By Mark Walker published July 2, 2013

Succeed With Video Content Marketing: 5 Tips and a Case Study

fairy tale-once upon a timeIn my previous two posts, I discussed the basics of developing a video content marketing strategy that will drive awareness, leads, and sales, and offered advice on how to execute on that strategy. In this third installment, I’d like to share some tips for making the videos themselves as engaging, effective, and easy to develop as possible. Following on that, I’ll share a case study that demonstrates how businesses can find success through efficient, economical, and creative video content. You can also view the SlideShare below, to refresh your memory on the full process. 

Top tip 1: Video likes company (don’t make it lonely)

It may be tempting to go for broke by investing all of your budget in a single high-production video and hoping it becomes a breakout success that transforms your brand image, puts you ahead of competitors on thought leadership, or drives millions of dollars in sales.

While this is not impossible to achieve, the vagaries of online attention mean it is a huge gamble to do this. Instead, you should view your videos as having a plural capacity; i.e., as part of a wider content marketing campaign meant to generate ongoing, sustainable outcomes as defined by your purpose. Then, as this purpose may evolve (from educating a market, through thought leadership, to sales, etc.) you can match your video content to suit.

You’re also likely to get it wrong — or at least it may not be optimal — the first time you create and launch a video (not to mention there may be a lack of momentum, unless you’re already a household name), so you’ll need time and money in reserve to make changes and improve on your first effort.

To save on time and budget, why not shoot three to five videos at the same time as part of a related series? Then, you can release them when the timing best suits you. 

Top tip 2: Use what you have

You’d be surprised how much video you already have, or could have at your fingertips. If you’ve spoken at an industry event, why not ask if they filmed it and if you can have a copy of the video? Check to see if any of your executives have been on TV, or if your company has done any recording of product testing and development. 

If you don’t already have content, then there are plenty of easy ways to generate great video content that lets customers see inside your company and feel more connected, like:

  • Staff interviews (from the executive team to the tea boy)
  • A “day in the life of” video of a handful of your staff
  • Guest interviews (if your customers often visit your office)
  • A tour of your office or campus building
  • Perhaps even videos of your staff dancing 

Top tip 3: Leverage events

The second best way to get easy content is to leverage events.
Events provide you with a cornucopia of great content opportunities, including:

  • Interviews with international staff who are not normally on hand
  • Interviews with your visitors to the stand
  • Interviews with the speakers at the event
  • A time-lapse video to show the buzz around your stand
  • Live product demos (with a delighted/impressed audience in the background)
  • Your presentations (if you’re speaking on stage)
  • A mini-presentation at your stand (even if you’re not on the official program)

The key is to be creative and use resources like business events as efficiently and effectively as possible to generate a lot of original content in one go. 

Top tip 4: Make sure your video works across devices

More and more executives are accessing content on the go, i.e., across multiple devices including iPads, tablets, and smartphones.

You need to make sure that your videos are optimally displayed when viewed on these devices, as well as the real estate that surrounds them, which provides a place to include calls to action and other conversion tools.

When choosing your distribution channels, ensure that at least one of them is properly formatted for responsive design, and allows for video playback across multiple devices (remember, for instance, iPads don’t support Flash). 

Top tip 5: Make it interactive

Tools like Mozilla’s Popcorn are starting to expand the possibilities of what you can do, in-screen, with your videos, such as adding dynamic content and maps, or asking for a response within the frame of the video.

To get a better understanding of the possibilities, you can experiment with Popcorn, or watch their TED talk.

Learning the ins and outs of video by experience 

UK marketing agency, The Genius Bar, leveraged the power of video to create an animation-based case study for its client, Research Now. As described below by Phil Booker, the agency’s “Genius Collector,” the goal was to create a video that would introduce Research Now’s services to potential new clients across the UK and the U.S. The video needed to be delivered across multiple platforms, but the real challenge was that the whole project needed to be completed with a budget of under £10,000 (approximately $15,000).

The creative process: “Research Now provided us with a basic concept to make the animation in a fairy tale style, along with some sample copy. We took this copy to an established children’s TV script writer, who in turn wrote a perfectly rhyming 12-verse  “modern fairy tale,” telling the whole story of the campaign from concept to delivery.

“We then took this copy to a freelance graphic designer who specialized in hand-drawn animation, which we felt was the best style for the fairy tale theme. The artist then drew the storyboard, as well as creating a sample 5-second animation, which in turn were presented to the client for sign-off prior to full production.

“The next stage was to record the narration, as the pace and delivery of each verse would dictate the speed of each animated scene. We felt a mature, male voice would be the right tone for the “once upon a time” style of delivery. Once the actor had been selected, we sent him off to a recording studio for a two-hour session, which was enough time to record a few takes and the final version. The recording was then tweaked with a few post-production effects, and sent to our animator as a WAV file.

“Once in receipt of the voiceover, the full animation process commenced, developing the storyboard concepts to produce each verse. The animation was produced in Flash, which would then be converted into an MP4 format at a later stage, so that it would be accessible on all viewing platforms. This process took about 15 working days.

“With a few additional sound effects added, the first version was then ready to be played through to the client, and was received extremely well. The client did decide that one of the verses needed to be completely redrawn with a new angle, along with other smaller changes to other verses. It was also felt that music needed to be added to enhance the fairy tale theme. At this late stage, to source and edit a piece of music that would run throughout the production would have involved a near-total rebuild; however, we settled on adding a musical sample to the intro and the exit, which worked very well and did not take away from the crucial vocal narrative.”

Results: Research Now was extremely happy with the final product. The video:

  • Has been embedded into their website
  • Has been used for social media campaigns
  • Has enabled them to introduce their product to new audiences that would have previously been difficult to communicate with — meeting the main purpose of the video.

“As a postscript, the production was delivered within budget — so it was a fairy tale ending for all involved!”

You can view the video here.

This is just one example of how anyone can create original, unique and engaging video content that fits within a stated purpose.

For more ideas, examples, and case studies that explore the best practices for video content marketing, download Mark Walker’s Business Video Marketing Report: The Definitive B2B Marketer’s Guide to Using Video to Drive Awareness, Leads, and Sales.

Author: Mark Walker

Mark Walker is the founder and CEO of Xavy. Our mission is to build the largest platform of premium business content in the world, by rewarding those who create and spread great business ideas. To achieve this, we're building a video discovery and distribution platform that helps professionals to find and watch world-class business content, while promoting the speakers and conferences that create it. You can contact Mark at mark@xavy.com. Follow Xavy on Twitter @be_xavy or visit us at our website.

Other posts by Mark Walker

  • Mark the WebinaROI guy

    Good article Mark. You can also repurpose video for play out on webcast platforms, to make them more interactive and drive higher conversion rates.

    • jfdimark

      Great point Mark, webcasts are a great way to keep that content alive.

  • @ginnybayes

    This is an excellent article – great tips on B2B video content marketing. Thanks!

    • jfdimark

      Thanks Ginny, glad you liked it!

  • http://www.hearkencreative.com Loren A. Roberts

    I especially like the tip to shoot and edit multiple videos at the same time.

    I am working with a client right now where we will shoot for a morning, and produce six to eight short (3-minute) videos out of the content. This maximizes budget, and allows for tweaking of content based on response to the first released video. It also gives us the opportunity to interface with his potential client base consistently over time — as we release the videos once-a-week for several weeks.

    Thanks for the article.

  • ABLE Digital Group

    Hi Mark: I would normally share a posting similar to yours, but there are some aspects of your insights that are missing and the most important one is “Story”. Whether a brand, product, charitable cause, etc, there needs to be a story that connects the video to viewer and allows for a relationship to form. It doesn’t matter what theme, genre, you want to incorporate to the video: Educational, Entertaining, Tragedy/Comedy, Spoof, Reality, there has to be an element within the “Arc” of the video that reveals a moment in which the viewer encounters an “A Ha” experience, and ultimately connects to video by wanting either more or searching online for additional info related to the video. If a budget allows for a “Series” of videos to be created, and btw, post-production is usually the biggest expense, your “Series” needs to reinforce the “Big Picture”. So be careful in creating too much, as sometimes “less is more”.

    P.S. I have Produced several hundred B2B & B2C videos, along with TV Commercials, Episodic Television and Feature Films. “Story” is the common element of any message, and without one, you’re message will never survive.

    Hope this helps…

    Sheldon Pilot
    Managing Director/Sr. Creative Producer
    ABLE Digital Group

  • Bob Bly

    The ideas in tip 2 all sound incredibly banal.