What is video-first marketing?
Video-first marketing acknowledges that video performs better than other media when it comes to engaging audiences and conveying information, and should therefore be prioritized over other media.
A video-first marketing strategy prioritizes video over, but not to the exclusion of other media. Previously out of reach for many marketers, the dropping cost and complexity of video production is now making video-first marketing a real possibility for a whole new generation of marketers.
Video conveys more information and with greater retention than the written word or still images. With the proper systems in place, video content can even be produced easier and more affordably than other forms of media, yet can still be repurposed into other videos and less rich forms of content quite effortlessly.
For these reasons, in addition to market trends, video has become the medium to beat for many marketers, who would prefer to use video for most of their marketing content and promotional needs.
Video-first does not in any way mean that video is the only medium in your marketing toolkit. Rather it means that all other things being equal, you prioritize video, with its enhanced ability to convey and convince, over other media choices.
So, why haven’t more marketers adopted video-first marketing? The price and complexity of video production have continued to fall, making it more affordable and less risky. And, more people with video skills have entered the workforce in recent years, increasing the likelihood that one or more people in your organization have some idea of how video production works, at least on a basic level.
These things auger for greater adoption, but what is typically missing is a sound video marketing strategy to help marketers understand the proper role of video in their video content and promotional efforts.
Here are four tactics that should form the foundation of any video-first marketing strategy.
Learn to Anticipate the Need for Video and How to Respond
At the start of any fiscal year, most marketers have a pretty good idea of what marketing projects they’ll need to develop and/or manage. Whether it’s a series of events, an advertising or content calendar, or any number of other marketing activities, most marketers know what to expect.
Of course, there are always those things that crop up in the middle of the year that you couldn’t possibly have planned for, but in most cases, they don’t constitute completely new media. So, for example, you might not have known that you’d be writing a series of blog posts on the impact of social distancing in your industry, but you probably already know how to write a blog post.
If you’re new to video, on the other hand, you’re going to need to know not only what’s coming down the pike, but what’s possible in video for achieving similar, or better, results? What are the video forms available to you for creating effective video content to achieve your goals?
Equally important, you’ll have to put procedures in place for creating those videos within your marketing organizations. Exactly how does one create a testimonial video? How does one create an influencer or thought leader video? Where do you start?
A marketing organization that has to recreate the wheel each time they need to produce a video is an organization that doesn’t do a lot of marketing.
Imagine if you had to figure out how to publish a blog post, or how to write and distribute a news release every time you had a need for those marketing vehicles.
So, a good video-first marketing strategy anticipates the need for video and has procedures in place for responding to that need.
- Once you know what marketing programs and channels you’ll be supporting throughout the year, break those activities down into required assets and activities.
- Determine how many of those assets and activities are best supported by video. Remember, a video-first strategy prioritizes video, but not to the exclusion of other media. Plan to produce non-video assets as you normally would.
- If you are using video to replace non-video assets, determine what those new videos will look like. What will they include? Who will produce them? What procedures must be put in place in order to make production as easy and affordable as possible.
Plan on a Lot of Smaller Videos Rather than a Few Big Videos
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 15 years of producing video it’s that you’re almost always better served by producing more, smaller videos than you are on relying on a handful of big, elaborate videos.
Elaborate, multi-purpose videos are hard to pull off and rarely adequately serve even one of the purposes for which they are intended.
Furthermore, if you’re pursuing a video-first strategy, most of your video needs will necessarily be smaller and more modest. A video announcing a new hire to your management staff does not need to be in the form of a Hollywood epic.
So, get your head around the idea of producing modest, single-purpose videos. If you need to demonstrate how innovative your company is, all the cool things your new product can do, and what great employment opportunities your company offers, you should plan on producing three modest productions rather than one big, elaborate video.
Plus, serial content is now all the rage. It relies less on search engine algorithm and more on assembling an audience that appreciates the content you produce.
Once you accept the power of small, less elaborate videos, you’ll be in a much better position to build out the infrastructure and the distribution/ promotion channels you require.
- Determine how to break larger assets into smaller, individual assets.
- What will those individual assets look like and what are the best procedures for producing those assets?
- Determine what opportunities now exist for creating serial content. Video marketing puts you in the audience-building business. Ask your customers what they would prefer to watch and build serial content around that. Don’t underestimate the power of entertainment in service to business communications.
Build the Video Production and Marketing Infrastructure
Once you have a good idea of the type of videos you’ll need and how best to produce them, you’ll need to build the required infrastructure. You can either create the capacity in-house, or plan to outsource, but you will need those resources in place before you can begin.
The easiest way to do this is to outsource everything. Conversely, doing everything yourself is a real possibility, these days. The type of videos you need to produce will dictate which approach is more affordable.
There is also a hybrid approach to infrastructure. Do what you can yourself, and then outsource the tasks that you aren’t easily able to do.
Video marketing and production is a modular activity, typically broken into strategy and pre-production, production, post-production, and finally promotion. It’s very easy to outsource parts of the process. If you have the capacity to shoot video but lack the capacity for editing video, outsource the editing process.
The one thing you really should build capacity for is strategy. Someone within your organization should be able to understand how video works, what’s required at each stage of the process, and how to make informed decisions about how to incorporate video assets into marketing programs and campaigns.
You should also have the capacity to know what is and what is not possible with video. We occasionally encounter marketing executive who think that video is a sort of magic, where even the worst footage can be transformed into a work of video marketing excellence. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Feel free to get some strategic assistance, if necessary, but someone in your marketing organization should have a firm grasp on what goes into the video marketing process and be able to make informed decision regarding the production process.
You can rely on existing capabilities for handling the rest of the video marketing production process or find different sources for building capabilities.
Be sure to plan for the future. Just because you have no one in your organization who can, for example, edit video, doesn’t mean that existing employees can’t be trained, or new employees hired to fulfill that need.
- Conduct an inventory of your video production capabilities. Be sure to include things like staff capacities, skill sets, and available space and equipment.
- Be prepared to make some hard decisions about the skills and personnel you require. Video marketing and production requires serous skills and time. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to transition to a video-first marketing strategy without retraining or replacement of some existing personnel.
- Determine what parts of the process you can successfully handle with existing capabilities. Seek out vendors who can provide services to shore up your existing capabilities.
- Develop a required skills matrix and plan for creating addition in-house capacity for your organization over time.
- Determine what impact social-distancing requirement will have on your ability to produce videos.
Choose Your Video Marketing Channels Wisely
Once you know how to conceptualize and produce the videos you will need, you can turn your attention to how best to distribute and promote your videos.
Video marketing assets are now being successfully distributed and promoted through websites, email, and social media, to name just a few channels.
How will you distribute and promote your videos? Where do you already have a significant audience? Where do you need to build new audiences? What digital marketing capabilities already exist? Which one will have to be created?
- Identify the audience(s) you wish to reach and what you want them to feel, know and do after viewing your videos. Script or outline your videos appropriately.
- Different videos perform better in different formats, especially for social media. Be sure to render your videos in the format(s) that will be most appropriate for the channel(s) you will be using.
- How will you distribute your videos? YouTube is free, but it has its drawbacks. Consider using a third-party platform, which will allow you to brand your videos, and give you more control over how your audience(s) experience them.
- Measure everything. Video provides its own unique measurements. Learn how these analytics work so that you take best advantage of how well your videos are being received.
Consider Remote Directed Video
Remote Directed Video (RDV) is a safe, fast, and affordable alternative to traditional video productions.
RDV uses the power of the iPhone platform to capture video in its native resolution (1080 or 4K) and then sends completed video files to a private cloud for editing. Because there’s no streaming, the final video image and audio are superior to products like Zoom.
A trained director interacts with on-screen talent to ensure that technical requirements are met and that performances are the best possible.
Because RDV is so affordable, it’s possible to build a collection of professional-grade videos quickly and affordably. It’s a great way to easily adopt and sustain a video-first strategy.