Are you considering allocating budget to video? Whether it’s a one-time production in the tens of thousands or a long-term capital investment that may reach hundreds of thousands, video investments are often hard to evaluate and approve because they rarely generate a direct response.
Your video project is likely top or middle of the funnel activity, meaning ROI is hard to prove. No matter how enthusiastic your team is about video or how much you hear in digital media circles that video is the next great tactic, you need some plain talk about what type of videos to consider based on different circumstances.
With hyperbole pushed aside, let’s walk through some video types relevant to content marketing.
Brand storytelling: Video is an ideal medium for brand storytelling pieces, which can live on your website or on social media channels. Whether you’re sharing the brand values, brand origin, or brand mission, video immerses your audience in your story – and offers a richer, more nuanced experience than other media.
Explainers: When was the last time you visited a home page and didn’t see a video? Yes, it was 2008. While videos once were used only to explain complex products or solutions, now they are as likely to give a brief and engaging overview of your value proposition in two minutes or less.
Top of funnel
Advertising: Admittedly not pure-play content marketing, many companies run ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube to drive traffic to their white papers and videos. Consider these supporting assets to fuel the reach of your content marketing.
Customized landing pages: Similar to the home page explainer video, landing pages that include a customized video are highly targeted proxies for your home page because they are intended to match the invitation (call to action) you’ve sent. Using inexpensive cloud-based tools, it’s easy to make hundreds or even thousands of variations of a given video. Why go through the trouble? Unbounce says that using videos on landing pages can boost conversion up to 80%.
SEO: Use video to highlight key points of a gated white paper and increase its reach and search engine rankings. Video SEO can be broken into two types:
- You produce a video and post it publicly on YouTube to gain maximum reach and earned views. In this case, the video itself (due to Google’s high rank for YouTube) moves up your search engine rankings. The call to action in your video will attempt to direct traffic back to the white paper on your site … but in return for YouTube’s incredible reach and rank, you risk your leads getting distracted by other YouTube videos instead of following your call to action.
- You can host the video on your site (i.e., not YouTube). Self-host or work with one of the third-party sites that specialize in simulating self-hosting. The video and supporting text will help the page itself to move up the ranking pages, meaning that traffic earned by the video is highly likely to stay on your site. It’s possible to pursue both approaches simultaneously, but best to have some variations between the videos.
Middle of funnel
Educational content: Whether a piece of thought leadership or a practical guide, educational content is the bread and butter of content marketing. Why use video? It offers an enjoyable “lean-back” experience that promises to be interesting and short. Videos can be posted to your blog, live on in evergreen learning or resource centers, or even serve as an ungated trailer next to gated content.
Email: You probably communicate regularly with prospects and customers by email. Research by Brainshark shows inclusion of video provides a 20 percent boost in open rates as well as higher click-through rates.
Bottom of funnel
About Us: Many think of bottom-of-the-funnel activities as those related to product features, price, etc. But customers in the market for an expensive product or long-term service relationship are just as interested in the “who” as they are in the “what” or “how much.” When two providers are close on quality and price, perceived trustworthiness and commitment to service often are the deciding factors. Video is an excellent medium for communicating your values or simply putting a face on your company.
Time-sensitive promotions: You’re using price breaks to close warm or stuck leads. Why not invest in video for something simple and numbers-driven like price promotions? A typical consumer gets over 10 promotional emails per day. Your price promotion will not perform well if it’s not seen – and video helps to increase open rates. Plus the richer experience of videos – music, sound effects, voice, etc. – drive home what’s special about your promotion.
PR and external communications
Rapid response to hot topics: Print is the easiest medium to produce and manage – once a statement is approved and locked down, everything else is copy and paste. But what’s the hidden cost of leaving the reader “unsupervised”? Video lets you marry tone and words, control the pace at which viewers move through a piece of content, and direct their eyes and ears to points of emphasis.
Regular performance updates: Numbers play well in charts; however, most readers are inundated by data in both raw and illustrated form. The natural impulse is to quickly scan for an uptrend or downtrend and move on. Video lets you control every moment of content consumption, right down to the pace.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute