Several companies in the B2B space recently asked me how they might create low-cost videos with strong marketing ROI. They believe – rightly so – that video has the power to quickly explain a value proposition, generate leads, or engage prospects with educational content.
They’re not alone in their thinking. According to the Content Marketing Institute, recent studies by Wistia, YouTube, and Ooyala on video engagement predict that video “will take up over 90 percent of the online content pie within the next decade.”
The good news is that cost-effective videos are more achievable today than ever before.
New tools for creating powerful video content are emerging every day. Using nothing more than a good smartphone or a recorded video chat, marketers can capture relevant footage from events, interviews, customer visits, webinars and other interactions that can be shared with their target community. With modest editing, these assets can go a long way toward communicating a company’s thought leadership and brand.
But while valuable, this type of video footage tends to be both unscripted and long – and therein lies the rub. What if you want to be more intentional in your message, and get that message across in under a minute or two? To do that, you’ll need to create a scripted, purpose-built video.
Three new tools
Entente Marketing has worked with several new online platforms for creating just this sort of tight video content, including three cost-effective SaaS tools: Brainshark, Animoto and PowToon. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and each is good at a particular style of production. All three have low license fees (about $20-50/month) and free versions are available so you can try them out yourself. They’re all relatively easy to use, so you can indeed use them yourself, but if you’d rather spend your time on other things an agency such as Entente can create the video for you and keep production costs quite low compared to high-end video editing suites.
Brainshark adds narration, background music and auto-play to PowerPoint presentations, including PowerPoint animations. Video clips can also be incorporated along with the slides. This tool can be particularly useful in turning existing slideshows – if they’re well-constructed and on-message – into more engaging video material.
Animoto sets images and video clips to music, in a style I think of as “MTV-like.” There’s no easy voiceover capability, but instead you can intersperse text slides to tell your story. It includes an extensive royalty-free music track library and a variety of pre-defined visual styles. The videos created by Animoto are particularly useful for evoking a brand image, but can also be applied to explainer-type videos that convey a more structured message – especially if your audience likes music!
PowToon is a simple toolset for creating animated videos from scratch, with a limited but useful set of pre-defined characters, actions, backgrounds and props. You can record your own voice track or import a professional recording. They offer a limited set of sound tracks or you can license your own separately and import them. This tool is highly recommended for explainer videos, promotional spots, education segments and other targeted content with a clearly-defined intent.
What else is needed?
Building an effective video takes more than just production. For example, if you hire Entente to create a video for you, we’d also deliver the following key elements:
Persona-based message. You’ll need to identify which buyer persona to target with your video’s message. Since several people are usually involved in a business buying decision, what job function, department, job title and role do you want to address? Most importantly, what are the challenges encountered in his/her work? If you craft your message to highlight how you can help with those, you’ll have a better chance of getting and keeping attention with your video.
Script and storyboard. A script and storyboard detail how your video’s narration and action will deliver your message. A good script will deliver your message with minimum words and maximum impact. A well-constructed storyboard maps the audio narration (or on-screen text) to tightly-timed animation, reveals, transitions and other video effects to ensure that your story is seen, heard and understood simultaneously. Both are essential before you start video production.
Landing page. Once your video is complete, you’ll need a way to distribute it and convert views into action. That’s what a landing page does. While you could email a video to your audience as an attachment, that’s usually not advisable due to the size of the video file. You can upload your video to a hosting site such as YouTube or Vidyard (and should to increase exposure), but these platforms don’t allow you to manage associated messaging or calls-to-action. A landing page gives you a place to encourage video viewing, provide supportive messaging, and ask for a response in the form of clicking a link or submitting a lead form. Your video may be Academy Award material, but will only win if it gets votes in the form of market response!
Your turn to talk
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! It seems you’re pretty interested in video as a content marketing lever.
So now it’s your turn: What tools have you used (if any) to create videos so far? How did they work? What do you want to accomplish with video content in your marketing efforts? What do you think about persona-based video messaging? What keeps you up at night when you contemplate video marketing?
I’d love to hear from you!