How to Create and Execute a Video Marketing Strategy
Discover how to plan, create, distribute and evaluate a business video
Creating and executing a video marketing strategy can be divided into four main phases; planning and strategy, creating your video, distribution and finally monitoring and evaluation. Having a strategy at the outset is a way to guarantee that you will get something out of the process. Even if you decide that a video marketing campaign hasn’t reaped the rewards you would have liked, you will be able to assess why this is and will have something to compare future campaigns to. If your campaign is successful, you will have a formula to build on to guarantee further success.
1. Planning & Strategy
This is the stage for planning your entire video marketing strategy and being explicit about what are you trying to achieve, why you are doing it, how you will do it and finally how will you measure your success. It is a step by step guide that you are creating for yourself to ensure that you cover all bases and make the most out of the opportunity to use video marketing in your business.
This is when you need to decide what you are trying to achieve by introducing a video marketing campaign into your business. It is important to be clear about your goals from the beginning. This will ensure that you have something to look back on to check that you are on track. Not only will clear goals keep you on the right path, they will also define how you will measure your success.
You should decide your budget early on in the process. This can be difficult if it is the first time you have produced video because you will need to estimate the amount of work that will be involved. However, this isn’t impossible. Take the time to research what different elements of the process might cost you because setting financial parameters early on will save you time and money in the future. If you are going to source services from an external video production company, they will appreciate knowing what they have to work with and will cater their services to meet your needs.
This stage involves thinking about the message you want to get across and how you are going to translate it into a video.
Story board: story boarding is the process of drawing out a blueprint for your video production. It is an extremely important planning tool and also communication tool because you can share a visual of your vision for your video with your team. Story boarding involves drawing out, frame by frame (or scene by scene), what will be in your video. The other option is to go into production without a plan and film reams of footage aimlessly. This will make the post-production process extremely difficult and you are unlikely to capture what you need. You can use a simple template (see image below) to hand draw your story board:
Shooting schedule: a shooting schedule is basically a planner for production process. It could look any number of ways but will basically include dates, times, locations, crew (and their contact details), equipment and a list of shots to be captured at each location. If you are like me, there will also be check boxes so that you can tick off when you are completed each task!
2. Creating Your Video
The production process is the stage when you create your video. If you have planned well, this will be the most fun part of the process. If you haven’t, you will soon realise and will vow to yourself that you will never make that mistake again. Production involves shooting all of the footage you need for your video and gathering good quality sound along the way.
As mentioned earlier, if you are prepared for shooting, you will make your editors job a lot easier as they will have a list of the footage you have shot and will know what story you are trying to tell. Post production involves:
- Offline editing: the process of collating all of the footage into a first draft. This involves creating an edit decision list (EDL) which will be used in the online edit. The Director will see a rough cut at this stage and decide if they are happy with this before it goes to the online edit.
- Online editing: creating the final edit based on the EDL.
- Colour grading: this is the process of altering colour or enhancing colour in your video. It may include simple corrections to the white balance for example, or it may be a stylistic choice to give a certain look e.g. to make some footage look ‘colder’ or ‘warmer’.
- Final sound mix: this involves polishing off the audio in your video. Good sound is the sound you don’t notice in a video i.e. if you notice the sound, it is usually because there is something wrong with it.
Post-production can be the most expensive part of the process which is another reason why you need to make it as easy as possible for the post-production team. If your production team understands the post-production process, they are more likely to carry out their work in a way that will benefit the editor.
Once your video has been created, you need to reach your audience with it. You will have decided on distribution routes in the planning phase.
Platform for hosting
You will have decided where you would like to host your video. Your choices will have depended upon your goals. For example, you may have decided to host it on your own website alone because your goal was to improve visitor engagement with your own website. You may have decided to host it on YouTube because you are hoping that this will optimise the potential for your video to be found for particular search engine terms. Or, you may have decided to do both.
Set Up a YouTube Channel
Setting up a YouTube channel is a great way to get your videos to the masses. There are a number of things you should do to help your YouTube videos reach their potential. These include
- titles: include keywords in your title.
- tags: tag your videos.
- descriptions: include a description for your videos that is also rich in keywords. Also, put your full web address (including the http://) in your description because this creates an automatic hyperlink and viewers can easily click through to your website.
- categories: select categories for you videos.
- close captioning and subtitles: this text can be recognised by search engines, unlike the audio/visual content of your video. This not only means it will be easier to find your videos, it also means that your videos will be more accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments.
Having an effective YouTube channel does involve some work. You need to upload video content regularly and it is also important to engage with viewers e.g. by responding to comments.
Search Engines & SEO
Optimising your video for SEO purposes is essential if you want people to be able to find your videos when they search for particular terms. We discussed above how you can do this in YouTube and similar theories apply to other video hosting sites and also your own website. If you are hosting your video on your own website because you want Google to have only one choice about where it finds your content, then be sure to include a thorough description and a transcript of your video on the webpage where your video is hosted.
Whether you love it or hate it, social networking is a necessary tool for engaging existing and new audiences with your video. Ideally, you want advocates of your message to ‘share’ your video with their social networks. Social networking is your opportunity to reach more people that you could have ever imagined.
Communicate with your audience
Connected to social networking is the importance of communicating with your audience. They need to know that you are there and appreciative of their interest and support. They are more likely to be advocates of you if they feel connected to you in some way.
4. Measuring & Evaluation
There are a range of different factors that you may want to monitor after introducing a video marketing strategy. Here are some of the most likely things you may want to measure and some recommendations for tools that can help you gather the information.
Measuring your websites performance using Google Analytics
Google Analytics measures the performance of websites. Sign up for a Google account and create a free Google Analytics account. Analytics can tell you a lot about the performance of your website including the following:
- unique visitors
- location of visitors
- best performing pages
- how visitors found your site (e.g. via links or via search engines)
- which search terms visitors used to find your website
- how long visitors are staying in your website
If you sign up to Google Analytics you will be able to compare certain factors before and after the introduction of a particular video.
Measuring your conversion rate using Google Analytics
Your ‘conversion rate’ is the percentage of visitors to your website who interact with the site in the way you want them to e.g. watch a video or make a purchase.
It is possible to control, or at least strongly influence, your conversion rate. By improving engagement on your website (e.g. the amount of time a visitor stays on your website) you will boost your conversion rate. It is important to be aware of other factors that will contribute to your conversion rate. The usability of your website will affect your conversion rate: a poorly designed and disorganised site will cause customers to struggle in finding what they want or need. They are therefore likely to give up quickly and look to other websites.
Again, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you measure the success of your websites/videos, this time in relation to your conversion rate.
Measuring the performance of your videos on YouTube with Insight
YouTube Analytics is an in-built facility in YouTube which enables you to measure the success of the videos that you are hosting on your YouTube channel. Insight can tell you:
- number times your videos have been watched
- popularity of your videos over time
- the gender balance of your viewers
- the age of your viewers
- the geographical location of your visitors
- how visitors are discovering and watching your videos
- the ability of your video to retain your viewers’ attention
The purpose of monitoring and evaluation is to inform your future decisions. Be sure to make the most of this part of the process to improve your future video marketing campaigns.