Custom Video Content Best Practices
by Andrew Ettinger, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
The old refrain “content is king” is as true as ever. B2B advertisers are increasingly developing their own video content as marketing tools. Online video can inform prospective clients, create thought leadership and even drive leads. However, there are many pitfalls associated with creating B2B content. Here are five tips on how to better manage your custom video content efforts.
1. Choose carefully. Before you create anything, ask yourself what its value is to the consumer. Avoid the echo chamber. That is, do not talk only about what your internal stakeholders care about. Too often companies will create content that only they care about. Research what topics are actually of interest to your audience.
While the ultimate goal may be sales or lead generation, the content should serve a higher purpose for the end user. Providing engaging content will ultimately serve your purposes, but first you must serve their needs. The function of the content (utility, information, entertainment, whatever) is proportionate to its usefulness as a sales tool. The better the content for the customer, the more it will ultimately serve your own purposes. Certainly it should do more than just highlight your brand, for that is merely a sales pitch. Offering quality content gives the consumer a reason to engage.
Avoid merely rehashing data everyone knows. To stand head and shoulders above the crowd, your content must be more than commonly known information. Every year Mary Meeker provides factual information about the Web, but she positions that in the context of larger prognostications. Provide insight, not merely facts and figures. Thought leadership requires an opinion, a unique point of view. Informational content should offer something readers didn’t already know. Take a position and make your content thought-provoking and interesting.
2. Bad video is worse than no video. Online video is hugely effective when properly done. However, stay away from it unless you can afford to produce quality video. In my opinion, cheap video is worse than no video. Poor lighting, wonky sound, and unedited speeches can seriously harm your established reputation.
Find partners (publishers, agencies, etc.) well-versed in video production. Outsource your content production to publishers who have expertise in a specific field. Those professionals, writers and editors, exist solely to make content. They do this for a living. Take advantage of their creative expertise. For example, a bank may partner with a financial trade journal to produce a series of articles about the latest banking trends. Working with an established publisher adds credibility and ensures quality work.
3. Make it a series rather than a single event. Make sure your video is not a one-time-only event. While an OTO video seems glamorous in the traditional sense (think Limited Time Only!) that will not work online. Web 2.0 is about constant updates, and OTOs will get lost to the sands of time. An ongoing series becomes part of peoples’ lives (even if for just a bit). On the other hand, a OTO event won’t continue to build new and larger audiences. In rare cases, it may go viral — but that is more a lottery ticket than a marketing strategy.
Publishing a series creates a habit for consumers to follow. They will return to your platform to watch the newest episodes. Or, once the project is complete, they will binge on them all at once. The series format gives depth to your messaging and encourages repeat visits.
4. Work with a single publisher to benefit from scale. It’s more economical to produce a series of five videos with one publisher than create one video each with five separate partners. The base cost for set up and build out will be amortized over many videos. Indeed, if you choose to expand upon the initial agreement, there may be only incremental costs. Choose your partner wisely and it will pay handsome dividends.
5. When distributing content, less may be more — less distribution, that is. This is somewhat counterintuitive in today’s multi, multichannel world. However it is better to create one fantastic experience on a single website than mediocre encounters on many.
For example, it’s tempting to dive into every social network at once. However, I would argue that it is better to reach 100 people in a quality manner than 1,000 in haphazard fashion. By building out a YouTube channel before Facebook (or vice versa) you will learn a great deal. This helps you hone the messaging and develop more engaged audiences as you tier upwards.
Andrew Ettinger works in advertising in New York
Content Marketing Insider for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
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