As an increasing number consumers connect to the Internet with one or several mobile devices, video becomes a powerful way to reach new customers. In this article, you discover a roadmap which helps you make videos that actually have an impact, rather than ending up on the ever increasing heap of visual cacophony.
But before we delve into the nitty gritty of to do’s and not to do’s, let’s create a context, in other words, let’s do a scenario.
This article is one of a series, adressing key issues of web content production. You may also want to check out: visual communication, and how to respect copyright by using Creative Commons and it’s attribution license.
The Business Scenario
TopOfTheWorlds Corp. is a Management and Sales Training firm, serving senior management and executives.
Jana and her partners at the firm are fans of Content Marketing and presently produce two blog posts per month.
Using the technique of Customer Personas, they have been able to pinpoint specific problems and issues that senior executives struggle with.
Based on this preparatory work, the articles they write are truly helpful and relevant to their customers, because they cover clearly identified worries and preoccupations. And it pays! Over the past months, TopOfTheWorlds Corp. observed a steady increase of sign-ups to their mailing list.
Recently, Jana has come across an interesting report by Forbes, entitled Video in the C-Suite. Executives embrace the non-text web. The Forbes report talks about executives transforming their habits to be more open to video—the non-text Web—as a highly reliable and trusted source for gathering and filtering business information.
Jana is excited by these findings and sees an opportunity for her business. How can she go about, wrapping already existing, high quality content in a different way – hence giving her busy audience an additional choice in the way they acquire information?
This article covers 5 concrete steps which lead to your video success.
STEP 1 – Find out whether your audience is ready for video.
Before engaging company resources and money on video, it pays to have a careful look at your Customer Personas, and refine what you already know about their habits. It might be that your target audience hangs on Twitter all day, or on the contrary, avoids anything to do with social media. But it is most likely that the “truth” is somewhere in the middle.
There are two simple ways to find out:
1. Check out what the statistics say. A good place to get statistics is http://www.comscore.com/, a global leader in digital measurement and analytics.
2. Vital! Ask your customers. But be smart when doing so. Closed questions such as “Do you like video?” may not give you the authentic feedback you need.
Prefer open questions such as “What is your favourite way of learning what’s happening in your industry” or “in an ideal world, what would make life easier for you when it comes to gathering news about your industry?”.
Finding out more about likes and dislikes of your specific target audience is a bit like peeling an onion, you strip the outer skins layer by layer, until you get to the core.
Remember, statistics and consumer surveys alone are not sufficient to justify the launching of a new project.
Here are 2 examples:
Based on this chart, video does not appear to be the bees’ knees if your audience comprises women in France:
Male users account for 70 percent of time spent consuming online-video in France.
However, based on this chart, it appears that women are consuming more video than men!
Women like watching video on the Web — even more than men do: 57 percent of Netflix.com visitors are women, and 59 percent of Hulu’s visitors are women.
PS: Netflix and Hulu are platforms that reunite in one place TV shows, online video clips and films (movies) – created by many different film makers and production companies. Click on the image to view the full report by Peter Kafka of allthingsd.com, entitled “Hey Ladies! Guess Who Loves Web Video?”
STEP 2 – Indispensable! Write a script for your video.
It helps you stay focused when negotiating with your internal or external video production team.
Remember that people are inclined to watch video as a story, so structure what you say with a beginning, a middle and an end. While you may be tempted to explain everything (you love) about your business, keep it simple. Don’t drown your viewer with detail. Much has been written about web video scripting. I highly recommend you watch the 2 minute video for a quick summary and – if you want to learn more – check out my proposed “Homework” for you, as well as the links under Reading Materials Summary at the end of this post.
STEP 3 – Embed calls to action in your video.
The most obvious place to embed your call to action is at the end. Every good story must have an ending!
A most effective ending is clear communication of what the person should do next. For example:
“Being stranded without a job is not easy, but we have the experience and the know-how to help you through this.
So call us, right now, and let’s get started.”
This being said, not everyone will watch your video to the end. Consider introducing calls to action at the beginning as well as in the middle of your story.
Tip. The link back to your web page must be easy to type and remember. Think about this when you first create your web landing page. Having to rename web pages later is a pain, especially when they’re already indexed and well positioned in search engines.
If you want to learn more about calls to action, check out the links under Reading Materials Summary at the end of this post. There’s a very useful PDF, ready for download.
STEP 4 – Outsource the production of your video.
Latest statistic keep showing that quality is a major factor of video viewing success. Take this Comscore report: When supply meets demand. The changing shape of online video in Europe.
A lot is being written about how easy it is to create online video yourself. But in reality, creating high quality video is a skill that is best left to specialists who have dedicated their time experimenting with and learning this very sophisticated craft.
Experienced video producers give highest priority to sound. The best script and most awesome imagery are wasted if the sound is bad.
Another important element is lighting. When you get both sound and light right, your script shines and your business truly conveys credibility and authority.
A plea for outsourcing: dedicate your own time to what you’re best at, it’s cheaper in the long run! Who wants to spend (precious and expensive) hours grappling with complex video technology and end up with amateurish results that make your customers cringe?
STEP 5 – You don’t need an search engine optimisation (SEO) guru to do fundamental search engine optimisation for video.
If you publish to YouTube, here are 3 tips that optimise lead generation big time.
1. Video Title: Getting the Title right is essential. Again, revert back to your Customer Persona and reflect about the keyword phrase she would enter to find a solution to her pain. Weave this keyword phrase into your video title and you greatly increase the chance that your business is found by the right target audience. Remember that the video title should be fewer than 66 characters.
2. Video description: Can be longer (2-3 sentences or more is fine). The same SEO logic applies as outlined in point 1. Write an attractive summary of your video’s content whilst integrating relevant keywords and variations of keywords. Important! At the beginning of your description, position a link (starting with http://) back to your website.
Why is it important? A cool benefit of video is its favourable impact on SEO. Google, for example, loves high quality video content. A video with relevant titles and description has a high potential to be well positioned in Google search engine results.
And don’t forget: If you video is found and viewed, make sure you “drive” viewers back to your website, specifically to pages that display clear calls for action. This maximises lead generation from YouTube.
3. Tags. Include at least 5-7 relevant keywords as tags for your video. Using tags will associate your video with other similarly tagged videos, which will allow your video to be shown as a “related video.” This will help you generate additional views from people who were originally watching other videos.
Now it’s your turn!
If you like to dig deeper into this topic, I propose a 4 step action pack. Hope you’ll find it useful. Please drop me a line and I’ll be glad to be of further help.
1. Watch my 2 minute video teaser about script writing.
2. If you have the time, dig a little deeper into script writing by watching this excellent 8 minute video, produced by a UK video production company.
3. Check out recommended reading under Reading Materials Summary (navigate to the bottom of this page).
4. Put what you’ve learnt into practice: write a script for a one minute video. Subject: promote one specific service or product your company is particularly proud of. If you so wish, I gladly read your script and give you feedback.
Reading materials summary
A useful blog post about writing a video script – How to write a video script
Calls to action – An Introduction to effective calls-to-action (PDF from Hubspot)