Chinese philosopher Laozi once famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” And as someone who has traveled around a bit, I couldn’t agree more. But to me, that first step has nothing to do with my feet—step one is always about building a plan.
Whether it’s a trip around the world or a simple marketing campaign, planning out your goals, what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to get there are integral to making sure your journey starts off on the right foot. And overall, marketers are great at planning! Most companies have a content strategy, a demand gen strategy, and even a sales strategy that incorporates marketing goals and collateral. So with this in mind, why are so many organizations creating video for the sake of video? I would argue it’s because they’re missing that one key detail—a video strategy.
So before you press record, or put together another video script, let’s talk about why having a video strategy is so important—and how easy it is to put one together! I’ll focus on creating your first video as a starting point.
Set Tangible Video KPIs
Over 50% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI, and that number is only growing. But you can only truly capture ROI if you know what your goals are, and what you’re trying to accomplish with your video. Before you press record, the first step in your video strategy should be asking this simple question: what is my goal for this video?
For some campaigns, it’s driving prospects towards a demo request for a new feature. Other campaigns may use video as a ‘teaser’ asset for downloading an asset or engaging with a campaign. No matter what you’re using video for, having an explicit goal for the video allows you to measure the ROI on whether you are recouping the time, money, and effort spent to create the video.
Consider assigning tangible goals to your video content as part of your initial strategy planning—for example, 100 demo sign ups or 200 leads generated from the campaign. Avoid using vanity metrics like view counts as the goal of your video. Having 100,000 thousand viewers on your video is meaningless if the goal was generating leads and you didn’t generate any!
Building Your Distribution Plan
So now that you know what you want your video to accomplish the next step is planning out how people are going to find it. Much like picking the route on an epic road trip, knowing where your videos are going to live is a key step in understanding how you’re driving traffic to that content. Will your videos be optimized for social media? Will you be gating your content and requesting contact information in exchange for watching the video?
All of these decisions should be laid out in advance as it will dramatically affect how you create your video. 56% of videos produced in the last year were under 2 minutes long, and while websites and social media were the most common places to share video content, that doesn’t mean the same video fits for different mediums. Social videos tend to be shorter and have the added difficulty of being (potentially) auto-played without sound. Is someone watching your video without being able to hear the audio part of your plan?
Deciding where your video content is going to live for the duration of your campaign is a very important step in building your video strategy. If you are gating the video content—making it the hero asset that prospects are giving their contact info in exchange for watching—then it’s likely a longer content piece, and thus social won’t be part of your strategy. But if you’re building something like an event video to promote your upcoming conference or talk, then you’ll want to understand how far you’ll be sharing that video to maximize reach, and have a plan in place to develop network-specific video accordingly!
Assemble The Right Team
When we’re building out a video strategy at Vidyard, one of the last initial steps before we start planning creative is figuring out who needs to be a part of the project. Much like choosing goals for your video and deciding where it’s going to live, figuring out who needs to be a part of creating that video is an important step before you press record.
This starts with asking what kind of video you want to produce—will you need to bring on outside help to handle some heavy equipment or will you take more of an internal approach to creating the video? We had this debate with our Chalk Talks series and decided that producing high-quality thought leadership content wasn’t something we needed to leverage our agency partners for. We could do it ourselves with the setup we already had available!
Other videos are more involved and we’ll tap people from our marketing and content team, and occasionally our sales team, as well to understand the content and tone that the video needs to have to appeal to a specific audience. Videos don’t need to be all-hands-on-deck projects to have big ROI, but you do need to understand early on who’s going to be involved, and more importantly if they have the time and bandwidth to make it happen.
Building Out a Complete Strategy
These three steps are the first of what we consider the nine steps to building a fully-functional, actionable, goal-driven video strategy. But again, as Laozi so poignantly said, you have to start with the first step to make everything else happen. By planning out what you want your video to accomplish, how you’ll be distributing it, and who’s going to be involved, you’re setting up your next video campaign to have real, measurable goals, and a plan for success. But the planning doesn’t stop there.
If you want to really succeed with video, you need a video strategy that encompasses your entire video production plan, not just one asset for one campaign. To help get you there, we’ve developed the Video Strategy Workbook, which covers everything from identifying where video fits into your content strategy, all the way through to measuring and optimizing your video campaigns for success.
Are you producing video for your brand or organization? How did you build your video strategy and where do you think you could improve? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.