5 rules for video content marketing

Specifying your objective is just the beginning. Remember to consider distribution and an online home for your masterpiece, among other key concerns.

Some things just belong together. Shoes and socks. Bees and honey. Peanut butter and jelly.

Videos and advertising.

Whether they’re instructional, informational or simply for fun, videos are an important part of today’s marketing strategy.

According to a recent report sponsored by Demand Metric and VidYard, almost 70 percent of marketers use video as part of their marketing strategy, and 82 percent say they’ve seen success with video content marketing initiatives. If you’re planning to give video a larger place in your content marketing strategy for the coming year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Define your goals. Within the context of content marketing, videos can mean different things to different people. If the marketing team whips together a video highlighting features of a new product when the CEO is expecting something that depicts a day in the life of an employee, that’s an expensive lesson to learn. Make sure everyone is on the same page before the cameras roll.

Part of clarifying the goals of your video content marketing strategy should be to determine how your team defines successful metrics. By the number of viewers? How often it’s shared? How many leads it generates? Whether it goes viral? And what constitutes “viral?”

Figuring out these kinds of things ahead of time helps you spot what’s working and what has to be tweaked.

Star or supporting cast? Give some thought to what kind of role you want your videos to have as part of your overall marketing strategy: central or peripheral.

For some organizations, casting video in the starring role makes the most sense. Most of camera manufacturer GoPro’s marketing content revolves around videos, with social media content, blog posts and other types of advertising serving as support or collateral content. The company now boasts 2.5 million subscribers to its YouTube channel and was the platform’s top brand channel from January to March of last year.

Some products or services simply don’t lend themselves to a focus on video marketing, but that’s OK. Videos that supplement a company’s primary marketing content are still useful. Even a collection of videos showing how to repair or troubleshoot a product can be positioned to customers as a benefit.

Remember to include a call to action. Obviously, you’ll want each video you create to feature your logo and brand, but it should also include a clear call to action. Written copy helps content creators incorporate clickable buttons or URLs; videos present a challenge. Incorporate your call to action directly into the video both visually and audibly for the best impact.

If you share your videos on YouTube, make sure to use the platform’s Annotation feature to add pop-up messages that automatically play whenever your video is viewed. Don’t rely on it exclusively for your calls to action, however, because YouTube allows its users to disable pop-ups if they choose.

Paid or organic distribution? There are two ways to get your videos noticed: Pay to have them distributed, or let customers find it themselves. What’s the best approach? A mix of both.

Organic reach on Facebook has been taking a nosedive for a while now. Facebook VP Brian Boland says it’s due to a combination of factors, including the way its algorithms are structured, and that there’s simply “far more content being made than there is time to absorb it.”

Facebook hasn’t reported any plans to increase organic reach, and now Twitter is hinting at taking a similar approach to how it serves content to users. All the major social media platforms offer tools to help brands boost their signal-for a fee, of course.

If you want a fighting chance at getting your videos seen on social media, you’ll have to spend a portion of your marketing budget on buying promoted or boosted ad space. It’s money well spent, though, and you’ll be in good company. A 2012 Nielsen survey revealed that 65 percent of marketers increased their social media ad budgets for 2013.

Of course, paying for reach doesn’t mean you can take the rest of the week off. You still have to promote your video content via your own social networking channels and email campaigns. Videos are the perfect medium for cross-channel distribution, so don’t forget to use them at trade shows, as part of your online user support tools or in mobile apps you create.

Find a parking spot. Your videos should have a permanent home on your website, so you’ll want to find the best place to put them. Vimeo, Brightcove, YouTube and other video hosting sites are an option. However, they might not be your best choice if you want to retain complete control over your content and whatever ads are shown alongside it.

Housing your video in an on-site content management system is a better bet. From there you can set up on other distribution channels and add your videos there as well.

A version of this article originally appeared on Visual.ly.

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