Before you add video to your marketing arsenal, you need a strategy that goes beyond simply creating and uploading videos. Your video strategy should address why you're making them, for whom you're making them, and how they will help you reach your goals.

Your strategy will evolve over time, so it's not crucial to get it perfect at the onset. What you do need is enough of a framework to get started in the right direction.

Here are five steps to help ensure your video marketing strategy is purposeful.

1. State your mission

Create a one-line mission statement that conveys...

  • The type and tone of video content you will be creating
  • Whom you will be making the videos for
  • What value your target audience should get from the videos

Here is a possible mission statement template:

[Company name] makes [adjective] video content for [target audience] to help them [what you want your videos to accomplish for your audience].

And here is the template filled in with details for a company that sells instant drug-testing kits to small and midsize businesses:

Company X makes educational video content for owners of small and midsize businesses to help them achieve higher workplace safety.

In that example, we can see that the company's video marketing mission is to increase workplace health and safety for small and midsize businesses.

2. Pick your story topics

When you know what your mission is, you can then choose which stories to tell to accomplish that mission. And for that, you need to pick topics.

In our example of the drug testing company, those topics might be...

  • Drug-testing technology
  • Workplace accidents
  • Drug-testing laws
  • Drug abuse/addiction causes and ramifications

Once you have chosen your topics, you can then start brainstorming the stories you can tell that fit into those topics.

In our example of drug-testing technology, the company could make videos about the evolution of workplace drug testing, the various types of drug tests available, the pros and cons of each type of drug test, the most outrageous cheating techniques ever documented, and more.

Those subjects might be covered in various formats, including...

  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Brand journalism
  • Case studies
  • Customer testimonials
  • Demos
  • Event recaps
  • Explainers
  • FAQ answers
  • How-tos
  • Mini-documentaries
  • Reviews
  • Thought leadership interviews
  • webinars that you've presented and recorded

You want your content to answer the questions your audience has so your business is seen as the expert in your field. Then you can spotlight brand stories that engage your audience.

3. Designate your creators

If you are just starting out and you have a small budget, you can try making some initial videos yourself. It's not difficult to make a good-quality video these days. Even if you are working on a shoestring budget, you can use your phone and one of the many do-it-yourself video services to create decent video content.

More-established brands with a larger budget have options. If you are going to be making videos on an ongoing basis, it might be better to purchase some equipment and use an in-house videographer.

If you think you'll be making only a set number of videos, then a freelance videographer or a studio may be a better option.

Whether you decide to go with in-house talent or a third-party creator, you should have a set workflow for creating the videos that covers the following areas:

  • Who brainstorms the creative concepts
  • Who writes scripts
  • Who approves the ideas/scripts
  • Who organizes the logistics of the videos
  • Who gives feedback for the videos
  • Who distributes the completed videos

When you work with an agency, many of those decisions will be made in partnership with the agency.

If you're completely unsure of where to start with video creation, see whether you can tap someone in your organization to create a short video series for internal use. Then you can gauge whether it would be better to create in-house or hire an agency.

4. Host your content

You'll most likely want to have a channel on YouTube and upload videos straight to Facebook (if you use that platform). But you should also embed them on your site, or even host them on your site if possible.

YouTube, Facebook, and any other site that hosts your videos are in the business of keeping people on their platforms. By having your videos on your site—and turning off the suggested videos at the end—you help keep visitors on your site. You may want to have an entire video section organized by topic on your website and embed relevant videos in blog posts.

To help get people to your site, put links in your video description boxes on other sites, such as YouTube, that will take visitors to a landing page on your site. That page should be set up to start visitors on a journey through your videos, from an introduction to education about your business and what you can do for them.

5. Monitor your performance

Dig into your videos' analytics to see what works, what doesn't, and what you should try. Those numbers can give you a clue as to what direction you should go to help you generate good ROI from your strategy.

Here are three of the most important video metrics:

  1. Drop-off rates: How much of your video your audience is watching
  2. Clickthrough rates: How many people click the CTA link at the end of (or elsewhere in) the video
  3. Consumption rates: How many videos individual leads watch in a given time period.

* * *

Creating a video marketing strategy with purpose—to help you reach your goals—takes organization and solid workflow. Once all the pieces are in place and you've worked out the details, you'll be in a position to experiment and tweak your video offerings until you find what works to increase your leads and conversions.

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image of Jack Anzarouth

Jack Anzarouth is founder and president of Digital Ink Marketing, a full-service boutique digital marketing agency in New York.

LinkedIn: Jack Anzarouth