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Video Content Strategy: What you need to know today

It’s 2012 and you have a web site, a Facebook page, you’re Tweeting, and sending SMS text messages to your customers.  Are you also using online video to close the sale?  You should be.  The costs of production have come down significantly and the use of Youtube makes it relatively easy for anyone on any budget to get going with video to help spread their message.

A warning though:  if you do use video, don’t just make commercials or people will treat them just like commercials. Give something of value from your area of expertise to your potential audience.  It’s the same advice I give for posting anything in social media.

Onlinevideo.net asked C.C. Chapman* for his take on the essentials of online video and he came back with these recommendations for improving any video content strategy:

1. Do Something Unexpected

Playing it safe gets boring, and your customers will stop clicking on your links if you give them the same content week after week. Freshen up your video strategy by going for the unexpected. Show viewers something they haven’t seen before. Think fun and unique, says Chapman. But remember, unexpected doesn’t mean inappropriate.

2. Plan it out Ahead of Time

People like to dive in and start making videos, says Chapman, often skipping the crucial planning stages. Begin by creating a video schedule for the next six months, brainstorming ideas and mapping out topics. Think ahead of time about what camera equipment and other resources you’ll need for each shoot. Having a plan means you’re more likely to follow through on video creation, and more likely to follow a set online posting schedule. That’s important if you want to attract regular viewers.

3. Talk Like a Human

Jargon is the bane of good communication. The purpose of your videos is to engage with your customers, so leave the acronyms and industry-specific buzzwords aside. “Nobody wants to watch that,” says Chapman. Instead, speak from the heart. If your on-air talent is reading from a teleprompter, make sure it doesn’t sound like he or she is reading from a teleprompter. There’s nothing worse than reading from a script and being boring.

4. Don’t Be a Slave to Length

Anyone making online videos has heard several times that shorter is better, that people will get anxious and click-off after two minutes, three tops. That’s true, notes Chapman, but don’t let it hold you hostage. There’s nothing wrong with going longer when the subject demands it. Keep your video as short as possible, but take the time you need to properly cover your topic. Don’t try to stuff your material into a length that’s too short. If you’re offering quality content, your viewers will watch it no matter the length.

5. Be Helpful

“Share or solve, don’t shill,” says Chapman, and that’s a good rule of thumb for any company making online videos. Chances are your sales team gets certain questions all the time. Online video is a great place to answer those questions. Your customers are more likely to share videos that they found helpful, so try to solve some problems. Whatever industry you’re in, create helpful tips for that industry. “If you can educate and entertain your viewers, you’ve done very, very well,” adds Chapman.

*C.C. Chapman is the author of Content Rules, a guide to content strategy. He’s also currently writing a book on people who made careers out of their passions. Video shot for that book is at Passion Hit TV, and the book should be on sale in the fall.

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