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Every network event you go to has that one hot word buzzing around. It’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue, at the forefront of each conversation. It could be a new app, a trendy wearable or some form of strategy; but whatever it is, it’s about to blow everyone’s minds. This past week, during a blogging event we attended, that word was ‘VIDEO’.

Video isn’t a new thing. If it were a person, it would be a middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair by now. So why is everyone gabbing about this age-old medium as if it just got discovered?

If you pay attention to the media,  you’ll notice that Video and Marketing are spending quite a bit of time together lately. The internet is overrun with bloggers telling you that all your marketing campaign needs is video. That it’s the trending topic, that it works on millennials, that it’s memorable. With all of these positive, pumped-up perspectives clogging your judgment, how could you find time to question them? That’s why we’re here. To even out the playing field a bit.

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Video Voracity

There is no doubt that video has changed our world. It’s shown us things we couldn’t have seen otherwise; it has given us clues and peeks into other cultures, eras and ideas. Today, the word ‘video’ refers to moving visuals from a multitude of sources and formats, all of which can be found on the internet.

According to Entrepreneur magazine, video is what your audience demands. To assume that businesses are getting ongoing solicitations from video-hungry clients is a bit careless. Yes, video has been around forever as a marketing tool, but not everyone needs a moving visual to make a lasting impression.

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Streaming Video Isn’t the Same Thing

The digital world took notice of the growing number of people engaged in streaming activity. And then the digital world put its commerce cap on. The reality is just because internet users have found a new love of Netflix, Hulu, and all things streaming, that doesn’t mean that’s the only way they want to be spoken to. If you took a liking to classical music, would that mean you only wanted to hear that genre of music forever? Of course not.

Remember that marketing is marketing, no matter the form it takes. And most people can tell the difference between an ad and entertainment.

Video vs. Written Word

Not everyone gets giddy over video. Some even find it time-consuming and disruptive to their work day. Unlike written media, you can’t quite skim through a video. There are no organized headers or bullet points to guide one to the area they’d like to know more about. It isn’t something you can just print out for later.

With that in mind, there are far more requirements for good video content than there are for good writing. First of all, you don’t ever want to seem invasive. If entering your website prompts a video to play, you may lose some potential clients. No one likes to be tricked into watching something, and the internet is not a good place for surprises.

Great video content needs to be dazzling to the eye AND the ear. Achieve professional sound quality with proper equipment. For example, you may not want to shoot your video in a wind tunnel or near a busy street (unless that’s what you’re going for). Make sure your speech is crystal clear so your message gets heard. Plain dialogue can be boring but a little background music can make your words seem epic or enticing. If you can’t have a score written in-house, scope out a freelance musician online.

Watching a video is a commitment. From the moment a potential client clicks play, there is a great deal of pressure to keep that viewer engaged. You’ll need to decide if it’s worth the trouble and if you’re capable of producing something worth watching.

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Are Millennials Your Top Demographic?

What you’ve heard is true. Attention spans are growing shorter every day. Just look at the GIF: a short, moving visual that’s on a continuous loop. And the addition of Vine to our collection of phone apps made us scramble to clump moving memories into a mere seven seconds. With the abbreviation of everything, a quaint video may be perfect if your audience is in a younger demographic. If, however, your potential clients are a bit older, you may have a harder time reaching them with video. It tends to be that the older the user, the older their computer. If the system they’re operating can’t open your video or causes it to lag, they may just decide to move onto something else.

B2B’s May Want to Think Twice 

B2B companies can certainly make a wonderful video telling their story. It will give them a softer side and validate their tenacity. However, B2Bs rely on catching the eye of other businesses, who may not be in a comfortable enough position to click play during office hours. For more serious companies a video may even seem too trendy for a serious enterprise. Do your research, realize who your audience is, and then decide if what you’re selling warrants a video representation.

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Digestible Content vs. Compostable Content

Like with any media you read, you should always leave a little room for doubt. Let’s return back to that buzzword, video, and how it’s been shooting its way across networks and events alike. It is a marketer’s job to constantly be looking ahead, to have their thumb on the pulse. Because having nothing in the forefront is boring and consumers may get too comfortable.

Multitudes of publications are riding that pro-video marketing wave. Many are saying that video is a type of content that’s easier to digest. And that without it, consumers will just move on. Does this mean that video is a quick little treat, something to nibble on and then forget about? If a company wants to make a lasting

impression, should they instead focus on creating something that’s, say, compostable in design? Content where you can briefly savor the fluffy bits, salvage the most poignant pieces, and leave the rest to marinate in the back of your mind for later? It’s an idea worth considering. The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of time and money on something that people don’t even remember seeing.

There is No Hack for Good Video Content

You may have heard of a little website called YouTube. Its birth has impacted our world in marvelous (and also not so marvelous) ways. YouTube gave anyone the chance to show their video to the masses: your business included. Since the sudden demand for video marketing, a match has been lit under marketers’ seats. There’s been an obvious scrambling amongst organizations to broadcast their stories, and fast! But creating a video that impressively represents a company’s team, motto, or backstory is not a task to be rushed. If you don’t already have staff members with the appropriate skills, you may have to dip into a freelance network of video specialists or hire a marketing agency. No need to start replacing all your bloggers with video techs though – you’re going to need somebody to write the script.

If you think watching a quirky DIY video will charm your audience, then put some weekend time aside to create something wholesome. If you think that you can make a quick video on your lunch break and have it up by day’s end, you may find yourself disappointed by the final product. Your company’s story isn’t a topic that should be addressed as an afterthought. If you treat video as an art form, your audience will see that and hopefully appreciate the hard work that went into it.

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To Video or Not to Video…

The whole point of making any kind of marketing content is to get the word out there, to draw your audience in and keep them coming back. If you think that video is the next step for your business, then go for it. Just make sure you create something that’ll knock their socks off. Video seems to be transforming into something fierce and momentous right now. Which means you can’t afford to slack in the production department. There’s enough mediocre content out there – strive to push the envelope, engage your crowd, and make your video one that’s hard to forget.

Previously posted on Marqana Digital’s marketing blog

Images courtesy of Jonathan Kos-Read, Cisco Service, Dennis Skley, kPluto, Zhao!, Elena BertolinCristiano Sabbatini.

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