Haven’t we been hearing for the last several years that “THIS” is the year that marketers are going to embrace video and take their digital marketing to new heights to find only larger branded organizations barely jumping into the video pond? When we look back on 2017, my guess is that we will see that more small to mid-sized companies will have started to get serious about including video as a “mainstream” marketing tactic. Video is an investment (although a marketing tactic you can actually measure!), so take the time to rev up your video marketing strategy so you can achieve the greatest results from your video investment.

1. Know Your Audience

Any successful video strategy starts and ends with knowing the audience you are trying to connect with. Don’t make the mistake of creating a video that’s about serving YOU, rather understand the needs of your targeted persona and what’s keeping them awake at night. Spend some time before you create your video plan to know what the most frequently asked questions are that your company addresses. Hang out in LinkedIn groups where your audience is, read the blogs they read, go to forums they are spending time in. The more you understand what inquiring minds want to know the easier it will be to create your video plan.

2. Be Helpful

Don’t create videos for the sake of creating videos. Once you have done your research give your expert advice away! Your targeted audience will want to consume more of your content, share your stories, and will view you as a trusted adviser.

3. Hook Them at Hello

We have short attention spans today! You have about 8-10 seconds to create an opening to your video that is going to determine if your viewer is going to continue to watch or hit the escape button. You need to make them interested in what you have to say.

4. Build Trust

You don’t like to be sold to so what makes you think your viewer wants to be sold to? Take the time to put yourself in their shoes and “get to know them.” Successful content marketing occurs when there is an exchange of similar values and views. The more you understand your audience and align your stories around their needs, the faster you will build a relationship that ultimately can convert to new business.

5. Quality Matters

We are living in a time, thanks to companies like Apple, that gives us access to video cameras at all times with our mobile devices. Be careful. Just because you can take a video for your company doesn’t mean you should. Every company video doesn’t have to be Emmy-worthy, however, it needs to reflect a certain branding standard. Maybe the best decision at times is to decide not to post a DIY video if it doesn’t hit the corporate branding mark.

6. Standardize with Branded Graphics

Going to produce your own video? You can immediately spruce up the viewer experience for your online videos by investing in branded graphics that you can use for the opening and closing of all of your video assets. If you are creating a video series, let the viewer know in the opening that there are more to follow. This is a great way to build your audience.

7. Tell Stories

Stop the madness with your company commercials! There’s a reason we skip them whether we are watching a television program or a video online.Your job, as marketers, is to determine how to best position your company stories to accomplish your objective. Tread lightly, however! One of the biggest mistakes companies make today is inserting themselves into too many stories (it’s not about you, remember?). Stories should be about people, not products or services.

8. Shorter, Most Often, is Better

Another mistake I often see companies make is trying to produce a video that fits “the kitchen sink” into the story. Ideally, you have a video strategy that addresses your prospects buyer’s journey. Studies show that before a visitor to your website is ready to speak to a representative from your company or purchase from you, they engage an average of 7 times with your brand. Make your marketing videos focused and create many of them. Shorter tends to be better. So rather than creating a 5-6 minute video, turn that video into 5 or 6 short stories giving your prospect more opportunities to connect.

Video is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy today. Your customers and prospects expect it from you. Take your time to research your buyer personas, know their pain points, and give them a reason to trust you. Remember, the secret to creating great content is knowing it’s all about your audience. If you can do this, you will succeed!

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