How to design a winning video strategy

video prodction

A couple of people have asked me about what drivers should underpin video strategy, following this post – who’s making great online video?

As ever, there are two underpinning principles:

  1. What is the user need video will answer?
  2. What is the business justification for video content?

Always start with the user.

There are some key questions you want to answer before you go any further.

What do users want from your site? What are you going to supply them that no-one else can? How will they find your content? How will they consume your content? How long will they watch your content for? How much will they watch?

And perhaps most importantly: what experience will your users demand from video?

Let’s take an example: suppose you run a literary agency, you have a number of great authors on your books and your marketing director suggests a series of videos for the corporate site.

What do you make?

You might look at your site and think the main reason people visit it, is to discover more about your authors; what did they do before, what are they working on now and, of course, the inevitable question: where do their ideas come from? So, it’s insight users want. You can supply this, you have access no-one else does, and you suggest a series interviewing authors at their writing desk/in their office/shed at the bottom of the garden.

At this point the marketing director might go and commission a production company and tell the digital team to prepare to upload the videos to the site. But your strategy is nowhere near complete.

You need to define the experience your users will enjoy. Do they want to spend an hour in the company of your author, or a minute? Are you making a video that people will want to watch in their living room on a smart TV, on their desktop at work, or on a tablet while commuting? Do they want a burst of information or a long, leisurely soak in it? Do they want a quality experience, well-shot with an intelligent interviewer that’s carefully edited together; or will a simple piece to camera do?

And are you sure that video is the best medium? If users just want fast facts about authors, could that be better achieved as copy rather than making time-poor people sit through an interminable video. You will be furious if you spend thousands producing a high quality product and no-one watches more than a few seconds of it.

Answer these questions and you’ll be closer to understanding your users’ needs.

Onto the business justification.

Once you understand what your users want, you need to consider the business case for the expenditure.

Perhaps you want to increase video inventory in order to sell advertising, to build engagement, to promote your product or to maximise dwell time. How do those needs balance with the users’ needs? If you want video to go viral, what benefits do you expect that to produce for your business?

Too often video content is produced without a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of the production. Be clear about best and worst case scenarios. There’s a lot of video out there, why should you expect your’s to be successful? And what does success even look like for your business – more users, more sales, greater brand awareness? Be clear how you will measure this before you start production.

Then once you have considered what the overarching strategy should be, consider the cost. From UGC, which may have no cost at all, to $100 million dollars for a series of House of Cards, there’s a wide range of price points. Realistic assessment of user needs and business justification will help clarify just how small or large the budget needs to be.


Author: Matt Walsh


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