By Shari Saunders and Eric Olson

There’s no other way to put it. If your company isn’t including video in your PR or marketing efforts, you’re falling behind.

The stats speak for themselves:

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a reason so many companies are finding a reason to use video in their communications plans. Creating branded video gives your company a chance to deliver more than just a message about a product.

Many companies still suffer from the misconception that adding video to their communications strategy is too costly. But regardless of budget (and with a good strategy in place) anyone can create an effective social media video campaign that helps effectively deliver messaging.  Plus, you’ll build a library of owned content that can serve other marketing needs.

Video delivers the personality, the lifestyle, and even the heart of your brand in a way that engages audiences well before they decide to take action. And, as we’ve previously discussed, bringing video into your current messaging strategies can make a great difference in telling your product or company’s story effectively. The truth is, even if you’re producing some videos for social media every now and then, you’re still behind the curve.

Social Media: The New Video Networks

Not only are the top social media channels embracing video, they are continuously producing new avenues for video content distribution. Think along the lines of Facebook’s Live, Stories, and, most recently, “Watch” platforms.

The “Watch” platform boom isn’t new— following in the footsteps of Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and even old-school TV networks that moved into streaming years ago, such as HBO. The top social media brands are competing for eyes on their screens, so it’s really no surprise that Facebook and Instagram have taken the leap to introduce video-specific platforms in their respective apps.

Facebook’s Watch is intended for approved creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and monetize their work. Episodic content will reside on Watch, giving audiences the opportunity to watch series made by their favorite creators. (Sounds like YouTube, right?) Watch also plans on rolling out “Watch Parties,” allowing Facebook users to tune into the same show, at the same time, with friends and families across the world.

In June 2018, Instagram introduced IGTV, built for full, vertical screen viewing and focused on serving content from top creators and influencers. Unlike Facebook, however, IGTV allows all Instagram users to be creators, not just celebrities.

One of the true takeaways from these evolving platform trends is the concept of episodic content. Many creators on YouTube have been doing this for a long time through vlogs and weekly series on their respective channels.

This content gains a loyal and engaged audience, often because of the genuine and authentic feel without overproduced effects. Many brands are engaging in episodic content at different levels, such as Lowe’s, Nike and Strategic America. 😉

A Checklist for Creating Strong Videos for Your Content Strategy

Video content certainly works as an effective public-relations tactic. But rather than using short-lived video on social media platforms, make it a major piece of your company’s content strategy: You create it; you own it. That means you can use it for other marketing needs.

Figuring out how a video content strategy can help your company starts with answering the same questions you should be asking as part of any content strategy:

  • Who are your audience groups and how distinctly can you define them?
  • What are the needs of each audience group and how can the content in your video help meet those needs?
  • What is your company’s competitive advantage?
  • Where does each audience group seek out information?
  • When and how can your audiences find your video at the right time for the greatest impact?

Once you have a good idea of who your audience is and what they’re looking for, you can start to delve into the details that will make your videos stand out and create effective results.

Here are some questions to spark conversations and provide direction when planning your video strategy:

  • Does this video showcase our product’s or company’s competitive advantage? Does it show why we are unique?
  • Should this video provoke an action (if so, what is it?) or evoke an emotion that will increase brand awareness and loyalty?
  • Is there a lot of competition for eyes on this subject? If so, how can our video stand out?
  • Are we finding the right distribution platforms (social media vs. company website, for example) to meet our audience at a point where they will be more likely to engage with the video? What video production elements should be considered to create videos that work efficiently on each platform?

By answering these questions ahead of production, you’ll save a lot of time and increase the likelihood that your videos will be successful in meeting your needs. Just like blogs or other forms of content, having a clear distribution calendar will help keep you on track and encourage serving the right messages to the right audience in the most efficient way possible.

The Benefit of Video Content as Owned Media

Creating video not only allows your company’s or product’s story a more active and vivid presentation, it gives you a chance to build a supply of owned media for marketing.

“Owned media” is really just another name for content. Be it a blog, photos, infographics or videos, owned media allows you to have a stockpile of easily distributed information where you control the message and how your company impacts your audience.

Because of that, every video you create can be used in double duty—impacting social media while also continuing the story in a consistent style on your website. By creating an area on your company’s website for original owned content, you’ll have a hub for materials that can then be shared to social media platforms or other outlets, such as email marketing or media pitches.

With a strong strategy in place, you’ll find that one feeds the other, as opposed to trying to create new content for each of your messaging needs.

There’s a whole series of blogs (not to mention entire courses) that go down the content marketing rabbit hole. But it starts with having a good idea of why you are using video as a medium for your message, as well as how each particular video builds that message. Once you that you’ll be on your way to creating more effective videos that appeal to your audiences and successfully meet your company’s goals.