Recently when I interviewed twelve entrepreneurs for a blog I was writing, I was surprised that three of them cited making a corporate video as their best ever marketing decision. The reasons were varied: one video went viral, generating a wave of inbound enquiries; another explainer forced the team to really redefine their value proposition, delivering a host of other business benefits; and the third had a dramatic increase on home page conversions.
I was surprised because it’s unusual for video to have such a significant impact on a business. And that’s not because video isn’t an excellent marketing medium (it is). It’s because too many companies approach video in the wrong way, so their video campaigns simply don’t reach their potential.
Putting video first
Video can be an excellent tool to support a marketing campaign and at my video animation company I have seen video deliver really impressive results.
But we believe your video distribution strategy has the best chance of success if video is at the centre of your campaign. And we have found that a video-first campaign is ideal in situations where:
You have a very specific call-to-action: so that you can unambiguously measure impact
You have loads of creative freedom to generate something impressive
You have the budget to produce something great (and amplify it)
I like to write the video distribution strategy up into a document that keeps me focussed and enables me to share my plans with the team. Here is what we cover in a typical video distribution strategy/
Your audience panel
We usually find it’s best to build your own “panel” of experts to help you with your video campaign. This doesn’t need to be a group of prospects willing to sit around your boardroom table in a focus group. However, it does help to have a handful of friendly customers to provide their feedback on your campaign as it unfolds. Make friends, buy them a coffee and send them a gift to thank them for their time. Get your team to help.
Will video work with my audience?
If you’ve decided on a video marketing campaign, you probably already have an inkling that your audience will respond well to video. However, you need to drill deeper into your audience to identify the best content and distribution approaches.
It’s important to actually define the target audience in terms of size, because that will inform certain content and distribution decisions. For example:
If your audience consists of a small, defined group of highly targeted prospects (such as the marketing directors of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies) then it could be worth investing in a personalised video campaign.
Or, if your audience is much broader (such as commuters who use public transport), then you might need to keep it generic for an ad.
Your target audience might be anywhere in between these two extremes, so include this in your strategy.
It’s worth considering the lifetime value of each customer and your target cost per acquisition.
If you’re working with a small, defined list of prospects with a very high potential customer lifetime value, then you’ll need to tread very carefully. Your list is finite – once you’ve exhausted it, then there are no more prospects to approach. So you need to make sure that the content of the video is engaging and compelling and leaves the door open for future interactions.
If your potential pool of customers is much larger and much lower value, you’re going to need to find a much cheaper way of getting this video in front of them en masse. That means you might need to consider how you might attract organic traffic on YouTube, how you can get people into your marketing funnel.
Assuming you know the broad subject of your video campaign, you now need to determine which channels will work best for your content and your audience. You will already have this from your marketing persona research, but you need to think about this with a video lens on. You won’t be able to set your definitive list of distribution channels at this point, but you will be able to rule some in and out.
You need to find out which channels these people use. Do they use YouTube and how? Are they on Facebook? How often do they log in? The best thing to do is to ask and then consider how their media consumption dovetails with your content. For example, while they might spend a lot of time on the BBC website, it’s not going to be easy to get your video content onto that site in a way that they will see it.
Prioritise your channels based on your content and audience consumption. Then identify and isolate organic and paid distribution opportunities (e.g. LinkedIn organic could be from your company page, key team profiles or in groups; paid could be a sponsored post).
Brainstorm your content
Start with a wide list of creative ideas and then narrow them down based on whether they might work on the channels you have selected. Run the ideas past your panel to get their initial feedback – this will enable you to narrow them down and choose the one that is most likely to be successful.
Create your content
It might seem counter-intuitive to only be getting to the content creation part now. However, if you don’t skip the previous steps and you let them all inform this one, you’ll have a much higher chance of success with your video strategy. Maximise your chances even further by getting your panel involved in signing off the script and storyboard.
Modify for distribution channels
In some instances, you will only focus on one or two distribution channels. In others you will use the same content across multiple channels. We usually use a combination, with one primary channel – the video is made for that channel (e.g. direct mail), but then we use cuts on social media, our website and at events
You might want to consider putting 10-20% of your budget into a test launch. You can spread this evenly across the channels you have chosen and then adjust your strategy. This means you can use the remaining 80% of your budget more efficiently.
However, this doesn’t always work – if you’re timing your campaign around a certain event, you have to take more of a leap of faith – if you have followed all the previous steps this should be more of a calculated risk.
This is ideal for evergreen content – just because you have finished the campaign doesn’t mean you should finish promoting it – how long will it be relevant? What days, months or weeks of the year will it suddenly be relevant again? How do you promote for that? You can re-use content for many years if you think laterally about it.
Report on results
This step depends entirely who you have to report to. Even if you don’t have to produce a report, it’s worth pulling together a summary of results to inform your next campaign. We like to keep it to a single page with metrics – views, view-through-rate, conversion rate etc, and then some qualitative outcomes that we might not have been able to predict:
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Distribution is a really important and strategic part of any video campaign, follow these steps to get the most of your video distribution strategy.
Read more: business.com