To say that video is the 21st-century marketing battleground is something of a dramatic understatement, if you can believe it. According to one recent study, 43% of consumers said that they actually want to see MORE video content from marketers. Another HubSpot study says that out of all of the marketers that are already using video, over half of them name it as the type of content with the best return on investment.

Source: The Future of Content Marketing: How People Are Changing the Way They Read, Interact, and Engage With Content

The truth is that video checks a lot of important boxes all at the same time. Human beings are visual learners, meaning that if they were given the choice of receiving information in the form of a video or a blog post, they will choose the video nearly every time - even if both pieces of content are basically saying the same thing. Video checks a lot of important boxes all at the same time. Click To Tweet It's an incredibly popular format online (more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day) but it's particularly important in terms of social media. 82% of Twitter users watch video content right from their feeds, for example.

Video is also incredibly important in terms of another 21st-century trend: smartphones and other mobile devices. Consider the fact that not only is half of all video content viewed on a mobile device, but an astounding 92% of mobile video viewers said that they were absolutely willing to share their favorite content with others. 90% of Twitter video views even happen on a mobile device, so on this particular Venn diagram the middle circle labeled "Video Marketing" couldn't be bigger or more important.

But the most important thing of all to understand is that just using video isn't enough to get the job done in and of itself. Video content and terrific, captivating video content are two different concepts and should always be treated as such. If you really want to make sure that your video marketing efforts shine in 2017, 2018 and beyond, there are twenty key (and easy!) tips in particular that you're definitely going to want to know more about moving forward.

1. It All Begins With a Title

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who consume any type of content will never make it past the title. This is something that you need to lean into, not shy away from, as much as possible. Always make sure that you're giving your videos a catchy title that gives people a taste of what to expect from the actual clip. There is a time to bury the lede and make no mistake, this is not it.



Source: CoSchedule

In general, try to use a title that catches someone's attention, that serves your larger SEO needs and that entices someone to keep going - all at the same time. Tools like this Headline Analyzer will be invaluable towards this goal.

2. Pay Attention to That Introduction

Along the same lines, if someone DOES make it past your video's title to begin to watch, make sure you've created an introduction that stands out in a captivating and visually arresting way. Hit your audience hard in the first few seconds - come right out and give them an idea of what you're going to be talking about and why it is so important.

Videos with boring introductions are usually the ones that people click away from sooner rather than later. If you pay enough attention to your introduction, you've got their attention for much longer - and the rest of the video is in a better position to do a little more of the heavy lifting that you need when you need it the most.

3. Everyone Loves a Good Story

Just as you can’t promote a product without a meaningful and authentic message, you cannot deliver a message effectively without embedding it in a story. Humans have been bound by story since the first campfire was lit. That fire was built in the center of camp to cook meat, provide warmth, and protect us from bears, so that we would survive as a species. But just as crucial, under the moon and stars, our ancestors made up tales about what the sun was and how it rose and set, why rains and plagues came, and where our souls went after dying. Stories were shared and handed down to instruct, inspire, intrigue, move, and entertain.

Fast forward from the campfire to Hollywood, arguably the largest money-making storytelling machine in modern times, and enter Robert McKee. McKee first applied his story crafting analysis and expertise to screenwriting, but he has now carried it over to all types of iconic businesses (including Microsoft and Siemens), with a book and a seminar called Storynomics.™

McKee’s mantra is video marketing medicine:

“In an industry with a whole new set of ground rules, this dynamic partnership of story craft and marketing innovation is designed to fire the imagination and demonstrate how to stop interrupting what people love and, instead, become what they love.”

Check your pulse if you can’t find something to love about Saroo Brierley’s hero’s journey story, “Homeward Bound,” for Google Earth.

4. Don't Forget About Hashtags

Hashtags are a great tool on social media in particular that allows you to capitalize on conversations that people are already having AND make it easier for people to find your content at the same time. If you CAN use a hashtag to promote your video, you SHOULD.

YouTube limits your tags to 500 characters, which might sound stifling, but if you find yourself using too many tags, it might mean you haven’t focused on your product, service, and message well enough!

YouTube expert Derral Eves employs the following types of tags in videos:

  • Specific tag (one-word keywords, i.e. shark, Internet)
  • Compound (multiple words, i.e. title without conjunctions and prepositions, i.e. Jaws Eats Internet)
  • Generic (general adjectives/nouns, i.e. horror, humor, speculative)
  • Misspelled keywords (shirk, Innernet)

Pro tip: Use a tool like Keyhole or Hashtagify to help find the hashtags that are right for you. In addition to showing how popular is a certain hashtag, these tools also provide more detailed statistics.

5. Mobile Friendliness is King

The truth is that the vast majority of people who view your video will do so on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet. This is a good thing, as those people are also more likely to share that video with others. Make sure that your video is as mobile-friendly as possible for the best results. You'll probably want to make your video square, for example, and have it set to play with the sound off at first. Nobody wants to deal with a loud video that starts playing suddenly and without warning on their morning commute.

Pro tip: To save precious time on video production, use tools like wave.video to easily change the aspect ratio for your videos.

6. Buy the Right Equipment

While it IS possible to shoot high-quality videos on your phone, you're still going to want to invest in some external equipment to help take your efforts to the next level. Tripods exist with smartphone attachments, for example, to help with that exact goal.

If you want to branch out into the world of external cameras as well, options like the Sony Handycam CX405 and the 16MP Full HD 1080P Digital Video Camcorder will give you that smooth, clear production you need when you need it the most.

Bonus tip: If your phone is all you have for recording videos, don't fret! The guys at Vtrep have put together an excellent blog post on how to get professional quality video from your smartphone.

7. Don't Be Afraid to Add Captions

Captions are a great tool not only for making sure that people can understand your video with the sound off, but also for boosting your video SEO efforts. YouTube has a built-in caption tool that you can use when uploading content, or you can go with software solutions like wave.video. More advanced users will also like the additional features that an option like Adobe Premiere Pro brings to the table.


ADD CAPTIONS TO YOUR VIDEOS WITH WAVE.VIDEO

An easy-to-use tool to make videos in-house

8. Embrace Your Shoulder Niche

While posting videos in your niche is important, having things end here may be shooting yourself in the foot, so to speak - especially if your niche is a crowded one. Think of a video on a topic that is in the same proverbial neighborhood as yours, but that isn't exactly the same. This is called a shoulder niche and it can be a great way to help raise awareness and draw attention to ALL of your content. If you make wedding cakes, for example, don't make 100% of your videos about wedding cake recipes. Also include a few about how to choose a wedding planner or a caterer, too.

If you are wondering how to find a shoulder niche to make a video on, try looking in these places:

  • forums
  • reddit groups
  • Quora
  • Facebook groups
  • books and reviews on Amazon

Having your ear open to the questions your audience is asking will get you a long way.

9. It's All About Consistency

One of the best ways to generate not just traffic but a reliable amount of traffic is to focus on consistency as much as possible. If you always post your videos on Monday afternoon, for example, continue to do so - no matter what. Your viewers will soon get used to the fact that this is when your videos go live and they will come to expect it. This means less work for you in the long run. Use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoScheduler and others to help get your scheduling efforts under control.

Popular YouTube vloggers like Amy Schmittauer make it a habit to post consistently. So much so that their subscribers can even see the schedule right on their channel.

Now, in terms of frequency:

  • Experiment, but keep a regular schedule—nobody likes being stood up, so show up for your audience when they expect you. Whiteboard Friday by Moz is a great example of how maintaining a set schedule can pay off: Whiteboard Friday used to be the least visited topic on Moz’s blog, but with a few years of posting every Friday, it’s now the most popular!

  • Don’t confuse “same time, same place” for “same old same old.” Create content that walks the line between satisfying your audience and keeping them hungry for more.

  • Watch your analytics and act on them.

  • Never put content out for the sake of putting content out. Remember the importance of story, messaging, emotion, the 10-second rule, great titles, and so on.

10. Lean Into Your Style

Try to come up with a visual look and feel that is all your own and make sure that this style is consistent across all videos. Always make an effort to use the same fonts, text effects, video filters and more. You can even try watermarking your videos with a tool like wave.video. This will not only help keep your videos unique, but it will make them immediately recognizable as "one of yours" to your viewers - even with just a quick glance.

Notice how this YouTube blogger Sunny Lenarduzzi uses the same colors and fonts for her video covers?

11. Optimize For EVERY Social Platform

Understand that no two social media platforms are created equally and for the best results, you need to make changes to a piece of content to work well on ALL of them. Don't upload a square video to YouTube - put it on Instagram instead where that format works well. Use landscape mode to upload videos to YouTube because this is the aspect ratio that those users are expecting.

12. The Art of Beautiful Background Videos

The simple fact of the matter is that the more beautiful your video is, the more likes and shares it is likely to get. Here at wave.video, we discovered an astonishing fact. Among all the templates we offer our users, one is almost twice as popular as the one next following.

 

The secret is simple: we used some generic beautiful-looking background videos that people loved. Easy-peasy.

13. Pay Attention to Your Color Palette

When combining several video clips into one, always try to use a single color palette to preserve a much-needed sense of visual continuity. Not only will it help all clips within the video mesh beautifully together, but it will also give your audience yet another visual identifier to latch onto to immediately recognize the video as one of yours. This video from INBOUND17 follows a purple color scheme, for example, because purple was the color of the conference.

 

14. Don't Forget About Those Influencers

Influencers can be a great way to really attract attention on social media in particular, but your efforts do NOT have to be limited to just tweets or Facebook likes. Create short videos that act as an opportunity to compile a few quotes from influencers that are relevant to your target audience. Not only does this give you yet another opportunity to upload a piece of original content, but if you tag the influencer that you are quoting in the video when sharing they can make sure that their own audience sees it, too. This will go a long way towards leveraging THEIR audience to YOUR advantage.

After going to the Social Media Marketing World conference, we were so impressed with some of the talks that we created short videos with quotes from the influencers. We shared the videos on our social media channels and sent them via direct email. The result? We started several very fruitful relations with some of the mentioned influencers that turned into a real friendship.

15. Catchy Music: The Secret Weapon You've Been Searching (Listening?) For

As a quick experiment, try watching this video twice - once with the sound on and once with the sound off.

 

If given the option, which version would YOU rather show your friends? The version with catchy music is a much more robust, enjoyable experience - which is why you need to make an effort to prioritize your music selections as much as possible.

16. Leverage Emotion Whenever Possible

If you can create an emotional response within a viewer, you've done more than just capture their attention. You've given them something to latch onto and connect with in a way that they won't soon be able to forget. Take a look at this video, for example, which has 11 million views on Facebook?

Yes, it's cute. Yes, it tells a story. But it's also emotional - and that type of power is just something you can't put a price on.

17. Pay Attention to What is Trending

If you pay attention to which topics are trending in the news and find some way to make a video around those topics, you've got a better-than-normal chance that your content will go viral. Use tools like Buzzsumo to see what is trending in the moment and find something that overlaps with your audience.

You can even use wave.video to add in relevant pictures to make your connection even stronger (just make sure that you give all appropriate permissions when you do).

18. Don't Be Afraid to Be Trendy

Make no mistake: trendy is very much a good thing if you're able to do it properly. When the wave.video was participating in INBOUND17, for example, Apple had just announced the new iPhone X. Our designer loved that presentation style so much that she made a demo video that the Wave team showed at our booth.

 

The result was that we had over 600 people flock to our booth and even made several sales - all because we saw an opportunity to be trendy and capitalized on it!

19. Don't Oversell - Instead, Over-Inform

If you want to make sure that people turn off your video as fast as possible, make sure that your videos are little more than commercials on the Internet. Selling is important, yes - but overselling is a great way to get someone to leave and never come back again. Instead, create video content that informs and educates your audience on a particular topic in a captivating way - at that point, the "selling" part will pretty much take care of itself.

20. Message Before the Product

Creating videos that focus too much on today's product or service are really only honing in on one small part of a much larger story. Think about it like this: your video marketing efforts have a mission and a message to tell - a long-term set of goals that you're trying to accomplish. You need to focus more on the message itself and less on the product or service in order to guarantee the types of results and outcomes that you're after.

Pay attention to MBP (message before the product) in this video, Tested Tough: The Rangers, from Columbia Sportswear. Columbia’s message is clear: Rangers are people just like you: They become their best in the great outdoors!

Of course, the underlying message is: Rangers are able to do and be their best in the great outdoors thanks to the products they buy from Columbia—but they buy from Columbia because of who they are, and not the other way around.

Columbia products make sense where they are, because of the who, when, how, and why behind them. The product is almost peripheral, or rather, it feels peripheral to the audience. In fact, Columbia’s point of view and sales pitch is practically peripheral as well. What the audience sees and hears is: We rangers are people just like you: We become our best in the great outdoors (thanks to the Columbia products we use…).

Think about how you’d talk with friends about The Rangers. You likely would not start with, “So, Columbia Sportswear posted a video of…” but rather with, “I put a new destination on my bucket list today…” or, “I’m thinking of quitting my 9-to-5 gig to become a forest ranger!”

If you can produce marketing videos that prompt people to talk first about the message rather than the product, you’re gold!

Which ones of these video marketing tips have worked for you? Share in the comments below!