How to Create Engaging Video Content
With over 1.9 billion logged-in users visiting the site per month and over a billion hours of video watched daily, YouTube has become the second most visited website, beaten only by Google.
It’s not hard to see why marketing and communications departments are racing to create video content, hoping to extend the reach of their brand, business or organisation. But what makes a good video? How can you stand out in an ever-more-crowded field? Let’s run through some simple steps you can take to make the most of video.
Start with why
Thanks to smartphones and social media, almost anyone can start creating content, but professional quality, well-edited video requires investment. So, it’s best to start with a clear objective.
Unless you have a clear goal and know who you want to reach, it’s easy to be too vague and create content which doesn’t stand out. If you know your audience, and what you want to tell them, it’s easier to target your message.
Last year, Coventry Scaffolding asked us to create a video about their London Mastaba project, to present for the NASC Scaffolding Project of the Year Awards. They had a clear aim, to explain what was unique about their project, and how their experience and expertise made it a success. We created a detailed but concise video, with strong visuals, to persuade judges that the project merited an award.
Different organisations will use different types of content to reach their audience, but here are a few types of video you could consider:
- Training videos (these could be for your staff or your customers)
- Awareness campaigns
- Live-streaming and events
Focus on the details
The key to engaging your audience is to create videos they will love watching. To do this, you need to remove distractions that make the footage look amateurish. When shooting a video, you should always consider:
- You want your subject to be well-lit but should also avoid a harsh light that casts dark shadows.
- Audio should always be crisp and easy to listen to, with no distracting background noises.
- Avoid shaky footage! You don’t want it to look like the video was filmed on your smartphone.
- Keep your back-drop simple, professional and free from clutter. You want viewers to focus on your subject, not piles of paper, cups of tea or water bottles on a table behind them.
Creating a professional-looking video can be very difficult without the right equipment and expertise. Join our video content workshop on October 10th at the British Embassy in Geneva, where we’ll explain how you can get started!
Adapt the length of the video for your target audience and platform
Regardless of your video’s length, the key to making engaging content is being concise. There’s no point filling up extra minutes with fluff and losing your audience’s attention. As a rule, videos you plan to post on social media should be short and attention-grabbing, as users scroll quickly to the next post. You have a few seconds to grab their attention at the beginning, persuading them to keep watching until the end. Currently, Instagram won’t let you upload videos to your feed that exceed 1 minute in length and Twitter’s time limit is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. This infographic from HubSpot suggests some optimal lengths for each social media platform.
As well as platform restrictions, you also need to consider your target audience and where they will be watching. If you are showing a video at a conference, for example, you have an audience who have chosen to attend, therefore should have a longer attention span than a user flicking through Instagram stories. The best way to determine the correct length for your videos is through research and trial and error. Analyse the videos you have posted on various channels. How long were your videos which got the most engagement? Which videos did viewers watch to the end? It’s always a good idea to make several versions of a video, each adapted to the channel where you intend to promote it. You can also cut up a long video into several short videos and meaning you’ll have plenty of material for your content calendar in the coming weeks and months.
Subtitles are not just for foreign films, they can help your videos reach more people on social media. 85% of Facebook users watch videos on with no sound, so without subtitles, a huge percentage of your audience is missing out on your key message. If you are an international organisation, you can’t assume that your audience all have a high level of English. Subtitles can make videos more accessible for viewers who don’t speak English as a first language and viewers with a hearing impairment. If subtitles aren’t appropriate for your video, try to make sure that the key points you want to get across are clear from the visuals.
Focus on promotion
There’s no point in using up precious time, budget and resources producing videos that you don’t promote. The aim of video marketing is to make videos, which reach your target audience and communicate the message that you want them to hear. Which channels do you use to connect with your target audience? Social media, especially YouTube, is an obvious choice but you should also consider including video in your email marketing strategy, on your website or landing pages.
Video can play into both your organic and paid media strategy. Make sure you optimise your videos for YouTube search, post them on your company channels and encourage employees to share them with their networks. You can amplify this with investment in sponsored content on social media, PPC or display. If you’re just getting started with paid media, why not try sponsoring your highest performing organic social media video posts to increase their reach.
Define your benchmarks
How will you assess if your video campaign has been successful? Hopefully, you started your video project with a clear aim, so now you need to assess if you have reached this objective. You can use some key metrics to get an idea of how many people your video has reached and how successfully it has delivered your message. You may also want to look at more qualitative data such as word of mouth, and feedback from key stakeholders.
Key metrics you can use to assess the performance of your videos are: views, likes, shares, comments and click-through.
It might be a good idea to look at similar organisations and see what kind of engagement they get to help you set goals and benchmarks. Analysing the results of your video is key to help you improve your future campaigns. If a video performed particularly well, look at what worked well and replicate it in the future. On the other hand, if it underperformed, try to work out what you should change next time.
Many organisations have caught on to the branding opportunities of corporate videos but haven’t yet realised the power of live-streaming. Live videos allow you to connect in real time or broadcast events to a global audience. On a practical note, live video production can avoid hours of post-production and can be more effective in terms of budget.
So, how can you bring live video into your communications strategy? For spontaneous broadcasts or a more personal touch, using your phone can be fine. However, for creating corporate branded content, you need some professional equipment and expertise. Unlike footage shot on a smartphone, a professionally produced event livestream will also provide you with a bank of content which you can re-use throughout you content marketing plan.
Creating engaging video content isn’t rocket science, but it can take time and requires experience! Get in contact with us if you would like a free consultation about your video marketing strategy, or to learn more about our work.
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