VIDEO CONTENT TAKEAWAY – How do you best create video content within your digital strategy so it’s worth the time and money? Four keys to video production and strategy so your video drives people to action.

(If today’s the day that you need a synopsis of this article, here are the four takeaways of how you can make video as part of your digital strategy worth the scratch.

  • Use data about your customers’ personas + specific storytelling techniques to create video content that hooks, connects and is shared by your audience.
  • Understand where customers are in the buying cycle and structure your creative message appropriately. Customers who are considering your product have very different needs than people who aren’t aware of your brand.
  • Create an identifiable creative through line with your content from social to video to landing page. Optimize the design for conversion.
  • Plan your video production shoots so that the maximum amount of content is gathered. You’ll need it.

“We want more, We want more., When we really like it, we want more.” People are often like the kids in this AT & T commercial when it comes to video content:

In fact, 85% of people say that they want MORE video from brands. No doubt, PEOPLE LIKE VIDEO. But how do brands create it so it hits the mark AND drives a meaningful amount of action?

Whether you’re creating video content with an outside partner, or using a mix of internal and outside resources or completely in-house, this framework of four tips seemed to resonate during a talk I gave to digital marketers in Nashville at Edgenet, a software company that streamlines product information.

TIPS:

  1. USE DATA TO TELL A STORY TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW
  2. CREATE CONTENT THAT FITS THE STAGES OF THE BUYING PROCESS
  3. GIVE PEOPLE OBVIOUS PATHS TO BUY
  4. STRUCTURE YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION SHOOTS SO THAT YOU CREATE THE MOST CONTENT

USE DATA TO TELL A STORY TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW

Yes, developing creative ideas for video content is fun and more appealing than a typical day in corporateland AND marketers want to start creating right away, BUT THIS IS NOT THE FIRST STEP IN CREATING VIDEO CONTENT! We’ve had a lot of ideas thrown at us over the years that people LOVED, but that wouldn’t have made a lick of difference to their target audience. Videos work when they’re relevant to their audience so first do a deep-dive on your brand’s people.

Develop personas to understand specific audience segments. Do this by:

  • Peruse your Google Analytics data. You can easily find out the age range, dominant gender, how users find your site, their mobile operating system and the device they use.
  • Dive into the likes and interests of people who have engaged with your brand’s Facebook page. Plug the likes and interests into Facebook insights for some sample personas to give you a fuller picture of potential customer segments.
  • Ask 3-5 questions of your current and prospective customers about their general lifestyle and how they would solve the problem they have using your type of product or service. Look for themes within the answers and loosely group them.
Examples of marketing personas
Marketing Personas

Group this info into personas with a one-sentence statement about who they are and how they use your product. It’s fun to give these personas names. If you want to get fancy, use an online persona tool called Smaply for a small monthly fee.

Let’s say your business is an online grocery delivery: Here are some possible personas, “Sarah is a 38-year-old mom who believes spending time with her family is the most important thing, but appreciates solo shopping trips to the grocery store AND

“28-year-old Brian is single and loves the ease of grocery delivery because he can do it quickly and has horrible memories of grocery shopping as a kid.”

Once you have grouped your customers under themes, you can tell a story that matters to them. You wouldn’t open a video with a beautiful shot of the inside of a grocery store if you were talking to Brian, and you wouldn’t talk about weeknight cocktail parties if you were talking to Sarah. These small things add up to many videos missing the mark.

HOW TO TELL A STORY

Whether you’re telling the story of Luke in Star Wars, creating a Dude Perfect YouTube video, or a six-second piece of video content, stories that resonate have a similar structure.

  1. HOOK – Grab their attention
  2. CHARACTER – A person presents him/herself with a need or want.
  3. STRUGGLE –He is undergoing some type of struggle and you’ll need to address the feelings he has around that struggle. Luke wants to become a Jedi, the Dude Perfect guys want to make a crazy shot.
  4. YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE – Empathize with this person and show how your product/service can solve her problem.
  5. TRANSFORMATION – What does the resolve of the struggle look like? How has the person changed, how has her life improved?

Some fun resources to get your mind flowing are the 22 Rules of Storytelling by Pixar and the Storybrand storytelling process. So in summary, use data about your customers’ personas then use specific storytelling techniques to create video content that hooks, connects and is shared by your audience.

CREATE VIDEO CONTENT BASED ON THE STAGE SOMEONE IS IN THE BUYING PROCESS

People need content that fits how closely they are to a purchase.

STAGE – AWARENESS. Create content that leans heavily into entertainment or inspiration if you need someone to realize your product/service exists. Kids, animals, emotional stories, cool visual tricks, they work!

STAGE – CONSIDERATION. The stats below show the average number of times people come back to a site before they purchase. You can see that we spend A LOT of time planning our vacations!

Category Average site visits per purchase # of different sites visited per purchase Average # of visits to each site
Travel 21.6 9.4 2.3
Apparel 11.4 2.9 3.9
Mobile Phone 9.4 4.1 2.3
Energy 7.4 3.4 2.2
Car Insurance 5.6 3.9 1.4
Loans 4.2 2.8 1.5
Overall Averages 9.9 4.4 2.2

For this stage, give them content that shows how the product solves their problem, or fits into their broader picture.

You can see this video we did for the home improvement company, RTA Store.com and DIY Network. It shows how people can use the company’s cabinets, in the context of transforming a bathroom. This video lived on the network’s website to spark ideas for potential customers who were already on the site considering home renovation.

STAGE – CONVERSION. Here people want to validate their decision for purchase. Testimonials and About Us videos on a site work well.

LOYALTY – Often people forget about the loyalty stage so it’s a great opportunity for companies to stand out. Become inspired by these two examples from video hosting company, Wistia where they used video to thank (top example) and provide customer support (bottom example):

GIVE PEOPLE OBVIOUS PATHS TO BUY

We had a project where we were trying to drive early-stage entrepreneurs to contact a community development company that offers small business loans. Pushing people from social media with short snippets of video, we drove people to a landing page to sign up for a small business tool kit. The content had a through line, similar to leaving a trail of bread crumbs so that people knew each stage followed the prior one.

The ending point is a landing page where you want to get people to buy, sign-up or receive something of value. A good practice: The best landing pages offer one decision. The landing page building company, Unbounce has multiple examples of how people can get confused, and therefore, drop out when you give them more than one choice.

Unbounce has a free tool that analyzes your landing page to improve conversions.

Simple fixes such as adding a slide-in Call to Action (CTA) or putting the form below the fold can really goose your Click Through Rates (CTR.) A quick read with ready-to-use tips is “9 Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try” from Hubspot.

STRUCTURE YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION SHOOTS SO THAT YOU CREATE THE MOST VIDEO CONTENT

With e-mail, social channels, at least one website and internal audiences clamoring for cool videos, your brand requires a lot of content. Be sure to plan for all that content when you shoot your video projects. Instead of shooting in a traditional commercial production style, use tips from Hollywood studios such as Universal Studios and Sony Pictures. When studios create marketing content for a movie, they customize the content based on the channel to which they’ll deliver; if they send creative content to Comedy Central, they’ll make it funny, if it’s Tastemade, it’s going to be something about food. It’s not rocket science, but what is different is the process they use to produce it. They shoot for two days with each channel receiving 1 ½ hours of time during the shoot with the movie’s stars and director. The skits, interviews, shout outs and gags are sketched out and approved far ahead of time.

For example, here’s a piece from our content day shoot for the movie, Blockers.

While your brand won’t aim to create 75+ content pieces in two days like the studios, you can structure your shooting day to gather behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, one liners – all that can be used as video content pieces in your grand content machine.

People REALLY want video content, Create it by:

  1. USING DATA TO TELL A STORY TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW
  2. DETERMINING THE STAGE SOMEONE IS IN THE BUYING PROCESS
  3. GIVING PEOPLE OBVIOUS PATHS TO BUY
  4. STRUCTURING YOUR VIDEO PRODUCTION SHOOTS SO THAT YOU CREATE THE MOST CONTENT

We hope that with these tips, you can create video content so it makes you as happy as it makes your audience.

RESOURCES

PERSONA CREATION – Smaply.com

LANDING PAGE ANALYZER – Unbounce

QUICK CTR BOOSTERS — 9 Conversion Rate Optimization Tests to Try” from Hubspot.

STORYTELLING — 22 Rules of Storytelling by Pixar, Storybrand Free Podcast