Recently I wrote a blog about engaging content ideas and I wanted to take some additional time to focus on videos as a content strategy. I am one of the first to forget about the visual part of content marketing and that is a mistake. In fact, if you’re not using video in your content marketing program you are missing out. Here are three reasons why:
- According to Cisco, consumer video traffic will reach 69 percent of all global internet traffic by 2017, up from the hefty 57 percent that it is currently.
- The number one site for viewing videos is, not surprisingly, YouTube, which claims more than one billion unique visitors every month. That’s second only to Facebook.
- Who owns YouTube? Google, and its search algorithm privileges content from the site in SERPs. If your brand isn’t represented on YouTube, you’re passing up a huge opportunity for visibility.
That’s the Why. Now let’s consider the How of Video For Content Marketing.
Creating a good video is easier than you think. While you do need to plan the content carefully and maintain a basic standard of technical quality, neither of these concerns is beyond the reach of the average business. Using simple software such as Apple iMovie, Avid Studio, or Adobe Premiere Elements, you can shoot and edit HD videos to attract new audiences and promote your brand. Then there’s Vine and Instagram, which help you create videos for social sharing. The real key to successful video development is good planning.
Here are 5 essential questions to ask yourself about the video you want to create:
1) What action do I want my viewers to take? (aka The Goal)
Are you expecting the video to generate e-commerce sales? Qualified leads you can follow-up on later? Are you trying to get people to attend a grand opening event? Or do you simply want to build brand recognition?
2) Who can give me that action? (aka The Audience)
If you’re selling bikinis, then it’s pretty clear that your answer is women, probably those on the slimmer, more fit end of the spectrum. If you want to generate brand buzz for a high-tech service, then your audience is going to include men. Of course, some answers to this question will be less obvious, which is why you don’t want to jump to conclusions about the target group. If you think first about the action you’re looking for, the answer to this question will be more precise.
3) What’s the core message?
Most videos are less than three minutes long, so you want to make your point quickly and make it sticky. Messages are more likely to stick with people when they are funny, ironic, or speak very specifically to your targets’ problem or pleasure points. If you’re building brand recognition, for instance, the core message will highlight one or two things that distinguish your brand from the competition. If you’re selling a product, the core message is likely to be about price and quality.
4) How do I prompt the audience to act? Good videos end by creating a sense of urgency among viewers that motivates them to take action sooner, rather than later. Thus, most prompts are linked to time, such as “Hurry! Sale ends Tuesday,” or “Check out our IRA plans now, before the contribution deadline on April 15.”
5) How do I build ongoing relationships with my viewers?
The most direct way to entice a viewer into continuing engagement is by asking for her email address in return for a coupon, free Ebook, or other premium. You can also invite viewers to visit your company’s Facebook page or to follow you on Twitter, where they will find regular tips and perks associated with your business.
What’s Next? Our own Rob Garner tells us :
“Video and images make up a major segment of all search-engine referrals, as well as a major share of social-network interactions. Think about your last few interactions on Facebook, and at least one of them probably involved viewing, sharing, or commenting on a video or image asset.”
Below are some tips directly from Rob:
Creating and Distributing Video Assets
In addition to the optimization aspects of video, there are several important considerations for getting started (or even revamping your existing presence), and they include the following:
- Creating a Video Channel: Don’t think about just one video at a time—think about what your channel will look like as a group and recurring series. Thinking as a channel involves the development of a theme, understanding your audience, and building up subscribers and followers.
- Using Video Assets as Part of Your Overall Sharing and Publishing Strategy: While your current social strategy may involve sharing your existing text-based content in social spaces, also consider how your current audience will react to video sharing in your current networks.
- Video/Photography Gear and Software: Depending on your approach, you will need to choose the right gear and editing software for your video-channel efforts. Your gear can be as simple as a smart phone camera with no editing to a more sophisticated camera and editing software. Also, remember to place a key emphasis on building up an audience for your video channel. Building up your network is both a social strategy and an SEO strategy. Produce quality video content that is so good you will want to promote it on all marketing materials, on your website, in offline advertising, and in all other media you use to market your company.
- Video-Optimization Elements: When approaching a video strategy, you are going to face a decision of whether to host your own videos, to use a service and social network like YouTube, or both. Every business is different, so carefully consider the right balance for your company. The following sections cover optimization for both approaches.
Tips for optimizing videos hosted on your own website:
Optimizing videos for search and social should be a regular part of the production process. When uploading to third-party videos sites or to your own site, consider the following areas of optimization for video assets:
- Title: The title is the single most important optimization element for your video. Be sure to include a relevant keyword in this title. Don’t stuff keywords in this area—just stick to accurately describing your content. In most video-site content-management systems, this title will also transfer as an <H1> page heading.
- Description: The description is also one of your main opportunities to provide keyword reference and accurately describe your content. This description, no matter how short, often reinforces your titles in search results, especially when it matches a searcher’s query.
- Tags: Tags are on-page keywords that serve as a form of external metadata. Label your tags accordingly with the right keywords. Remember, keywords are connections to people.
- Transcriptions and Caption Files: Providing a textual layer can help search engines better understand the content of your video in a literal sense. If your videos contain spokenword audio tracks, then either transcribe them as text or use a service that will perform this function for you. YouTube will use Google services to create captioning for your video, and it is considered a good practice to provide text files of video on your video assets when appropriate. Captioning tools still need to be edited, but doing so can provide a lot of useful information to search engines.
- Filenames: Use keywords to describe your video in the filename.
- Embedding in Feeds: Allowing for your video to be embedded on outside sites allows for the creation of pages and links back to your original video. Enable embeds in your YouTube video, and create embed links on your own hosted videos as well.
- Schema.org Definitions for Video: For your hosted videos, mark up your links and video code with Schema.org vocabulary. Read more about for video-object vocabulary.
- Create and Submit a Video Site Map for Hosted URLs: Google recommends video producers submit an XML feed to ensure faster crawling and indexing of your videos, especially for Google News. Watch a video and read a helpful tutorial on creating and uploading your video site map to your Google Webmaster Tools account for more information.
Other Considerations for Video Optimization
In addition to the specific optimization elements for hosted and non-hosted channels and assets, here are several other key considerations for video optimization:
- Syndicating Videos on Various Sites vs. Focusing on Developing a Channel: TubeMogul makes it very easy to send out your video to a wide number of video sites. This can be helpful when you want to increase the number of sites in the search results, but it can split your search and social audience among different providers. For most situations, consider focusing your efforts on either a hosted channel or a single channel to develop a deeper network and subscriber base.
- Avoid Spammy Keywords: Viagra, free, webhosting, apply, and calls to action can have a negative effect on your visibility because they are flagged as a potentially negative signal (because they are used so often by spammers). Even if your video is “free,” it may benefit you to leave this word out of the title and other optimization elements.
- Key Metrics: Expand your thinking about the way you measure video results. Views, comments, engagement, and channel views per session are all ways to understand the value and reach of your video efforts.
- Optimizing Video for Google News: If you are a news provider, ensure that you are following the Google News optimization best practices.
- Using Live Video: Live video is about as real-time as it gets, and many media providers are going the extra mile to incorporate live video into their overall social and hosted web presence. If live video fits your business model, check Ustream for live broadcasting and also Google+ hangouts for live meetings.
So what are you waiting for? Creating a video can be fun and a great addition to your content marketing strategy. Some of the best viral videos are done on the spur of the moment. Get started now by grabbing your smart phone, shooting a video or creating a Vine and seize the opportunity to create engaging content for your visitors.
Image Credits: Shutterstock