So you want to make a video? Great. (We love them!)
The challenge—with all creative content, to be honest—is to get noticed. Video has grown increasingly central to digital campaigns, across most platforms. With that in mind, here are five tips to ensure that your video is viewed, has value, engages your audience, and will allow your investment to work harder for you.
1. Determine your goal
Deciding what behavioral change you want to create in your audience should preempt any initiative, including video. Production elements like style, budget, content type, duration, and distribution are all determined after answering this question.
Video can serve a range of goals, including entertainment, engagement, affinity, awareness, and education, but no single video can meet all goals at once. It’s important to pick a specific goal for your video and your audience, and develop creative that advances you toward that goal.
2. Customize your video based on the social platform
One size does not fit all. In fact, it’s the opposite. Audiences are savvy and are increasingly rejecting content that’s repurposed poorly. (Remember the last time you watched a five-minute-plus, visually uninteresting video? Neither do we.)
Online video is customizable by platform. Because the market offers an array of formats, frame sizes, and run times, we’re seeing the rise of tailor-made video for individual sites that’s used to support specific initiatives. For example, uploading native video directly to Facebook can help increase engagement around the video (i.e. shares and conversions), while YouTube is a useful platform for awareness and discovery.
3. Think creatively about extending your video’s shelf life
You’re investing significant time and energy in shoots, studios, equipment and talent, so get creative about how you can create supplemental campaign content (and make your video keep working for you).
For example, in our work with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), BSD’s video team partnered with our social and paid media teams to develop a range of campaign assets. The hero content acted as the centerpiece, and from it we crafted several creative iterations—shorter videos and graphic illustrations—for different platforms, that served as teasers and directed traffic back the main landing page with the advocacy ask.
4. Develop a promotional strategy
A common misstep is investing a lot of time and money into video production, but forgetting to plan how your video gets to your audience. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, which makes it easy for your video to get lost in the mix. If you’re going to invest in a video, make it discoverable.
Most of the “viral” videos on YouTube—the ones with millions of views—were successful as a result of a mix of paid and earned media. Moreover, your distribution plan can (and should!) influence the type and style of your creative as you plan.
An online video program should include paid, social media, and email support, as well as influencer outreach and a concerted PR plan (if appropriate). Ensuring that this plan is determined during development will increase the impact of your work.
5. “Video” also means “Audio”
Facebook and Instagram now auto-play video in newsfeeds, which is a good thing for awareness and views. The drawback? The sound does not play automatically. A user has to make the choice to play the audio, which can be a barrier between brands and their audience. The result is that creators shouldn’t rely on sound to do the heavy lifting in your video.
We’ve taken inspiration from BBC news, which adds basic text to its footage on videos for its Facebook audience. And on mobile, it’s a quick yet informative experience.