The inbound methodology lives and dies by the content you produce. And without frequent, great content, you simply won’t succeed. Many inbound marketers spend a lot of their time and energy on blog posts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They’re quick and easy to produce and if you get it right, can be really effective. But there’s been a new age dawning in the world of online content. In fact, you might even say it’s been up for about 3 hours, has had two coffees and is starting to think about what’s in the fridge for lunch. This is the age of video.
Personally, I love video as a medium, and am much more likely to sit for up to 10 minutes watching a video than I am reading a blog post. I’m actively subscribed to about 15 channels on YouTube that I make sure to keep up to date with weekly. I watch nearly all the videos that crop up on my newsfeed on Facebook, from the stupid to the sublime (my favourites being those Nifty ones from Buzzfeed). But it’s not just me.
There are quite literally heaps of stats available around the growing popularity of and demand for video. Here are some of the most thought-provoking:
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of YouTube or Facebook videos per week. (Hubspot, 2017)
- Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. (Google, 2016)
- 55% of people consume video content thoroughly (i.e. watch it from beginning to end) (HubSpot, 2016)
For more interesting video marketing-related statistics, I’d recommend this blog post/ infographic form HubSpot. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics
You’d be hard-pressed to argue against those numbers. Video is becoming an increasingly significant way in which consumers interact with brands online, and you’d seriously be missing a trick if you didn’t jump on the already busy bandwagon.
But it’s OK, I get it. If you’ve never dipped your toe into the video pool before, the thought can be quite daunting. Don’t I need a load of fancy equipment and software? How do I actually go about making the damn things? And how do I get people to watch them?
At the risk of sounding like someone selling a pyramid scheme – I’m here to tell you that you can do it too. Here are 3 tips on how to combine video and inbound marketing.
Don’t overthink it
While high production values, carefully scripted content and snazzy looking animations can elevate you to the very heights of online video, don’t let that scare you off. Remember that people are becoming more and more accustomed to watching a wide range of video qualities online – vloggers using compact cameras, product reviews are often filmed on phones. It’s really not difficult in 2017 to make something that looks half decent.
Here’s a video I made recently for Inflowing on the importance of setting SMART marketing goals.
I’ll let you into a secret. This video was filmed in my spare bedroom, on my £500 FujiFilm camera. I downloaded a free teleprompter app to read the script from, running on my phone which was precariously balanced against a mug on top of a book, which was on top of the camera. Lighting was provided by my bedside lamp with the shade removed, with the addition of a flash diffuser to distribute the light more evenly. I used free video editing software to edit it. And while I’m not going to be winning any Oscars anytime soon, I think I managed to get my point across pretty well.
And you don’t even have to go to those lengths. Prop your phone up on your desk, use your laptop’s webcam – as long as what you’re saying is compelling, don’t worry about the video quality. When it comes to video and inbound marketing, just remember that it’s substance over style.
Approach it like you would any other content
If you’ve got an idea for some content that you think would work really well as a video, go through exactly the same process as you would when producing any other type of content for the inbound funnel. Think about keywords, personas, and which stage of the funnel it will serve. Is it awareness, consideration or decision content? Which stage of the buyer’s journey will you be targeting?
Once you’ve got this in place, it’s up to you how you approach the video. I would recommend writing a script and reading from it, so you can make sure you cover all the points you want to in a nice clear style, but if this doesn’t suit you, go for it freestyle. If the content is more opinion-driven, unscripted might work quite well. If you’re working through a list or step-by-step guide, this would be probably be better scripted out.
Don’t forget to optimise and promote
As I said in point 2, a video should be treated like any other piece of content in the inbound funnel. It should be optimised for organic traffic and promoted via various channels in much the same way as blog posts or other content. With a couple of added bits.
YouTube videos in particular can be optimised for keywords in the same way blog post can. After all, YouTube is just another search engine. Think carefully about the keyword you’re trying to target with the content and include it in the title and video description. As with blog posts, you should also think carefully about the title, making sure it’s enticing enough for people to click through.
You should also share and promote your content in the exact same ways you share written content. Use your social media channels, include it in a newsletter, and send a link to influencers and bloggers in your space.
As for the extra bits, obviously with video there are a few face-value things you need to think about. These include the thumbnail, how people will be consuming the content, and any annotations or call-to-actions you might want to include. Video thumbnails are a dark art I won’t dive deeply into here, but it’s worth thinking about making them look eye catching and enticing. In terms of how the video is being consumed, remember that 85% of users watch Facebook videos without sound, so if this is the primary focus for promotion of your video, you might want to think adding subtitles or other visual aids. You don’t what your video to be rendered useless if the user is on the train and doesn’t want to pause the soundtrack from Miss Saigon just to listen to the audio (no, just me?). Finally, YouTube videos have the handy functionality of allowing you to add things like annotations, links, and interactive end screens. This is, again, a complex topic that I won’t go into in too much detail about here, but it’s worth exploring your options and experimenting with different call-to-actions and links from your video.
Video and inbound marketing: a match made in heaven
My final piece of advice would be to just go for it. Making a video can be surprisingly easy once you get going, and the return, if you get it right, can be pretty significant. So whatever you’ve got lying around, fire up your phone, your laptop’s webcam or your digital SLR and start making videos to drive people through your funnels.
Bonus content: Charli’s YouTube channel recommendations
Binging with Babish – recipes from TV and the movies
Recommended video: Bob’s Burgers
Nerd Writer – musings on film theory, popular culture, public speaking and persuasive language
Recommended video: Just watch them all. But I particularly liked “Has Resevoir Dogs aged well?”
Just Between Us – weekly comedy sketches and “advice” videos from two very funny women who used to work for Buzzfeed but realised they were better than all that
Recommended video: How to Make Him Love You
Community Channel – probably still my favourite YouTube channel and the one that got me hooked. Unfortunately oft-neglected comedy channel from a hilarious Austrailian comedian.
Recommended video: What Kind of Person Would a Cockroach Be?