5 Steps to Effective Video

Brands are constantly looking to engage with their customers and turn these engagements into action. In today’s digital climate, video is increasingly popular. However, there’s a big difference between creating videos for marketing purposes versus videos for Justin Bieber. Marketing content should lift the brand, create demand, increase customer engagement, activate sales or diminish the impact of competitive voices. In other words, it should serve a business purpose. A lot of planning is involved, but doing the legwork prior to production will ensure that the video is viewed on the right platforms, by the right people, and will turn into consumer actions. Here’s a 5-step process to make your video content effective:

1) Define program goals

There are three specifics you’ll need to define in this initial planning stage: Business objectives, what you want a viewer to do as a result of viewing the video (aka “post-play interaction”) and success metrics. The content of the video will vary greatly depending on these three things, so be sure to define them and gain agreement on them before moving forward.

Ask yourself: What is the business need? Are you trying to drive engagement? Conversion? Loyalty? What do you want the viewer to do after watching the video? Remember, the goal shouldn’t be to just to get someone to watch the video. Are they to visit a certain landing page to learn more about a specific product? Sign up for a reward program? Interact with a tool?

Then, ask yourself: What success looks like? Don’t limit KPIs to “volume” metrics, such as impressions, views, likes, etc. Consider “business” metrics like click-through rate, engagement rate, account open rates, etc.

2) Use data to inform strategy

We are dealing with a very interactive medium, so there is a lot of data available about the mindset and digital behaviors of your online audience. These insights can (and should) be used to inform all aspects of your video.

To inform the content of the video itself, ask yourself: What are my customers’ areas of interest online? Their triggers or pain points? What specific keywords do they use when they search for content online? The answers to these questions should inform your video topic, storyline and vernacular (or spoken word).

Then, ask yourself: Are there key sites, publishers or partners that your audience is looking for content on? Use this information, along with the keywords to inform the video metadata and distribution plan for SEO purposes.

3) Develop content around the customer journey

Although we are planning specifically for one piece of video content, you must also keep in mind that one video may not accomplish everything you need it to. Your video might be the starting point for a customer that will require deeper content following her first engagement, or the video could be the end point that will ultimately get the viewer to convert. You may need multiple pieces of content in order to move a viewer through a journey.

Map out each of these three crucial steps and identify how content will be used at each interaction point: How will the customer discover your content? Where will he or she view it? And what will he or she do afterwards (in lockstep with the “post-play interaction” mapped out in Step 1 of this process)?

4) Boost SEO

Just like any web page, video requires SEO tactics to boost organic ranking and maximize discovery.

First, consider how you’re going to distribute your video. Remember when we talked about audience insights during Step 2 of this process? Take those same insights and use them to understand how and when your video will be consumed.

Additionally, consider how and where the video will be discovered. Often times, the first instinct for marketers is to focus on paid distribution. There’s definitely a need for paid media, but it’s important to prioritize the value of a brand’s owned properties. Focus the paid strategy on areas that are harder to reach via organic search.

Finally, add metadata utilizing the same keywords that you uncovered in the insights phase. For video, metadata includes titles, description, keyword tags and video transcripts, and is the most important part of getting your video seen by the right people.

5) Measure and Optimize

Finally, you’ll need to track how your video is performing. Remember those KPIs you identified way back in Step 1? Measure against them, as well as any other benchmarks you may have based on past campaign performance and industry norms. And as always, optimization is an ongoing process, so look for trends in the data to help you improve your metadata, distribution plan, associated landing pages and of course the video itself.

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