Every year around this time, I throw an Oscar party for my friends. But we don’t actually watch the big TV show. Instead, I ask them to bring movie clips that fit into a theme, from “Best Actress,” to “Best 80’s Movie” to this year’s “Most Shocking” category.
The results reflect the fact that my friends are all different people. The “Shocking” event pulled in scenes from a Japanese horror film and Kung Fu Panda. People couldn’t take their eyes off the screen. Variety is good, with friends and with movies.
That’s why I find it incredibly strange that businesses forget to offer powerful video content as part of their marketing programs. Many B2B companies don’t even use video in their digital PR mix, and those that do often simply choose to have a “talking head” in front of the camera.
But the video opportunity can’t be ignored any longer. More than 88.6 million people watched online video on an average day in December 2010, according to CommScore. That’s up 32% from 2009. When you add in the fact that video content helps improve your search rankings, it’s hard to resist.
Here’s my 8 tip recipe to developing videos that could move a business audience:
- Institute the 5 second rule: YouTube recently announced it is instituting a “5 second” opt-out for watching advertisements on the platform. If a viewer opts out in that timeframe, they are allowed to jump right to their desired content. You may not be an advertiser, but think about the implications. If your video isn’t immediately compelling, it’s a failure.
- Remember “length matters:” Your video should end. Preferably much sooner than you want it to. Shoot for 2 minutes, no longer than 2.5. Once you have the core concept, you’d be well served to create different lengths and to test success through email marketing campaigns, etc. Look at how this video recaps 2010’s mobile developments in 180 seconds.
- Operate on your brand’s edges: Of course businesses must protect their reputations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore boundaries. I love how this Nokia video shows you the power of their N8 camera in the enthralling story of “Dot.”
- Activate viewers: As with any marketing strategy, you want folks to make a choice at the conclusion of the video. What is the desired next step for your viewers? Do you think social media influencer Chris Brogan picked up the phone after receiving this video “thank you?” Do you think this video got advertisers to rethink their offering?
- Mix up styles: Please don’t be boring. It’s not fun for you and it’s certainly not fun for your audience. The quickest way to liven things up is to mix up your approach. Try animation or “rotoscoping” or a song or “multi-head” interviews. At our firm, we are constantly evaluating how to use data and studies to make content come to life. Look at how Hans Rosling brings these health statistics to life.
- Think about storytelling vs. telling: I want stories. My 5 year old wants stories and so does my 66 year old Mom. That’s how we human beings like to learn best. Move people emotionally and they are much more inclined to think about doing business with you. Even better, tell them a funny story.
- Make it fresh: It’s a cluttered marketing environment, with lots of competitors already experimenting. You’ll have to try something different to stand out. I love the way Coke’s Happiness Machine surprised and delighted these students. It need not be expensive, but it must touch and move your audience.
- Does it evoke emotion? If you only follow this rule, you’ll be successful. Yet, it’s the rule that most people ultimately skip. This video of an AIDS victim healing (watch until the end) moves me every time I see it. The joy of this child’s smile as he hears sounds for the first time stayed with me for weeks. And when I played this video of the “Free Hugs” campaign for a client, he decided to make it the centerpiece of his next speech.
Have you made a successful video as part of your thought leadership strategy? What made it work? And what do you think should be the theme for my next Oscar party?
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