Video killed the content star

As many as one in three Britons view an online video at least week which amounts a staggering audience of more than 20 million in the UK alone – an audience rating Eastenders would sell its granny for. This is set to grow with more and more of accessing video content on a daily basis, so what do you need to know to make the most of video marketing?

Vital Statistics

In the digital age we’ve seen content fads come and go but there’s a compelling case to suggest that video marketing is here to stay. Google owned YouTube is the world’s largest provider of video content receiving more than a billion unique visitors every month, with Vimeo following hot on its heels with a roll call of more than 22 million users. According to Cisco, by 2017 we can expect no less than 69% of consumer content to be video based.

As impressive as these figures are now, video marketing has been a slow burn industry. YouTube was founded in 2005 providing an online platform for user-generated content, and fast became a rival to MySpace for bands seeking their big break and an easy to find audience. A year earlier in 2004 Vimeo made a quiet foray online and became the mainstay of indie film producers seeking a dedicated audience for everything from world cinema to film installations and projections.

The growth of the tablet and mobile markets has seen and unprecedented rise in consumer demand for new and creative content. It’s not uncommon for someone to view an advertisement for the first time via twitter because ‘it went viral’, so the potential for businesses is huge.

Peter Spence, Director of Leeds-based Natural Cinema Productions agrees: "Having worked with many businesses to promote their product or service using video I believe that its power as a marketing tool is that it can humanise the company. Even a simple 2 minute talking head of a senior company figure or sales rep on a home page can immediately break down barriers and connect with the customer in a way that text and image can't.”

Content Marketing

Tricks of the Trade

The beauty of video marketing is that it isn’t just for the big companies, small businesses can see a real impact from a much smaller investment. Here are a few tips and tricks when considering your video marketing strategy:

·         Sound quality

It might seem odd that in an article about video content the first tip is sound quality, but it is one of the most important factors in getting the message across and one of the easiest to forget. Your audience is there because they want to find out more, if they can’t hear what’s going on or there’s too much background noise the experience for them is poor and they are unlikely to return. There are some great technology solutions on the market if you’re doing this yourself that can minimise background noise and increase the quality at a relatively low cost.

·         Storytelling

The movie industry is big bucks. So is the industry that makes the trailers advertising the movies. You see a film because you say a trailer that sold you a good story. David Sorley, Founder and Creative Director at Leeds film studio Box Head says: “Don’t be short sighted when it comes to concept.  You rarely finish watching an online video/advert and come away thinking ‘if only it was higher resolution it would have been amazing’ (unless you’re at the IMAX). As the saying goes ‘form follows function’. Invest 80% in the function, 20% in the form. A lot of clients love high-end tech and gear, they often find it easier to justify spending budget on perceived higher image quality rather than investing budget in a well-considered piece of storytelling. A good idea outlives '6k ultra HD with bells on’ by a long way.”

·         Share the love

Any online content has to be shareable. You aren’t investing in content to talk to handful of people it’s about spreading the content as far as you can so think about the last piece of video content you shared. Where did you find it? Facebook? Twitter? A link sent you by ad friend or colleague? Make sure you consider how you’re going to tell people about the content, don’t just put it up on your website, sit back and wait for your audience to come, go find them.

·         Be search engine savvy

Search engines will pick up content by social sharing, video titles and content on your own site, but be creative. Try transcribing or storyboarding your video content as blog posts and be sure to include key search terms. Think about the story behind the video itself and your key messages, are there ways of telling this story and using the video content as part of other content to boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings.

·         Remember who you’re doing this for

Don’t be too precious about the process. Whilst it’s important to get the quality right, ensure you’re on message and make the content engaging, there’s a big difference between a slick corporate video for use at conferences and a quick, engaging piece of content to offer a behind the scenes look on your latest project. Video marketing that is created purely for social sharing doesn’t have to be finely polished, services like Vine with their 6 second maximum limit are a great way to dip your toe in a less formal style of video content.

As with all forms of online marketing there are a million and one ways to skin the content cat but there most important thing is to be out there getting your brand and your business in front of your audiences and consumers.

Let us know your video marketing tips in the comments box below.

This article was first published in The Professional business magazine in November 2014.