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The world has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. We no longer rely on our personal networks or connections to shop for the best products and services and the introduction of pocket-sized portable computers has dramatically decreased our attention spans.

For a lot of marketers, this might feel like a reason to call it quits with digital marketing, but the truth is, people are watching over 5 billion videos on YouTube every single day. That doesn't even include Facebook videos and other native platforms. Consumers today have a voracious appetite for video content.

For some content marketers, there is a disconnect between how they view video personally and how they believe their organization should leverage this tactic for their marketing strategy. For example, when we watch an online video we love the content and we do not like the ads, which is why we click "skip ad" as quickly as we can when given the chance. Yet, when it comes to producing video content, most organizations can't keep themselves from turning the video into a commercial.

So, how do you know if you are stuck in old-school thinking when it comes to creating video content? Here are a few signs that you may be stuck in the past when it comes to video production:

  • You believe that one video will "do it all" for your business.
  • You want your video to last online for several years.
  • You say you've wanted to produce a video for 10-years and you still have the same vision for the piece.
  • You don't understand how video can drive organic search to your website.
  • You don't believe you can drive measurable leads with video content.
  • You believe video is still shot on tape.
  • You're not sure what it means to upload video.
  • You're shocked when you see the videographer come in with that "little camera."
  • You didn't realize that more people watch video on their phones than on a computer.

Video can be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy as long as you understand that it's more than a video brochure.

So if you are stuck in the past, how do you take your video production content to the next level? Here are some video production best practices to help you get started.

The Timeless Best Practices

1. Start with Your Goal in Mind

It's not enough to "just create a video" in 2018. There are tons of companies, creators and thought leaders that are creating great content in just about every industry. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be creating video content, it just means you have to start with a purpose to have success.

  • Are you trying to close more deals or attract new leads?
  • Are you trying to showcase your e-commerce product to get more online sales?
  • Create more interest in your product by sharing viral content?
  • Share the story of a successful customer?

All of these are fantastic goals, but they all need very different videos. So make sure that you are you starting with ground zero when it comes to creating a video.

2. Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your audience is a universal challenge that all marketers have to face. Really understanding your target audience is about more than knowing their demographic makeup, it's about being able to identify what's going on in their mind's eye, what will motivate them to make a decision.

If you haven't spent time understanding the mindset and drivers of your target audience. Start there. We've got a quick 30-minute webinar that walks you through the process of creating a target audience in a way that will help you speak to their core needs.

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3. Understand the Sales Funnel

Not every searcher and buyer is looking for the same thing. Just like when you go to the mall you'll notice some serious shoppers who are planning to spend, some window shoppers who are just looking for inspiration or something to do, and finally, you'll see casual mall-goers who were there for some snacks.

This is how people use the internet to search for products and services today. Some people will come to your website ready to sign the dotted line, but some will want to come and explore what you have to offer. Video can be a great supporting piece in this process, but it has to align with what the buyer is looking to accomplish.

There are three main stages that your buyers will go through in the process of research and buying online.

  • Awareness Stage Videos: The awareness stage is the most obvious place to leverage video. When people don’t know anything about your company or products, the power of the play button becomes the magnet that attracts them to check out your content. Still, it needs to be the right kind of video — short and with a very specific point. Think about the samples at the grocery store — a small bite of pizza or cheese is less imposing than a full piece of pizza or a full wedge, so you’re more likely to actually try the small sample. 

  • Consideration Stage Videos: By the time they reach the consideration stage, prospects know who you are — but they want to know more. And nothing helps fill in those blanks as well as video. If you do it right, they’ll click on video to video (or from video to wherever else you want to lead them), doing their research at their own pace. The key is giving them useful, relevant, understandable information that meets their needs. This is where you build up your brand, so quality is crucial, both in messaging and production value. Do it well, and you’re halfway to a sale. Make a mistake, and you risk losing them altogether. 
  • Decision Stage Videos: Congratulations, your prospect is in the decision stage. They know who you are, they even know a little bit about you, and they’re trying to decide how much they like you. You’ve done a lot of work to get them there, but they still need to make the ultimate decision — to choose you over the competition. It’s a great place to be, but it’s also tricky. In fact, this is where it’s even more important to match the right video to the right person because their concerns are becoming more specific. When should you show them testimonials, case studies, or even send a personalized sales video? Every situation is different, but here are your building blocks. 

If you aren't sure what these types of videos look like, check out this page with over 50 examples of different videos for every stage in the buyer's journey.

4. Create Interesting, Quality Content

It's not enough to just publish any video. Take the time to plan and create a video that is high-quality. It's ok if there are other great examples of the same type of video out there, but the important thing is that you can't just create a B grade version of the same videos that are already out there online.

A video is not good salesy, smarmy content that adds no value to the viewers. If all you are going to do is talk about yourself or how amazing your product is, just skip it. Your viewers need to learn something or understand what's in it for them. Create something amazing and you'll create a relationship with your prospects and viewers.

5. Don't Forget Your CTA (Call-to-Action)

What do you want viewers to do when they reach the end of the video? Don't leave them hanging! Suggest the next step:

  • Download a piece of content
  • Subscribe to your videos or email
  • Contact someone for more information
  • Click to buy online
  • Watch another video

No matter what your content is about there should always be another place that you can direct your viewers when they are done watching your videos!

6. Test and Measure All Your Videos

This is not the wild west of the internet anymore, you have the ability to test and measure EVERYTHING. Use a video player that has advanced analytics like Wistia, Vidyard, or BrightCove. These platforms will give you insights into how much of your videos viewers watched, which specific contacts watched your videos and who clicked on your CTAs.

By analyzing this information you can start to understand what works well with your videos and when your viewers start to tune out.

7. Search Engine Optimization Matters

With the right optimization and tagging, your videos can be found online for people who are already looking for your products and services. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Create a compelling title that clearly communicates what users can expect (bonus points if it includes a keyword)
  • Include a complete description that outlines everything that your video is going to cover
  • Attach a clickable table of contents that outlines the different topics that you cover in your videos
  • Include a series of relevant tags to help your videos get found
  • Engage with comments on your videos

These best practices are important for making sure that you are getting the most out of your videos. Skip any of these steps and your chances of creating a successful, useful, and interesting video will go down drastically.

The Trends You Can't Ignore

Along with best practices are other video production trends, things you can use in your videos to make them feel relevant and new. Here are a few of the ones you can't ignore for 2018.

1. Landscape vs. Portrait vs. Square Videos

Buffer recently did an in-depth study to uncover which of these video rations would reign supreme. And the clear winner was square video. This format works well across the most platforms and maximizes the play window without overwhelming users.

While this is the most successful format for video in 2018, that can always change, so don't expect square videos to wear the crown forever.

2. Drone Videos

While drones have been out on the market for a long time now, they are becoming more and more affordable with lots of great features and that makes them a premier choice for video production companies. If you are doing a company overview piece or have a very visually appealing outdoor space (think golf courses) don't underestimate the power of drone video.

3. Social Media Ready Video

Creating a video for social media has a whole different set of considerations that you might want to keep in mind before you publish your video online.

  • Many users play videos without sound, so be sure to include caption files or text overlays to make sure the video is just as enjoyable without sound.
  • Thumbnails are KEY. Make sure that someone scrolling by has a good idea of what your video will be about without reading a lot of text in your post.
  • If you are going to do social media ads, make sure to optimize your videos for the best success.

Conclusion

There are so many different things that you need to take into consideration when it comes to video. By balancing the long-standing best practices with the hot video production trends you can create a piece that will serve your needs well in the short and long term.

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