James Anderson

Video Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

James Anderson     Content Marketing, Video

Video for Content Marketing (1)

For many B2B marketers video content is the biggest step in a content marketing plan, the one thing that is tackled last because it takes more resources to produce. That mode of thinking is changing, however, as more marketers lean on video content as an effective way to cut through the crowded content marketing landscape. In a recent CMI / Marketing Profs study, 76% of B2B marketers said that they plan to use video as a content marketing tactic in 2015.

Creating video and hosting it on your company site or sending it out on social media is a way to show that your brand is video and technologically savvy but don’t just produce video for the sake of saying you’ve done it. Video has to be done right to be effective. This post will explore the pros and cons of video as a content marketing tactic and will offer examples and best practices that digital marketers can look to for support in their own video content marketing.

Video Content Pros

Video is as close to a full-sensory experience that most marketers can offer. There are few B2B marketers that are looking ahead to virtual reality experiences to share content. So video is the best way to appeal to as many of a buyer’s senses at one time as possible. Good video tells a story better than any other medium by using  both sight and sound senses to help viewers process a message.

Video is taken seriously. According to Demand Gen’s Content Preferences Study, video content was consumed by 58% of B2B buyers in 2014, an increase of 8% over a year prior. Kapost research says that 76% of executives say that they watched a video as a content marketing tactic at least weekly.

Video content is easily shared because it tends to be short. As a buyer, stumbling across a two-minute video, taking it in, then sharing it takes less than five minutes time. In that short time span, your buyer has not only processed the information you have delivered but has also passed it along to other stakeholders in the buying process.

Video Content Cons

There’s the cost factor. Whether marketers produce their own videos or hire a professional video production company, there are clearly costs associated with video content marketing that are avoided by skipping video all together. Too often, the costs are seen as larger than they actually are and too many marketers are dissuaded form using video in their content marketing.

Video can date you. It is harder for a video to live as evergreen content as it is for other forms of content marketing. A blog post can be updated and re-purposed in many ways that a video cannot. Once a video is produced and is live in a campaign, there are certain things like setting, topic, appearance of actors, etc. that can assign a specific date or time period to a video that cannot be easily refreshed like a blog post can.

Convincing the boss. This goes along with cost, but if video isn’t currently an aspect of your content marketing plan it may be difficult to convince your boss that it should be. Along with the added cost comes the fact that video is still a new medium for some marketers. Those who are reluctant to change are often reluctant to video.

What Marketers are Saying:

“What if we stopped trying quite so hard with our video content marketing? What if we just told our true stories honestly and simply, and with empathy for the very real problems our customers have?” — Ann Handley

“No content on the web today has the same viral potential of video, and few forms of content can match it for immediacy.”  — Natasha Giraudie

“In video, as in audio, you constantly need to think about drop-off. Both are linear experiences – it’s much harder to skim or skip around a video or a podcast as compared to a blog post or PDF. So as a content producer, you need to be paranoid about your audience leaving at any given moment for the millions of other stimuli available at the click of a mouse.” — Jay Acunzo 

Video Content Marketing Examples

Like a Girl

The Always “Like a Girl” campaign video stood out on multiple levels. A B2C video, obviously, it appeals empathizes with the target audience and empowers through education and insight.

Caterpillar Jenga

This example from Caterpillar does an excellent job of showing the company’s products in action as well as keeping viewers intrigued long enough to see what happens in the end.

Caterpillar also shared a “making of” video showing behind the scenes shots from the original video production as well as some stats from the making of the video. For example, did you know that the game took approximately 28 hours to play and was edited down to a 2.5 minute video?

 Science on Vine

For great short-form video content on Vine, check out General Electric’s stream there. Here is an example featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy in GE’s #emojiScience campaign.

Best Practices

Track attention span. As video content is spread across the web, metrics are included in video players. Available data will allow you to measure how long a viewer watches your video. Remember, not everyone is watching until the end. A key take-away from this metric is to make sure that your message (including a call to action) is available within the most viewed portion of your video.

Use your description wisely. Be clear and concise with the description you use for your video when uploading it to YouTube or any social media site.  Your description includes copy that is read by search engines, so be precise about what it is you are presenting in your video. Take the time to include a call to action in your description for those who may glance at the description copy but not actually view the video.

Give them something to do next. When viewers watch your video, they should feel inspired to take a next step towards purchase. But what is that next step? Are you making it easy for buyers to find your site and engage with more content? Are you giving them the opportunity to easily share your video? It’s not as simple as just inserting a link into a blog post. Whether through email or social media, a buyer needs to be able to take action on your content. Are you making that step as easy as possible?

Have you been successful using video in your content marketing plan? What are your tips and tricks?

For more content marketing best practices, see our full list of content marketing tactics with links to in-depth articles on each tactic just like this one.

Top image: Shutterstock. 

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