Mobile device, amid an orange background, shows an encircled triangle symbol to play a video and a slider bar below.

Google the phrase “video content marketing” and you’ll find more than 2 billion results. Its popularity as a search term is no surprise when you consider that video is the No. 1 form of media used by marketers, according to HubSpot’s 2020 “Not Another State of Marketing Report,” and the top way to attract new customers on social media. 

Let’s face it, most people are visual learners and in this age of immediacy, we want information fast. 

So what does it take to create video content that converts? A great hook, valuable information, targeted content and creativity, to name a few. Let’s dig in.

What Is Video Content Marketing?

This content marketing approach refers to video recordings or live streams that companies create to educate viewers and, more specifically, engage their target audience. Videos can be posted on a company web page, shared on social media, included in emails and more. 

The goal? By providing useful information free of charge to your target audience, you’re more likely to remain top of mind when a prospect or existing customer needs your goods or services. 

Types of Video Content

Many marketers favor promotional and brand storytelling videos, but there are other types of video content that can lead to conversions:

  • Case studies
  • Company culture videos
  • Demonstrations and tutorials
Video snippet of HubSpot Tutorial for Beginners, illustrating one type of video. A woman is in the thumbnail with a thumbs up.
  • Events
  • Explainers
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Interviews
  • Personalized videos
  • Presentations
  • Product reviews
Video snippet example of a product review comparison between HubSpot and Salesforce.
  • Testimonials and customer stories
  • Video blogs/vlogs
Video snippet example of a video blog, entitled Mastering the 5C’s of Credit, featuring a man with a checkered shirt.
  • Webinars

Keep in mind that video content marketing is a bit different than video advertising, which has more of a focus on selling as opposed to informing.

What Benefits Can Video Content Marketing Provide?

The benefits of video can be best summarized in the words of James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research, who said 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Although McQuivey’s words lean toward hyperbole, the point is clear — and so is the data: Videos increase conversion. So much so that 80% of marketers indicated that video has directly helped raise sales

Here are some other benefits of video content marketing: 

  • Higher search ranking: As with other forms of content marketing, video content done right can increase organic search and help you outrank competitors on search engines.
  • Increased engagement: Think about your own online experiences. Do you prefer posts with videos? How many times do you view a video before reading the accompanying text? Which sites have you visited where you felt a video could’ve enhanced clarity or kept you on the page longer?
  • Greater trust: Customers often refer to the information found on educational video content to make purchase decisions — 90% in fact. As such, quality videos that provide value build trust. 
  • More recommendations: People like sharing videos and people are inclined to consider recommendations from friends. Think of a share to be on par with word-of-mouth advertising, which has proved its worth since the dawn of marketing.
  • Good return on investment (ROI): Not only does video help generate leads and increase sales, but 89% of marketers agree that it offers a solid ROI, according to Wyzowl’s 2020 report, The State of Video Marketing.

How to Develop a Video Content Strategy 

Your video content strategy will guide you in developing compelling content that helps viewers make purchase (and repurchase) decisions. Here are focused and time-bound strategies for how to create video content.

Identify Your Target Audience and Goals

When you’re creating a video content strategy, first determine what stage of the marketing funnel the majority of your target audience is in. This will allow you to prioritize video content that aligns with that stage, whether awareness, consideration or decision. 

Video marketing funnel showing awareness at the top, consideration below and decision as the final stage before the close.

Consider this: What is the purpose of the video? Are you looking to attract new customers, engage users or nurture prospects?

Knowing which stage of the funnel to target will drive the goals for your video content. For example, those in the decision stage might benefit from a product review video or a case study video, while those in the awareness stage might benefit more from an educational or how-to video blog post that addresses a paint point. 

Understanding what stage your buyer is in also will help you identify which platforms are best suited for your content (e.g., LinkedIn for business-to-business marketing). Consider leveraging insights from specialized analytics platforms, such as BuzzSumo, to understand how certain topics are performing and compare how well they are performing on different channels. 

Digital analytics company BuzzSumo’s web content dashboard. Data is shown for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit.

Decide on Your Storyline

Once you’ve determined who your target audience is for a specific video and identified what you want to address within the content, you’ll need to outline your story. 

When you’re crafting a storyline and determining how to make a good video, ask yourself the following:

  • Will there be a main character? (If so, this character should sync with the specific buyer persona you’re targeting.)
  • What are the pain points of my target audience?
  • What is the problem the content will address?
  • What emotional response do you want to evoke from viewers?
  • How will I introduce the main topic?
  • How will the problem be solved?

After you’ve answered these questions, map out exactly how your video will flow. Determine if you’ll animate the video, use real people or a combination of both. 

Then write a script, ensuring your introduction piques interest within the first few seconds and includes at least 1 call to action (CTA), whether your goal is to ask viewers to subscribe to your video channel, like your content or something else. Avoid tangentials, stick to the subject at hand and be concise but thorough. 

Set a Workflow Timeline 

Keep your team aligned and aware of project expectations by identifying a timeline for each aspect of a project as well as the project as a whole, including strategy, production and distribution. 

Break down the smaller components of each phase, which could look like this:

  • Strategy: Goals, Messaging, Budget, Timeline
  • Production: Creative Planning, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production 
  • Distribution: Earned Media, Paid Media, Owned Media

Assign a deadline for each task as well as the larger component. For instance, the distribution phase as a whole might take 3 weeks, with a focus of 1 week per distribution channel. 

Once you’ve estimated how long each step should take, adhere to that timeline. 

If you’re outsourcing your video content marketing efforts, consider how much you’re willing to spend throughout your complete project timeline and stay within those budget parameters.

How to Create a Video 

Now that you have your strategy, storyline and script in place, it’s time to review how to create a good video. If you don’t have an in-house team to produce your videos, you may hire a freelance videographer or an agency. 

Whether you’re determining how to sequence a vlog or how to make a promotional video, there are several steps to follow. While programs and processes may vary a bit, generally, these steps will apply when you’re looking to create video content. 

1. Film

If you’re shooting video in which real people are involved, consider the following components for a successful production day: 

  • Lay out the production process timeline. 
  • If you’re shooting outside of your office, find out if you’ll need a permit to film. 
  • In terms of production value, make sure to have all the props or discussion pieces that will be featured in the video. Also, ensure you have good lighting and quality sound before shooting. 
  • Consider different angles and shots, such as close-ups versus medium shots, capturing your subject from the waist up. 
  • Test your shots before filming.

2. Prep Video

Once you have your rough video, the editing process can begin. With editing software, such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, you’ll be able to upload your video and splice pieces together. For instance, if you had several takes, you could cut and paste video as you like, deleting some clips or adding in others.

3. Add Sound Effects

After you’ve locked in your video, you can work on overlaying audio or sound effects if desired. Make sure the added audio syncs up with the video.

4. Add Visual Effects

At this point, you can focus on other aspects that can increase production value, such as adding animations or graphics, as well as inserting transitions between scenes. Now is also the time to add any on-screen text. 

5. Color Correct

Consider if your video would benefit from color correction. This can help with the visual flow, providing a cohesive look to clips taken at different times.

6. Insert Title and End Cards

At the start of your video, insert a title card, which is a title graphic with the name of your video. At the conclusion of the video, add an end card, which should promote your brand, include your logo and have a CTA. You also could include your company’s web address here.

Video Making Tips

Here are some video making and conversion tips to keep in mind when you’re on the quest for creating visual content that engages your audiences.

Craft a Strong Title and Add Relevant Tags and Descriptions

Think about it. Would you rather watch a video titled “10 Business Marketing Tools” or “Top 10 Marketing Tools Your Business Needs Today”? Also, be sure to work your primary keyword into the title of your video. Additionally, include secondary keywords in your description and video tags.

Create a Thumbnail That Will Draw Viewers In

A thumbnail can be the only thing a viewer sees that will either draw them into the video or turn them away. Be sure to create a custom thumbnail that will make your audience want to click play. Consider testing different thumbnails to see which one drives the most traffic.

Break Things Up

Monotony is as dull in video as it is in life. Break up your talking head with complementary graphics and on-screen text. Take a look at this example in which we see a shift from the spokesperson discussing different forms of collateral to graphics illustrating the collateral types the speaker has mentioned.

Snippet showing how graphics can be used in video. Graphics include dollar bills, a bar chart, a house, a crane and a box.

Keep Time in Mind

While you want to create valuable content and boast a good watch time, you don’t want to create a long video that’s full of fluff. Clear, concise and powerful is the goal.  

A good rule of thumb is 2 minutes or less. Length, however, will vary depending on various factors, including the platform, audience and type of video content you’re promoting.

  • Instagram allows videos of 3-60 seconds in length. Alternatively, you can upload multiple video clips into a carousel post. For longer videos, consider IGTV, which allows up to 60-minute posts when uploading from the web (and 15 minutes when uploaded from a mobile device).
  • Twitter’s maximum video length in a tweet is 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
  • LinkedIn will accept posts timed at 10 minutes or less in the feed, though an optimal length is less than 2 minutes.
  • When it comes to YouTube, there isn’t a clear consensus. That said, aim to stay in the realm of 5-15 minutes, keeping in mind the breadth and depth of content and your audience. For longer videos, consider splitting them up into a series. 
  • On Facebook, videos with the highest engagement run for about 1 minute, though video content on this channel can technically extend up to 4 hours.

Don’t Rely on Audio

While we often think of the benefits of video as incorporating both audio and visuals, it’s important to make your visuals as impactful as possible. Why? Many viewers these days watch videos muted. Take Facebook, for example, where 85% of viewers watch clips with the sound off. This is just another reason why including complementary graphics is so important. Also, be sure to use the description field to your advantage and add captions, subtitles and on-screen text where possible. 

Optimize for Mobile

Most viewers watch video content marketing on a mobile device, so be sure your video display is mobile responsive. Check that text is legible and images are clear. 

Use Directional Cues

One conversion tip when making your video is to have characters or speakers point or gesture to a call to action or draw attention to the video CTA with arrows or other eye-catching directions. You can also have the speaker explicitly tell viewers to complete the video CTA throughout the recording and again at the end. 

Be Intentional With Content Across Platforms

Just as you’re being intentional with the users you’re seeking to target, be deliberate about the content you promote across platforms. Avoid duplicating video content and keep in mind the different sizing and spec requirements.

Why Video Is Worth Your Time

Leveraging video for marketing is only expected to grow over time. According to Marketing Charts, in 2021 people will be watching videos at a rate of 100 minutes a day, while ad spending for online videos is projected to increase $16 billion. Without a doubt, understanding how to make a good video is essential to building your brand and driving conversions in 2020 and beyond.

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