Note: This is a guest post written by Herbert Lui. Herbert Lui does marketing for clients such as Pivotal Labs, Busy Building Things, and Renegades. He is the author of a free guide to building credibility online.
According to Forbes, a whopping 80% of executives use video as a source of information. This type of behavior certainly isn’t restricted to the boardroom; even print giants like The New York Times are making the shift to video. Whether you’re marketing to general consumers or specific business prospects, video is a medium you should be exploring in the near future.
Even as mobile devices grow more popular, so does video. According to Verizon, video is already at a whopping 50% of traffic of mobile network traffic. It’s predicted by Cisco to account for over 66% of mobile traffic before 2017. Here are five keys to marketing well with video:
1. Start with Niche Audiences
As goviral founder and current Huffington Post CEO Jimmy Maymann suggests in an interview, a strong video marketing strategy involves creating the videos with niche audiences in mind. Niche audiences are the key to connecting with mainstream audiences on social networks like YouTube and Facebook.
According to a comScore study, 74% of videos are viewed on mid-tail and long-tail sites, whereas 26% of videos are viewed on YouTube. If your solution is built for business clients, then building relationships with the industry’s publications and trade journals may be enough to distribute your videos.
For those of you in B2C, starting small doesn’t necessarily mean staying small. Your subsequent strategy can be similar to bestselling author and former Director of Marketing at American Apparel Ryan Holiday’s method of drumming up press coverage by starting small and trading up the chain. Alternatively, building for niche audiences also means you can make your video more shareable for a small group of people.
2. Integrate Social Roles into Video
While public relations is one way to spread video, social media also holds much promise. Don’t try to mean something to everybody; rather, focus on compelling a small group of people enough to drive them to share it.
Ze Frank, the Executive Vice President of Video at Buzzfeed, whose earlier experiments in vlogging resulted in a successful Kickstarter campaign raising over $150,000 for a new show, breaks down his methods to ensuring his videos are shareable in an interview with Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. Frank considers three major factors in viewers: identity, emotion, and information.
For example, Buzzfeed’s video entitled “Can You Make It Through This Video Without Your Stomach Dropping?”, which got 2.3 million views. This video appeals to those who crave adrenaline and excitement.
In contrast, an example of a video based on identity would be, “How to Piss Off Every New Yorker in 36 Seconds”. Clearly, this targets residents of New York; however, it also entices people who know anyone living in New York to share with that friend. This focused approach earned Buzzfeed 6.1 million views.
Lastly, there are informational videos: enter “10 Facts That You Thought Were True”, which has obtained 4.3 million views. Frank observes that informational videos are particularly effective on Twitter. When you’re creating your video, keep in mind the viewer and these three mechanisms that will make them want to share your work.
3. Timing is Everything
Even if you weren’t one of the 12.4 million who watched the video, you may have heard of the company Dollar Shave Club. The concept is smart, but not revolutionary; it’s a subscription-based service that offers cheaper high-quality razors by cutting out the middle man. However, the video itself is inherently bold, and founder Michael Dubin was cognizant of timing.
“The timing of the launch was not accidental,” said Dubin in an interview with The New York Times. “Early March is great to launch something tech-related because there isn’t a lot happening in sports or otherwise, and it’s a lead-up to the South by Southwest festival in Austin.”
It’s crucial to identify the times of the year, or the occasions, that your targets will be most receptive to new products. For added effect, determine the times that your viewers will likely be bored and in need of additional entertainment.
4. Keep it Short to Amplify Existing Content
Marketing Profs Chief Content Officer and bestselling author Ann Handley reinforces the suggestion to build for a small audience. In this interview on Vidyard, she also recommends keeping all videos short, especially for B2B viewers. She points out that video can be used strategically to expose existing content to a greater number of viewers.
Handley highlights Marketo’s Marketing Automation eBook promotional video and jingle combination as a concise, creative, informative, yet entertaining, video for B2B clients.
5. The QVCA Principle
Luxy Hair’s marketing is practically completely driven by YouTube. Their team’s labor has paid off; with over 1.4 million subscribers and a total of 172 million views at the time of writing, Luxy Hair’s videos are thriving. Co-founder Alex Ikonn explains how he methodically built his audience using his principle of QVCA in an interview on ShiftHub:
Q: Quality – Make the most with your current equipment. Lighting and camera lens are important here. Ikonn recommends shooting inside, with natural light from the North, at around midday. If possible, mic up.
V: Value – Give away value; don’t just make your video a sales pitch. Luxy Hair’s videos are all tutorials, where viewers can obtain a skill or understanding by watching.
C: Consistency – Publishing regularly is essential. Ikonn recommends publishing videos weekly, for at least six months to a year. The videos should also be consistent with your brand; use consistent colors and typography in your content.
A: Authenticity – The “actors” needs to be themselves. They shouldn’t be reciting a marketing message or unnatural script. You can demonstrate additional authenticity through responding to comments on your videos.
Even if you’re hesitant about the quality of your video, you should make due with what you’ve got and start producing content. As Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun says in an interview with Forbes, “There was no other marketing behind it. It was my laptop, a flip camera, and Justin and his laptop.”
As Luxy Hair, Dollar Shave Club, and Justin Bieber show, entire businesses and celebrity careers can be built with video as a foundation. So can your content marketing campaign.
Start small and figure out who your viewers are, and what will compel them to share and take action. Time the launch your video carefully, keep it short, and align it with existing content. Consistently publish high-quality, authentic, content that informs and entertains viewers. Video is only growing more popular; adapt to it early and make use of this increasingly popular medium to connect with consumers and prospects.