Great video content is incredibly important for standing out online, holding attention far longer than text or images ever do, but it’s also hard to create. It requires both a reasonable degree of expertise and the right equipment (hardware and software) for lighting, filming, and editing.
As such, you might think that video content shouldn’t be a priority for your new online business. It should wait until you’re more established and have more time and money to put towards it.
But you don’t actually need a full-time video content production schedule to begin with, nor do you need to have superlative production values. You can start out small, see how it goes, and only scale up when you know you have the results to justify it.
Here are some tips for making the most of video content while growing a new online business:
What can you do with a video that you can’t do with a regular article? You can do motion. Articulated facial expressions (very important in business). Laughter. Complex graphics. Narrations. Demonstrations. The list goes on, and I’m sure you can imagine more.
And what do we generally not want to see in videos? All the things we can get more efficiently in articles. Lists. Photo galleries. Lengthy chunks of dry information. If you start making videos out of pieces that you’d previously have made into blog posts, you might well alienate people.
So come up with topics relevant to your industry that truly warrant the video format, and find a way to show some flair and personality. If possible, do something to evoke emotion; it’s the perfect medium for it, and emotion is a key motivator of sales.
If someone watches one of your videos and doesn’t come away from it knowing the following things at a minimum…
- Who you are
- What you do
- How they can reach you
…then you’ve made an enormous mistake. Don’t let it slip your mind that the ultimate goal of the content is to sell your business (not literally, although that can be done; it is a perfectly viable retail endgame). You want to be investing in the future profitability and reputation of your business.
You don’t want to go too far with the branding (it can look gaudy and put people off), but it’s advisable to add a quick intro (whether in the form of a title card or a spoken greeting), a logo watermark, and some tasteful links to your website and social media accounts.
You may already have provided your information in the video description, but consider that people take and re-upload content all the time; branding the video itself will make it much harder for copycats to get away with it.
Evergreen content, as the name suggests, is fruitful all the time, which is to say that it offers something people will find useful no matter when they view it.
For example, think of a guide to tying a tie. When do people need to tie ties? All the time. Are ties going out of style? Not in the foreseeable future, whether in the business world or just formal attire. A good tie-tying guide, then, will always be of value to someone.
Seasonal content, on the other hand, is specifically tied to a season, or day, or event. Imagine a guide to Halloween costume options. It’ll receive almost all of its views around Halloween, and get relatively few during the rest of the year.
Seasonal topics are easier to get eyes on because people get so starved for content around specific occasions, but evergreen content, while much harder to get right, is much more reliable.
What you pick should depend on demand. What would your customers like to see, want to know, need assistance with? Don’t go with a topic just because you think it’s interesting. Check your preferences at the door, and remember that the goal is to get eyes on your material and visits to your store.
When you’re not at all confident in the usefulness of your videos, you can be tempted to get a little… spammy with them, all in the hope that getting enough mediocre videos will somehow make them add up to something great. Resist this urge.
Just one decent video will do more to help your business than a hundred poor ones. After all, we’re not impressed by output. We don’t look at a business that sells a thousand items and think “Wow, they must be terrific with that many products!”.
But that one video will only work its magic if you follow the next step, which is so vital that i’ve named it thrice…
If I invent a cheap and functional jetpack that’s user-friendly and good for the environment, but I don’t actually tell anyone or even take it outside, will I become a worldwide celebrity? No, I won’t. And in a similar vein, it doesn’t matter how good a video is if you don’t do everything you can to get people to watch it.
To make the most of a video, you can display it prominently on your homepage, include it in blog posts on your site and externally, update its name and tags on the hosting platform you’re using (probably YouTube), and send links to influential bloggers you think might be interested.
If you pick the right topic and do a sufficiently good job, you might even be able to get it on a curated list of resources.
So you’ve created a video and set up a promotion schedule; you’ve done your part in the process, presumably. As long as it gets watched and shared, everything is great… right?
Well… no. You might not like the prospect (and who could blame you), but if you really want to make your video content work for you, you’re going to need to read comments about it. Simply trawling through analytics and looking at unique visits won’t give you the in-depth feedback you need to review how your brand is coming across and plan future videos.
You should look for comments on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums, Reddit, and any other places you think might be harboring some. Respond gratefully to positive remarks, show that you’re willing to listen to criticism, and answer any questions you find.
Got any initial ideas for informative or entertaining videos you could produce for your current and prospective customers? Start noting down anything that springs to mind and start trimming the list until you have something that can really work. Then make it great, brand it thoroughly, and promote it shamelessly!