If one picture is worth a thousand words, what kind of value could you place on a video? In terms of investment, well-made, relevant video content brings an above-average return.
How much are we talking about? According to Wordstream, websites that use video:
- Rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).
- Attract 66 percent more qualified leads.
- Raise brand awareness by 54 percent.
The Benefits of Adding Video to Your Content Marketing Strategy
You don’t have to be Spielberg to make a great video, and it doesn’t matter if you have something particular to sell. Video content can showcase your product line, offer advice, or supplement and enrich your other content.
Given the choice, would you prefer to read a wall of text or watch a video? Ever since the rise of the internet and YouTube, most people would say the latter.
The reality is that people are visually oriented. They’ll better remember what they see rather than what they read. How much more would you get from a travel blog that includes video rather than just reading about how much the author enjoyed that walking tour of Old Town Key West?
Video is shareable. Content that gets views is passed around and posted more than text or static images. There’s no better deal on the planet than the free advertisement from letting viewers do the work for you.
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Boost Your SEO With Video Optimization
Google algorithms analyze billions of webpages to present the most relevant content to the user. One of the ways they measure the quality of a website is by calculating the time spent on site. Whereas it’s easy to skim written content and click away to the next distraction in a few seconds, taking the time to watch a video means that your visitors will likely stay longer on the page and hopefully be intrigued enough to share the video. You can double-dip your SEO by:
- Listing the video separately and as part of your website.
- Including optimized metadata.
- Using similar, high-ranking keywords in your main page description and in your video title and its description.
Video Content Creation Best Practices
As with any form of content creation or SEO, there are best practices to follow. The name of the game in branding is slow, steady, and organic relationship building. That’s what smart video marketing achieves.
Video may grab attention, but you still have a limited time to make the point no matter how engaging your content. Though we just bragged about how much longer people will stay on your site with video as opposed to written content but there’s a limit and it all depends on quality.
If you’re trying to sell a product, shorter is better. YouTube stats show a couple of minutes (under four) keep the most people watching to the end. However, when you’re trying to establish trust and build a brand, a longer video that tells a story can be quite effective. In that case, length won’t matter so much if the content is interesting and entertaining.
The length of your video helps determine placement. Without getting too bogged down in tech talk, be aware that all those video files you keep throwing on your site over the weeks and months are cumulatively large enough that a typical web hosting packages results in your website rendering more slowly. The way around this is to upload videos to a third-party site like YouTube or Vimeo and embed them on your site with a simple link. Let them take the bandwidth hit.
Selecting a Thumbnail
There’s not much more maddening in the internet space than clickbait. Choose a video thumbnail that compels people to click without being misleading. The image should be one that captures the essence of what your video is about in a single picture.
Video editing programs often display several stills or allow you to choose your own. There are also tools available in most apps that let you customize a still image of your choosing. Be aware that if you don’t select a thumbnail, most video sharing platforms will choose one for you. You might not want to trust the display of your masterpiece to a bored human or random algorithm.
Writing a Summary
Think of the summary as a marketing pitch. You only have about six seconds to convince the reader to act. Create an SEO optimized one or two-sentence summary that’s concise, relevant to the content, and compels them to believe life cannot go on until they watch that video.
Choosing a Soundtrack
Every good video needs a soundtrack, right? Well, silence with powerful images can be evocative, but most successful ad-sized clips are more memorable when you add music. If you don’t have it in your budget to hire professionals to write and play a custom tune, you can choose relevant, memorable free music clips to add an extra dimension to your video.
Wrap it All Up With a CTA
One of the main culprits behind high bounce rates is the lack of an actionable closing. Your viewers already want to engage or they wouldn’t be there. However, you need to nudge them in a particular direction once you have their attention or they’re gone and it was all a waste of time.
Close your video with a brief, concise call to action (CTA) that tells them what you want them to do. It can be as simple as “Reserve your spot for our webinar today” or “Check out our new course while it’s still available.”
Professional or DIY?
You may think that your video has to be slick and Oscar-worthy to be beneficial, and that might be true if you’re creating a commercial for a professional service like investment advice. But, if you think about the videos that go viral and stay with you long after your first view, you’ll see that sometimes an earnest or quirky amateur video can be just as effective. Just keep in mind there’s a fine line between earnest/quirky that’s appealing and earnest/quirky that’s just plain bad. If you’re getting crickets or, worse, flamed mercilessly, might be time to take the video down and try again.
If you have the equipment and a good idea, try your hand at DIY. Otherwise, there are usually video production companies near every decent-sized town that are professional and affordable. Get references and view some of their work before signing a contract.
Promote Your Video Without Being Annoying
One of the best places to locate the video for max visibility is right on your landing page. You can also create effective, shareable content for your main social media platforms, post a thumbnail and link on your Twitter feed, or start a dedicated YouTube channel. Just make sure to choose an intriguing, click-worthy thumbnail and a tagline that gets attention, and try to avoid autoplay.
How Do You Measure Success?
Now that you’ve done everything you can to create an engaging, relevant video, how do you know if your efforts are paying off? You could wait to see how many shares and likes you get, but does that really translate to quantitative, measurable success? Before you can gauge the success of your video content, you have to have something to stack it up against.
You need tools, and metrics, and all of those other things that marketing analysts gush about.
Many of the tools you need are right at hand. Google, YouTube, and all social media platforms have built-in analytics and reporting tools that allow you to evaluate engagement by a range of metrics you choose.
Take the time to look at your numbers from the admin dashboard, and use the information to refine and re-target your approach. This will save time and money by allowing you to focus your resources where they’ll provide the most benefit.
You can also use specific tools that are designed for video engagement analysis.
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Are You Ready to Tap into the Power of Video?
Animoto’s 2016 Social Video Forecast visualized the future of video content as an integral part of digital marketing. They discovered that 76.5% of small and medium businesses (SMBs) who used video as part of their marketing efforts realized a direct impact in terms of traffic and engagement.
These numbers are only going to increase as more businesses note the advantages and their customers reap the rewards.
A full 60% of businesses who’ve successfully implemented video – and realized the benefits it provides – plan to increase their investment in this type of content in the future. Well-made, properly optimized video grabs attention and boosts brand identity.
Implemented strategically as part of your marketing and engagement efforts, it’s bound to set you apart from competitors.
This article is written by Sam Bocetta from HostingCanada.org. Sam is a freelance journalist specializing in U.S. diplomacy and national security, with emphases on technology trends in cyberwarfare, cyberdefense, and cryptography. Follow him on LinkedIn.