Even as corporates discover the many opportunities in using online videos as part of a content marketing strategy, the bulk of them tend to use standalone snippets: a product demo, a snappy how-to-guide, an inspiring testimonial.
It’s great to have 1 video, and you can tell so many stories and crunch a ton of facts in a minute or so. Now, imagine the benefits of the more, aka serializing!
Yep, we’re talking video series.
More is better?
Video series are really not that much different from any other series. Why do we get hooked on House of Cards, Narcos or Silicon Valley? Because they all give awesome stories yes, but it’s also because of the format: we keep coming back for more and more.
It’s not just cliff-hangers; regularity and consistency, give people a routine.
I tend to follow a ton of blogs, and then abandon them and follow some others; nothing new there. But the ones that really stuck over the years? Apart from providing killer content they're the ones who are regular, whom I can count on. I know that my favourite video blogger will post his snippets on Wednesday, and the latest on the tech blog I adore will come out Fridays. And you know what? I can’t wait for them! (Yes there’s always the exception to the rule and always the one that is just so amazing I don’t care if they come out every 2montish or so and then suddenly blast every week only to disappear again).
But why would it work for marketers? What do they get out of it?
It builds up a community. You probably came across some serious fanatics at some point in your life. People can get very (and I mean very) passionate about a lot of things including series, and you don’t’ have to invent a fantasy land to leverage on that. The real value lies in building up a community who regularly come back to you for more, who help in building up stories, and are not afraid to start discussions. If you’re looking to pump up your social media strategy, it’s probably a really good way to go.
A series simply gives you more time to dwell deeper, to be more personal, to deliver strong, clear messages. You can really tell a story here. Sure, it’s good to give a snappy explanation in 1,5 minutes but a web series gives you the chance to say so much more.
This isn’t for everyone... or is it?
We’re not going to bash anyone who shies away from it, but just letting you know it’s really not as hard as it looks. In fact, 6 steps is all it takes to get the job done.
Step #1 – Define the objective, the audience & the message
As with any marketing related activity, you start from the top of the pyramid: what’s your objective? Is it a new product line, or are you expanding over continents; is it a name change, or a brand new software no one really gets (yet); are you looking to shuffle your target audience around and start talking to a new crowd. Once your objective is set, you can start thinking of who you want to be speaking to and what you want to say to them.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to spend a bit more time here, you may be eager to dig into the casting and editing but if, you mess this first step up the whole effort can easily go down the drain. No pressure but just make sure you don’t have to slide back to square one because of a misunderstood audience.
Step #2 – Check the resources
Do you have enough time and money to get into it? Or will it turn into a despised hate child no one wants to work on? Make a clear budget on what this would cost how much time it’ll take and what’s your expected ROI. Videos are not cheap, but they aren’t crazy expensive either. You can make some great stuff with a tight budget so don’t necessarily start thinking of glamorous Hollywood before you call the project off.
Step #3– Build up the content you want to use
This is the most complex part. You need to define how your message will translate to a video series. How will each episode fall into the overall story? How long will an episode be? How many episodes will you have? How regularly? Brainstorm a bit on the scenarios, characters, possible short stories and find out what each episode will want to say.
Step #4 – Get into it
Having clear milestones, responsibilities, guidelines and timelines will ensure everything is under control at all times. Just because David turned up sick on Monday doesn’t mean the whole process crashes. You can do something goofy in-house (which is awesome for some messages …) but if you want to be really cool we recommend using a dedicated video production agency. They know exactly what they’re doing and professionalism will pay off.
Tip: You can already share some cool behind-the-scenes snippets to build up the hype!
Step #5 – Shout it out
Share it, push it, promote it: take some time to explore some marketing tactics to have it reach the most of your audience with the resources you have. Are they addicted to Facebook or more into Twitter? Would you need to push half your budget for a killer ad campaign or all you need is a killer hashtag? Should you build a separate website for this or just simply launch YouTube channel?
Tip: Using a single distribution channel tends to keep the flow of your audience by drawing them to the same place (and also makes your life easier when tracking analytics).
Step #6 – Measure, check, double check, tweak
Check the data: who’s watching, how long, do they come back are you actually keeping the audience engaged or is it always a newcomer who leaves never to return? Does your ad campaign pay off or should you be looking for other ways to promote your series?
Tip: None of these are carved in stone, you can always test and tweak and change it around. If it doesn’t work try out a different tactic or go for a separate strategy all together.
A video series example
For Voyages.sncf.com we created a video series to promote their improved service offering; Improved client relations, easier to check fares and all that on a mobile applications. A short series allows to communicate in a fun manner in which areas of your service offering you've booked progress. Have a look yourself.