Video has changed everything about marketing, and that’s not an exaggeration.
From advertising, to content marketing, to how to’s and FAQs, video has quickly become an essential part of every agency or business’s marketing plan. And that’s because they have proven to be effective—they’re eye-catching, engaging, memorable, and can be extremely informative when utilized the right way.
Most people in business and marketing know about the potential and power of video. They know that it’s becoming essential to learn how to create the best videos. But there are still a handful of people out there saying “is video really that important?”
The answer is yes—and surveys, polls, and traffic metrics have proven it 1000x over.
The only stat you really need is that 80% of video marketers said video has directly helped increase sales, but we are going to give you more… 87% of video marketers said that video increased traffic to their site, and 99% of people that did video marketing in 2019 said they would continue in 2020. Videos help drive traffic, capture leads, build brands, and (most importantly) makes sales.
Are you convinced yet?
When companies, agencies, and business owners are hesitant to start using video as a part of their marketing strategy, they usually say it’s either too expensive, complicated, or time consuming. Maybe it’s a mixture of all three. And those are legitimate concerns, but it doesn’t change the fact that video is still definitely worth your time.
If you don’t have a big budget to buy a nice camera and microphone, it’s not the end of the world. Even without top-shelf equipment, you can still create the best videos. You can use your phone to start out, and there’s lots of free or low-cost video editing software out there that can get you started. But there may be one other big question you’re asking yourself…
How do I create the best videos?
The benefits of making videos is obvious, and getting the equipment to make videos is relatively easy, but is it actually easy to make a video? Depending on who you ask, the answer drastically varies.
To keep it simple, it can be easy to make great videos—you just have to be prepared. Going in blind and hoping for the best is a strategy that a lot of people use, and it’s almost always a bad one. Preparation is important and having a proven method to video production is going to help you make amazing videos that will drive traffic and generate more leads.
Where should I post my videos?
It’s really important to choose what medium you want your videos to live before you dive into production—that’s part of the preparation. The three major social media websites that people post videos to are YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram—these are the places where you’ll get the most traffic. But each of them has a slightly different strategy for posting. Here are some things you should remember about each one.
YouTube is by far the most popular video sharing platform in the world. It’s a great place to post basically any video your business makes, but it’s definitely a great place to have lots of how-to videos and other informational videos about your business and your products.
The ideal length for your YouTube videos is usually anywhere between 6 to 10 minutes. That may seem long, but there’s something you have to remember about YouTube compared to the other platforms:
When people are on YouTube, they are there to watch videos.
Although people watch videos on Facebook, they’re usually not the specific reason someone visits the platform. It’s a lot easier to get someone to watch a somewhat longer video on YouTube because they’re expecting it when they log in to YouTube.
That doesn’t mean every video has to be 6-10 minutes. If you’re wanting to post an advertisement on your YouTube account, it’s probably better to keep it shorter because no one wants to watch a 6-minute advertisement. But it is definitely the place for your most tactical, extensive content.
Facebook and YouTube are decently interchangeable in their content—chances are if you post a video on Facebook, you should definitely post it on YouTube, as well. But the thing about Facebook is it’s also greatfor everything… from advertisements and promotions to funny and engaging content.
The ideal length of your video content on Facebook is anywhere between 2 and 3 minutes, and that’s mainly because it’s hard to keep people around. People also typically only watch Facebook videos and Facebook ads for about 30 seconds, so you have to make sure you make the most of the beginning of your video.
One more note about Facebook videos… you really need to utilize subtitles! According to the American Press Institute, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. That makes it clear—subtitles and closed captioning is an absolute must.
Instagram is probably the least important platform to use as a video medium for your business. Your Instagram videos should really only be about 30 seconds, and they should probably be used to push people to your website. The videos on Instagram should be used as flashy previews for your full video on Facebook, YouTube, or your website. Make the most of the time you have your viewer’s attention—your video (previews) should be really visually appealing and make people want to click through to watch the extended version.
Now that you know a little bit more about the platforms that you’ll be posting on, it’s time to dive into the formula for making great videos.
Here are the 7 steps to formatting your videos and making great content.
1. Tell them what’s in it for them
Like we said, you have a limited amount of time to capture the attention of your audience. You want to let them know right off the bat what’s in it for them and why they should take the time to watch your video. If you keep them guessing what the point of the video is, they’re probably going to tune out in under 30 seconds. Here’s an example of a good way to do this…
This is a content video that we released last year on Facebook. When people scroll across the video, this is the very first they see. By starting the video this way, with the actual video bordered and the text at the top of the screen, we can make it extremely apparent what people will get out of this video: common marketing mistakes that they may be making.
By doing this, there is absolutely no waiting and no guessing game. The second someone sees the video, they will instantly know what’s in it for them. If you do this, you make it way more likely some who is interested will stick around and watch the whole thing. If they just keep scrolling, then you know you were probably not going to get them to subscribe or purchase anything anyway.
You don’t have to use text to tell people what’s in it for them—you could begin the video with it. Even if they aren’t listening to the video, your subtitles should still be able to tell them what’s in it for them! The important thing is that you let them know the reason they should be watching, which leads into the next step…
2. Intro and branding
Now you need to let the viewer know who you are and what you do. This is the whole point of making the video, right? The point of making videos is to provide tactical or entertaining content is so viewers will become more familiar with your brand and check out your products. It’s accomplishing Step 1 (Aware) of the Customer Value Journey. If you just provide content but never actually tell them who you are, then there’s absolutely nothing in it for you.
It doesn’t have to be a big flashy logo (although it can be)—it can be really simple. Let’s use the same video from earlier as an example…
In this video, we let our audience know who we are with a simple lower third title caption. It identifies the speaker and puts our company name so users can see it in case they miss the profile that’s sharing it. This is a subtle way of doing branding in your intro, buy you can also go much bigger…
You can also have a big intro and branding screen before you get into the actual content of your video, like we did in this YouTube video. This obviously makes sure that no one can miss it.
Now you may be thinking, “shouldn’t I do the intro and branding before anything else?” Although that seems logical, you want to make sure that people will watch your video in the first place. If the first thing they see is your branding, and not a reason why they should actually watch the video, it’s way more likely they’ll just keep scrolling or click a different link. Reel them in, and then tell them who you are (or just do both at the same time).
3. Give them the value
This is the part where you deliver on your promise. This is going to be the longest section of your video—where you give them the information that they came for. Again, keep in mind the platform in which you’re posting on, but try to provide as much in-depth information as possible. If you overpromise and underperform in a video, it’s not going to be good for your future viewership.
With videos—just like blog posts, infographics, or any other form of content that you may use for content marketing, you need to make sure that you provide something of actual value. People don’t like being pandered to or told obvious things—if you promise six amazing tips to boost traffic, then you need to make sure that’s what you actually provide. If you say that you and your co-workers are going to do a funny challenge, then make sure the video is interesting and engaging from beginning to end.
This part will take by far the most planning because it was your inspiration for posting in the first place. The rest of this video process can’t reach its full potential if you don’t put in the work to nailing down the reason people actually want to watch. If you can figure this part out, what are you offering that the audience wants and how to get it across to them in an effective way, then all of these other parts will fall right into place.
4. Recap with a conclusion
A summary is important because it reinforces everything that you just taught. It makes your information, and your brand, way more memorable. The recap doesn’t have to be complicated—it’s actually better if you keep it really simple. Here’s an example from one of our YouTube videos about the best types of lead magnets that businesses can use.
This recap strategy keeps it really concise—it just goes through and lists the five types of lead magnets one more time so that everyone can remember the main, big picture items. The list doesn’t go into depth or quickly break them down one more time… because it really shouldn’t have to. You already spent a lot of time offering all of that information—if they want to hear it again, then they can rewind the video.
Remember your ideal video lengths—if you add too much information into your recap, you’re probably going to go way longer than you should. Give your audience the quick hits, and then move on to the next part.
5. Advise them
Now that you’ve given them that information that they came for, and then reinforced it, you need to give them the next steps. It could be some advice, a recommendation, encouragement, or even a warning. But no matter what it is, it should be helpful and pertain to the information that you just provided them.
In the case of the lead magnets above, it may be advice about the types of situations you should provide (or not provide) a certain kind of lead magnet. In the case of the marketing mistakes, maybe it’s a warning about what can happen if you continue to make the same mistakes. There are so many ways you can advise the viewer, but it’s added value to what should be an extremely tactical video.
Now for the part that’s the most important aspect of the video for your business. At the end of every video, there should be a CTA that attempts to turn viewers into subscribers, regular visitors, and customers. It can be as simple as prompting people to simply visit your site by clicking a link, or it can be a link to a lead magnet. The end goal is to make people end up on your website, but it would be ideal if you could collect some of their information so you can start to email and reach out to someone that you know is interested in your industry.
Here’s an example from the lead magnets video from before:
For the CTA on this video, we are imploring people to check out our blog and take a look at our lead magnet checklist. That blog post works as the CTA because it is related to the information in the video—if the viewer is interested in what the different kinds of lead magnets are, then you can probably assume that they would be interested in more information about how to create great lead magnets. It’s then partnered with this lead magnet worksheet, which is legitimate, tangible value to the viewer.
Here’s the best part, though: we can then use that lead magnet checklist as a lead magnet. 🤯 When people go to download, we require them to put in their email so we can serve them relevant offers and keep them up to date with what’s going on with the business. Then it’s exponentially more likely that they will make a purchase in the future, which was the end goal of making the video in the first place.
7. Drag at the end
Once you’ve delivered the CTA, you’ve reached the end of the video. So, the CTA should be the last step, right? Wrong. You should actually drag the end of your video—meaning you let it continue to run for 10 to 15 seconds after the last word is said in your video. That may seem like a waste, but there is a legitimate reason for doing this…
Towards the end of videos, most platforms suggest other videos for you to watch. Those suggestions block the entire screen, which means it makes your CTA graphic useless. In the example above, we want people to continue to look at the arrow and think, “I should really click on that link.” If their screen gets blocked by other recommended videos, they’ll see our graphic for only a few seconds before more videos pop up and they completely forget about the CTA. By allowing 10 to 15 seconds before the end of the video, you let people actually contemplate whether they want to follow your CTA, making it more likely they do what you want them to. Let the video breathe before it fades to black; your funnel may literally depend on it.
If you follow this video formatting strategy, you’re going to make great videos that are truly effective. It will put your business in a great place to turn your video marketing efforts into subscribers and customers. Now that you have the stats and the formula, all you need is a phone and some creativity to create the best videos and grow your business!