Dozens of articles will inform you that the vast majority of internet traffic is composed of video streaming. Articles like this one, that one, this one over here, and don’t forget this one either. I didn’t even have to search hard on Google to find these articles either. It’s readily available information from a variety of reputable sources. So, I could just cap this article off by saying “you need to have video as part of your marketing”, but that would be too easy. The goal of learning how to benefit from online video marketing is to not simply publish a video but learn what’s effective video content. Below I’m going to dive into a number of key strategies that we at Ethos Media have developed over the years based on observation and other studies that reinforce our ideas.
Content is King! People will watch videos for a variety of reasons. However, whether the intention of watching a video is business or pleasure, there’s an expectation of at least some amount of pleasure, in other words: entertainment, simply because the vast majority of video content (movies, TV shows, sports, etc.) is created as such. So even though you want to inform and try to sell to your customers, you still need to entertain them on at least some level. There are ways to do this with a purely informational video which we’ll discuss below, but when crafting a video that you want to go viral, ask yourself if you actually would enjoy watching your own video.
There always has to be a reason why you are granted the attention of your audience in the amount of the run-time of your video. If you advertise on social media, YouTube, or TV, chances are your ad has just interrupted their leisure time, so you better make sure your video is fun to watch or captivating if you want to retain their attention.
If you’re trying to attract a new customer base, don’t opt for the standard “this is what we do and this is why we’re special” formula. That kind of video only serves a purpose for those that have already made a decision to check you out or purchase from you. Present your message in a creative and entertaining way that’s in-line with your company culture. There’s no need to be over-the-top about it necessarily, but think about the scenario in which your video will be likely viewed.
Production value matters….sometimes. We get asked periodically to do shoots with one camera, in most cases, to produce long videos like a conference recording. Aside from the fact that’s not a good idea for technical reasons, it’s important to realize that in videos that aren’t necessarily designed to have a strong entertainment element, you can still create that through production value. We can always record a presentation with one camera, having a second or third to provide a changing perspective helps retain visual interest in the content over a longer period. Imagine watching a deposition that is often recorded with a single camera. If you’re not captivated by the video because you’re looking for a key piece of evidence, are you particularly enthusiastic about it otherwise? Are you likely to check your phone periodically just so you can have something else to look at besides that unbroken shot? I think most would probably answer “yes”. Don’t do that to your viewing audience. Use our recommendations as video experts to enhance your video’s production value so you retain viewer interest longer.
On the flip side of that coin, do you need to have the most elaborate production equipment and setup to film a simple shoot? That’s like asking if you need a bug bomb to get rid of one fly inside of your house. Yes, it will work and will do a good job, however is something simpler and considerably more affordable like a fly swatter just as capable? That answer is also “yes”. High-end cinema cameras, 3D animation, and other various ways we can create production value do serve a purpose, especially when marketing products or services whose visual appeal is a strong selling point, but they’re usually not necessary for a host of other shoots where that kind of equipment would drastically inflate the cost. That’s not to insinuate that we cut corners, but high quality imaging can be obtained from a much broader range of more affordable cameras now than at any point in digital camera history.
Have a strategy. I’ve made mention in a previous blog post that videos are tools that can either be used properly and to great effect, improperly to no effect, or not used in the right scenario to little effect. It’s my firm belief that anyone wanting to know how to benefit from online video marketing needs to keep two platforms in mind, YouTube (or Vimeo) and social media.
YouTube is owned by Google, so how you title, describe, and tag your videos makes a difference in search marketing. Vimeo to an extent will also show up in organic search results although not nearly as often. If you produce multiple videos as part of a series, you can benefit from the in-video linking to other videos as demonstrated on this channel. When you watch any of those to near the end, you’ll be able to then click on a video frame to port yourself over to another video instantly.
As for social media, the best approach is to have square-formatted videos to account for the vast majority of people who use social media on their phones, normally held upright in portrait mode. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have captions or built-in text as this study indicates most will watch a video without enabling sound that is by default, disabled.