LET'S GET STRATEGIC
Five Key Questions About Video Marketing Answered
by Linda Pophal
NOTE: This article appears in the October 2021 print edition of Information Today under the title Selling With Video: Answers From the Experts.
There’s an old saying: A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s so trite, but it’s true, especially for moving pictures (i.e., videos). However, not all content marketers are equally adept at communicating via video. And their experience level varies widely. In this column, I take a look at some commonly asked questions and provide insights from experienced video marketers.
IS VIDEO STILL A GOOD OPTION TO BOOST CONTENT MARKETING EFFORTS?
To put it simply and succinctly: yes. “We live in a video world, period,” says Ken Kerry, the CEO, co-founder, and executive creative director of Script to Screen. “When a consumer, client, or potential customer’s attention span is just seconds, why would you waste those precious seconds forcing them to do anything they are not naturally drawn to?” In addition, Kerry says, “When YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and that engine is owned by the largest search engine in the world (Google), using video in your content marketing is not just important—it’s critical to your success.”
Maria Juvakka, founder of Chic Pursuit, has successfully used video content to fuel her online presence, which includes 38,000-plus Instagram followers and more than 1,000 YouTube followers. She says, “Video is one of the most engaging forms of content you can provide.” Mike Nemeroff, CEO and co-founder of RushOrderTees, is in agreement. “The most popular social media sites of today (such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok) are primarily built on both long- and short-form video content, so consumers are used to communicating and taking in messages in this format,” he says.
ARE THERE DIFFERENCES IN EFFECTIVENESS BETWEEN B2B AND B2C SETTINGS?
“One primary difference when it comes to using video in the B2B versus the B2C setting is the specific set of factors that engage each group,” says Nemeroff. “Typically, businesses are looking to be informed and educated with video marketing content, so when in the B2B space, ensuring audiences are [engaged] from start to finish with worthwhile knowledge about your product or service is key. However, in the B2C space, entertainment becomes a much bigger factor. Audiences are looking for interesting, unique, and attention-grabbing content rather than just a sales pitch. Granted, education is important for direct-to-consumer video marketing as well, but it must also be extremely engaging.”
As when creating any form of content, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the customers you want to reach and influence. “It’s really all about knowing who you’re targeting with your content,” says Jacob Trussell, a content specialist with QuickFrame. “For B2B content, you are primarily targeting the decision makers at an organization, while B2C content can engage with a broader audience because anyone could be a potential customer. While there are overlaps in the style of content you can produce for B2B and B2C settings, certain video formats have a proven track record of working well for B2B brands.” For instance, he says, “a CEO may not be won over by user-generated content like you’d find on TikTok or Instagram, but you might pique their interest with a detailed animated explainer you share on YouTube or LinkedIn.”
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISSTEPS COMPANIES MAKE WHEN ADDING VIDEO TO THEIR MARKETING MIX?
Not having specific objectives or platforms in mind when producing video is a common misstep, says Trussell, along with assuming that all videos need to be “the big-budget brand commercials you expect during the Super Bowl or the Olympics.” Remember, Trussell notes, that “video marketing in 2021 should be focused on the smaller, bite-sized pieces of video content that can be tested and optimized for social media.” Guy Bauer, founder and creative director of Umault, agrees. “The biggest mistake we see is brands jumping straight into video production without a clear strategy or even creative ideas for the videos,” he says. “They focus on the doing rather than the thinking. Put it this way: When you want to build a custom house, you don’t call a carpenter. You call an architect. The architect thinks up the plans for the house, and the carpenter builds it. Most brands jump straight into calling a carpenter (video production company) without clear blueprints (what a creative agency makes).”
WHAT CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD COMPANIES KEEP IN MIND WHEN DETERMINING WHETHER TO TAKE A DIY APPROACH OR WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED VIDEOGRAPHER?
DIY or hire an expert? Kerry says it comes down to two important questions: Do you have the time to dedicate to it? Can you keep yourself from selling too hard? “That may sound counterintuitive, but content is about education and the value you can provide,” Kerry explains. Juvakka agrees, saying, “DIY can hurt your brand. Unless you have a talented videographer or graphic designer on your team, outsource to the pros.”
Still, there are some situations when DIY might be the best choice. “For homepage explainer videos with very high visibility, definitely engage an experienced videographer. For most other videos that will primarily support product marketing, thought leadership, and custom success initiatives, you really should have in-house or do-it-yourself capacity for planning, shooting, and postproduction,” says Joshua Feinberg, CEO of SP Home Run. If you don’t have that, “you won’t create enough video content assets to move the needle and learn fast enough about what’s working and what’s not.” For DIY production, Feinberg notes, budget should no longer be a limiting factor. “A smartphone, tablet, or external webcam—plus a microphone and some external lighting—is just about everything you need to get started.” In some cases, though, it makes sense to turn to outside assistance. When you do, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
When outsourcing to an expert, Juvakka says, “you need to really look at their portfolio to see if their style is in line with your brand.” In general, she says, videographers “should be able to bend to your needs, but the whole process will run a lot faster if you find someone who has samples of work that suit your video needs.” These considerations are also impacted, Feinberg states, by how you plan to engage the videographer and what you plan to do in-house. For example, he asks, “Are you depending on the videographer to work with you on the content strategy? Or are you already showing up with a basic script? Are you hiring a videographer just for raw footage—for example, to film a keynote speech? Or do you want postproduction as well?”
Feinberg notes, “Some videographers will even offer content marketing-related services, including custom thumbnail design, video SEO, and YouTube Ads campaign setup and management.” When deciding whether to DIY or hire help, Trussell suggests, “Ask yourself what kind of videos you want to produce. While many videographers have multiple capabilities, you want to find someone who has expertise in the specific style you had in mind. Someone who makes great live-action videos may not be able to create really dynamic animations, and vice versa.”
WHAT BEST PRACTICES CAN BOOST THE ODDS OF SUCCESS?
Kerry points to five core best practices that he believes are critical for producing effective video content: consistency, good audio, sufficient light, a focused message to a specific audience, and knowing your stuff. “People can smell the difference between what you know and what you pretend to know,” Kerry says. “Always be authentic and be yourself—and you will be noticed.” In addition, he advocates for periodic evaluations: “By enacting a targeted testing approach, you can surface the creative variables that are working in your videos that can be iterated and improved upon through data-driven insights.”
Juvakka suggests a non-video-related best practice that is critical in the digital environment: strategically selected keywords. “Ensure that keywords you use on your video are also implemented within the content of your landing page,” she says.Eric Rohrback, director of growth marketing at Hill & Ponton, advises marketers to pay attention to platform differences. “Facebook, for instance, has different video content demands than Instagram or LinkedIn,” he says. “Explanatory or educational videos will dictate the text you should use, whereas you would need to heavily tweak that same text to suit a branding video.” Make sure to include subtitles, Rohrback notes. This should be obvious, he says, but many video marketers fail to do this. “Subtitles are important because they make your video content more inclusive for people who are hearing-impaired, which expands your audience and also allows people to watch at work or in other settings where audio would be frowned upon.”