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Amy Post
by Amy Post
on August 19, 2016

Anyone who has ever noticed just how much content is uploaded to YouTube every day has probably gotten the impression that it is easy to make a compelling video. Conversely, anyone who trawls the archives to actually take a look at the bulk of that content will quickly realize that this is not the case. Making a video might technically be as easy as pulling out your phone and pressing record, but you’ll need to go about it with more finesse if you want to unlock the considerable potential of marketing videos. Here are 6 crucial things to keep in mind when working in this medium.

1. Identify Your Goals

The first part of the process of creating any marketing piece is knowing what you need it to accomplish, and video marketing is no different. In fact, this question is even more relevant in this context, because video marketing is often mistaken as an end in itself rather than a tool to be put to work in service of a greater message. Ask yourself: why do you want to create this video? If you don’t have an immediate answer to this question, it's time that you sit down and work one out. Otherwise, you risk wasting time and resources to end up with a disjointed final product. Whatever it is you want to achieve, you should make sure that everything you put into the strategy works toward achieving that goal.

2. Use Video For The Right Reasons

Once you know what you need the piece to do, it’s time to ask yourself if making a video is really the best way to accomplish this. Video is a fantastic tool, but that doesn’t mean you should use it indiscriminately. The entire point of using a marketing video over some other medium is it gives you a chance to combine both audio and visual sensory input. Sometimes a goal is better served by only one of those inputs. For instance, a freelance graphic artist really only needs a visual portfolio to market their services, and adding audio into the mix might prove to be superfluous or even distracting.

3. Make It Look Great

If you do determine that your message is suited to a video format, make sure that you really take advantage of what the medium offers. Never create a video that is essentially just a slideshow on a set timer or a talking head sitting in a room – you’ll only irritate your viewers, who will be wishing that you had had the courtesy to make the content into an easily-skimmed list or article instead.

The very fact that a video does demand so much of a viewer’s attention is part of what makes them so valuable to marketers – it’s difficult for your targets to ignore your message. However, that doesn’t mean you should hold your audience’s attention hostage. It’s up to you to show them something interesting that will make them want to watch. One way to see if you’re succeeding is to watch your video with the sound off and see if you still think what you’re looking at is worth seeing.

4. Keep It Brief

To be blunt, the average viewer has a short attention span. Research shows that the ideal length for an online video is under 3 minutes. Marketing videos go even shorter than that, often dropping to as little as 15 seconds. The shorter your video, the more likely it is to be watched in its entirety. Sometimes you won’t be able to compact your message enough to fit it into such a short time span, and that’s okay, but you should definitely try to crystallize your ideas as much as possible.

5. Pay Attention to Structure

Videos are not exempt from the general rules that govern good content creation: they absolutely need a beginning, middle and end as much as any other pieces you might produce. Don’t jump right into the details of what you want to say without a solid introduction, preferably one with a hook that will keep the viewer’s interest. Similarly, you can’t just abruptly end the video the instant you have communicated your desired message without leaving the viewer confused.

6. Don’t Forget About Promotion

It’s true that YouTube is a giant in the world of video distribution, and you definitely need to post your video there. That said, you can’t stop there. To truly get the most out of video marketing, you need to get your video on multiple hosting sites and circulate it as much as possible in other channels. Not only will this let you reach a far greater number of people, but you will also likely have more success in translating those views into healthy sales figures. Not many people will deliberately search for, for example, a video detailing the finer points of new manufacturing equipment – unless they already know what they want to find. As with any marketing strategy, you want to aim for the section of the market that needs your product and may not know that they do, and your video probably won’t find this audience without your help.

For the most part, your video efforts won’t create the latest viral video, but mastery of the video medium remains extremely beneficial to any marketer. The next time you have the opportunity to use video within your inbound marketing strategies, these tips about how to plan, execute and promote a stellar marketing video will help you to make the most of this critical online avenue.

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