Most businesses are investing in video as a way to improve marketing and sales performance and deliver a better customer experience. Yet most companies are still taking a reactive approach to video production instead of a proactive approach to a video strategy.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and in this Chalk Talk, we’ll explore why you should develop a video strategy and how to do it in a way that aligns with your business goals. Most marketing and sales teams that I speak with understand the inherent value in video content. They know that it works to engage new audiences, to educate prospects through the buyer’s journey, and to build more personal relationships that help sales teams close more deals.

But what they don’t understand is how to take a more strategic approach to what type of content they should be using at each stage of the buyer’s journey and how they’re going to expand their ability to produce great content without inflating their budgets. They’re unsure of which channels they should be using to maximize their reach, but also hit the right people with the right message, what types of insights they should be tracking to understand the performance of their videos and what type of content is generating the greatest ROI. Building a video strategy is all about building a plan and a map for the right content through the right channels with the right insights so you know that you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck and getting the most value out of video.

Start With a Plan

So how do you go about developing a video strategy? It comes down to a few main areas, and the first is developing a content plan. This is where you’ll want to look at why am you are developing video and make sure that’s understood within your team. What are the goals? This usually aligns back up to higher order business goals, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating more leads in pipeline, increasing customer retention, or maybe a mix of all of those. This should be clear from day one so that the kinds of videos that you’re producing always ladder back to those higher order business goals.

Once you understand that, you’ll want to start to develop a plan for what you’re going to create as a team, and in order to do that, you’ll want to think about two distinct types of videos. One are the sets of videos that are going to support your primary buyer’s journey. So no matter what else comes up on a daily basis, these are the core videos you need to better engage your audience and build more efficiency in your marketing and sales processes. To do this, you’ll want to do a needs and gap analysis on the buyer’s journey and the sales funnel. What videos do we have at each stage? And, where are there gaps that we need to fill to make sure we can offer a video journey for those audiences that want to take that path?

Secondly is looking at your website and where are there gaps where video content could help you increase conversion rates or tell a better story. And finally, what are the videos your sales teams need to be more effective in the closing cycle of new deals? Customer testimonials, product demos, and so on.

Once you understand your requirements across these, you can develop a pretty specific plan for what videos you need to build for the next three, six, or 12 months to help you in that primary buyer’s journey to be more effective.

Planning for the Unplanned

Now, we all know that things come up, and there’s campaigns and product launches and press releases that video may need to support. You can’t plan ahead on all of those, but what you can do is develop a set of guidelines for what types of videos you’re going to use, for what types of programs, and who’s going to be responsible for delivering them. To me, that is the most important part of starting to build down a content plan that enables you to have a set of priorities but also be flexible as new projects come in.

Now, you’ve got a content plan and you know what you’re prioritizing – so how do you get it done? This, again, is about building a set of guidelines to help you understand what’s the brand and the style and the tone that my video is going to be, so no matter who creates the video, you’re going to have a layer of consistency with your company’s brand and style. You’ll also need to think about accessibility and localization. When I produce a video, what are the guidelines around doing transcription or translation, closed captioning, and so on, to make sure that my videos are as accessible as possible? And finally, am I going to add interactive elements, calls to action, personalization into my videos?

You’re not going to know all of the answers up front, but what you can do as part of your video strategy is have a set of guidelines so that as you do take on new video projects, you’re actively thinking about what you need to address, and you can be more efficient in your delivery and more consistent in how you’re executing on your content.

Going From Strategy to Video Creation

Now, this is probably a big question that many of you face:  Who’s actually going to create all these great videos? And for this, I want to refer back to the idea of the production pyramid. The production pyramid is a way of thinking about who should be taking on lead responsibility for different types of videos throughout the buyer’s journey.

The way we think about it here at Vidyard is that agency partners are always the best when you’re talking about high-level awareness videos that are going to get broad reach and are really focused on building your brand. These are going to be more expensive videos, but there’s not going to be that many that you’re producing.

In the middle of the funnel for education, this is actually where you’re going to be producing a lot more of your videos. They are, you know, product demos and explainers. They are customer testimonials. These are things that you can often do in house with your own in-house video production resources. And this enables you to scale with your requirements more efficiently.

And finally, at the bottom, the decision of using in-house resources as well as empowering employees to create custom demos, custom webinars, and things like that that are going to help drive the purchase decision. So again, you may not have all the answers up front, but developing a model for understanding who’s going to take responsibility for producing different types of content is a super-important part of developing a video strategy.

Distributing and Measuring Your Content

So we know what content we’re going to create, we know how we’re going to create it, and what the guidelines are. The next step is developing a set of guidelines for distribution. How are these videos going to get out there? Which types of videos are going to go on your main website, in your resource center, are you going to invest in a video hub or a branded video channel where your different video assets live, what types of videos are going to go on your social channels and YouTube, these are all things that you’ll want to think about and set up a set of guidelines ahead of time so that people aren’t guessing once the video project is complete.

And the last piece is a strategy around insights. What types of metrics do I need to be tracking so that I can better report on the performance of my video program? You’ll want to think about three distinct areas. The video content performance, so no matter how many people watch it, how long are people staying engaged and is that content resonating? How are viewers engaging? So better understanding of who’s watching my videos, how long they’re engaging in each video, and am I going to use those insights in my marketing and sales programs. And finally, impact and ROI. What am I going to be tracking to report back on ROI? If you’re doing number two here and tracking who’s watching which videos, you can also start to pull data back out of your sales system to know which videos influenced revenue back to the business.

So this starts to give you a map for how to create a video strategy that helps make sure you’re taking a more strategic approach to the content you’re creating, the channels you’re using, and the insights you’re gathering so you can ensure you’re making the best use of your resources and delivering video in a way that’s going to have a real business impact.

Creating Your Video Strategy

Now that we’ve covered at a high-level the benefits and process for creating a video strategy, it’s time to apply this thinking to your own video campaigns. To help you get started with that, we’ve created the Video Strategy Workbook, which takes you through the 9 simple steps to creating a video strategy, from setting goals around your video content, all the way through to measuring success, and organizing your team around creating great video.

Everything in the workbook has been organized so you can fill in the details with pen and paper, and have something tangible to follow you through the process. Whether you’re preparing for your first video, or you’re a video pro that is looking to revamp your strategy, this workbook is a valuable tool for making sure every video project is set up for success.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and this has been a Vidyard Chalk Talk.

Jon Spenceley