The question is no longer whether to use video, but how. Roughly 40 bazillion sources will tell you 85% of Americans with internet watch video and nearly 90% of brands use video in their marketing. To further the point, they’ll embed high-production spots by Apple or Red Bull or Dollar Shave.
None of this is news. But if you’re in finance or HR consulting, or if you sell safety or technology or even wiper blades, much of the available advice may simply leave you scratching your head.
Stop scratching and think about what you’ll need
The first step is to know whether you’re:
☐ Creating a video
☐ Incorporating video into your ongoing content strategy
While a one-off video is great, if you’re making a longer-term plan, you’ll want ideas with legs—concepts or approaches you can spin out to multiple videos relatively efficiently. In fact, mapping out several ideas in advance will make the whole effort easier.
Humor is a spectrum, so figure out where your brand should sit and give people a reason to laugh, smile or relate. If your brand is buttoned up, this may be the place to poke a little fun at yourselves.
Where to find your stand-out video content
This is going to take some brainstorming, so clean off the whiteboard or keep a Google doc open and give ideas time to gel. See if any of these ideas sparks something.
- Tell your customers’ stories. Omnicell, for example, sells medication dispensing cabinets to healthcare providers. Their video, however, features real EMTs talking about how it helps them save lives. What a motivator. Talk to your customers to uncover their unique challenges, hurdles or experiences and weave stories that will connect with your prospects.
- Let customers speak for you. On-camera interviews and testimonials are a great way to go, especially if clients are working remotely. Focus on the key kernel of a challenge or experience that separates their message from all the other testimonials out there.
- Get topical. What do customers and prospects ask? Create brief explainers about the industry, new regulations, trends, etc. How does the climate crisis affect personal investing? What’s the latest phishing trickery? Is this a vlog? Maybe. Just stay out of the weeds—keep it to a minute or two. (Unless it’s a webinar. Even then, edit so every minute compels.)
- Shine the spotlight inward. If you’re in a relationship business, profile your team. Avoid talking to yourself by connecting employees’ stories to viewer benefits.
- Connect through a cause. Describe your support for a nonprofit or local group and demonstrate what your support enables.
- Show how it’s made. There’s a reason people pay extra to sit in a restaurant kitchen—we love seeing things come together. Give us 100 videos detailing the production process. And if you don’t make a physical product, keep reading.
- Nerd out. Whatever excites you may excite a prospect, too. Explain how a law came to be on the books. Define an obscure term, theory or practice. Share your favorite knot for tying down cargo. Teach us something weird or wonderful.
- Illustrate a problem. What are you solving? Use metaphors, a whiteboard or even animated squirrels to bring the problem to life and, naturally, offer yourself as a solution.
- Fantasize. Let go of reality. Imagine your perfect world and create it in video.
How to keep it interesting
People don’t share boring videos. What can you do to ensure that yours are watch-worthy?
- Keep it tight. Stick to the most compelling parts of the story and leave the rest, such as case study details or product demos, for PDFs or post-purchase videos.
- Create your own look. Individuality and continuity will make your videos more immediately recognizable and reinforce your personality. This can mean always using a specific animation or shooting style or, if you want to be more flexible, it can simply mean locking in a color palette that extends across everything from motion graphics to live action and 3D video. Retro? Futuristic? Retrofuturistic? Pick a style.
- Find the emotion. Humor is a spectrum, so figure out where your brand should sit and give people a reason to laugh, smile or relate. If your brand is buttoned up, this may be the place to poke a little fun at yourselves. And if humor is completely wrong for you, go for fascinating or heartwarming. Just make them feel something.
As you know, boring is relative. While you may not create the next TikTok-breaking carrot bacon air fryer hack or cranberry juice fueled skateboarder, your videos will be interesting to the people who matter—your audience.