Author: Catherine Cheetham, Fourth Floor Creative, Member since 2018
When marketing your business online, it’s tempting to rush straight into video production. After all, everyone’s doing it, the success stories are ubiquitous across every social platform, and just one viral breakout can turn a brand or channel into a household name overnight. But you shouldn’t wade straight in. While the reasons for a video campaign’s success may appear clear when you watch the final product, getting to that stage requires a great deal of careful planning before you get close to picking up a camera.
At Fourth Floor Creative, we specialise in designing and delivering successful branded content campaigns and influencer marketing across a variety of social video platforms, and are thoroughly versed in all the questions and considerations that shape effective video. Here are the first five things you need to ask.
What’s your story?
Effective video is about connecting. It’s about reaching out, and creating a human bond between brand and audience. When used well, it starts a long-lasting conversation. To achieve that – to really resonate – you need to understand and harness what makes you distinct and unique.
Maybe it’s your company’s back-story, or a special core value that defines everything you do. Maybe it’s the presence of a key company personality, or a social initiative your business engages in outside of the day-to-day workflow. Whatever the core of your story is, find it, define it, and push it to the forefront. Stories and narrative are how humans fundamentally interpret and connect to the world. Use yours to encourage them to connect to you.
Who are you talking to, and why?
What exactly is the purpose of your content? Are you simply looking to build awareness? Do you want to consolidate loyalty with your existing audience, or expand into a new one? Or is your video more about defining a solid personality for your brand, or maybe adding value to your audience’s lives beyond the products and services you offer directly? You should never just think in terms of just ‘doing a video’ You should always know its purpose, and build your formats to serve that.
How do you turn video into a conversation rather than an advert?
This is where we really get into what good branded video is all about. Because done right, it’s not about making promotional material. It’s about making content. That means delivering something that matters to the audience, and that they want to connect with for the value it gives them in its own right.
Think about types of content that make sense for your brand. Think about who your audience are, the things that matter to them overall, their wider culture, and the ways that you can make your content shareable, be that via useful utility or appealing entertainment value. Then define some sustainable, regular, recognisable content pillars and relatable hooks around that.
Which platforms are right for your message, and how do you serve them correctly?
Is your content best served by a more involved, longer-form YouTube format, or would it be more effective in a shorter, more immediate social media format? And how should that informative, ten-minute how-to video be adapted to the largely soundless, short-attention-span world of an endless Facebook feed?
Content campaigns work as ecosystems, not singular product launches. Different takes and delivery methods not only create a larger brand footprint, but actively support each other, cross-promoting while strategically catching different audiences at different points in their day with tailored entry points. Knowing how maximise community onboarding is important, as is knowing how to produce these custom treatments without doing five times the work.
Do you need an external creative partner?
Especially in the early days of a strategy, it can be very advantageous to partner with external channels and established talent in order to quickly build a footprint. Even the best-designed, most engaging video in the world is wasted if no-one is watching. Partnerships can be of huge value in this respect.
That might mean a creative and promotional collaboration with another big name in your space, aligning them with your brand ecosystem. It might mean co-creating and sharing content with an established channel, for a ready-made signal boost. It might mean going all-in with a branded content programme wholly produced by a highly followed online content creator. Of course, any partnership needs to be carefully strategised, selected, and managed for suitability, effectiveness, and mutual benefit. Getting that side of things right is a whole discipline in itself. Fortunately it’s one we’ve built our business around at Fourth Floor, and we’re always happy to help with any questions and queries you might have.
Catherine Cheetham | Fourth Floor Creative | Member since 2018