The future of content marketing is video. Creating higher engagement with customers and raising brand awareness, there’s little doubt video should be dominating any decent marketing strategy.

What’s the buzz all about?

There are several reasons why video should be an integral component of your content marketing strategy.

Firstly, for those working to tight budgets, there’s good news. The cost of producing video content is falling, yet return on marketing dollars is on the rise. Automated video production technology allows businesses to pull together cost effective, high quality footage, so smaller fish are on the same playing field as larger enterprises. Automating production also allows for a quicker turnaround time, so new products are promoted at a faster rate.

Video is helping to bridge the gap between the in-store and online brand experience, with tutorials and product reviews helping to inform prospective customers, alleviate any concerns, and enhance the overall user experience by building trust and credibility.

Quite simply, a video is a one-stop shop for information – removing the hassle from navigating multiple links and requiring less effort from the viewer. Engagement is higher, and with embedded call to action buttons, the barrier to customer response – essentially putting product in their shopping cart – is reduced. In addition, video content is more likely to be shared socially than text-based content, driving more traffic to your site and further raising brand awareness.

Equally video can offer a distinct advantage when it comes to newsletter open rates, sometimes two to three times higher than standard text-based offerings, according to a study by email marketing platform company GetResponse. A level of personalisation can be provided through the content, from individual greetings to previously purchased items. This in turn helps to increase both customer loyalty and repeat purchase behaviour.

Video is also mobile friendly, and with more e-commerce activity occurring on smartphones than ever before, this is the time to jump on board. And if that isn’t incentive enough, Google is giving higher-ranking preference to those sites that feature video content.

What’s the purpose?

So you’ve made the decision to introduce video into the marketing mix. But have you got a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve through the content? Are you trying to improve brand awareness? Perhaps you’re after higher customer engagement? Better search engine rankings? A stand-out user experience?

Whatever you’ve determined is the reason for venturing into the world of video content, having that at the core of your strategy is integral to its marketing success. Content needs to be tailored according to the purpose and your audience, and it might be necessary to produce different types of videos to meet your various criteria.

To execute video effectively, and avoid wasting valuable time and money, consider these different forms of video:

Brand Awareness: Tell the story of your brand or simply put a face to your company. You can also convey your value proposition.

Explanatory: Videos can be used to explain complex products.

Educational: Produced as practical guides or ‘how to’ tutorials, videos facilitate the showcasing of product features.

Birchbox Video Content Marketing

Beauty subscription service Birchbox provides beauty tips and tricks for the items in each Birchbox. The video doubles as an ad for the products.

Promotional: Drive home the special aspects of your promotion through a richer experience offered through video.

Advertising: Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube ads help drive traffic to your site and fuel the reach of your content marketing efforts.

SEO: Use video to highlight key points of a product and increase its reach and search engine rankings. You can either post the video to YouTube or host it on your own site.

Email: Cut through the clutter and increase open rates. Research by technology company Brainshark shows inclusion of video provides a 20 percent boost in open rates, as well as higher click-through rates.

What’s the trick to going viral?

Creating the best possible content is the first part of the equation. It should be powerful and skilfully executed.  Achieving this will see viewers compelled to share the content, and that’s the second part of the equation.

What makes your video shareable? Try and capture an emotion that resonates with your audience. In doing so, you’ll build the connection between your brand and your customers. Make sure you’re delivering a clear message that people will want to align with, and convey genuinely new and interesting information.

All these pointers go out the window if you fail to make your video easy to share. Social features that facilitate this must be in-built, and ideally a user’s social connections need to appear alongside the video.

As with all areas of content marketing, you should use data to inform your distribution strategy. Look at which sites are driving the most shares, what demographics are sharing the most and shift resources accordingly.

US-based Dollar Shave Club, which delivers razor blades to customers on a subscription basis, first made waves with a low-budget comedic launch video that quickly went viral on YouTube back in March 2012. Later that year, the company banked almost US$10 million in venture capital funding – and increased sales – as a result of the attention its video attracted.

Video Content Marketing

Dollar Shave Club published this piece of comedy gold on YouTube that’s been viewed over 21 million times.

For brands that are already well established in the market, a strong fan base on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter can prove powerful, as can links with the blogger community. People already loyal to your brand are more likely to share branded content with their own networks.

What’s the future hold?

As with all areas of marketing, the online video space is moving at a rapid pace. The technologies in place today are already making it necessary for businesses to not only engage with video content, but to become authorities in its production to compete in the world of content marketing.

Video immerses your audience in your story and offers a richer experience than other media. It lets you marry tone and words, control the pace at which viewers move through a piece of content, and direct their eyes and ears to points of emphasis.

Executed effectively, viewers will spend longer on your site and more time interacting with your brand, as well as share your content with others.

You simply can’t afford to ignore the value it holds any longer.