Video Marketing 101 – Planning your content

This is part 1 of a brief introduction to video marketing, written by guest author and freelance producer Rob Edwards.

How many times have you heard over the years that ‘content is king’? It has become something of a mantra among marketers, bloggers and other content producers for years now, used as a catch-all statement to convince clients to ‘invest in content’. There is some truth behind the sentiment and it has driven an explosion in the production of ‘content’. Now we are seeing the obvious consequences of such a broad acceptance of this theory and nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of rich media.

It’s now hard to find a website without some form of video or animation. YouTube is widely regarded as the 2nd largest search engine and the discussion has evolved from one of, ‘should we use rich media content’ to one of ‘how do we use it effectively’ – and that is exactly where the challenge lies.

Video content strategy
Video is just one part of content strategy

We see rich media everywhere. Yet we still see too many examples of poor integration. There are inconsistencies everywhere you look; sometimes on the same website, or sometimes even on the same page, but definitely across different media platforms.

YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram, should now all form part of an integrated rich media content strategy, yet they are still largely treated as separate platforms with separate strategies. Whilst this might mean that a lot of content is being produced which supports the ‘content is king’ evangelists, it also less favourably, leads to poorly planned, disparate content that comes across as kaleidoscopic and inconsistent.

The result? Key messages are not clear, they become diluted and the content that you have worked so hard to produce, is largely ineffective.

Storytelling is essential
Video storytelling

So what is the answer? It all comes down to consistency and familiarity. It comes down to producing relatable content, that allows your story and the key messages you want to convey to reach your audience and to resonate regardless of the platform they are consuming the content on.

An integrated content strategy takes in all customer touch-points and ensures that no matter what stage of the customer journey they are at, the content they consume is consistent, it conveys the right message at the right time and enhances their experience.

Storytelling

A key part of planning video content is to eke out the story or narrative that sits at the heart of what you are trying to communicate.

Take any film, any novel. They all have context, they all have conflict and they all have a resolution. How many brands or businesses can make the same claim with their content?

With so much rich media content accessible across so many platforms these days, as a business looking to use video and animation, how do you begin to cut through the noise and ensure that your content is having the desired impact?

Storytelling
Storytelling

One way to engage an audience is through applying the basic principles of storytelling. We can all recall the stories we were told as children. That is because from a very early age our brains are hard-wired to accept those structures that form the basis of our memories and recollections as we mature into adulthood.

Without any element of a story, content can feel clinical, disjointed, hard to absorb and a little sterile. However, if you are able to take the audience on a journey that incorporates a number of key elements of context, conflict and resolution, it quickly feels familiar and so absorbing the messages begins to feel more organic and natural.

Firstly, context is where you establish the reasoning and the back story. What is your purpose, where have you come from, where you are going and what you believe in? This gives the motivation for the rest of the story.

Then, every good story has conflict. What is stopping you from getting what you want and why? What challenges and obstacles are making things difficult? These conflicts must be overcome if you are to reach the goal, but it’s how they are overcome that retains the momentum and the interest levels.

And finally, every story needs a resolution. What result did you achieve and how did you go about it? How big a challenge was it and what lessons did you learn along the way? What value does this add as a result add and how will other people benefit from this?

It’s a simple structure, but it’s one that is proven to work time and time again. If you apply these principles to any piece of content you are considering, it will naturally give the content a structure and a momentum that will keep the audience engaged right through to the end, and of course, everyone will live happily ever after.

Make sure you start with your story and keep this at the forefront of your mind throughout the pre-production process.

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