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4 Ways to Make Video Astronomically Better

lisa-barone
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Are you obsessed with online video? Don't be ashamed, your customers are, too.

If you're like many other businesses, you've been keeping a close eye on online video, wondering how it could fit into your brand's life. You've toyed with the idea of doing a weekly video series. You've created videos of your employees to add personality and humanness your website. And you've looked at those dishwashers you're selling and thought to yourself, “I wonder if we could blow one of these up!?”

Hopefully you've stopped yourself before any large appliances were harmed...

We're all excited about video because of its ability to tell a story, capture attention, and to lead consumers down a specific path. Words can sometimes get lost. Moving messages stick.

But we don't want just any video. We want better video. Video that will set us apart. Below are some tips to help you not only get your feet wet in the world of online video, but to take it further.

1. Stop Only Doing What You've Already Done

We're all creatures of habit. We experiment for a minute, find something that mostly works and then we keep doing it to absolute nauseam.

Or we see the success our competitors have had and hop on whatever bandwagon they're currently riding without taking the time to identify if it's the best strategy for our brand.

The result is video that is absolutely boring and unwatchable to your audience.

Challenge yourself to not get into a routine of video mediocrity. Try new things to find what your audience best responds to. And then keep trying new things:

  • Try humor.
  • Try straight-talking.
  • Try higher production values.
  • Try lower production values.
  • Try interviews.
  • Try demos.
  • Try real-use situations.
  • Try contrived and fantasy situations.
  • Use your product to blow something up. Or put it back together.
  • Animate your product.
  • Use motion graphics.
  • Build a brand character.

Experiment with the format:

  • Interview customers.
  • Interview staff.
  • Show products.
  • Show people using your products.
  • Show people abusing your products.
  • Show your products abusing your customers.
  • Put your CEO on camera.
  • Put the intern on camera.
  • Put the guy who empties your garbage cans on camera.

There are so many different routes your online video that you have no excuse for being boring.

2. Test Your Calls to Action

One goal for your video will be to inform or to entertain. It will be to not only attract someone's attention, but to keep it.

But once you have that attention, what are you going to do with it? What's the purpose or the call to action?

This is where so much of online video gets it wrong. They focus their creative on gaining attention and making noise, but not on how they're going to leverage the attention and where they're funneling it toward.

A great example of a brand able to entertain while delivering a powerful CTA is Rainforest Alliance and it's Follow the Frog campaign.

This video won a 2012 Webby for Best Nonprofit Video and, if you've seen it, it's not hard to see why. Sure, the video is quirky and fun, but most important is it delivers a key CTA at the end. It very clearly tells viewers how they can support a healthy planet, outlining the direct actions viewers should take.

When the video ends, you know what to do. You're not left to wonder what your next step is or how you can help. You know. Which is why the video works.

You may not want people to follow the frog, but you probably do want them to do something. You want them to share your story, to contact a service rep, to leave a question in the comments or to download a new ebook. Make sure you're telling them that.

3. Don't Just Stick It On Your Website

Does online video belong on your website? Obviously.

According to Internet Retailer, 52 percent of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in online videos. That means a shorter conversion time and happier customers. Two big wins.

But don't just leave the video on your site. Make it mobile and make it shareable.

Did you know that mobile shoppers are three times more likely to click and view online video than desktop or laptop users? It's true. They're also highly likely to share the videos they watch.

As marketers, we want to leverage this kind of behavior and that means creating videos that are designed for these mobile, on-the-go, dominantly social experiences. Create content that is built for being shared on a small screen.

Design for tablet and mobile viewing experiences by allowing text, graphics, and your subjects to appear larger than you might if designed for more traditional screens. Use social buttons and calls to action. Verbally encourage the share.

Add online video to email marketing newsletters to increase engagement, shareability and to drive users back to your website. As an agency, we're using this a lot right for outreach campaigns. When we want to capture attention and drive visitors to a page, we don't create text-heavy emails. We're embedding video and making that plea via more personal approach.

4. Focus On Scripting

Want in on a secret? The most important part of your video isn't your production value or even the subject. It's the script.

The script sets the tone for the story. It identifies your customers' pain points, introduces the characters, delivers the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) and presents the call to action that will solve the problem customers face. It delivers the structure everything else is based on. The script is the magic.

We put a great deal of time and energy into scripting and storyboarding videos we create because we believe that's how we'll deliver clients the best bang for their video buck. The production values don't matter if the story, the message and the structure isn't set from the very beginning. Spend a great amount of time here.

Summary

It isn't enough to incorporate video into your brand. You need great video. What steps are you taking to up your video game and to create a sticky brand?

Image credit: meddygarnet/Flickr


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