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Video – It’s Not About You, It’s About Your Customers.

contentwiseThe article below was featured in the latest issue of ContentWise. ContentWise is a monthly eZine that I would recommend for anyone interested in content marketing. Standard subscription is free.

More and more businesses are using video as part of their overall marketing strategies. Once a high barrier to entry due to the sheer expense of video creation, production and marketing, businesses can now launch effective video tactics with just a few thousand dollars.

This also creates a problem. Because it is now so easy to create a video, and the proliferation of video sharing sites such as YouTube (among others) is ever increasing, there are more bad videos available than ever before.

What’s happened is that businesses are continuing to focus on the “technology” and not the core reason why videos are successful – great content and storytelling targeted to a specific customer segment.

If you are considering video as part of your integrated marketing strategy, here are the success factors.

Tell the Story, Not Your Story
Like any valuable, relevant and compelling content you create, a video is not about you, it’s about your customers. This is the biggest challenge for a business to overcome. So many times businesses want to talk about their products and services, or position one of their executives as an expert. That’s all fine and good, but if the video does not meet the informational needs of the individual watching it, it won’t be watched.

The solution is simple. Develop a keen understanding of the customer or prospect group you are targeting. What are their key challenges? What do they need to know to be more productive at work, or live better lives? Why is your message important in the first place?

Once that is established, you can then weave in your marketing objectives into the video content without selling to them. Remember, your goal is not to sell them, but to help develop a conversation with them. Without valuable content, there is no possibility of a conversation.

Forget the One-Timers and Think “Series”
Like any other successful communications program, consistency is the key. Many businesses create video in hopes of that viral one-hit wonder. Really successful business videos build upon each other. Sites like willitblend.com or askaninja.com didn’t just produce one video and sit back. They planned for ongoing and consistent videos with a content plan focused on their target customers.

Share It, Don’t Own It
Just like your brand doesn’t belong to you anymore (it belongs to your customers), treat your videos the same way. Don’t just expect your customers and prospects to only go to your website to view the video. Populate it wherever your customers may be, whether YouTube, Facebook or probably most fitting, the industry media sites and portals in your particular niche. Your goal is for your video to be watched, so that you can change or maintain a behavior. Knowing where your customers are prone to “engage” in your content is key.

Focus on Content over Production Value
The days of six-figure videos are over. Today’s consumers are very accepting of “YouTube quality” video, which are sometimes viewed as more credible and “real” to certain consumer groups. What are your current customers viewing habits? That question will save you a ton in production expenses.

Get Outside Help
When a business owner or sales and marketing department produces video without outside help, there is an uncontrollable urge to actively sell in it. Hire a on-line video content specialist or journalist to give you a third-party view that will help remove the rose-colored glasses.

Video lets customers view, see and hear things not possible with other formats. The technology is great, but it’s the targeted storytelling that will define your success and bring out the “human” side of your company.