Online video consumption is rising every year, and by 2021 the average person will watch 100 minutes of video per day.
If video is not yet part of your marketing arsenal, now is the time to make it so. But how exactly do you do that? When it comes to the kind of video content you should create and what platforms to use, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Like anything to do with content marketing, that question always boils down to your audience and what you hope to achieve. Whether you’re a business, individual, or influencer, this article should help point you in the right direction. First, we’ll briefly discuss the importance of goals and defining your audience, after that we’ll talk about the different types of video content as well as the platforms at your disposal, and which should work for your particular audience.
Let’s get started.
Defining Your Audience and Your Goals
The type of video content you create and the platform you use to host it will hinge on the following:
- What you’re offering
Are you a small business offering a product or service, or an influencer looking to build an audience? Depending on what you’re offering, certain types of content aren’t going to be appropriate (for example, reviewing your own product is a no go).
- Who you’re offering it to
Knowing the demographic of your intended audience is so important. Certain types of content resonate differently between age ranges. For instance, younger audiences tend to prefer shorter videos, while the demographics of each video platform really vary. By defining this from the start, you won’t waste your time creating content for a platform where it won’t reach your intended audience, and you can focus on what will work.
- Your end goal
Are you looking to boost sales or to increase email signups or whitepaper downloads? Maybe you simply want to expand your brand reach and build an audience. Whatever it is, having a clear goal from the outset and defining metrics will make it a lot easier to measure success down the road.
The Five Categories of Video Content
When it comes to creating video content, there are so many directions you can go in. For the sake of brevity, we’ve broken them down into five categories, and the kinds of video that can fall under each category. It’s by no means an exhaustive list and, as you’ll see, the different category types often overlap.
Educational or informational videos can encompass a lot of areas, and can be effective for influencers and small businesses alike. Here are some examples:
- How-tos and explainer videos: If you’re offering a product or service, you could do a demonstration. For individuals or influencers, this could be a how-to that’s relevant to your specific niche. As an example, for a travel blogger, this could be creating a video about “How to travel the world” or “How to get a visa for X”. For food bloggers or cooking services, it could be an instructional video explaining how to cook a particular dish.
- Q&As: Again, this can be about a product or a specific niche.
- Reviews: If you’re dipping your toe into the world of affiliate marketing, giving honest reviews of products makes a lot of sense. Whether it be for make-up products or video games, reviews leave viewers feeling more informed about the product and will see you as a trusted source when it comes to what to spend money on.
- Webinars: Webinars are similar to explainer videos but on a more in-depth scale. Often live presentations or workshops related to your niche, they provide a chance to educate your audience while building a closer relationship with them. Webinars are often live, but are sometimes pre-recorded. Popular webinar platforms include GoToMeeting and WebinarNinja.
- Deep-dives into topics related to your niche: Position yourself as an expert and inform your audience about little known facts about your niche, or things they need to know.
Inspirational content creates positive emotions in a viewer, and can often motivate them to take a certain action or aspire toward a certain lifestyle. While it’s always important for all marketing video content to tell a story, this is particularly so in for inspirational content. Here are three common forms of inspirational content:
Vlogs: Vlogging (or video blogging) has been around since the advent of YouTube and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Vlogging puts a real person at the center and shows people their day-to-day life so that viewers get to know you, form an emotional attachment, and keep coming back for more. This is great for branding, whether you’re an individual starting a YouTube channel or a startup founder who wants to reveal the face behind the business. There are so many examples of successful, inspiring vloggers in an array of niches. Daily Vee and Casey Neistat are examples of entrepreneurs who really exemplify the potential success vlogging can bring.
Customer testimonials: This might sound a bit salesy, but it’s possible to create customer testimonials without being too pushy by simply focusing on a person who used your product or service, and how it changed their life for the better. When done right, the person is at the center of the video, not the product. Again, storytelling is key. This video from 23andMe is a great example of a customer testimonial done right. At 26 seconds long, it’s short, to the point, and still manages to inspire.
Brand videos: Far from a pushy sales video, an effective brand video should encapsulate you or your company’s mission statement and why you do what you do. If done right, this kind of video can build awareness for your brand, and inspire viewers to see what else you have to offer. This video from Salesforce is a great example of promoting brand values and giving a behind-the-scenes look at the company culture, without overtly pushing products.
Controversial video content doesn’t necessarily mean offensive, although it can. However, it’s advisable to steer clear of anything too offensive as part of a marketing strategy, especially if you’re a small business. This type of content can include highlighting misconceptions or revealing surprising facts about certain subjects, or even exposing “the truth” about shady brand or industry practices. If you decide to pursue this type of content, tread carefully. While people can handle a little bit of controversy, studies have shown that anything that makes people too uncomfortable can actually negatively impact engagement levels.
This type of video elicits an emotion in your audience, whether it be laughter or tears. A popular example is short comedy skits. For individuals looking to dip their toe in the world of comedy or stretch their creative muscles, many of the popular video platforms we will talk about later provide a great way for building a name for yourself online. These types of videos can also be a great way to preview and promote a live show in your local area, or show snippets of a full-length comedy show hosted on your website.
5. Live Streaming
Live streaming video content is exactly what it sounds like — video streaming that is recorded and broadcast in real-time. It’s a great way to connect to your audience in the moment.
This kind of content can range from expert interviewees where viewers can submit questions, to having more casual chats with your audience. Many YouTube personalities have live streams every so often just to “catch up” and chat with their viewers, which creates a sense of friendship and community. According to a survey by Lucid, the top three types of live video content among consumers is:
- Q&A sessions with an influencer or expert in an industry
- A product tutorial
- How-to or explainer video
Perhaps a surprising example of successful live streaming in the past few years is monetized gaming. Many people have made a career out of simply playing games in front of a rapt audience. There are several platforms you can do this, but the most popular choice is Twitch.
Where to Post Your Video Content
The options for posting videos online seem to increase every day. Some people post only on social media channels to focus on expanding their reach there, while others also embed the video on their site. Some brands stream videos directly on their website.
According to the 2020 Social Media Marketing Industry report, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the video channels most used by marketers. Interestingly, these are also the most popular options for live video, too. In this section, we’ll be focusing on these platforms, as well as how to host videos on your own site.
For many people, YouTube is the quintessential video platform that really spearheaded the online video marketing trend way back in 2005. These days, YouTube is the most popular video platform among marketers, and in 2019 it had 2 billion logged-in monthly viewers.
Whether your goal is to become a successful YouTube influencer, use it to supplement your overall marketing campaign, or simply use it for hosting brand videos, YouTube as a platform holds a lot of potential for success. It’s not too difficult to get started, either.
As for the type of content that does well on YouTube, basically all the categories mentioned above have the potential to take off. You can even do live streams. Everything from vlogs and how-tos to reviews and comedy skits have the potential to resonate with users. What’s important is that your videos are genuine and relatable. Findings from Google show that viewers respond best to online content that relates to their passions, eclipsing the importance of high production values or celebrity cameos.
It should also be noted that YouTube’s main demographics skew younger. Research has shown that 81% of 15-25-year-olds use YouTube, while YouTube is the second most preferred video viewing platform for 18-34-year-olds after Netflix. This is something you should bear in mind in regards to the kind of content you create.
There are a lot of benefits of posting video content on Facebook. When you upload videos to the platform, people can like and share videos to their friends very easily, which holds a lot of potential for getting many eyeballs on your content. It also provides pretty robust analytics so you can keep track of how well each video is doing.
Facebook pioneered the silent auto-play function, which makes it more practical for people to watch videos in spaces where they can’t play sound, such as in-transit. This probably accounts for the success of quick how-tos or simple videos that use eye-catching images and instructive text rather than videos that rely on sound. To see examples of this type of video done right, check out Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos or DIY & Crafts.
In terms of demographics, it’s important to note that the Facebook audience tends to skew older, and is becoming more of the case over time. Fewer teenagers are using Facebook these days, while seniors are the fastest-growing group of users on the platform.
This photo and video-sharing app has been around for a while, but its popularity has yet to wane. In terms of video, Instagram has some similar features to Facebook, but its audience skews younger. You can post videos to show up in the standard feed, IGTV, Instagram Live, or you can opt for the Instagram stories feature. Instagram Stories lets you post photos and videos that vanish within 24 hours. However, you do have the option to pin several to the highlights section of your profile page.
Instagram stories add a sense of immediacy and urgency to your posts. For businesses it might seem strange to invest in something that will disappear within a day, however, it has proven to be effective. More than 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily, while 68% of users have said they are more interested in a brand or product when they see it featured in an Instagram story.
Hosting video content on your actual website will have a steeper learning curve than using a video platform. Most companies these days choose to upload to one of the aforementioned video platforms and embed the video on their site. However, if you have the resources or feel held back by certain platforms’ content policies and want to ensure viewers stay on your site, it may be the best option for you.
To host video on your site effectively, you’ll need to use dedicated server hosting. To learn more about the benefits of dedicated server hosting and how to get started, check out our piece on dedicated server hosting and streaming content.
Although not nearly as popular as video on other platforms, Twitter also has video capabilities, and could be explored if you already have a following on the micro-blogging site. If you plan on creating content aimed towards a professional audience, LinkedIn Video may work for you.
Although not yet as popular an option among marketers as some of the video platforms already mentioned, the TikTok app has been exploding in popularity among 16-24 year-olds, who make up 69% of the app’s user base. If you’re aiming to reach a younger demographic with your content, TikTok is a no-brainer. The focus is on short videos with this app, with most users uploading lip-synching, dancing challenges, and comedy skits. Brands can start with posting original content or paid ads, which show up in its native news feed (although this is still a pretty new feature).
Another option for reaching younger users is Snapchat. In 2019, 53% of 15-24-year-olds in the US used the app. Similar to how Instagram stories work, the focus here is on short, temporary videos. A great option for influencers and individuals looking to interact directly with their audience, brands can also launch advertising campaigns.
When it comes to video marketing, the wealth of options can be overwhelming. Ultimately the type of video content you create and where you choose to post it will be dependent on your niche, what you’re offering, and the particular demographic you want to reach. Before you begin, it’s important to do your research and come up with a concrete plan of action. We hope this guide was a good starting point for your video marketing journey!
If you’re interested in hosting video content on your own site, check out Namecheap’s dedicated server options.