8 rules for effective video content marketing

Video is becoming an increasingly popular addition to content marketing due it its shareable and engaging nature. In a Demand Metric study, a whopping 82 percent of companies using video for content marketing reported it to be successful. Whether you have a well-developed content marketing strategy or you’re just getting started, you need to make sure you are using video effectively in order to reach your goals. Here are some guidelines we recommend following so that your content marketing videos are as successful as possible:

1. Set goals first

Start with your end goal in mind, and then work backwards as you set your entire strategy. What do you want to achieve with the video? It could be new prospects, increased brand awareness, more sales, thought leadership, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, make sure your goals are clear before laying out your video plan.

2. Answer the right questions 

This rule holds true for content marketing across all mediums. You need to be relevant to your audience and answer questions that your customers are looking for answers (bonus points if the answers aren’t already out there). You can determine what questions you should be answering through direct conversations with your customers or through market research. Try to focus on offering a real solution to a real problem, rather than focusing on big picture ideas.

3. Budget wisely

You’ll want to make sure you get the max ROI out of your videos. And we know, sometimes it can be difficult to convince stakeholders that video is a good idea because it can get pricey. We always recommend filming multiple content marketing videos over a single-day shoot. If you are able to plan out multiple concepts at once, you can have have several scripts ready and film them all at the same time (we recommend 6-10 per day depending on the length). The costs to film will usually be based on a full day rate, so shooting multiple videos in one day will spread the cost out and make each video cost less.

4. Make the video the right length

To ensure you are keeping your viewers’ attention for the length of the video, you’ll need to make sure it’s the appropriate length. The timing will differ depending the content in your video, the platform you are posting your video on, and what action you want the viewers to take. You should be tracking and analyzing how long viewers are watching your videos to optimize their lengths (see step seven).

5. Use headlines and titles

Many viewers will be watching your videos silently on their computers at work, on their phones in public, etc. Make sure to use headlines and titles to emphasize key points to make your video effective with or without sound. For even more tips on how to optimize your video to be viewed silently, check out our 6 Steps to Video Success on Facebook Using Silent Videos blog.

6. Optimize for search

Even if you have a huge following, you should optimize your videos so that potential customers can find them. This includes adding strategic keywords to your video titles, descriptions, and tags, organizing videos so they are easy to browse, making sure your site has a video sitemap, and letting other people embed your videos, among other tips. SEO for your videos will be a huge piece of their success stories.

7. Measure your success

To make sure you’re getting the best results possible, you should measure the success, analyze, and then adjust your strategy accordingly. Metrics are included in most video players online, and you can also add a trackable CTA such as a landing page, custom phone number, or purchase promo code to track leads and purchases back to your video. You should also allow comments on your video so you can interact with viewers’ questions and opinions.

8. Have fun

People love to laugh and are more likely to share videos when they are funny and entertaining. Be creative and original with your content, and just have fun with it. It’ll show in what you create, and it’ll make the process much more enjoyable! For Sparkhouse’s video content marketing, we do a mix of informative videos and fun content to show off our capabilities. “What’s in Our Glass” is a great example of a fun video we made for content creation (and an excuse to drink whiskey during office hours). Check it out here!

Of course, there is more to a successful video than just these guidelines, but following these eight rules will get you started in the right direction. Below are some samples from Sparkhouse to ignite some ideas for content and style! And of course, we’re here to help with any questions on creating video content marketing you might have.

Sparkhouse – Thought Leader Video Reel

Sparkhouse – Studio Video Reel

4 Unconventional Networking Strategies You Should Try

By Alyssa Lahham

Networking is invaluable to business and career growth. It opens up opportunities, fosters learning and growth, and can lead to great friendships. Even the most skilled networkers can benefit from mixing up their strategies. Here are four unconventional networking tips that are both fun to do and likely to help you build lasting connections.

  1. Volunteer for a cause you care about. This is a great way to connect with people who share your values and passions. My favorite way to volunteer is through skilled giving, which allows you to make a huge impact on non-profits and helps you sharpen your skills at the same time. Taproot is a great resource to help you connect with causes you care about that are looking for your professional capabilities.
  2. Speak at an event or on a webinar. Thought leadership is a powerful networking strategy. Sharing your knowledge helps to establish yourself as an industry expert, which helps grow your personal brand and makes more people want to connect with you. Plus, speaking allows you to get your message across to everyone in the room, rather than just a handful of people at a time. Make sure to connect with attendees after you speak, so you can build relationships and learn about them too. Can’t get over your fear of public speaking? Try writing blogs instead.
  3. Create your own group. The options here are endless – start a book club, develop a professional association, work on a project, found a non-profit, etc. This strategy allows you to network on multiple levels. You can reach out to people who have been successful in that space for guidance, you can recruit peers with similar goals to join you, and you can give guidance to mentees who have similar ideas in the future.
  4. Reconnect with past friends and coworkers. It’s easy to lose touch. Make an effort to reconnect with high school and college friends. Catch up and talk about where you’re at in your careers. There are bound to be ways you can help each other, either directly or through connections. While you’re at it, reconnect with the people you met using strategies 1-3! Reconnecting with contacts will help keep your network strong. Easy ways to touch base are to send relevant articles or send LinkedIn messages to congratulate job updates.

Have any more out-of-the-box networking strategies that have worked for you? Please comment!

Also published on IMA WLG 

10 Ways to Grow Your Business with Video

A Guide by Alyssa Lahham and Torrey Tayenaka

We all know that video is an essential tool in today’s marketing landscape. It’s the most effective way to connect with your audience and advance your goals, especially as video traffic continues to rise. Estimates show that by 2019, consumer internet video traffic will make up 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic, and having a video on your site keeps viewers eyes on your page for twice as long as without a video. So why wait? Here are 10 tips to get you started. Pick a few ideas that work for you, and get after it!

1. Share your knowledge and establish yourself as an industry expert.

 

Creating a how-to video or a video blog with helpful tips will show your expertise and build trust with your customers. This will help with more leads, more conversions, and better SEO (up to 53 times the likelihood of page one Google rankings!). Check out our Entrepreneur 60 Second Solutions video with Mark Kohler for some inspiration.

2. Simplify a complex product or service with an animated explainer video.

Animated explainer videos are powerful, popular tools for marketing almost any business, product, or service. You can still be in the prototype, manufacturing or concepting stages of an offering and present an animated explainer video to get your audience excited about its debut — effectively targeting potential customers, investors or even partners in your quest to get the word out. One study showed that animated explainers increase conversion rates by 20 percent! Here’s one animation that we made for EvaDrop while it was still in the prototype phase.

3. Boost downloads by promoting your mobile app’s launch.

Video is a great tool to market mobile apps because it allows you to show the full user experience of the app more than screen shots and words can alone. They are also easily shared and make it easy to include a CTA. We helped Playworks create this video to promote their Playbook App.

4. Recruit new members to your team.

Recruiting the right talent is a crucial piece of growing your business, and a strong recruitment video can help! From a company overview to employee profiles, there are many ways to approach a recruitment video. For Corvel’s recruitment video, we had actual employees talk about why the like working there.

5. Promote a contest thrown by your brand.

Contests are a great way to market a product, service, or brand. They get consumers excited about your brand, and they are especially shareable. However, you have to promote the contest for it to be effective. Video is a powerful strategy to help promote contests. Here’s one contest promotion video that we made for Wet Seal.

6. Make your Ecommerce move with product open box videos.

Product open box videos allow you to introduce new products with unique features, showcase your innovative designs, and demonstrate various uses. Share open box videos on your site, on relevant forums, in e-newsletters, and via video blogging for optimal reach. Check out this open box video we made for Vizio for one example.

7. Build your brand with a customer lifestyle testimonials.

You could settle for a written testimonial, or you could step up your game with a video lifestyle testimonial. You’re not just selling a product or service, you’re asking your target audience to buy into the lifestyle that comes with it. Lifestyle marketing engages your potential customers by showing them how others are benefitting from your company’s offerings — which gets the viewer to picture themselves in the scenario and helps begin building an emotional attachment to your brand through the human connection. Here’s one video we made for DICE to help give their brand some flare.

8. Reach the masses with a TV Commercial

Television commercials have been around since the beginning of the traditional marketing world. TV ad strategy involves an intentional message that either directly or indirectly benefits your bottom line. Tools like age-based segmentation and cross promotion across social media and online outlets improve the reach of your and profitability of your TV commercial and serve to build brand awareness, one viewer at a time. We used these strategies in our USAA Insurance video with RG3!

9. Use video to help raise funds and awareness for a good cause.

Whether you are a nonprofit trying to fundraise or a business trying to raise awareness for your corporate responsibility efforts, video allows you to clearly show potential donors the impact they can make by giving to a good cause. In one study, 92% of nonprofits said that they value the investment they have made in video. Check out this example that we made for Playworks titled, “Why We Play.”

10. Make a big splash with a new product launch.

Why just tell people about your products when you can actually show them? Product videos done right can be a fantastic tool to help your target audience understand your product and the philosophy that sets your company apart. You can use your product video to engage your customers in every step of the launch. Here’s an example new product video we made for Liquipel.

 

Also published on TheSparkhouse.com and repurposed on HuffingtonPost.com

The Sparkhouse Bowl – Our Favorite Super Bowl Ads in Our Own Made Up Categories

By Alyssa Lahham

Advertisers spent a record $377 million on air time alone for Super Bowl ads this year, averaging $5 million for a 30 second spot. With that much skin in the game, there were some great spots. Here are our favorite Super Bowl commercials in our own made up categories:

Best Performance by an Animal

Heinz – Weiner Stampede

Can’t. Stop. Watching. Such. Cute. Puppies. Just don’t think about what happens next.

Best Comedy

Doritos – Ultrasound

We would be safe announcing Doritos will win this for 2017 too. Doritos never disappoints in this category.

Best Celebrity Endorsement

Amazon Echo – #BaldwinBowl

Baldwin, Moreno, Schwartzman, and Elliot…how do I get an invite to that party?

Most Strategic

Death Wish Coffee/Intuit – Storm’s a-Brewin’

Intuit ran a contest to put a small business on the map with a creative Super Bowl commercial. Death Wish Coffee won with this excellently branded ad. Everybody wins.

Best Product Launch

Taco Bell – Quesalupa

With a “best kept worst kept secret” approach, Taco Bell created a ton of buzz.

Most Inspirational

Kia – Walken Closet

Expect more. Be a polka-dot sock.

Most Shareable

Mountain Dew – Puppy Monkey Baby

They combined everything shareable about Super Bowl ads into one.

Best Pop Culture Reference

Drake – Restricted Bling

A little late to Hotline Bling wave, but we’re still counting it.

Best Super Bowl Commercial that isn’t Actually a Super Bowl Commercial

NFL – Super Bowl Babies Choir

Is that stat for real? We believe it! I guess there’s a brightside to my team not winning this year.

Our Very Favorite

Audi – Commander

Just beautiful. And the Bowie soundtrack? Yes.

 

Hope you enjoyed these as much as we did! Any category nominations from the audience?

 

Also published on TheSparkhouse.com