Timothy Griffin

While there continues to be a place for news content, blogs and infographics in the online content creation world, video has taken off as one of the most popular mediums.

In fact, eMarketer noted that more than 70 percent of internet users watched online video content in 2012. Industry experts predict the market share to reach 77 percent by 2016.

And we’re not just talking about cute cat videos. The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs noted that web videos were one of the most popular B2B content marketing tactics, with the majority of marketers turning to video marketing. Among B2C marketers, more than 60 percent felt that online videos were effective.

But making a marketing video has distinct differences from other types of content. Here are four guidelines to follow.

1. Identify the problem and pick the right tool

Tim Video Blog

It’s easy to look at a website and say that you need video content to help engage your audience. But going into it with an “I don’t care, I just want to see videos” approach isn’t productive.

First, identify the holes in your current strategies and choose the right video for that purpose. Video content isn’t made up of one-size-fits-all projects. Each type of video has a specific ROI goal.

Look at these use cases:

  • Are your customers constantly asking how your products actually look in action? Make product demonstration videos your priority.
  • Is your educational section flimsy and sparse? See if there are any concepts you can answer on camera.
  • Are your testimonials or reviews stale, shallow or dated? Interview some of your loyal clients and let their words speak for you.

Approaching video projects dynamically can drive engaging and useful content for your website, since you are proactively answering questions your prospective customers already have.

2. Let the project drive the script

The type of video you choose will determine the type of script you need to develop, as well as the level of branding and self-promotion that should be included in your video marketing strategy.

The type of video you choose will determine the type of script you need to develop.

First, play to the visuals you have. If you’re filming a product demonstration or making an animation, take advantage of those shots and images when creating the script and know that you don’t need to include every minute detail in the script.

A similar comparison is the contrast between watching a sporting event on television and listening to it on the radio. Television broadcasters don’t need to say as much because viewers can see what is happening in real time.

This idea also goes both ways. Let’s face it, there’s only one Steven Spielberg. It’s great if you come into a video project with ideas on how you want to visualize your brand videos. But work with the people making the video and discuss those ideas with them. They may have recommendations about animation techniques, or issues with filming you might not have considered.

3. Keep best practices in mind

While the format of your video content may be very different than anything else, you don’t want to lose sight of the usual best practices, like keyword usage, exciting headlines and appropriate branding.

Sometimes, it may make sense to include a transcript of your video on the same web page. But even if it doesn’t, you want to ensure you are including keyword-rich text that is appropriate for the video to increase your SEO returns.

You should also make it a point of emphasis to make sure your videos have headlines that really drive interest and clickability. On Facebook, the most shared and clicked content is video, and viewers often share clips with their own networks. So if you’re not making it a point to give your videos those viral headlines, you’re missing out.

You don’t want to go overboard on the self-promotion, since it may turn some viewers away.

The level of branding and company messaging you use should fit the medium. If you’re making a promotional video to highlight a major announcement or new development, then people know to expect some level of branding and sales language.

However, if you’re making an educational video, then you don’t want to go overboard on the self-promotion, since it may turn some viewers away. But you can still give all of the videos your company logo, and make sure your experts are the ones on camera. That positions you as an industry expert and thought leader.

4. Focus on the next steps

As you finalize on what the final product should look like, you also want to make sure that the overall message and content feed into what you want viewers’ next steps to be.

If your video is to show how a unique process can help customers be more efficient, you want to make sure you have a lead gen form they can easily find right after the video ends. If you’re looking for social and website traffic, make it easy for viewers to share your content. A great deal of this goes beyond the video itself, and feeds back into your web design and calls to action.

Video content is an excellent way to showcase your brand, increase traffic and engagement and nurture your prospective clients. But it will be most effective if you keep your goals in mind from start to finish.