Video for Brands: Where Do You Start?
Creating video content can be a daunting and expensive process, but here's a few pointers on where to start.
This is part one in a two-part series of articles about how brands can create effective and engaging video content.
So, you want to make a video.
By now, you won't need telling that video is huge. It's the de-facto medium of choice to reach and connect with an attention-deprived audience.
However, doing video properly is a daunting (and expensive) undertaking. For those of you who haven't tackled video before and are unsure where to start, here are a few pointers to get you thinking about some of the key issues you'll need to grapple with.
The first question to consider before making any content at all is: why are you making video content in the first place?
If your answer to that question is any of the following, then please hold fire (at least until the end of this post!):
- "All my competitors are doing it"
- "I want our video to go viral"
- "I want to win an award"
- "I want a million views"
- "My boss told me to try it"
These, while all being valid (if slightly vacuous) points and ambitions, will only lead to disappointment if taken as the start point for creating video.
The most important consideration when creating content is to think about the end at the beginning. In other words, be very clear what the business objective of your content will be before you create it. Ask yourself: what business problem are you trying to solve?
2. Measuring success
Once you've identified the business problem your video content is going to address, consider how you're going to measure the success of your content.
The key is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. There's no reason why video content shouldn't be beholden to exactly the same marketing metrics as any other objective.
So, when you're thinking about the business goal you want your content to achieve (e.g. sell a new line of products; reach a new target audience; gain subscribers to a newsletter, etc) ensure that you attach measurable goals.
The point here is that those goals should not necessarily be about how many people saw the film (For how many seconds? On mute? Below the fold? By a human? Really?) but rather, whether or not your audience was engaged with your content and, most importantly, whether or not they went on to take the action you wanted, after watching.
Video needs to be thought of in an entirely different way to the campaign-based, one-shot, 'push' model of the TV ad world. That’s why when creating video, you need to have a long-term (12-month) strategic plan.
A new, linear model of content creation has become a requirement in order for brands to keep a conversation going once the user's attention has been won.
It’s no longer about producing and distributing one great film, it’s about what happens next, and how you will use video content across your business year with a 'keep them coming back for more' mentality.
"Surely all that video content is going to cost me a fortune?!"
It might, but let's flip that question around.
If we can get a feel for the budget we have to work with for the entire year in advance, (not always possible I know), then we can understand how we're going to allocate it and what's going to be possible.
From there it’s about economies of scale and getting your budget to work as hard as possible for you. With the right planning in advance of a shoot day, you should be able to get more than enough content to roll out over the coming weeks.
And while we're on the subject of budget, be sure to keep enough aside to help launch and distribute your content.
Work hand in hand with a production company to create the content you need.
Production companies need clear briefs and involvement as early in the process as possible. After all, forming a relationship with a good production company that can get to know your brand and the way you work can only lead to better results.
Also, be prepared to pay for creative development. Ideas are gold, so expect to pay for them, even if they don't eventually turn into finished films.
Good content doesn't come cheap but equally, doesn't have to cost the earth.
Remember that the video content you produce is a direct reflection of your business. Poorly created, poor quality video risks devaluing your brand, so don't shirk on the costs.
If nobody sees your video content, then what's the point of creating it?
But getting your content seen by the right people, is far more important than a vanity metric of the sheer volume of people that see it.
Have a distribution strategy that starts with your owned and earned media (ensuring the content is distributed in the right format, on the right platform, across your websites and social media channels) and extends through to a paid budget behind each film to give it the initial push it needs.
Monitor and analyse results from your video content and be prepared to feedback learnings into future content.
After all, there's no silver bullet to creating video content. It won't necessarily work first time (and if it does, then make sure you know why so that you can repeat the process!) so you'll need to understand what's gone wrong and make the necessary changes to subsequent films.