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How to Use Video Content to Create a Loyal Audience

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These days, it seems there is so much video content that it's hard to get viewers' attention.

When a brand creates a video channel, it's competing with not only other brands' channels but also everything else that lives online. Still, some brands seem to have a loyal following. So, what video content gets people engaged?

Let's say an auto company launches an online video series for a new hybrid car. It repurposes a series of stunning ads from its TV campaign that highlight the car's high-powered performance and low price. It posts the video ads on its online channels, shares them on social media, and waits. Two weeks later, there are few likes, shares, and comments. Why didn't the videos get any traction?

Because video content in marketing works when it provides value—asks questions and provides answers and interacts with the target audience in a meaningful way.

In short, video marketing content isn't about making the sale, it's about creating a conversation with its audience.

Your Brand and Content

Whatever kind of videos you create, they should be consistent with your brand voice. That means your content should be truthful, genuine, and true to your brand. Consumers are savvy. They won't engage if they feel the content is inauthentic or forced.

For example, if you run a fast-food chain, chances are making a high-quality cooking show video series won't resonate with your audience.

Tip: You can save a lot of time and money by looking at what your competitors and independent creators in your brand category are doing. Try to figure what works for them, and what doesn't. You can get good insights just by looking at the comments section.

Video content works when it's about a subject or interest that both your target audience and your brand care about.

That sounds easy if you're an airline ("woohoo, travel!"), but what if you're a dishwashing liquid brand ("boohoo, cleaning up...")?

The key is to get specific. Find an element in your product or service that your audience finds useful or entertaining.

For instance, people often go online to look for videos that offer tips and tricks, so you can make a series of how-to videos, anything from "the 8 things you can clean in your dishwasher" to a cooking show (after which there's the job of cleaning up pots and pans).

By focusing on such themes, you're offering practical value to the audience and the dishwashing liquid becomes a natural part of the narrative.

Tip: Not everyone is interested in your entire video library. Some might want to see just a specific video. Think about how your content works for those interested in the entire theme of your channel, and for those who are interested in just individual videos.

Production Considerations

Got your idea? Now it's time to make some videos. So lights, camera... wait up! Before you start filming, there are a few things to consider about production.

One-hit viral videos are great, but they're not something that will sustain an audience's attention in the long run. Instead, aim to create a consistent video series to maintain and increase engagement with your audience over time.

Accordingly, you should be uploading videos on a regular schedule. Imagine your favorite TV show airs an episode today, and then two weeks later, and then only a month after that... By then, it will most likely not be your favorite show any longer.

Invite guest stars to widen the appeal of your content and attract new audiences. They don't have to be A-list celebrities. You can feature bloggers or key influencers in your industry—anyone who can present your brand in a positive light.

Decide how many episodes to produce, and how long the content would be relevant on the channel. A series can only run so long before the concept gets old, so think what future content will help to maintain audience engagement.

Get the most out of your video production. All those lights, camera, action, and people don't come cheap. Try to shoot multiple episodes/videos at a time to maximize resources.

Tip: To get eyes on your videos, publish on popular online video platforms, such as YouTube and Vimeo. You can also embed your videos on your social media channels.

Once you have your content ready, it's time to launch. But before you hit "publish," lay the groundwork.

Prepping for Publishing

Before people see your video, they see a thumbnail. It's helpful to think of a thumbnail like a movie poster. It should be eye-catching, it should show an exciting moment in the video, and it should look good on desktop and mobile.

The first thing people read is your title, so come up with a catchy name for your video to draw them in. Research keywords and tags that are popular with your audience to make sure your titles can be found easily on search engines.

Viewers see the top 2 sentences in your video description area before having to click to see more, so this is prime real estate for highlighting your call to action (CTA), such as a link to your website, social channels, or related videos or playlists.

After you publish the video, show you're listening to your audience by replying to comments. Treat your most active users like VIPs. Highlight their comments, give them rewards, and invite them to appear in your videos.

* * *

In the end, understand that what people value most is entertainment, utility, and personal interaction. By engaging with them and talking about what's important to them, you increase your brand affinity and build a loyal audience.

Have you seen any recent example on how good video content helped a brand build an audience? I would love to read or hear about it, so please share in the comments section below.

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Ali Liaquat is an award-winning digital marketer based in Dubai. He heads the digital services division at IT-Serve, which helps local businesses with search and Web marketing.

LinkedIn: Ali Liaquat

Twitter: @@a_liaquat

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  • by Claire Noble Sun Jan 29, 2017 via web

    Hi Ali, thanks for the great article. It's super helpful considering the push to use video for all marketers. I think it's also important to mention the role that online creation tools when it comes to the production side of video. As a small business owner, I feel like I don't have the resources or the talented to produce a video that will look as professional as I want. In an ideal world, I would hire a creative video creator but that's not always the option. I think it's great that there are other options, like Wistia, Promo (slidely/promo) and others. They can really help level the playing field for all sizes of brands and budgets and I think it's helpful to know as we continue to go forward with the video marketing push.

  • by Jon Spenceley Tue Jan 31, 2017 via web

    Awesome post, Ali! High-five for calling out the video thumbnail as the first thing you should consider. We noticed our video click-through rate wasn't what we had hoped for when deploying a few of our interview videos back in the day, and discovered it was all in the splash screen. Based on that, we put together this list of tips - hope it's useful!

  • by Nancey N Tue Jun 6, 2017 via web

    I really like that you have spoken about creating videos that are not viral in nature, but ones that are sustainable for the long-term. It is important that engagement levels are increased with the audience over time. This is a hallmark of effective video retargeting. [Comment truncated by MarketingProfs.]

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