Director of Inbound Training and Video Strategy, Inbound and Video Workshop Trainer, Creator of the Facebook Group ‘Film School for Marketers’
June 16th, 2017
One of the most common problems with content strategy is consistently creating awe-inspiring content that engages your audience, sells your products, and creates brand zealots.
Question is, is there really a silver bullet strategy that will accomplish everything?
When we look at the overall strategy to produce great content, don’t we want to accomplish many things?
First, we want to be awe-inspiring and captivate our audience in meaningful ways. Then we want them to feel led to excitedly purchase our products and services. Then, ultimately, we want them to rave about us and stay connected.
The question does not lie in if these are all possible, but are they mutually exclusive?
In this article, I’ll be detailing how you can develop the most effective video marketing strategy by simply dividing it into separate, more focused strategies.
You’ll be able to plan, coordinate, and achieve video marketing objectives easier and more effectively.
Why Content Strategy is Different with Video
Content strategy is complex. Yet, if you boil it down to its simplest form, you’ll find that discoverability is the most desired outcome.
Whether it’s a niche group or a widespread demographic, you’re competing for their attention and trust.
At The Sales Lion, we experience major success with companies all over the world by deploying the “They Ask, You Answer” methodology across their organization. By obsessing over customer questions, and becoming the “Wikipedia” of their industry, these organizations see rapid growth in traffic, leads, and sales. Some within weeks.
Video has become a major part of these strategies. Globally, traffic from online videos will constitute over 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Also, “how-to” related searches on YouTube are growing 70% year over year. However, video can lend itself to MUCH more than just an educational tool. Video is visual, and visual allows us to make emotional connections.
If you need convincing on the many uses that video can have, check out the Inspiration Gallery from Wistia.
Video can be used to consistently reach our audience and keep them engaged. Facebook videos alone have increased 360% across everyone's news feeds.
The Three Video Strategies
I can’t take credit for coming up with the strategy below (although I wish I had), but I will explain it The Sales Lion way and give you some tips on making it possible for you.
I originally read about this way of constructing a content plan on Think with Google. The reason I was so intrigued by the article, besides the fact that it was solid gold, was that it’s messaging was made for a business video content strategy, not for YouTube creators.
But let’s start breaking down the information within.
After you’ve developed a “core” content strategy, or in other words, determine how you intend to display your brand's core values and value proposition, you can start to divide your efforts into three strategies:
INSPIRE the audience with emotional and relatable stories
EDUCATE the audience with useful information
ENTERTAIN the audience by surprising them, making them laugh or sharing spectacular content
When I started reading this, I got excited. Mainly because it was putting a set of steps to a method I have witnessed many companies succeed with. These cover the major reasons that anyone even gets on the internet. Most times, they’re bored or looking for an answer.
Using these as a guide, you can take things a step further and actually name each one. Google proposes the following:
Help content: What is your audience actively searching for regarding your brand or industry? What can serve as your 365-day-relevant, always-on, content programming? E.g. product tutorials, how-to content, customer service, etc.
Hub content: The content you develop on a regular basis to give a fresh perspective on your target's passion points (e.g. verticalized content about a product line). This is often staggered throughout the year.
Hero content: What content do you want to PUSH to a big, broad audience? What would be your Super Bowl moment? A brand may have only a few hero moments in a year, such as product launch events or industry tent-poles.
Let’s elaborate on each strategy.
#1 Help Strategy
Although we assist with the other strategies from time to time as well, this is our bread and butter here at The Sales Lion. This is the driver behind any initiative meant to increase discoverability.
When your prospects and customers have questions, they (most likely) won’t pick up the phone. They go to search engines like Google and YouTube, where they type in their questions.
They may search for things like "How to Make Marketing Videos"...
The Help strategy is where you employ your methods of SEO and discoverability. Educate your audience with helpful information, and you’ll start bringing in more viewers to your funnel.
Start with major problems you solve, and common questions that your sales team gets. These are the pieces of video content that people are actively searching for. Using these videos as virtual customer service you not only educate the buyer but in turn build trust and authority with the viewer.
As I mentioned, “how-to” videos are some of the most successful titles on YouTube. Followed by “Best of” and “Top XYZ”. Think of the last YouTube explainer video you watched. Was it divided into steps, rankings, or some other numbered list? Keep this in mind as you create these educational pieces.
Another example is "Whiteboard Friday" from Moz. (Which actually serves the Help AND Hub Strategy.)
#2 Hero Strategy
When I assume what people in different industries think of video marketing, this is what comes to mind. This is the bulk of what you’ve seen on social media and during traditional TV programming and streaming services. It’s what Google is defining as your “Super Bowl Moment” but I think that’s a bit dramatic.
Hero content is that magical stuff that takes lots of work in pre-production, a fair amount of production time, and then additional time on the backend heavily promoting it. It should perform so well, that you’re able to reach new viewers and expand your audience.
Easier said than done, but you’re capable of creating these pieces if you plan for them.
This is the time where you slip on your ideal viewer's shoes, and think about what makes them tick. What would truly inspire them?
Let’s look at an example:
What makes this video so powerful (besides the fact that it’s 5 years old and still majorly impressive from a composition standpoint)?
It made an emotional connection.
It communicated a message so well that it took you beyond “dance,” and made you agree that dancing is, at times, more powerful than words.
Yeah. It even made this lady cry.
One more example:
Ok, so this one didn’t exactly make anyone cry. However, this is a powerful testimony that shows social proof of how Hootsuite Amplify has made an impact with TopGolf.
When you’re thinking about Hero content, think about it like this: What kind of message can you deliver the viewer that makes them experience something? Deliver a message powerful enough that they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
#3 Hub Strategy
This is where consistency and reinforcement come into play. Hub content is simply video content that your audience expects on a regular basis. This could be daily, weekly, monthly or however consistently you can manage.
At any rate, this is just another opportunity to reinforce your brand and delight your prospects and customers. Oftentimes, this may actually be a part of your educational strategy as well.
Let’s look at some examples. Our first is Lowes' YouTube channel, where they publish a series called “The Weekender”. This series follows host Monica Mangin around the United States as she assists homeowners to renovate areas in their house, all the while showing you the DIY projects involved. Each episode is around 10 minutes long.
Another example is from us here at The Sales Lion. The Balance is a motivational series following Marcus Sheridan around the world and documents his quest to find the “work-life balance.” Episodes range in length from 4-20 minutes and are released periodically on YouTube, iTunes, and Facebook.
The key with Hub content is to create valuable, compelling or otherwise entertaining videos on a regular basis. These can take the form of micro-content (less than a minute) or be extensive short films. Whatever the case, the goal is to be consistent and build an audience over time.
How you can build the best video marketing strategy
Each of these strategies alone are very powerful, and you will likely see some results if you’re executing them properly. Take a step back, however, and see if you have overarching themes that can be used in each strategy to bring them together.
You may find that your strengths are best suited for one, two, or all three of these. In fact, we at The Sales Lion highly encourage you to use all three in combination. The best video marketing strategies generate interest (hero), build trust (help), and create a passionate audience (hub).