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Could Video Outperform Your Current Content Marketing Strategy?

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As marketplaces become increasingly saturated with content, brands are looking for new and inventive ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. While well written, informative pieces of content remain the backbone of most brands’ content strategy, heightened levels of competition are pushing content creators to more interactive, engaging solutions. While the marketing community has largely adopted simple visual and content based solutions like picture marketing, infographics, social media outreach, blogging, and so on, video marketing has largely lagged behind.

There are many reasons for this, and they’re by and large understandable. Video production is perceived as requiring a significant investment of time and energy that many companies are unwilling to make. Most people have experience writing, but by comparison relatively few really understand what goes into video production. This creates an aura of mystery and uncertainty around video that leads to skepticism and avoidance of it.

In the following piece, we’ll take a deep dive into the market for video, the primary concerns that business owners have when starting video production, the best ways to combat those common issues, some simple tips for effective content creation, and a few inventive ways to leverage your videos to the maximum. Video is an incredibly important part of any modern content strategy, and by pulling back the veil on video you’ll have all the knowledge you require to integrate it into your brand’s content strategy!

 

1. Demand

 

Video is one of the fastest growing areas of online content, and there’s no doubt that it has a considerable impact on decision making among consumers.

The statistics on video use are extremely convincing. 100 million individuals watch online video each day, and 45.4% of internet users watch at least 1 video per month. The average internet user is exposed to about 32 videos per month, and active web users can easily exceed that number many times over.

 

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Don’t let them down

The skeptic might say, “Sure, that’s a lot of use, but how do I know it’s impacting decision making in my marketplace?” Well, 90% of online shoppers say that they find video helpful in making shopping decisions, so if your brand has any retail presence at all there’s a clear use case. 75% of executives watch work-related videos at least once a week, meaning that the top decision makers at many powerful brands are engaging with video on a regular basis. According to the Online Publishers Association, 80% of Internet users remember an online video ad they saw over the past 30 days, and an enormous 46% took some action after viewing that advertisement.

In all, there’s significant, compelling evidence that video should be a part of your content marketing program.

2. Why aren’t companies using video to give customers the content they want?

 

If it’s so clear that video has a significant, measureable impact on consumer behavior, then why are so many companies hesitant to produce the video content the market seems to demand?

Ultimately, most businesses are concerned that the videos they produce will not yield a sufficient return on investment. While for some this may be due to not realizing the demand for video as a whole, for the majority of companies it has much more to do with overestimating the investment necessary to create an effective video.

While a high-quality camera is never a bad thing to have, at this point in our technological evolution even a phone camera or built-in computer camera can create an extremely high-quality video with the proper post-production. Quality video programs are widespread, but many companies are anxious about using anything but the old video camera standby. Editing programs can easily reduce shakiness, add filters, reduce white noise, and add voice over. There are also short-video programs like Instagram Video (IGV) which build many of these post-production features right into the video program itself.

Understand that different videos have different purposes. There’s a difference between the Vine or Instagram Video created for a quick social media boost and the video that goes on the front of your website. The vast majority of videos that you produce don’t require that glossy polish, they just need to be good enough to get the job done. Research backs this up, as only 47% of consumers believe that professionally produced product videos as opposed to low-fi videos are critical or very important when it comes to decision making. Compare this to 80% of consumers who believe that the image quality of pictures is critical or very important.

The two factors that most businesses are concerned about when it comes to producing video are time and expense. Let’s look at each of these investments in turn, and see if there are easy ways to limit our exposure while capturing all the value that video has to offer.

Time:

Many businesses think of video as an enormous time investment. From acquiring a powerful camera to designing a concept, building a set, writing a script, and hiring actors time issues range from material based to process based. Most of these businesses get a bit too attached to process, and assume that they need more than they actually do.

There are many shortcuts that can easily reduce the time investment of video. Customer testimonial videos can reduce your reliance on a script or actors, while presenting a credible face to new customers. Using fully animated or digital videos with voice overs takes away the need for a set. Most cameras can be rented, and as videos become more omnipresent the expectations for quality of camera have been reduced. Videos are more casual now, and brands can easily create interview-style videos in the comfort of their own office. In general, simple is more effective, and spending excessive time in the planning stage just isn’t the way to go.

Here’s the best argument in favor of the efficiency of video production: According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a minute of video is as valuable as 1.8 million words! That’s an incredible return on investment.

Expense:

The perceived costs of video production make many companies gulp, but again there are many ways to limit expense without reducing impact. Time is money, and simply by reducing the time spent in production by using the above suggestions will lower the costs of production.

Another option is to hire an outside video production company at a reasonable price. This may appear to be an additional expense, but a full service video agency will provide you with everything you need for a great video, and remove much of the stress associated with the process. At the end of the day, they could very well end up saving you money while producing a very high quality product.

Instead of going directly to a production house, it’s also possible to hire freelancers to do the work for you. These freelancers will often be significantly less expensive than a full scale production company, and most freelancer sites will allow you to view different bids and identify the best deals from the bunch. If you choose to go that route, plan things out carefully ahead of time so you minimize the number of hours you need to spend with that freelancer.


3. Picking the Right Platform

 

Once you’ve decided to take the dive and produce some great video content, the question is which platform to use. The leader in the market by a wide margin is YouTube, and there’s no doubt that hosting your video there will maximize potential exposure. YouTube users watch over 4 billion hours of video a month, and it’s received over 1 billion unique visitors. There’s very little downside to hosting your video there as a first step, but it’s not a perfect platform.

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YouTube videos tend to drop to lower resolutions based on available bandwidth. This can result in quality issues when played on poor computers. YouTube’s video curation skills and ties to Google result in an incredible search ranking for many of their videos, so its viral potential is quite high. However, the sheer volume of videos hosted to the platform means that it’s possible for many high quality productions to simply fall into a black hole and never escape. It’s extremely easy for users to be distracted by countless other offerings.

 

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If you’re interested in a site that provides high-quality video hosting while increasing your chances of standing out from the crowd, consider Vimeo. Vimeo currently has only 14 million members compared to YouTube’s near billion, but video is offered in a consistent 720p. If you’re interested in embedding high-quality video into your site, Vimeo is the perfect platform to use.

 

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A few interesting viral alternatives are Vine and IGV. We went over the differences and benefits of these two platforms in our blog on Instagram Video Vs. Vine: Fight to the Death?  Both of these platforms allow users to create short form videos that have significant viral potential. Vine allows for more sequential storytelling, while IGV has a looping video structure that’s great for “meme-ification.” IGV also provides a useful set of filters and other tools that can cut down on the costs of production and supply your video with a very clean, high-quality look.

 

4. Editing

 

After creating your video, the next step is to go through an editing process. As with many of the issues we discussed earlier, this sounds considerably more intimidating than it actually is. Video editing software has become increasingly inexpensive and easy to use as time has gone on, and being a professional in the field is in no way required to produce a high-quality video edit.

There are basically three main platforms when it comes to video editing: Adobe Creative Cloud (also sometimes known as Adobe Premiere), Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer. As you might expect, each platform has its benefits and drawbacks.

 

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Which tool is best for you?

 

While many may be familiar with Adobe and Final Cut, Avid is a less well known company. Avid is an entire suite of products aimed at a more professional market. It’s considerably more expensive than Final Cut, and requires significantly more sophistication to use. If you’re planning on producing significant quantities of video it could be a worthwhile investment, but the majority of businesses getting their feet wet in the video market will likely content themselves with either Final Cut or Adobe.

 

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If you’re in the market for professional level video editing and finishing, Avid could be for you

 

Final Cut pro is an Apple product, while Adobe is aimed mostly at PC users. That fact alone may complete your decision making process, but let’s delve down a little deeper. Each platform offers a free trial, and I strongly recommend that you experiment with both before making a final decision. Both platforms offer a wealth of features, with Final Cut typically emphasizing ease of use while Adobe focuses on production power. Final Cut is by far the cheaper of the two at about $300 through the Apple store, while the full Adobe suite is $1899. However, Adobe recently released a cloud option for their products that requires a monthly payment of $49.99. It’s up to you to decide which option fits your budget the best!

 

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Adobe Premiere’s interface is considered by many to be the industry standard

 

Here are a few editing tips to focus on during your first big production. In general, sound is surprisingly more important than overall video quality. Many videos have great visual production, but fall short on their sound quality. If the user can’t understand what the actors are saying it’s going to be extremely difficult for your video to have any considerable impact. Consider the color palate of your video as well, bright lighting is vital for a professional look.

 

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Good lighting is critical for professional quality video

 

In each of the design, production, editing, and hosting steps that your video goes through, it’s important to keep search engine optimization in mind. Include important SEO keywords in your video script, and make sure that the title is both appropriate and highly relevant. Include social sharing buttons whenever possible, both on the page the video is hosted on and at the end of the video itself. Be careful with iframes and try to avoid them when possible, as they’ll prevent Google from indexing your video properly.

 

5. Alternative uses

 

Most brands use video in a fairly straightforward manner – either to create viral publicity for the company or as a showcase or advertisement for a product. If you’ve decided to go to the trouble of producing a high-quality video, it’s important to consider how to get maximum value out of that unique asset. Let’s look at a few different unique ways to leverage video in your overall strategy.

Videos have viral potential, but they don’t have the same explosive sharing power of something like a meme. Most high quality videos are best used for instructional purposes, and they add a modern and tech savvy feel to any company website. Homepage videos on company websites increase unique visitor retention considerably, and visitors to retail sites are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video on it. These traditional uses are clearly effective, but there are other areas where video can increase your reach even more powerfully.

 

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There’s a method to the viral video madness, but it’s not all videos are good for!

 

Your brand’s email marketing programs can get a jump-start from video. In 2010, Implix found that including a video in an introductory email increased the click-through rate by 96%! A similar survey done by Forrester Marketing in 2010 suggested even more powerful impacts, as they found that the click-through rate increased by 200% for emails with video. Equally, including video in an introductory email reduced unsubscribing rates by 75%. If you’re having problems with customer growth and retention, consider adding video to your email marketing program.

 

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I touched on this earlier in the section on limiting your costs of production, but interview or Q&A style videos are a great format to experiment with. These videos typically require significantly less in terms of pre-production and planning, as there’s relatively little need for the research and editing of the answers themselves. They provide a clear glimpse into your brand for new subscribers, and function wonderfully in the “About” section of your site.

Video can also have a high degree of impact when used as an attachment to a news release. Product updates, rebranding, and other informational releases can be sped up and brought to life when distributed to your user base through video. Many consumers aren’t interested in spending considerable time reading written updates, and a video format can deliver maximum information in a compressed window of time. By keeping your customers abreast of any developments at your brand you’ll improve customer loyalty and increase their overall level of investment.

Video is a powerful tool in the content marketers arsenal, and there’s no doubt that while many brands shy away from it the return on investment is simply too great to ignore. By using a few simple tricks, it’s possible to considerably lower the real and opportunity cost of doing video while retaining all of the great value that it provides. Whether your brand uses it to teach about products, as a tie in to an effective email marketing campaign, or to inject a little humor and personality into your overall brand identity, video can provide you with an incredible value add.

 

 

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