Digital video marketing requires the same level of planning and strategy as broadcast marketing does.
You can’t just throw it in there and expect results such as increased awareness, interest, desire, action, and, above all, sales.
Brands, startups, and organizations are throwing video into the digital marketing mix like crazy, but are you putting enough smarts behind your video marketing strategy? Do you have a strategy?
Everyone has a definition of what constitutes a “viral video,” but here’s a quick list of the 10 most important things to get you started:
1. Set goals and expectations
This is where it all starts. What do you expect from the videos?
Put everything through the filter of selling more of your product at some point. Pick one or two specific things you expect each video will generate. If you want additional things to happen, make more videos that fit into your wider campaign strategy, or make different versions and promote them in different ways.
2. Include a call to action
Decide what you want people to do once they’ve watched the videos. Do you want them to share, click, sign up, buy now, tell a friend, buy later, make a response video, enter a contest, download a game or a new app, subscribe to something, get free tickets, pre-order?
Guide them toward what you want them to do. Pick one or two specific things you’d like them to do, with eventual sales in mind. Views will mean nothing against a crappy sales report.
3. Integrate video into the wider campaign.
Schedule production for videos, TV ads, and PR promos together at the same time. Let the TV ads serve as a call to action to watch more videos across your social media channels, leading to engagement, sharing, and sales. You’ll save on creative and production costs, too.
Everything is digitally connected now, and it has to be integrated or you’re missing big opportunities. Even billboards.
4. Focus on the creative.
What kinds of video ideas does your brief call for? Branded entertainment? Viral? Product? Promo? Explainer? Web series? In all cases, have fun and be different. As long as you’re not threatening or overtly offending anyone, take the gloves off and go for it.
Give viewers something of value. Whenever possible, make them laugh or help them learn something. Go the unsafe route, stir up controversy, and get all that free extra media attention. Focus on what you want viewers to do after they watch the videos, and worry about that more than selling to them. Be entertaining or informative, and build in reasons for them to share.
5. Pay for high-quality production.
Pricing depends on what your creative concept calls for, but find a good video production company.
Pay for good production quality and direction. Match the production quality to the concept requirements. Production costs have come down, but you still need really good casting, talent, direction, and editing.
6. Plan your distribution.
Brand videos can’t make themselves viewable any more easily than TV ads, radio ads, print, or billboards-initially. You pay to play. The difference is that once they’re out there, they can be shared easily, and it’s all free.
Seed the videos via blog and publication outreach and influencers, and build social media support.
7. Plan social media support.
Is your social media strategy optimized for video? Will your videos live on YouTube and be embedded on Facebook? Are they searchable? How will you handle comments? Where else will the videos live and be shared? Are you concerned with lots of views on one video or an aggregate of views on the same video across several video-sharing platforms? How will social media play into your call to action?
Work with a social media agency that will optimize your video-sharing strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Send the same video to other video sharing sites as well, and optimize it for search. Reinforce your call to action to remind viewers what you’re selling and what you want them to do about it. Prepare to handle live comments.
8. Plan PR support.
Are you planning a press release that features the videos prominently, or are links to the videos down near the bottom as an aside to the wider campaign announcement? Will there be blog and publication outreach to both the top tier and niches specific to the videos?
Give the videos their own focused spotlight. Include links right at the top, and let writers know exactly what they’re clicking on, why the videos are relevant to their readers, and why they should be excited about sharing them for you.
9. Build in brand identification or recall.
After watching the video, what percentage of people remember what the video was for? What was it selling them on? What was it letting people know about? If the videos are intended only to get people to take an immediate action, it might not matter. Otherwise, what will viewers remember about what they watched?
Make the creative so unexpected and memorable that they won’t care how heavily branded it is. Go for transparency, but make it good and shareworthy.
10. Review analytics and feedback; then adjust.
How will you measure success? Will it be by views, social shares, mentions online, or contribution to the overall campaign? Have you allowed for adjustments based on viewer and online feedback, or is this a “one and done?”
Use analytics and feedback to learn what’s working and what’s not. You’re marketing to a moving target, so you have to keep moving, too. Experiment. Take chances; have fun.
David Murdico is the executive creative director and managing partner of Supercool Creative, where a version of this post first appeared.