What is Video Marketing?
Anytime you press record with the intention of getting closer to your business goals, it’s with video marketing.
From Snapchat stories and live social media, to the most highly polished corporate webinars, video marketing comes in every imaginable shape, size and format. Think about your other marketing content: blogs, infographics, ebooks, social media updates and more. That same content, turned into a simple iPhone video, gets you into the video marketing game.
In a world full of fake news, adverts, automation and chatbot customer service, it’s never been harder to earn the trust of consumers. It’s no wonder people are craving the human interaction and authenticity of video.
Video has been the most popular, powerful communication medium in the world, ever since its invention. So why is it now spreading like a DIY marketing wildfire? Because YouTube, smartphones and social media have all made videos incredibly cheap and easy to access or create.
More than 180 million internet users watch online video content every month and that number is growing rapidly every year. That’s a lot of people who could see your message or learn about your products and services.
But are Videos Right for Your Business?
No matter what your business does, videos are as essential to your marketing as a website or a blog. If videos don’t seem like the right fit, it’s likely that you’re just picturing the wrong kinds of marketing videos.
There’s no marketing on the planet getting a better ROI than video (Adobe, 2015). But those videos are incredibly varied in almost every aspect. What works for your business will be specific to your buyer personas and brand.
Start discovering the right direction for your
, from budget to format, in this information guide explaining the basics of: preproduction planning, filming, editing, publishing, optimizing for search engines and growing your audience.
What are you waiting for? Your audience is out there.
Get Started: Preproduction
Successful video marketing strategies begin with careful planning. Walk through these easy-to-follow steps to consider every important aspect of your videos before you hit record.
Determine Your Purpose
Before you can begin to hash out the details, determine what the main goal is and how it ties into your marketing goals. For example, if you wanted to grow your restaurant’s dinner business, the purpose of your video could be to showcase your awesome daily dinner specials.
If your marketing goal is to get more clients by showcasing the expertise of your doctors, a good video could explain how to treat a simple medical condition and know when it’s time to see a professional.
CTAs: Plan the Next Step
Ok, so now that you know what to film, it’s time to determine what action you want viewers to take after watching. Should they visit your website for more information? Sign up for weekly emails? Request a free consultation? Download a coupon?
The call to action to use (and every marketing video should ALWAYS include one) really depends on your business, the purpose of your video and where this content fits within the buyer’s journey.
Build Your Video into the Buyer’s Journey
Like any content, your video marketing should always target a specific buyer persona. (
Download this free ebook
for more info on creating those.)
Once you’ve chosen a persona and can use that to guide your tone of voice, you’ll need to make sure your video is also targeting the right stage in the buyer’s journey. You should always be trying to help buyers achieve their own goals, or solve their problems, not selling. Yet, depending on what stage they’re in of the buyer’s journey, they may not even even have a name for their problem yet.
Use these quick guidelines to make sure you’re creating the right video content for your buyers, at the right time:
Your buyer wants to solve a problem, find a solution or fulfill some kind of need. The important thing in this stage is to help them recognize what they’re looking for by providing helpful answers, insight and expertise.
Short format (30-90 seconds)
Helpful how-to content
Fun company culture videos
Inspirational, motivating content
CTAs leading to more in-depth content locked by landing page forms
Now your buyer is busy researching solutions and considering options for solving their problem. It’s time to showcase your solutions, explain why they would or wouldn’t be a good choice and build their relationship with your brand.
Short or long format (2 – 10 minutes)
Informative and entertaining
CTAs leading to decision-based content
Finally, your buyer is ready to make a purchase. They’re just deciding on what specifically to purchase and from who. Your job is to make this a no-brainer with details, unbiased reviews, guides and discounts.
Short or long format of any length
Testimonials, reviews and unboxing
Instructional or in-depth product features guide
CTAs for purchase-related offers and discounts
This last step of the inbound marketing methodology isn’t a stage of the buyer’s journey because technically, this stage happens after a purchase. Yet it’s an awesome opportunity for video marketing. The goal here is to make your current customers so happy that they’ll become brand promoters. Let loose and have some creative fun with these videos, you have a lot less to lose here than in any other stage.
Short and sweet is best (live is great too)
Thank you videos
Customer support video shorts
Product update demos or new product sneak peeks
Tips, tricks and hacks
Just for fun brand videos
CTAs related to your topic or linking to more fun content
For an in-depth look at video planning for each stage of the buyer’s journey,
check out this blog
by our own video marketing experts!
Creating Your Preproduction Plan
Use these guidelines to save time by outlining a page or two of important details in advance (and sharing them with key stakeholders).
Write and share your video purpose with the whole crew to keep your efforts on track and your whole team on the same page.
Determine who will be on camera and behind the camera, as well as who will be editing, publishing and promoting the video. If you’re filming more than one video per day with the same people, it’s a good idea to have them bring an extra shirt or two for variety.
This is the play-by-play plan for your video including script, post-production graphics and music, special effects and art direction. A paragraph or two of direction is usually all it takes to capture the details of a low-budget business marketing video.
Where and When:
Plan for the best time of day for lighting in each location, as well as rain dates as needed. Marketing videos are often done indoors in your own office, without a lot of frills. So lighting may not be a factor, but you may want a time of day when they’re less foot traffic and interruptions. Remember to give everyone ample time to ensure they won’t be rushed or panicking to get it right.
Choose Your Format
It’s not enough to decide you’re going to make a video for your business marketing. There are three main and very distinct formats that each come with different restrictions and advantages: live, short and long formats. Since they all serve a different purpose, try using a mix of all three in your overall marketing strategy, or even within one campaign.
This new addition to the video marketing arena is simple and increasingly popular. Live videos begin broadcasting instantly on social media channels, such as Facebook or Instagram, with the push of a button on your smartphone or tablet.
They’re a great way to interact with your channel-specific social media audience in a fun, informal format and see who’s tuning in as it happens. However, these shouldn’t be your only format of marketing videos as they include drawbacks that don’t affect other formats.
Here’s our take on the pros and cons:
Con: Mistakes without mulligans.
Be prepared to roll with whatever happens.
Pro: Real-time engagement.
Interact with users as they join or comment, instantly.
Con: No fancy editing allowed.
Actually, no editing is available at all. That includes cool special effects, other than filters available through the social media channel you’re broadcasting on.
Pro: Reduced costs.
These videos are made using smartphones, tablets, or webcams, usually without scripts. So you won’t need professional equipment, a professional videographer or software.
Pro: Faster results.
There’s a sense of urgency with LIVE video that makes your audience feel like they need to watch it right now, even if it’s available forever (and it can be depending on the platform). Since there’s also no production time, you can start getting an audience the second you press “record”.
We’re busy, we’ve got short attention spans and there’s just too much content in the world. Whatever the reason, short video gets great engagement with an increased chance that consumers will watch past the first 10 seconds, a big challenge for video marketers.
Short video allows your business to highlight a topic, summarize a written webpage and create a low-cost, low-effort piece of content to aid your inbound marketing efforts, like the video version of a blog. If you can’t say everything you need to in order to provide value, insight or help your consumers solve a problem, use short videos as a teaser for your written or graphic content.
Here’s our take on the pros and cons:
Con: Limited time.
That means limited information too. So you won’t be able to use a short format for everything.
Pro: Quick and easy.
Short videos require less time, resources, planning and frills. So you can produce more, faster.
Con: Value takes creativity.
You need some serious strategy to make a >60 second video a powerful experience or valuable piece of content.
Pro: Higher engagement.
More people are likely to watch short videos, and for longer.
Video can be used like any other original long-form content offer you create. Build a campaign and landing page around it to increase your conversions and meet marketing goals. Or if the information is valuable enough, you may even decide to charge for viewing access.
Here’s our take on the pros and cons:
Con: More planning.
Longer videos require a lot of planning and production effort to be engaging and well-structured the whole way through. That also means more editing and bigger budgets.
Pro: No limits
Since there’s no time limit, the only restrictions on this content is your creativity and budget. Want to teach your audience how to do their own oil change, as a musical? You can do that.
Con: Go niche or go home.
Only people who really want your information are going to watch a long-form video. So plan to target specific buyer personas at specific stages of the buyer’s journey.
Pro: More value.
If your long-form video provides a lot of valuable information, it has the potential to make a larger impact on your marketing goals, for years to come.
It’s not usually a good idea to go unscripted for your first few marketing videos, especially if your team doesn’t have a lot of on-camera experience. Even a short, simple script will calm the nerves of on-camera talent and provide direction for the whole crew.
Use the tips below to create your own custom script.
Tips and Tricks to Create Your Custom Script:
Denote who’s speaking and whether or not it’s voice over.
The two big pieces of a video marketing script are descriptions of video and descriptions of audio.
VO: In a world where spaghetti robots are everywhere….
Tom: Here are 5 safety tips to avoid party hat disasters.
Time your dialogue and estimated other footage to get a total runtime.
Include instruction for stage direction, art direction, b-roll footage, pans, zooms and other visual specifics.
Include the full, spell-checked text of opening or closing text, titles, credits, etc.
Do you want captioned text added to the video during editing?
This could drastically improve social media views and search visibility for your videos.
Include any music or audio effects.
Include any special video effects.
Keep it simple.
Include a relevant call to action designating the next step a viewer should take.
Stay as short as possible for the amount of information you’re communicating.
Practice reading your script aloud a few times to be comfortable on camera.
Get Shooting: Production
Arm your video team with the right equipment for your goals, without spending a fortune. Explore the tools and price options below, before you shop, to get a full picture of what you’ll need and what you won’t.
Assemble the Right Tools
These add-on tools work with your camera, iphone or smart device to change your camera’s perspective. Although your camera or device will already have a built-in lense, additional lenses allow you to zoom in closer, get wider, shoot in portrait mode or add artistic filters.
Plan to shoot all of your videos with a digital camera capable of recording in high resolution. But none of that means you have to go purchase pro equipment. If you’re just starting out and doing-it-yourself, an iPhone, iPad or other smartphone or tablet is a great option. In fact, many marketing videos are made that way!
Once you’ve gotten a decent video library, learned some technical skills and are ready to try out the next level of camera, a digital camera with a built-in lense is a good next step. Though you might be tempted to invest in lots of fun features, try to balance frills with ease of use. Many of these are all setup and ready to shoot out of the box.
Pro options for detachable lense digital cameras (DSLR) are almost endless. Like any big tech purchase, be sure to do your research and invest in something that will:
Keep up with rapidly changing technology for a while
Not exceed your skill level so far that it’s a hinderance
At this level high price range, many videographers prefer to change out the default lense for a custom option.
When you’re considering a pro camera purchase, ask:
Is a microphone plug included?
Will I need additional software?
Will I need additional adapters?
Are aftermarket extras inexpensive and readily available?
What’s the recommended skill level?
What’s the recommended use?
Even if you’ve decided to start small and shoot video on your iPhone, a tripod is essential to making your videos stable, high quality and professional.
Generally, the type of camera you’re using will help to narrow down your tripod options. Consider whether you’ll be upgrading to a big camera, panning or tilting, and if you’ll need a full-size solution rather than a smaller version you’ll need to place on furniture.
For the most inexpensive solution, a compact tabletop tripod is a great choice.
Make sure to purchase a smartphone or tablet mount separately if your tripod doesn’t include one.
If you’re going to buy just one piece of equipment, make it a microphone. Viewers can usually forgive low-quality video, but bad audio is a deal-breaker.
From single clip-on microphones to high-quality kits, microphones are an easy and often inexpensive way to make your videos sound more professional, no matter how they’re filmed. Whether you choose wired or wireless, be sure the audio cable is compatible with your camera or phone or purchase an adaptor separately.
Nearly all smartphones and cameras include some kind of light, but you’re not likely to use it. Generally, those lights weren’t meant for most styles of business marketing videos.
There are a lot of options for expensive lights, stands and inexpensive reflectors or smaller lighting models. Whether or not additional lights are necessary depends on:
The type of videos you plan to produce
Natural and artificial light options in spaces available to you
This simple tool is often overlooked until you start filming and realize how badly you need it. Don’t try to memorize everything you need to say, but on the same hand, don’t feel like you need to invest hundreds on a high tech teleprompter.
The cheapest and most simple option is still good, old-fashioned poster board, held by a teammate off-camera. However, if you’re going to be filming more than one video over the course of business, a small multi-purpose investment is a great idea. Consider using an iPad mini or similar tablet that’s mounted or placed near the camera.
Filming with a Smartphone or Tablet
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using the camera that’s already in your pocket. It’s actually pretty high tech. Don’t invest in a lot of expensive equipment before you film your first video. Start small by shooting with your smartphone or tablet. You’d be surprised how many professional videos are made the same way.
Use these phone-centric filming tips to get started:
Don’t rely on editing tool stabilization. A low-cost tabletop tripod, or even a stack of books, will keep your iPhone or iPad still and steady.
Landscape vs. Portrait
If you can, shoot horizontally for better a widescreen experience and less of a risk you’ll have to crop it later.
Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Yes your phone is capable of zooming in, but it will drastically reduce the quality of your video. Do yourself a favor and move closer to your subject or invest in a low cost zoom lense and adaptor that clips right onto your device.
Lighting and Flash
Unfortunately, lighting is another iPhone feature that just won’t cut it on your professional marketing videos. Use the best natural or indoor light you can to strike a balance, flatter your subjects and craft a professional look. If your lighting resources are sparse, invest in some low cost lighting or reflectors made specifically for DIY filming.
Best Practices: Production
It’s easy to carried away by creativity. Just try not to let it affect it the angle you’re shooting your subjects. Eye level is the best, most flattering choice for most business marketing videos. Angling your camera too high will make your subject look small or weak, while too low can make them appear aggressive. For head-on videos of people speaking directly to the camera, line the bottom of the shot up to be mid-chest with your subjects.
Feel like experimenting with angles? Try it first while shooting landscapes and b-roll.
Echos and reverb can make your video sound sloppy. So test your sound in advance and avoid shooting in an empty room. If you don’t have location flexibility, try adding soft furniture or hanging blankets from the wall.
Even an inexpensive clip-on microphone, called a lavalier, can drastically improve sound quality. Don’t be afraid to ask the people you’re filming to hide the wire under their shirts so it doesn’t become a visual distraction. Place clip-on microphones about 6 inches below the speaker’s chin for the clearest sound.
Ever notice the supplemental shots before, after and in between on-camera interviews? This important resource for video editors is B-roll and it’s a great way to fill in gaps of space while adding visual value.
Be sure to stock up on B-roll footage for a more professional feel and better variety to choose from during editing. Create your own to use whenever you need it by scanning or recording anything or anywhere that’s relevant to your business or video topic. For an even greater variety, explore online sources of stock B-roll footage.
Ever wanted an excuse to get a drone? Creating aerial B-roll footage is a great one!
Take 2 (or 10) Retakes
Every heard it’s better to be safe than sorry? It’s a lot harder to set up an entire shoot twice than it is to record the same footage a few times. Never assume you can fix anything in editing.
Get Polishing: Post-Production Editing
Editing is totally doable for even the novice video marketer and comprehensive enough to require a lifetime of mastery.
You just don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s ok.
The level of post-production you’ll need will vary a lot depending your video format. Generally, the more time and effort you invest in making a video, the more likely it will need the professional polish editing provides.
Review the best practices below to get a base knowledge of video editing. Once you understand where you’ll need to fill in skill gaps for your video team, you can easily target the right educational resources online.
Editing 101: Best Practices
Just like production equipment, you should start out with an editing software that’s free or low-cost and easy to use. It’s easy to get excited about frills and special effects while you’re shopping and comparing, but you may not have the skills required to use those features yet.
Make sure the complexity of your editing software reflects the experience of your team and video format. For example, live social media videos don’t get any opportunity for editing. Smartphone and tablet videos can be simply edited right on the same device they were recorded with, using built-in features and aftermarket apps.
9 free video editing software options
in a blog by our friends at HubSpot before you consider investing.
Connect your camera, smartphone or tablet to your computer via USB, then transfer your raw footage to file you can easily find and work from. Be prepared to wait for larger files.
If you’re unable to connect via USB to the computer you’ll be using to edit footage, use an online file sharing program to upload and download files. Many are even available via mobile app, such as
If your video is longer than a few seconds, you’ll be glad you took a little time to name and organize your files. Create subfolders for your clips in whatever convention makes it easiest for you to find what you’re looking for.
Trimming and Arranging
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of editing. Although the details vary depending on the software you’re using, the basics are fairly standard.
Editing software will allow you to arrange and cut video clips on a master timeline or sequence, usually by dragging and dropping files where you want them to appear. Add transitions and B-roll between clips the same way, to create a smooth, logical flow. Remember to keep transitions simple and relevant to the style of your video. They should glue everything together without standing out.
Titles and Graphics
Use the text editor of your video editing program to write, style and animate text for your video’s title, credits and captions. Drag and drop your styled text right into your master video sequence at the time signature you want it to appear.
As a general rule, don’t use too many special effects. In fact, don’t even think about them until you’ve got a basic skill level and the confidence of at least a few videos in your library. Focusing on special effects too quickly can be time consuming and unnecessary.
If you really want to experiment with fun special effects and filters but don’t have a lot of technical editing skills, record some videos on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or a similar app with those features built right into the recording program.
Sound can take your video to the next level of production value, but can also be extremely tricky to master. You’ll need to ensure that the volume of voices, music and sound effects are all at the same level.
Most video editing software includes controls to fade audio in or out and add it directly into your video’s master sequence.
Pro Tip: Be sure to only use royalty free music or you may face unwanted legal action.
You’re almost ready to post and publish, but there’s one more important step that can drastically affect your video quality.
At this point, your finished video is probably a very large file containing video, audio and even text. It’s too big to upload it as is, so you’ll need to use your editing software to compress it into a file that’s small enough to post, but large enough to retain a high quality.
Check the specific video-hosting channel for specific file size guidelines. You’ll also want make sure you’re using the right file type.
Unsure of where to begin? Use these links for a general idea:
Check with your specific host for guidelines on uploading videos to your website or blog.
Get Optimizing: Video SEO
Video represents a unique place in the SEO world. While the contents of a video itself aren’t indexed by search engines, at least not yet, the metadata ascribed to the video is. Companies who want to use video as part of their SEO strategies need to use a combination of traditional SEO techniques as well as new techniques that target video SEO.
Adding video to an existing SEO campaign is more about understanding how video and SEO work together than changing your current SEO practices altogether.
Video SEO isn’t a side strategy for a successful business, it’s a direct line to a huge chunk of the consumer market.
SEO Starts with Great Content
Before you can begin to optimize your videos for search engines, you need great video content that people want to watch. However, great videos don’t need to be epic productions or even the next viral sensation to be successful.
These five types of videos are proven to work for any type of business:
Company or product profiles:
Short, sweet and to-the-point clips are a versatile showcase of who you are and what you do.
Let your customers do your selling for you by talking about their experiences working with you.
Video news releases:
Take the standard press release to the next level with a short video message about your news and why it’s important.
Put a human face on your company and let employees’ passion come through to your customers
If you sell a product, show it off. Consumers who watch a video about a product are 52% less likely to return the product after purchase.
Start Ranking in Search Results
Incorporating video into your SEO strategy is pointless unless your videos can be found by search engines, so your next step is to ensure that Google and other search engines can, and do, index your videos properly.
Optimizing Titles, Descriptions and Metadata
There are three basic elements of video search engine optimization that must be used in conjunction with high quality video content: video title, description, and metadata. Brands can create the most stellar videos on the web, but if these basic elements are not optimized as well, no one will ever discover the content.
The title of your video shouldn’t just be catchy, it should also be descriptive if you want viewers and search engines to know what the video is about. A title such as “Product Overview” might make sense in the context of a larger page, but will that be effective on its own? Whose product is it? What is the product? Instead, tell potential viewers what the video is about with a title that gives search engines the context required to start indexing the video properly.
Even descriptive titles suffer from being too long.
The next step is crafting a description that completes the picture. Descriptions are crucial to video SEO. A video description should be written to attract the attention of search engines and consumers. Write your description like a movie trailer, giving enticing info about the content without spoiling the end. Phrases like “You won’t believe what happens next,” may sound cliché, but they work to encourage consumer clicking. Integrating keywords throughout the video description, or adding meta tags to a video, will help search engine algorithms assess the video’s content.
Video increases the chance of a front-page Google result x53, so a strategic video description and message are crucial to your success.
YouTube and other video upload sites allow (and require) you to include other metadata with your video. Data including genre (required), date filmed, author, company, location and keywords help to further cement your video into search indexes in the context you want.
Don’t just skip or rush through picking the right keywords for your video. Take time to make sure you have the right words with your post. This doesn’t mean that you get to fill the space with every imaginable keyword, use the words that are most meaningful to the video you are uploading. Consider adding a transcription of your video as another way of sharing the content, often a necessary step for creating subtitles.
Thumbnails Shouldn’t be an Afterthought
When someone is searching for a video, they’re likely to be looking for your video among a sea of other videos and video thumbnails, so you need to make sure your video stands out from the crowd. A video in universal search results has a 41% higher click through rate compared to its plain text counterparts, if your video and associated thumbnail are enticing, so make sure they are!
Thumbnails can be screenshots from the video content or they may be created separately to advertise the video. If your thumbnail is boring, blank, or difficult to make out, people may not click your video. All video sharing sites, including YouTube, allow you to pick from several different thumbnails from your video. While the default choice might sometimes be perfect, it often isn’t. Take a moment to consider all of your options and choose an image that represents your video well.
Video SEO Tips for Your Website
Once your YouTube channel is customized and fully fleshed out, you’ll need to apply some of the same steps to your website as well, to give your SEO efforts an extra boost and context.
Here are four easy steps to extend and enhance the SEO strength of your videos (and website):
Embed Your Videos in Appropriate Pages
Your YouTube channel is a great warehouse for all your videos and will help Google understand more about your company as a whole. But make sure you embed your videos on your own website as well. This helps Google to see not just the video, but the context of related content. Embed your videos on the appropriate pages of your website to not just enhance the content there, but to make those connections between the video and the point you’re trying to convey.
Video Library or Gallery
A video library or gallery page that lists all of your brand’s videos in an organized fashion is a great tool for visitors and search engines alike. On your own page you have freedom to describe, organize and categorize your videos beyond YouTube’s imposed hierarchy. A video gallery gives you the same opportunity as your YouTube channel and playlists, but also caters to the segment of your audience that doesn’t visit YouTube.
The thumbnails of your video can either inspire clicks or send potential customers on their merry way. The video thumbnail is usually a frame of the video itself. If, however, your thumbnail features a boring frame such as a blank screen or a surplus of words, consumers may assume that the video is uninteresting. Choose thumbnails with action, color, and excitement.
Add Clear, Thorough Descriptions
Be sure that all of your videos have keyword-rich descriptions that communicate precisely what the video is about. Descriptions should appeal to search engines and consumers, so a teaser at the end may increase video clicks.
Optimizing Video Landing Pages for Search
Optimizing your video landing pages for search involves many of the same techniques and practices common to content search engine optimization. Keywords should describe the specific video and the message on the page itself, and not be filled with extraneous, irrelevant keywords.
Be SEO smart and only use the words that match the content. Using video social media sites, like YouTube, is a great way to research popular search strings. When you type in a keyword, YouTube will provide a list of common phrases associated with that word.
Add transcripts of any videos that you post to your website. Since Google and other search engine algorithms are incapable of assessing the content of a video, a transcription document provides a search engine (and human) friendly version of your video content that can be indexed.
Including widgets for popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest will make it easier for consumers to share your videos with their friends and followers. Social media activity is a great rankings booster as Google is also using the number of times a video has been shared as a ranking factor.
Creating a Video Sitemap
If your website is filled with videos, but you’re simply not ranking for them, there may be an issue with Google’s ability to evaluate the video content on your site. Solve that problem by creating a video sitemap. Google enabled sitemap protocol for video content in 2007. Creating a video sitemap will tell Google precise
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