I know the inclination is to just dive right in there and make a video, or hire an online video production company to dive right in there and bang out a video that will go viral, be an ad and explain everything your brand, product or service does and stands for, all in one neat package… oh, and people will want to watch it too, and share with their friends and co-workers.
That actually is possible, but you and your team have to ask these 5 smart questions first, if you want to get results. Marketing results. Action. Attention. Loyalty. Sales. Not just views.
1. Who Do You Really Need To See Your Video?
Who is your ideal audience, or more bluntly, your consumer? The people who will pay you money. Who are the people who will buy your product or service, or become aware of your brand as a result of seeing this video?
This is the group we’re trying to reach and motivate to buy. How old are they? What are their buying habits? Do they need what you’re selling and if not, how do we convince them that they do? What other products do they like? What websites do they visit?
This is the group that influences your target audience! I may not need your new hybrid car that runs 6,000 miles on a tank of gas, turns different colors like a chameleon and makes a perfect grilled cheese sandwich in the glove box, but my friend Bob would LOVE that. I’m going to send him your video.
2. How Will Your Video Be Distributed?
Your distribution strategy can, in part, determine the creative approach you take with your video. If you’re relying on something going viral, you need both unexpected and memorable creative, combined with a video seeding strategy across blogs, publications, influencers and paid media buys. The idea here is that you need to pay for initial attention, then let the video catch on and be shared for free, thus reducing your initial spend, on a cost per view basis.
Website And Social Media Channels Only
You may choose to embed the video on your website and post on YouTube Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and make shorter versions for Instagram and Vine.
This tactic is most effective when you have an existing audience, a good sized social media following, a large email list or significant brand awareness.
Otherwise, it’s a must add-on to the other distribution tactics listed.
Paid Video Ads:
Paid ads can appear anywhere from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to video sites like Hulu, to iHeartRadio, in apps, and on your target audience’s favorite websites.
Paid ads don’t necessarily require the same “stickiness” or shareability as viral videos, but it helps, a lot. Think of how Super Bowl ads do so well online each year. Mostly, that’s because they’re not only ads, but they’re funny or moving as well.
Some sites require that viewers watch the entire video to proceed to the content they really want, kind of like TV ads before DVRs were invented. Others allow you to tap out after the first several seconds and others employ a mixture of both, depending on the popularity of the content, like when they make you watch a full :30 video ad for beer before you can see that highlight reel from last night’s game… hi YouTube.
Native Video Ads:
OK, these are still paid ads, but videos that are designed to look like they’re part of a non-paid article pr feature on a blog or publication. The writer of the article or the publication running the video is being compensated, but the video topic is so consistent with the other content on the site that it appears natural, organic… native to that publication.
Videos can be inserted into mobile, PC and console games as incentives for players to earn things if they watch.
Digital PR / Blog and Publication Outreach:
This tactic involves encouraging bloggers, writers and journalists to write about your video and share their opinions, and your video, with their readers.
Identify which blogs and publications are visited most frequently by your target audience. Identify which writers are most likely to be interested in doing a story on your product or service.
Pitch them via email or social media channels. get on their radar. But don’t be a pest and don’t assume that just because they didn’t pick up your story it’s because they didn’t like you.
Keep in mind that writers are interested in topics that will entertain, inform or educate their readers. They may have just done a similar topic, or they just don;t think you’re a good fit. That simple.
A lot of it has to do with timing too.
My agency pitched a writer at Gizmodo this year and later that same day, received a link to the published story.
Influencers can be fans, bloggers, YouTubers and anyone with a significant and/or targeted social media or online following. If they like you, they can share your video with their audience and accelerate the rate at which your video blows up!
3. What Style Of Video Will Your Video Be?
Style can be broken into different segments:
Should the video be funny, serious, heartfelt, appealing, urgent, scary?
What will the video look and feel like?
Ideally, find examples of other videos you like, just as reference points… but don’t copy!
Be original, or you’ll be compared to them which = second best.
Should the video be live action, with real actors and sets, interviews, scenes from a live event?
Should the video a 2d or 3d animation, a cartoon with moving characters, motion graphics, sound effects, voiceovers, or simply motion text and graphics?
My agency is just starting a project where we’ll be using 100% sourced 4k footage and high quality images of amazing natural and cultural attractions and scenery from across the world.
You can also mix live action, animation, voiceovers, graphics and music to create some pretty spectacular results.
Some of these decisions can be based on budget, and some are simply based on choice and use.
4. What Are The Key Points You Need To Make?
Don’t get lost in the creative, fun part of the video production. Writing something funny and entertaining is easy. Just ask Fallon, Kimmel and Conan. They’re selling themselves, ad space and comedy for the sake of comedy. You’re selling a product or service, so you have to make that clear, in a cleverly disguised yet transparent way. Do those sound like plat opposites? They’re not.
Viewers don’t like to be tricked. They like to be entertained and educated and even if they know you’re hocking something, that’s okay – as long as they know that you know they know.
ASK – what problem does your product or service solve? How are you making people’s lives better or easier? Why should they care? Assuming you’ve captured their interest with your creative style, what do you need them to know about you? How are you different and better than any competition out there?
What exactly are you offering?
Make it clear! Otherwise they’ll walk away having enjoyed your video, but may not make the connection between what they saw and what you’re selling.
Make a clear connection between what they’re seeing and what you’re selling.
5. What Is The Call To Action?
After your ideal customer watches the video, what do you want them to do? Go straight to your website and buy? Go to a retailer? Share with a friend? Enter a contest? The average viewer is likely to do no more than one of these things… maybe two.
You can also repurpose your video with varied calls to action, for example, a :15 YouTube pre-roll could direct viewers to your website while an expandable video banner ad on a premium website could push them to a retailer.
You can use the same assets from one video to create several videos without changing the creative content and messaging.
At the very least, you can include a call to action in the real estate that surrounds your video, like the video description, or in the case of banners, the graphics and links.
5 Bonus Takeaways:
1. Whichever audience, distribution channels, style, key points or calls to action you’re including, make your video memorable, engaging and shareable!
2. Test various distribution channels and don’t blow your video seeding / marketing budget all in one place.
3. Also, one video can be cut into multiple videos for multiple purposes, so where possible, prepare for that on the front end and you’ll save a bunch on concept development, production, post production and video marketing since you’ll know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
4. Integrate your video production and marketing strategy up front.
5. Planning is your friend.
Questions or comments? Leave them here or tweet me @DavidMurdico