We’re in a golden age of video content. And it looks like it’s only getting better. Why? Well for one, it has never been easier to access an absolutely endless supply of high-quality video entertainment in a world that responds to viral video marketing.
There’s something for everyone; vlogs, music videos, explainer videos, instructional how-to videos for everything under the sun, original movies, live streaming, a six-episode television-quality series’ you can binge from your phone, and so much more. In fact, more than a billion hours of YouTube is watched a day. So as a marketer or business owner, how do you get yourself a slice of the pie?
There are many benefits of video marketing, not the least of which being its increased value to search engine rankings.
How to Get a Start in Video
Once upon a time, video content marketing was a huge undertaking reserved for big businesses and bigger budgets. Now, with the variety of video formats and tools available, you can get started with as little as some out-of-the-box thinking and creativity. Below is a list of video formats ordered in increasing degree of difficulty.
No camera? No problem. A simple slideshow can be as easy as a series of still images with overlaid text. This no-frills approach may not be the next viral record breaker, but it’s a great way to get your foot in the door and communicate a message to your audience.
With just your smartphone, you can launch your own live stream through an assortment of platforms. Live streams have become increasingly popular thanks to Facebook. Nearly 2 billion users have reportedly watched a Facebook live stream and that number is likely to grow quickly. A live video can be great for coverage of an event.
Vlogs, How-To’s, Explainer Videos
You’ve made it to the intermediate stage of production setup. You’ll likely need a camera, some lightning, editing software, and possibly some talent. But there’s a lot you can do with these few simple ingredients. Buzzfeed-owned Tasty has revolutionized the ways Millennials find recipes online and the startup can be surprisingly easy.
If it’s a proper fit for your brand, a vlog can be an easily executable long-term video strategy. Vlogs are a great opportunity to flex your industry expertise.
Explainer videos can be another great educational format to reach your audiences. The YouTube channel, Tasty, has over 10 million subscribers with millions of views per video. Their videos feature fun and creative animations paired with highly informative and condensed topics that are so entertaining, you don’t even realize you’re learning.
Traditional Video Content
And then there’s traditional “Lights, Camera, Action” video content. For these more “full-fledged” productions, one may expect multiple cameras, audio, sets, studios, and more based on whatever your budget may be. Of course, you could also outsource your video production through another service or agency.
With all of this in mind, how do you decide what type of video to produce?
Pulling Your Heartstrings
Let’s first talk about the role of emotion in viral marketing. It’s no secret emotion plays a significant part in how and why videos go viral, but some emotions can certainly elicit stronger responses than others. The Harvard Business Review narrows this down to two things; how the content makes you feel (a psychological response) and how why you want to share it (your social motivation). In a previous study conducted by Fractl, we identified a relationship between social sharing and feelings of admiration or inspiration. These feelings act as social motivators that lead us to the desire to share something we feel is for a good cause, that represents our own self-expression, or that we feel will be beneficial to others.
In a video campaign for Budsies, we asked participants to share their favorite memories of a pet who had passed. Losing a pet is never easy. For some of our interviewees, their beloved pet had been their constant companion for over a decade. What seems like a sad subject ended with a happy twist that you’ll just have to watch to find out. The video has earned over 600k views. One commenter wrote, “This is absolutely astonishing and made me break down in tears of happiness and sadness.”
Other emotions carry a strong potential for sharing as well, even emotions you may describe as negative. Anger and sadness can be just as powerful a social motivator as warmth and happiness. When we view these types of videos, we feel compelled to establish our position on the subject or to inform others.
In a campaign for SR-22 Agency, we wanted to tackle the topic of distracted driving. If you’ve ever passed an erratic driver only to notice they’re texting, you probably felt some particularly intense emotions. Anger? Annoyance? Confusion? To capture this, we created a timelapse of a busy highway to highlight just how common distracted driving is.
The video earned over 190k views. One commenter shared their feelings on the video stating, “Thank you for helping raise awareness about this very dangerous activity.”
Make it Authentic!
No matter your video strategy or budget, remember to keep it authentic. A video is a perfect medium to cut through the layers of digital noise and to make a lasting connection to your viewers. Share videos wherever you can, when applicable. Your videos don’t have to live only on YouTube. Editing long-form video content can make for a great social post. Finally, remember that viral video success doesn’t come overnight but as your library of content grows, so should your views.