of humour or are socially aware.

by Miles Kendall. Contact him here.

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