It has been said before and will probably be said again: video marketing isn’t going away any time soon. Today’s online users, whether they are searching for something during their off time or on behalf of their employer, often turn to video to learn more about a product or service, whether it’s learning how to use it, its features, or which is best.
Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group brought up a key point: today’s technology has made it easier and more affordable to create high-quality videos than ever before. Smartphones now have the ability to shoot high-quality HD or even 4K videos, which can be shared instantly via social media or sent via the cloud to a video editor to polish and prepare for publication. Here are six best practices and useful tips to B2B video marketing.
Create Content People Are Interested In
Surprisingly, the most important point is also the most overlooked. As marketers, we often get into our own heads and frame of thought when it comes to content creation. We think that if it’s interesting to us, it must be interesting to our users. But that is not always the case. Do any keyword or internal site research and you’ll quickly see that some of what users search for is beyond what we deemed important.
This is why it’s so crucial to do in-depth topic research to make sure there is a need for a video before creating one. Additionally, as mentioned in a Convince & Convert article about B2B video marketing trends, the main reason many people are online in the first place is that they need to solve a problem. By creating videos that solve problems for users, you are providing a valuable content solution that actually is helpful to users.
So much content created today is noise– it is simply created to keep up with the industry or competitors. By thinking logically and thoughtfully about what you’re creating instead of focusing on a frantic pace or production output, you are more likely to create compelling content that has more “sticking” power, making to more likely to be shared and watched.
Take Advantage of Options
For those publishing on YouTube, there’s good news for you: the popular video platform is constantly adding new features to its “YouTube Studio” (which is still in beta, as of the time of publication). By adding these options, you can get your viewers more engaged and drive traffic to other videos or links.
- Cards: Adding cards to videos allow you to link to related videos on your channel, external websites (like blogs on your own site, or product and landing pages), and to even distribute polls or point to a related video playlist.
- End Screens:These are “closing credit” screens that allow you to add additional calls-to-action for viewers. They include recommending other videos or playlists, subscribe buttons, channel links, and other outside links (if you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program). A video has to be longer than 25 seconds to have an end screen. However, most B2B videos likely won’t have a problem hitting that minimum.
- Transcriptions: Adding captions to videos makes them more accessible for those with hearing disabilities. It also can let people watch your videos without sound, which is what many people do on Facebook and while on their phone. YouTube can transcribe videos automatically, or the platform allows you to do it manually.
- Other Options:You can also add more options, such as watermarks and custom thumbnails.
These options aren’t very difficult to use and set up, and YouTube’s support section has video tutorials and screenshots to help guide you through the process. What’s more, all these options can be layered, adding multiple (or all!) of them to each video.
By giving users actions and things to do, viewers are more likely to not only watch the video longer but also watch additional videos or follow card links to your website. These options could additionally give you a leg up on the competition. By implementing these features, you may be providing more insight and information than competitors.
Optimize Titles and Descriptions
“YouTube SEO” and optimizing videos is a guide or long blog post in and of itself, but it’s important to touch on two of the basic places where optimization is most important: the video title and description.
The title has two benefits, much like a regular meta title on a web page. It is what compels a user to click on your video and also is indexed by YouTube to help it decide how and where it should appear in search results.
One of the biggest benefits of the description box is that it allows you to add multiple clickable links to each video. Many YouTubers and organizations use this availability to not only link to landing pages or blog posts with more information, but also to link to things like product pages, social media profiles, and contact us forms.
A good video title should always get to the point of the video before it might get cut off in search results. This is usually about 55-70 characters, including spaces and any punctuation. The total limit for titles is 100 characters. Don’t include any brand or product names before the title, as this may cause users to lose interest and not click.
For instance, a title like “New from P&G Manufacturing: Our Process For Refining Bulk Materials” is likely going to get cut off and doesn’t get to the why users are looking for when they want a reason for watching. Focusing on how it helps your audience makes titles much more compelling: “30% Faster Bulk Material Processing From P&G Manufacturing” doesn’t bury the lede of why a new refinement process is important to P&G Manufacturing’s customers.
Descriptions also get cut off when they reach a certain limit, but it’s not in characters. After three lines, the user must click to read the rest of the description. Descriptions have a 1000 word/5,000 character limit, so use it wisely and well.
Many YouTube channels include the same information in their descriptions after describing that particular video and applicable links. This info can include social media links, important product pages, and more about the company. Use tracked links to determine what links people are actually clicking on in video descriptions. This can also be done when linking using cards or end screens in the video.
If you can help it, try to post regularly instead of sporadically with no set plan. Even one video every quarter, if it’s done at a steady pace and the same cadence, is better than going one or two years between a few videos, then days between others. YouTube users like knowing that the channels they subscribe to are regularly publishing content. It instills a sense of dependency and trust in the relationship.
Don’t feel overwhelmed that you have to start publishing daily or even every week. Monthly or even quarterly as mentioned above can often be enough for B2B marketers who simply want to have a regular presence online through video. Having daily content doesn’t always guarantee success.
Fstoppers, a tutorial and knowledge-base site for photography and video professionals and enthusiasts, tried a challenge where they published a video every day. Their normal publishing schedule was about one per month. They expected to get 10x or more views, subscribers, and website traffic to their site, due to additional content. They were already getting about 1 million overall views on YouTube per month. To their shock, at the end of their experiment, they only saw about $600 more in ad revenue than months previous.
While users want to expect regular content, it doesn’t mean they are looking for more content, no matter how good it is. They simply want to know you’re posting regularly and that it is covering topics they’re interested in.
Provide a Variety of Videos
Some channels can succeed with one style of video, such as a product review channel or computer tutorials. But a B2B organization channel might have more luck providing more variety.
Different video types could include:
- Expert Interviews: interviews with employees and industry experts about recent developments, important topics, and opinion topics
- Tutorials: walk-throughs and demos of products and services– explaining how they work and what the benefits are
- Quick Tips: three to six-minute videos about product tips or working faster or more productively in the industry
- Company Culture: looks into the company office, employee spotlights, community involvement, how products are made, and other inner workings of the business
- Customer Testimonials: interviews from customers about their experience with your organization
- Industry News: updates about the industry, covering and explaining hot topics through examples or an expert narrator
Here’s an example from UK accounting services firm Crunch:
In this video, they explain a common industry question that many of their target audience asks about business expenses. Proving their expertise by providing thought leadership in the form of videos is a great way to prove their value and knowledge to their consumers.
There are several different ways that different types of video can be beneficial to your B2B video marketing efforts. This includes:
- Easier Idea Generation: different topic types make it easier to brainstorm
- Easier for Time Concerns: if you have less time during a given period, it might be easier to create shorter or more easily-produced videos.
- More Budget Flexibility: you may be able to create more videos when the cost varies by video.
Sit down and consider all the available types and set and brainstorm a list of topic ideas to get you started.
The benefits of video marketing don’t stop at the videos themselves. You can also repurpose videos into podcasts, content, images, video snippets, gifs, and more. Video is flexible because it is much easier to translate videos into different content methods than the other way around. Meaning that it often takes less time to create other forms of content from video than it does to make other forms of content into videos.
For example, here’s a video from a podcast I did with SEMRush. They did excerpts from my podcast episode and turned them into mini videos for Twitter:
— SEMrush (@semrush) August 12, 2019
Video also gives your audience new ways to discover you. Someone may find you on YouTube or through a Facebook video that wouldn’t have before.
It’s important to consider making video a part of your B2B marketing strategy, even if it seems intimidating or costly. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to get started with video production with a small budget, and freelance video editors can be hired to add cover slides, graphics, and transitions.
Video is a great way to break down difficult concepts, help your customers learn more about your business, and create content that can be repurposed for other formats and mediums. Don’t hesitate to brainstorm a few ideas and do some initial research to see if video can help meet marketing goals and grow your online audience.