Our clients are increasingly interested in utilizing video as an important part of their overall marketing strategy, and as such, our video team has grown significantly in the last couple of years — both in size and capability. But our job is not just to shoot and produce videos for our clients (which we do very well); it’s also to recommend a well-thought-out video content strategy that integrates into campaigns with multiple elements across a wide variety of mediums, each working toward the same goals.

With the flashy allure of video, it’s often easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the “what” (I want some videos) before the “why” and “how.” Our philosophy at Two Rivers Marketing is to determine the “why” and “how” before we get to the “what.”

THE ‘WHY’
Video is a powerful medium. In fact, many would argue it’s the best human sensory communication delivery system, appealing to sight, sound and emotion. As with any medium, however, it’s only as effective as the strategy and messaging behind it. For a client with aspirations of leveraging video marketing, our first suggestion would be to follow the same planning process you might for a PR or advertising campaign. Define the audience(s) and the goals before you begin tackling individual tactics (videos, articles, ads, etc.).

The purpose of a video shouldn’t necessarily be to cram in 100 percent of the facts, but rather to provoke an action from the viewer — whether it be to seek more information, or simply to influence the way the viewer perceives your company. Start by asking what action you would like the viewer to take. Do you want the audience to trust you more and be more loyal to your company? Do you want the audience to call their local dealer for more information? These are two great goals, but the videos you would create to achieve each of them would be different in terms of messaging and tone. Similarly, working toward the same goal with different audiences would also necessitate a variation in messaging and tone. That brings us to the “how.”

THE ‘HOW’
The format of a YouTube channel lends itself well to catering to different audiences by creating playlists. Based on the audiences and identified goals, start filling in potential categories for your video marketing efforts that would work toward achieving these goals.

Let’s use an example of a medical device manufacturer with two primary audiences — hospitals and equipment integrators (those who recommend, procure and install equipment at hospitals). Below are some examples of video categories that might fall under the goal of building trust and loyalty with these two audiences.

Example 1: Build trust and loyalty among hospital decision makers
This audience has the buying power, but they are not as technically minded as the integrators. Their purchasing factors relate to the reputation of the supplier and how the supplier’s products can impact the hospital’s bottom line (e.g., attract new patients, work more efficiently, etc.). Thus, messaging should seek to provide an answer to their concerns.

Flagship division videos: These videos would solidify reputation, essentially acting as corporate videos for each division or product line of the manufacturer, helping to establish the history, reputation, skilled engineering staff, breadth of product offerings and number of reputable customers.
Hospital case studies: These videos would solidify reputation and impact to bottom line, highlighting real hospitals that are currently using the company’s products. There would be a strong focus on how the products impact the bottom line of the hospital and help doctors work more effectively. Doctors and hospital administrators would be interview subjects.
Doctor profiles: These videos would highlight actual doctors and the importance of the work they do, saving lives every day. Interviews would focus on why they became doctors, what is most rewarding about their jobs, and how having the right medical equipment is key to saving lives.

Example 2: Build trust and loyalty among equipment integrators
This audience is more technical than the hospital staff. They have influence on the purchase decision, and their factors in recommending a product are often based on ease of integration, and their faith in the technology and engineering staff of the medical device manufacturer. Messaging should seek to answer these concerns.

How-to videos: These videos would highlight common technology challenges faced by integrators when determining a solution for a hospital or during the installation process. The videos would highlight how to overcome those challenges with the use of the company’s products.
Integrator case studies: These videos would highlight actual integrators who have had success utilizing the company’s medical devices. Interview subjects would speak to the time saved and income generated by recommending those products, as well as citing specific jobs or challenges that were overcome with the products.
Engineering videos: These videos would highlight the engineering staff of the manufacturer, speaking to industry trends, evolution of the medical device industry, and the research and development being conducted to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Once messaging and video categories are determined by audience and goal, it’s easy to set actionable objectives (e.g., four videos for each category over the next year) to ensure that all messaging points are being hit equally for each audience. Without such a clearly defined editorial calendar, it’s easy to lose sight of priorities, and you might spend a year developing video content only to realize you have too much in one category, while another important audience went all but ignored.

But even with a well-defined editorial calendar, there are still a number of “hows” that need to be determined before diving into production.

Devil in the details

Brand consistency – Make sure that any artwork to appear in the videos is consistent with brand style guidelines. From the open and closing graphics, to the lower third titles and font styles, everything should be created and agreed upon in advance of production.
Spokesperson training – Identify who the spokespersons will be for your company on each of the identified topics, and conduct on-camera training to learn best practices.
Legal considerations – Develop the necessary release forms for any third-party interview subjects or locations to be featured in videos.
Logistics and approvals – Establish production guidelines outlining how video projects will be handled from start to finish, and who is responsible for each part — from contacting participants, securing locations and developing interview questions, to routing draft videos, gaining approval and pushing live in final format.
YouTube channel management – If the company is new to YouTube, a comprehensive plan with interaction guidelines should be developed.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE ‘WHAT’?
We have clients that are in every stage of the video marketing adoption process — from the newcomers recently showing interest, to the well-established early adopters with tens of millions of video views. Though this blog post was written more for the former, it’s always a good idea to reevaluate your audiences and messages and develop a long-term editorial calendar, no matter how well-established you are.

At Two Rivers Marketing, it’s our job to focus on the “whys” and “hows” to ensure the video content strategy is aligned with overall marketing efforts. But with our growing team of award-winning photojournalists and producers, we also happen to be very skilled at the “what.”

About John Krantz

Creative and strategic don’t always go together. John Krantz, a public relations director at Two Rivers Marketing, is an exception. He honed those skills while capturing monkey calls in the Costa Rican jungle. For the last six years, he’s utilized his talents for PR strategy, copy writing, media relations and video production. John’s wild about creating videos for clients and local film festivals. Swing into his inbox at jkrantz@2rm.com