Video Marketing Strategy: The Ultimate Guide
Getting Started with Video Marketing
If you’re here, it’s because you know the importance of video marketing. Brands can no longer get by using written content and images alone — nowadays, that’s uninteresting and unengaging for consumers who are inundated with live streaming, interactive 360 videos, augmented reality, and more. In the United States, digital video marketing is a $135 billion industry. That means brands everywhere are realizing the value of video and investing in its creation and distribution.
And, because of this growth, you’re now behind if you aren’t releasing branded video content regularly. But, if you’ve never created a video for yourself, getting started can be tough. That’s where we come in!
With this guide, you’ll learn the ins and outs of video marketing, from figuring out which type of video you need to how to distribute it for maximum results. Start browsing below to learn everything you need!
- How Do I Create a Video Marketing Strategy?
- What Kind of Video Should I Create?
- What Are the Three Stages of Video Production?
- How Does Video Improve My SEO?
- How Do I Distribute My Video?
- How Do I Know If My Video Is Successful?
How Do I Create a Video Marketing Strategy?
Video marketing strategies are nothing new. Just like you wouldn’t create a commercial and buy airtime during the Super Bowl without researching and strategizing, you shouldn’t create a digital marketing video without first doing the proper research and creating a plan. Your video marketing strategy will ultimately be what guides you — your budget, your timelines, your production processes, your conversion metrics, and more. So getting this written down and finalized should be step one of your video creation process.
Before we dive into the specifics, here’s an overview of the steps.
How to Build a Video Marketing Strategy
- Start with your video goals.
- Find your target audience.
- Figure out what story you want to tell.
- Keep creative requirements in line.
- Stick to your timeline.
- Maintain a realistic budget.
Now that you know where we’re headed, we’ll go into detail about how to execute each step.
Start with Your Video Goals
The first step in creating your video strategy is outlining your video’s goals. Ideally, you’ll want to create a video for every stage of the marketing funnel. But, initially, you’ll have to decide which stage is the most important to target.
- Awareness: Here, a challenge or opportunity is defined and the viewer realizes they have a problem. Videos in this stage should attract users and introduce your brand to a new audience.
- Consideration: The viewer is now considering how he or she will solve the problem they’re faced with. They’re researching, asking for recommendations, watching product reviews, and trying to find cost-effective solutions.
- Decision: The solution has almost been found and you want to remain top of mind. Present your prospect with proof of customer satisfaction and prove why your product or service should be chosen over your competition.
If you want to attract a new set of customers to your brand, you’ll want to create an awareness stage video. If you want to engage your audience, you’ll want a consideration stage video. If you’re close to closing the sale and need to nurture your prospects, you’ll want to create a decision stage video. You can also create a video to delight those who have already purchased from you, or an internal video to help motivate your team or recruit new employees.
Find Your Target Audience
Now that you know what stage of the marketing funnel you’ll be targeting, it’s time to figure out who your intended audience is. This is also a crucial step; if you create a video without a specific audience in mind, it’s much more likely to be a flop. Those who are meant to watch it won’t, and those who do watch it won’t convert. So, how do you know who your target audience is?
The key is developing your buyer’s persona. If you already have one — great! Creating a buyer’s persona (or a few) is usually done when a company is developing its product or service offerings. Presumably, the people you want to buy your product are also the people you want to reach with your video.
With your buyer’s persona mapped out, you’ll know exactly who your target audience is. To finalize your audience strategy, just make sure you have the following figured out:
- Who your product or service is for — this will be your buyer’s persona.
- What the purpose of your video is — this will be where they fall within the marketing funnel.
- Where your target audience hangs out — this will inform how you distribute your video.
With these three questions answered, you’ll know not only who your target audience is, but how to reach them, as well.
Figure Out What Story You Want to Tell
Deciding what story you want your video to tell can be the most fun and the most difficult part. You’ll want to outline the following four elements, which serve as the basic framework of your story.
- Protagonist with a goal – This person should align with your target demographic.
- Conflict – This is your customer’s pain point.
- Quest – This will be how you introduce your product or service.
- Resolution – This is how your product or service solves the problem.
These elements of your story should take the viewer on a journey — one that should align with your brand mission.
Also think about what emotion you want your story to impart on the viewer as you craft your story. Do you want them to laugh? Should they feel inspired or happy after watching your video? Whatever emotion you want your viewers to have, think about that as you write your script. Everything from the props and the location to the colors and the wardrobe will communicate this, so choose every detail wisely!
These elements of your story should take the viewer on a journey — one that should align with your brand mission.
Keep Creative Requirements in Mind
As you craft your story, keep in mind the people who will need to approve your video (your manager, your company’s founder, your marketing department, etc.) and the time it takes to implement their feedback. Sudden changes in scripting, messaging, goals, and more can throw your whole production off-kilter. But still, these changes are all too common. Take a look at our creative guide that’ll help you manage creative feedback from everyone on your team.
Always (Try to) Stick to Your Timeline
As you’re planning your entire production, from creative ideation to actual video distribution, you should have a timeline to stick to. You should actually have multiple — overall timeline, production timeline, distribution timeline, and more. Your timeline serves as your guiding light, keeping you aware of how much you’ve done and what’s left to do.
Timelines are crucial for every member of your team. Marketing might have their own timeline, production might have their own, and your social media department will have their own. Basically, be a good sport and keep everyone informed of schedules, changes, and completion dates.
Take a look at how we schedule our video productions to get a good sense of how long the process should take.
Maintain a Realistic Budget
Cash rules all! Yes, creative planning and strategy are important, but let’s be real. Without the proper budget, it’s going to be difficult to get exactly what you want. Plan for the money and resources at your disposal. Plan what you’ll create or shoot in-house and what you may want to outsource to a production company. Plan what you can splurge on and what you may want to save on.
And always shop around — not just literally, but figuratively. Ask industry experts how much they charge for certain services (scripting, sound editing, social media distribution, etc.) and how much you might expect to pay if you hired a freelancer or full-time employee instead. Most agencies are more than happy to give you any information you might want, or guide you to others who can better help.
.Certain videos and features might cost you more than others, too, so be sure you research this all before you settle on the type of video you want and how you’ll go about creating it.
What Kind of Video Should I Create?
Once you have your strategy laid out, it’s time to think about the actual video you’re going to create. Easy peasy, right? Well, not exactly…
Every type and every style of video has its own pros and cons. Some types might be better for you depending on your specific marketing goals, others are better if you’re just looking to save some cash long-term.
If you don’t know the difference, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re breaking down some of the most common types and styles of video, so you can get the video creation process started!
5 Most Popular Types of Video
From brand videos to FAQs to instructional videos and more, there are almost countless types of videos you can make in conjunction with your marketing funnel.
Learn about them all by downloading our free eBook: 30 Inspirational Video Ideas for Your Business!
Despite there being so many, certain types of videos are better suited to meet your marketing goals. Once you’ve got your goals strategized, you can start learning about how each video type differs and pick the ones that’s right for you.
Commercials are brief, attention-grabbing videos that highlight your company’s best features with a dynamic scene, beautiful imagery, or summary of exciting features, and end with a clear call to action. They’re the most common type of video — you’ve probably watched a ton on TV, streaming services, or video platforms like YouTube. Because their primary goal is to attract new customers, commercials are often broad in appeal and provide only the most important and relevant information a viewer might need.
And, most importantly, they’re memorable! They show off your brand in a way that sticks with the viewer, so if it’s the viewer’s first time being exposed to your brand, they won’t soon forget it.
Commercials are typically short, only 30 seconds to one minute long, and distributed via paid advertising online or on television. They’re also great on your website or homepage, since they provide a general overview of your brand and encapsulate your brand mission in a quick and easily-digestible format.
2. Social Content Videos
Social content videos are short video clips created solely for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. These are usually fun, playful, engaging, and designed to be shared. They can include lifestyle shots, a montage of scenes relating to your product or service, short interview sound bites or quotes, or just a beautiful shot of your product.
If you haven’t seen a commercial on TV, then you’ve definitely seen a video on social media. Social videos can be almost anything and usually fall anywhere along the buyer’s journey. Due to their fun, engaging nature and shorter length, they most often help engage potential and current customers.
Try to keep social content videos under 30 seconds. Pay attention to aspects unique to social media, like muted autoplay and video looping; you can actually use these tools to your advantage by playing with silent audio and creating seemingly endless loops. Also take advantage of highlighting positive customer feedback in your social videos — this increases your credibility and spreads positive word of mouth.
3. Explainer Videos
Explainer videos are videos that teach your audience more about your company, brand, product, or service. Like social content videos, almost any video can be an explainer video, the only requirement is a focus on how your company solves a particular problem.
Explainer videos are excellent introductions to your brand. They should quickly and efficiently explain what your company does and why that matters. Typically under three minutes, explainers end with a strong call to action and offer a simple solution to a complex problem.
Remember, these videos should always answer three main questions: What’s your audience’s problem? How will your product or service fix it? Why should your audience choose you?
4. Product Videos
A product video tells your audience about your best-selling products or services and their top features. It shows your product in action and helps increase consumer confidence in your company or brand.
Here, your main goal will likely be to attract new customers who are in the first stage of product research. You’ll want to show off not only the beauty of your product, but its utility and necessity. You’ll also want to highlight what makes your product better than the rest — since these new visitors are still doing research, you’ll want to make sure your product video sets you apart from your competition.
Product videos are usually about 30 seconds long and can be shared on your website, social media platforms, via email, or through paid advertising. Use high-quality production and great sound, whether it’s music, dialogue, or voice-over, to communicate how amazing your product is.
Testimonial videos are one of the strongest types of videos you can make; they show past or current satisfied customers talking about their positive experience using your product or service.
Honest personal feedback from a customer is stronger than anything you could say about your own company. According to a recent survey, 90 percent of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, so use these reviews to increase your brand credibility and convince your prospects to take the plunge.
Customer testimonials are usually between 30 seconds and two minutes long and can focus on one happy customer or numerous. These videos are highly versatile, meaning you can publish them almost anywhere. You’ll just want to make sure whoever you film is wholly authentic — a forced or fake-feeling testimonial could be more detrimental to your brand, so take some time to find the perfect person.
What Style of Video Should I Create?
Picking the right video type is crucial to your video’s success, but so is picking the right video style. Style is a broader term that relates to your video’s tone and messaging. It affects how your actual story is told — are you using actors? Graphics? Dialogue? Specific locations? Together, these elements create your video’s style. Pick the right style and you’ll draw in the audience that’s most likely to convert.
A lifestyle video is any video that appeals directly to your target demographic, helping them visualize how your product or service fits into their way of life. Beautiful visuals, actions shots, and stunning imagery should set the mood and epitomize the lifestyle you want to associate with your product.
This means working to create a specific look or style for your video. If your product is modern and sleek, you’ll want a video with sleek, minimal design, plain backgrounds, and modern accessories. If your product serves a young, high-tech demographic, you’ll want your video to showcase tech culture, young, smart actors, and functional utility. Think of your brand aesthetic and make sure your video follows that aesthetic.
Lifestyle videos usually range between 30 seconds and two minutes, and feature locations that best highlight your product’s exemplary features.
Mini-documentaries are less about your brand’s visual aesthetics and focus more on expressing your company’s core value or mission statement in a documentary-style format. This is usually accomplished through interviews with key company representatives, like founders, employees, or satisfied customers.
To make a big impression, it’s important your mini-doc keeps it short and sweet. You want to highlight excellent sound bites that tell viewers exactly who you are, all while maintaining their attention. While feature-length documentaries have enough time to develop a full, three-act story, mini-docs don’t. They have to establish their story by quickly answering three crucial questions: what, why, and how. What is the focus of this video? Why should the viewer care about this? How does your subject work? This helps you get key pieces of information to your audience in a fun and interesting way.
We recommend keeping mini-docs to under a minute, though they can be a little bit longer. Unfortunately, viewer attention span drops dramatically after the minute-mark, so try to tell your story as best you can in the time you have.
Narrative videos are probably the most recognizable style of video besides animation. They use classic storytelling elements, including character building, conflict, and resolution, to tell your brand story in an entertaining and engaging way. They create a journey — one your viewer can easily follow and relate to.
Because their goal is to tell a story, narrative videos often work best top of funnel, when users are just learning about the problem they face and you’re introducing your brand. Whether you tell the story of how your company came to be, the story of a frustrated customer finding you for the first time, or the story of a fictional hero character, your narrative should be memorable and help your brand stay on the mind of anyone who watches it.
Remember, watching should be a fun experience, so make sure you have fun writing, producing, and sharing your video. Use heavy branding and remember your company’s mission as you create it, otherwise the story can start to get away from you.
Animated videos have the power to engage and captivate your audience like no other. Animation is an interesting style because it can be used independently of the content in your video; almost any type of video can be made in the style of animation. But animation is especially powerful when it comes to explaining difficult-to-understand concepts or technology.
It’s also great for combining with other styles. You can have a lifestyle video that uses animated graphics or animated cutaways, or you can use it entirely on its own. It’s wonderfully versatile and spices up almost any video you create.
Keep in mind that animation can be less costly to create (no equipment, less time on set, etc.) but can take much longer because of the technical skill per frame that it requires. Keep a pros and cons list handy before deciding whether animation is right for you.
What Are the Three Stages of Video Production?
Now you’re ready for the big show. Your video strategy is set, you know what video goals you want to accomplish, and you know exactly the type and style of video that’ll help you get there. You’re ready to start the fun stuff!
There are four major steps in video pre-production you should keep in mind.
Now comes the script writing, the search for the perfect agency, the video review and edits, and celebrating finally having a beautiful, well-crafted video you can be proud of. The entire production process should take about two months with the right partner, but be sure to plan more time than you need for each of the following individual production stages so you don’t fall behind.
The pre-production stage essentially covers all your video planning. It’s the first and most important stage of the production process because it sets your entire video in motion. At this stage, you’ll want to clearly define the content of your video, get feedback from all relevant team members, and start booking and scheduling your shoot. If you’re hiring a production team or agency, you’ll want to do all your company vetting, creative calls, and approvals here.
There are four major steps in video pre-production you should keep in mind.
Whether you hire a production company or produce your video yourself, it’s important to have a creative brainstorming session. This will help you finalize your video’s story, characters, plot, messaging, even style and length.
No idea is too crazy! Brainstorm everything you can and, once all your ideas are on the table, you can begin whittling them down and confirming what might work and what might flop.
With an agency, you shouldn’t worry too much about these details. At Lemonlight, we schedule a creative call to review your ideas and give you feedback based on what we’ve seen work. We also provide new concepts and any direction you might need. But agreeing on a creative direction is crucial — your creative will be what communicates your branding and what will dictate how memorable your brand video is.
Scripting your video is the next step. This includes outlining your dialogue, voice-over, music, sound cues, visuals, and any other details that’ll help move your story forward. Again, you can do this in-house, or hire a freelance writer or agency to write your script for you.
Average reading pace is two words per second, so keep this in mind as you write. A one-minute video should be about 120 words, a two-minute video should be about 240 words, and so on.
But remember: you don’t always need to jam-pack your video with dialogue. Sometimes, silence or movement can tell your story better than narration. Think about what will best get your message across.
Though you outlined some visuals in your script, now it’s time to draw it all out! Storyboards aren’t always required, but they go far in helping develop the look and feel of your video. They also help guide your camera operators and project coordinators on set so everyone knows exactly what shots to prioritize.
You don’t have to be a professional artist with impeccable drawing skills to create a good storyboard. Just use it as a guide — even stick figures representing your characters can help give your team some prospective and help you all get on the same page about your video’s look and feel.
Need a storyboard template? Download ours here for FREE!
Booking and Preparation
Now come the official steps: booking talent, scheduling timelines, hiring staff, purchasing equipment and props, and more. This can get hectic if you’re handling it all on your own. You’ll need a point of contact for all your actors, production assistants, even licenses if you’re filming in certain public spaces, so it might help to bring in an agency at this step to handle all these technical details.
Documents are a godsend at this stage. Create shared calendars, contact sheets, script notes, and more, and make sure all the appropriate people have access. Stay cognizant of deadlines and set reminders for yourself so none of the details pass you by.
Pre-production setup can be a full-time job, so make sure you balance what you want to do with what you’re able to do.
There’s a lot leading up to this day, but what a day! Production day can be crazy and hectic, or totally cool and organized. It’s when you finally see your video come to life for the first time — there’s a definite feeling of accomplishment. Exciting as it may be, there’s still a lot to do to ensure your video is the best it can be.
That’s why you — or the production company you’re working with — don’t want to lose sight of the following.
There are two crucial components to any video: audio and visuals. On production day, you want to make sure both are meeting your standards. You’ll want to test all your equipment and work with an experienced producer to get the best sound and picture possible. You’ll want to check all the sound equipment (mics, booms, and more), as well as all your camera equipment. If you’re on set, make sure your shots match your storyboard and your brand style. If you’re not on set, ask for photos or video chat for a few minutes to make sure your video is coming together as it should.
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The right lighting can make the difference between a beautiful, high-quality production and a shoddy, low-budget production. Lighting sets mood, lighting sets tone, lighting sets the entire look and feel of your production, so pay close attention to it. Again, you should have a professional handle this for you, but don’t forget to check your shots and approve the look and feel.
The other thing that will set the mood for your entire production? Physical styling, including makeup, wardrobe, props, and set decorations. Whether you go big or go small, these things will communicate the bulk of your story. You should iron these out in the creative planning stages, though the specific details and purchases can come later. But how your video looks can deeply affect its success, so make sure your stylistic choices match the story you’re telling and your ultimate marketing goals.
Extras are unique to your needs — you might benefit from behind-the-scenes footage, a quick photo session, or certain types of b-roll. Get it done! Any content you can create on set during production will only benefit you. It can add more long term value to your clients and give you more content to post. If you work with an agency, ask them what they can do. You might even ask for raw video footage so you can continue editing and repackaging your video for future use. Think about your needs and see what you can do!
Unless you’re a creative director or production manager, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the post-production process. That is, it’s helpful to know what goes on, but you likely won’t be doing anything very hands-on during this stage. Post-production revolves heavily around video editing and graphic creation, which means you’ll have either hired experienced editors or an agency, or will have assigned this work to the appropriate people. Keep an eye on timelines and make sure you familiarize yourself with the post-production process — but don’t think of taking all this work on yourself!
One of the most important aspects of post-production is editing your video footage. Of course, that involves cutting and splicing together your b-roll, interviews, and lifestyle footage to create your story. But it also involves adjusting other visual elements, like white balance, color, and clarity, to accurately represent the story you want to relate. These edits will create the entire look and feel of your video, which highly affects its branding. After all, when you think of an Apple store, you don’t think of dim, romantic lighting, so make sure your color edits reflect your creative vision.
Just as important as your visual effects are your audio effects. Sound mixing, dialogue, narration, and music all come together to create the audio that’s heard when your video is watched. Even just adding a layer of ambient sound over a quiet scene can make the difference between what feels like a high-quality video and a low-quality one. Make sure a professional handles your audio mixing, so you have the perfect sound levels, foley effects, dialogue volume, and more.
In addition to visual editing, you can (and should) add graphic effects to your branded video. These graphic elements can include animation, text graphics, fade ins or outs, lower-third graphic overlays, interview names and titles, logos, product modeling, and more. These elements really tie all your branding efforts together, so use them smartly and you’ll have a professional video you can be proud of.
Bonus: Call to Action
Make sure you know what you want your video’s call to action to be. You can include your homepage URL, a “Click Here” button, a thumbnail of another video, social icons, or almost any other form of CTA. These are technically graphic elements, but require a little more thought since you’ll want to consider what your video goals are and how you want the viewer to accomplish them. Think about their user experience and how you can present your CTA in the least disruptive way possible.
How Does Video Improve My SEO?
Video marketing has countless benefits, but there’s one in particular we want to focus on: improving SEO. Search engine optimization has become such an invaluable tool for marketers; 64 percent of users use search in their I-want-to-buy moments, and 71 percent visit a retailer website or app when they’re in the decision-making stage. That means it’s crucial for your website to not only rank on search engine results pages (SERPs), but rank high.
Search algorithms are increasingly prioritizing web pages with video and videos now appear in 55 percent of Google keyword searches. Besides helping your website rank on relevant searches, videos also make your snippet (or the actual result listing content) bigger and more eye-catching, meaning searchers will likely see it before they see other results on the page.
Why does video help my website rank?
Because sites with video content perform better overall than sites that don’t, search engines prioritize them. Ultimately, search engines want to do a good job, so if they see a website engages users, answers their questions, and provides a positive overall experience, they’ll reward that site with a higher rank.
Although tons of different things can help improve your SEO, video specifically helps by:
- Increasing your click-through rates. Including video on your page drives a 157 percent increase in organic traffic from SERPs.
- Lowering your bounce rates. People spend over twice as long on a page with video than without.
Creating quality backlinks. The higher the quality of your content, the more more likely you are to get backlinks.
What can I do to improve my SEO?
Again, there are tons of technical tips you can implement to improve your site’s SEO, but one of the best tips is to have high-quality content that educates and informs your viewer. And what’s the most educational, informational form of content? Video!
If you’ve already created your video, don’t keep it to yourself. Video is by nature super informative, but the boost in SEO it provides could pay off big in the long run.
1. Use videos on your website.
Don’t neglect your website when it comes to publishing your video. Use it on any page that’s relevant. If you’ve got a product video, for instance, you’ll want to embed the video on your homepage, as well as your product or ecommerce pages. If you publish a blog post about your product, include the video! If you’ve got an FAQ page with questions about your product, include the video there, too!
2. Embed your video around quality content.
Sadly, posting a video on an otherwise blank page won’t do much for your SEO. Make sure you embed your video on a page full of relevant and informative content. This will let search engine crawlers know you have not only engaging multimedia on your site, but that you provide a ton of valuable and useful information. Be sure the content relates to your video — sometimes, posting the video transcript can help a lot, too.
3. Be consistent – post video content often!
One video is great, but the more often you post engaging video, the better. It may not be realistic to post videos every single day or for every single initiative, but if you’ve got a major campaign you’re working on or an initiative that would really benefit from video, dedicate some resources to video creation. Even overlaying text on a piece of stock footage can be highly engaging on your website and bring more visitors from organic search.
4. Don’t forget the details.
SEO is about half quality content and half technical details. Video is no exception. When you post your video on your site, don’t forget the technical details that’ll make it visible to crawlers indexing your site: title, description, tags, and annotations. Most video hosting platforms will let you edit these items.
How Do I Distribute My Video?
You’ve got your amazing video and your entire team loves it. Now what? How do you actually get people watching it and sharing it? Well, that all comes down to distribution!
Distributing your video on the right channels is essential for your video’s success. Owned, paid, and earned distribution channels each have their own pros and cons, but using the right balance of them all can propel your video to new heights, spreading your brand awareness and converting users at every stage of the marketing funnel.
Let’s take a look at each of these in a little more detail.
Publishing your video across all your owned channels is probably the easiest way to distribute your video, and the one method that cannot be ignored. It includes every channel you own, like your website, PDFs, digital documents, email lists, ecommerce pages, apps, and more. These channels are the primary sources of information about your company and brand, so use every single one you can intelligently and with purpose.
Here are some of the owned distribution channels you should use for your video.
From your homepage to your ecommerce pages, put your video on as many pages as possible on your website; this will help not only drive more visitors to your site, but engage them once they’re there. If you have more than one video, even better! This is the first place you’ll want to start gathering video views — and probably the most impactful of all the views you’ll get.
No matter what your video is about, publishing it on your blog is a must. Home to informative, educational content, as well as more brand-specific marketing content, visitors will expect your blog to host any and all relevant product news you have to share. Better yet, if someone is browsing your blog, they’re ready to commit time to your content. What better way to engage them than video?
Email is an easy way to reach those who’ve already interacted with your brand or given you their contact information. A direct line of communication, you can embed your video in any newsletter, email sequence, automated email, or promotional email.
Social Media (organic)
Social algorithms are increasingly prioritizing video content, so you’ll want to make sure you’re promoting your video numerous times on all your social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Video generates 1,200 percent more shares than links and images combined, so this is a required (and easy) place to promote your video and reach a large audience.
Because you own these channels, there should be no issue using them to distribute your video. With a simple website update or email blast, your video can be in front of more people, telling your brand story to those who most want to hear it.
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Even a small advertising budget can pay off big.
Paid distribution, or paying money for the distribution of your video via advertising, has become almost essential to the successful marketing of any video. Because most sites don’t charge for the use of their services (think Facebook or content sites like Buzzfeed), charging for distribution has become their one way of earning money — meaning video creators like you sometimes have to pay more to get your content seen by a wider audience.
But that’s OK! Even a small advertising budget can pay off big, and with the right balance of paid and non-paid distribution, your video can reach exactly the right people.
Here are a few paid distribution methods you should take full advantage of.
Search ads aren’t video-friendly just yet, but you can target high-volume keywords related to your product, service, or brand and create a landing page for your video content. Whether your goal is to educate about a certain topic or introduce your product, you can drive these high-traffic keywords to your page for a low cost per click and get huge returns.
Social Media (Paid)
Just like organic posts, paid social media posts can spread your content far. Paid posts, however, allow you to target the exact type of person you want watching your ads. Organic posting is only shown to your immediate fans, but with paid advertising, your content can target all sorts of demographics, locations, income levels, interests, and beyond — ensuring only the people most likely to purchase from you actually see your ad.
Native advertising embeds your video content onto a third-party website in a natural way that doesn’t disrupt the user’s experience. For instance, if you own a bakery and created a commercial about all the different types of cakes you sell, your video might be naturally embedded on a food website in an article about baking. This advertising is slightly more expensive than social or search ads, but have high returns thanks to the relevance of the content.
This is any form of content which was paid for, usually by a company promoting another company or brand. It is written in the style of the site publishing it, much like native advertising, but isn’t actually an ad — it’s a valuable piece of written or visual content meant to inform the viewer. Usually, sponsored posts get organically shared via social networks, too, so they get an extra push when it comes to distribution.
Influencer outreach is both a paid and earned type of distribution. Basically, you reach out to “influencers,” or social accounts or personalities with a lot of followers, to share or promote your content. They may do it for free, but the right influencer may need a bigger incentive. Work with them to create a video you’ll both benefit from.
Earned video distribution is one of the trickiest types of distribution due to its uncontrollable nature. Try as you may, earned media means you’re essentially leaving this distribution up to chance, though there are some definite efforts you can make to push the needle a little further in your favor. Since earned media is totally free to implement, it’s just a matter of putting in the effort and not being afraid to follow up.
Though earned media can be a little unpredictable, here are a few ways you can increase your earned distribution efforts.
Social sharing is one of the simplest forms of earned distribution. It often happens organically, but you can encourage social shares by getting the ball rolling. Set up a schedule to post your video content from your corporate and personal accounts on every social channel you’re active on. Send a private message to friends and family to do the same. If you know anyone in a related field or industry, make sure they share your content, too! Though it’s not the best method, you can even incentivize shares by creating a contest or giveaway through an app like Rafflecopter.
An easy way to get others to create content for you and talk about you is by sending your product to online reviewers, like YouTube influencers, or asking your customers directly to write or record their own reviews. This increases your brand’s credibility (as long as the reviews are positive) and spreads brand awareness.
Depending on your industry and the type of video you create, your video could benefit from more traditional types of publicity, like a press release or publication on a trade website. Working with a PR agency could be beneficial, but you could also reach out directly to site administrators on niche sites related to your field, like health and wellness sites, fitness sites, major food websites, tech sites, and more. Ask to be featured in their newsletter or send them your press release with a link to your video directly — the more official your campaign, the better!
This covers any type of marketing done for free by an influencer, including shoutouts on social media, product reviews, endorsements, mentions, and more. Many influencers are willing to help you distribute your content in exchange for something, maybe a reciprocal mention, a trial of your services, or an ongoing relationship. Think about what you’re willing to give for the promotion of your video. Depending on how much they can up your exposure, it just might be worth it.
Which type of distribution is best for me?
We can’t say this enough: It all depends on your video goals and strategy.
Ideally, you’ll use all three distribution methods. You know your audience and hopefully you know how they’ll respond to your video. Focus on the distribution method that’ll give you the biggest return. If you’re in the film industry, focusing more on paid distribution might be your best bet. If you’re in the field of cancer research, earned media might be the way to go. Are you an entrepreneur that just launched your own startup? Spread word via your owned channels. It all really depends, so do a little research and see what fits your situation best.
Owned distribution is always a must, though, since you own and have complete control over these channels. There’s the lowest barrier to entry here and they also have the most opportunity due to how many different options for distribution you have. If one form of owned doesn’t work, another surely will. And, if your goal is to capture leads, using your owned channels is especially crucial.
Paid distribution is super important as well, but how much you can do will likely be limited by your cash resources. You’ll want to think more strategically about where your highest-converting audience is and dedicate most of your budget there. And because there are so many different forms of paid advertising even within one single channel (Facebook has 11 different types of advertisements alone), you want to test every channel and every type of distribution method. Until you know which will give you the highest return, hold back on spending your entire distribution budget.
Earned distribution, like owned, is free. You have relatively little to lose using it other than time and effort, but unlike owned and paid, the payoff can be drastically more unpredictable. From SEO efforts that boost your search presence, to building relationships with influencers you’ve never met, you never quite know what your ROI will be — it can be enormous or it can fizzle to an end. But don’t skip earned distribution altogether! Take a little more time to think strategically about which earned channels will help you accomplish your video goals.
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How Do I Know If My Video Is Successful?
At Lemonlight, we’re picky about our metrics for success. We love viral videos with tons of views, but honestly? We’re more interested in videos that deliver results. A million views looks good on paper, but might mean zilch for your bottom line.
We encourage you to adopt this results-first frame of mind. Keeping an eye on the metrics that actually help you accomplish your video goals is more important than anything, so don’t be blinded by the glint of a high impression count — or at least not impression count alone! Learn how specific metrics actually translate to video success and you’ll get not only a million views, but tons of sales, as well.
Key KPIs for Success
So, besides video view count, what are the important metrics you should be tracking?
Metrics for success differ from goal to goal. We’ve classified some of the essential metrics based on where your ideal viewer falls within the marketing funnel. While tracking every single metric below would be ideal, we know your resources, data platforms, and reporting capabilities might be limited. If you can’t track them all, instead focus on tracking the metrics relevant to your goal.
Do you want to attract a new audience to your brand? This top-of-funnel goal is the broadest and probably the easiest to measure. Attracting an audience means presenting your brand as the solution to a problem that was recently introduced to the viewer. This will likely be your first interaction with them, so you want to make sure it’s a memorable one.
View count is important here, but so is your number of unique visitors and brand awareness and recall lift. Luckily, most video hosting platforms share these data points, so they should be easy to come by. Lifts in viewer perception are a little more difficult to find, but are often measured by surveys or quick questionnaires on platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Focus on the following metrics:
- Unique Users
- Awareness Lift
- Ad Recall Lift
Do you want to engage your audience? Since you’ve already introduced yourself, now you need to work on keeping your viewers engaged. Video is one of the most engaging forms of content, so you need to make sure your video is doing its job. Your video should be fun, interesting, captivating — don’t lose your audience in the first few seconds!
Watch time and view-through rate are two of the most important metrics to measure engagement. These are the most absolute numbers that’ll give you an idea of how engaging your content is. Less absolute numbers include lifts in favorability and brand interest. You can also use things like comments and shares to measure engagement when you post your video on social media. Focus on the following metrics:
- View-Through Rate
- Watch Time
- Favorability Lift
- Consideration Lift
- Brand Interest Lift
It’s time to nurture your prospective leads! If your audience has made it this far down the marketing funnel, your marketing efforts are paying off. Nurturing is one of the harder stages, but luckily, it’s quick and easy to measure. If you’ve done a successful job nurturing, you’ll see it in conversions. What those conversions are are up to you — you might want sales, social shares, contact information, you name it. But the completing of a desired action means your video is accomplishing exactly what you want it to.
Because your definition of a “conversion” is up to you, the metrics to measure here can vary. Generally, a strong video will have a high percentage of clicks, calls, signups, or sales. A strong video may also lead to more interaction with your brand, meaning your video has maintained the viewer’s attention, but they may need just a little more information before making their decision.
Focus on the following metrics:
- Purchase Intent Lift
Your viewer is now an actual customer! Your goal here revolves around keeping them interested in your brand for future purchases or added value. Any video that delights is a success — and the longer they watch, the more likely it is they’re delighted. The tone of your video here will matter greatly. Chances are a long, boring educational video won’t delight your customers as much as a funny, short, social media video will. Keep this in mind when reviewing your data: The view-through rate of a 15-second video will likely be much higher than that of a two-minute video.
Keep an eye on those crucial watch metrics (views, view-through rate, impressions), but also focus on metrics like return visits and repeat purchases. These will show you just how trusted your brand is, and how successful your video is at delighting post-purchase.
Focus on the following metrics:
- Return Visits
- Social Engagement
- Favorability Lift
How to Measure ROI
You’ve got your KPIs — but KPIs alone don’t equal money in the bank. You’ve still got to translate your KPIs into accurate, reliable figures that your marketing team can get behind.
This is an important step, but remember: not every metric will correlate directly to revenue. Some metrics, like lifts in brand favorability or consideration, don’t pay off immediately. They can take months or more to come to fruition, so be patient and make sure you’ve got in depth tracking enabled so you can do a better job tying your video metrics to ultimate sales.
But there are some tips you can use to estimate how much money your video is bringing in.
In the attract stage, your watch metrics, like view count, impressions, and unique users, gives you a pretty accurate account of how many people you’ve introduced your brand, product, or service to. You might have a formula for how many top-funnel users end up converting, so you can apply that to your unique user count. You can also measure your true conversion rate or use a cost per view calculator to figure out how many views your video needs before it becomes profitable. Behavior tracking can also give you a picture of how many people watch your video, browse your site, and then convert.
The engage stage is the hardest to correlate to cold, hard sales. Because users aren’t necessarily looking to purchase here, they can watch your video, learn some information, and not come back to your website for a long time. Try to implement detailed tracking information to show you big-picture user behavior; drop cookies and retrieve path information for every person who views your video or goes to your site. Then, you can see what percentage of visitors end up buying from you.
If you’re targeting prospects and hoping to nurture them, you’re hopefully giving them a direct action to take. Measuring the ROI here means simply creating tracking links that will give you this information directly. Increases in your desired action taken should show you your exact lift in revenue. (For instance, if you count an email signup as your conversion, your lift in signups should relate directly to a lift in sales, all other things constant. Plus, you’ll have this user information on file and can then track if or when they convert.)
You’ve got your KPIs — but KPIs alone don’t equal money in the bank.
Finally, revenue that comes from delighting your customer should be easier to track since you already have a purchase on file. You’ll likely have a user profile for each customer or some form of contact information from them — every return visit won’t correlate to a new sale, but tracking their behavior will give you a good idea of how many return visitors convert. Then apply this percentage to the number of return website visitors and you’re set! Hopefully, your sales department will also have a good idea of how many first time buyers purchase more than once.
Picking the Right Data Platform
There are enough analytics tools out there to make your head spin. When it comes to video, which are right for your team or company?
A big part of what’ll dictate which analytics platform you should use will depend on your budget. If your company is super data rich and every department is highly dependent on accurate reporting, you might already invest in a robust paid platform that can meet your video needs. If not, there are tons of free tools you can use that are just as good as some of the bigger, paid-for options.
Take a look at our top 13 picks for video analytics platforms — use one or use a combination to get the most reliable information possible.
Picking a video host is pretty much required. Luckily, most video hosting platforms give you a wealth of information and tons of insights in real time. Sometimes those insights are enough, but because you’re distributing your video in different places, you don’t want to limit your data to just one source.
Posting your video on social platforms is also basically required, though the social channels you choose may differ depending on where your audience is most active. You’ll also want to think about posting your video natively; most social platforms give native videos preference over video links from other sources. Post your video natively where you can, and keep an eye on your platform-specific data.
An analytics platform will give you the best overall picture of your important data and where it comes from. The good thing about these platforms are how they’re able to tie all your marketing efforts together — your advertising, your social posts, your referral sources, even audience demographics and more. These simplify tracking efforts and put all your data conveniently in one place. There are tons of analytics tools, but here are our favorites.
- Google Analytics
Optimize and Adjust My Content
Once you have results, you see where you’ve succeeded and where there’s room to grow. Fix what you can in terms of distribution, target audience, and actual video content in order to optimize the performance of your video.
There are many things you can do to optimize your efforts. Here are just 2 ways you can optimize your current and future video content to more effectively reach your marketing goals.
See how you can optimize your current video.
How can you optimize the video you already have? Can you add a stronger call to action? Can you share it on another platform? Think creatively about how to further your video’s reach and effectiveness. If you want more exposure, sharing your video on a new channel could help. If you’re underwhelmed by your click-throughs or conversions, see if you can add an end card with a bigger CTA, adjust the description copy, or create an incentive for clicking through, like a limited-time discount or some kind of contest.
You can also re-edit your video footage. If your view-through rates are low, your viewers are losing interest quickly. Try creating a shorter cut of your video that’ll be more engaging to your audience. Maybe try adding graphics to spice up the content. Although you don’t want to entirely replace your original video, creating different versions of it may bring you better results.
Use these insights to create better video content in the future.
You also want to use your data and insights to adjust your future video strategy. View-through rate should inform the length of your video, audience demographics should inform content, characters, and voice-over in your video, and most successful distribution channels should inform where to prioritize distribution efforts. Use this data to create a more detailed strategy next time around so you can set up any future marketing videos you create for success.
Time to Get Started!
The growth of video marketing is presenting a unique opportunity for brands like yours. As consumers continue to prefer video to other forms of content, they’re now expecting brands of every size and in every industry to connect with them using video. Platforms are increasingly prioritizing video content, and even new devices like phones and tablets are more video ready than ever before. That means you have to take full advantage of this amazing marketing tool to be competitive. The longer you wait, the more customers you’ll lose.
Take a look at some of our favorite brand video examples here!
Luckily, it’s easier now to create a beautiful short video. You can hire experienced freelancers at the drop of a dime, or hire an agency who’ll handle everything for you with no stress. Plus, the cost of producing a video is low, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank to create a branded video you’ll love.
Overwhelmed? Trust us, it’s a lot to take in. But this outline should be your first step toward an effective and profitable video marketing strategy that’ll change the way your company looks at video.
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