Content marketing is always evolving. New technologies make it easier to produce content in new ways, users become more demanding of different types of content, and general paradigm shifts increase or decrease the popularity of various tactics content marketers use. Over the past five years or so, one of the dominant rising trends in content marketing has been the visual appeal of articles.
Originally relating solely to the structuring of an article (when bold subdivisions, and bulleted or numbered lists began to emerge), visual elements of content marketing have now extended to images and videos. Most successful written articles include at least one embedded image or video, and many successful pieces of content have been restrained to the exclusive form of an image or video, such as an infographic or tutorial video.
Unfortunately, though, it isn’t enough to simply “have” videos as part of your marketing campaign, just like it isn’t enough to “have” written content on your blog. If you throw together words haphazardly on a page, you’ll end up alienating your readers instead of winning their loyalty, and in the same way, if you throw together a video with no real intention, your viewers will leave with a negative impression of your brand.
If you plan on using videos as part of your marketing strategy, be sure to follow these best practices in using them correctly:
Videos are best used when they’re used consistently. For example, you could create a YouTube channel for an interview series and upload a new one every other week. If you keep the same general format, such as a 10 minute video with the same host, it will be far easier for you to build an audience, just like with a television series or film franchise. If people like what they see and learn what to expect, and when to expect it, you can easily build a recurring audience for your material.
If you can’t think of a series to generate for your business, see the below section on “ideas for video series.” Failing that, try to implement your videos consistently in other ways; for example, if you’re embedding videos only as graphical illustrations for your articles, be sure to do that with your articles regularly—not just as a one-off.
Videos are perhaps best enjoyed by people who are too busy or too lazy to read a longer article. Keep this in mind when you establish the length of your video. The general rule is, the shorter the better, but this isn’t always the case. If you’re presenting a tutorial or some general updates, you definitely want to keep the video to 1-3 minutes. If you’re conducting an interview, 10-15 minutes might be more appropriate, but you should still strive to keep your content concise. Your users’ attention spans should be one of your top considerations.
What I mean by “quality” here extends beyond the pure content of your videos. I’m referring to the picture quality, the sound quality, the acting or presentation skills of the people involved, and of course, the editing of the final product. Taking impromptu videos on your iPhone probably won’t yield the best results. It pays to either spend time reading and practicing to hone your own craft, or to hire a professional videographer who makes quality control his/her personal objective. One poorly shot or poorly edited video can be enough to ruin your reputation in the video space.
This may seem like an obvious feature, but many content marketers simply use videos as an interpretive medium. What I mean by that is some content marketers will take an article and basically read the article on screen, effectively making a video version of the article with no enhancements. Videos are both a visual and audio medium, so take advantage of those characteristics—otherwise, there’s no need to create one. Enhance your video with graphic representations, moving elements, and sound and music that makes the video worth watching. If you can’t think of ways to do this, your idea might be better suited to a different medium.
When you upload a video to YouTube, be sure you’re optimizing it both for Google searches and for YouTube-based searches. Make your headline concise, accurate, and loaded with keywords related to your subject. Be sure to tag your video appropriately with popular, yet accurate tags. Finally, encourage ratings and comments however you can—the more you get, and the more positive they are, the higher you’ll rank both in Google searches and YouTube-exclusive searches.
If you’re having trouble thinking of ways you can use videos for your business, consider these:
Videos are a unique medium, and it’s going to take you some time to learn how to use them properly. Don’t be frustrated or alarmed if your first few attempts at video-based content marketing are met with less popularity than you originally anticipated. It’s a learning process. Take user feedback, learn from your mistakes, and gradually refine your approach to videos the same way you would with any other marketing strategy.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.