Video will soon account for 80% of all Internet traffic (Cisco research) and there’s no doubting that a good video can dramatically boost conversion rates. But with customers bombarded with marketing messages at every turn and every click, what can you do to make your content stand out from the crowd? These are a few tips for making videos that sizzle rather than fizzle:

Know the who, the what, and the where

Getting the basics right can make the difference between good and great video content. Before you start brainstorming ideas, be clear on:

1. Who you’re targeting. Who do you want your content to appeal to? This is something you should have at the forefront of your mind throughout production; if it doesn’t work for your target audience, it doesn’t work at all.

2. What you want your video to achieve. Do you want to boost conversions on a landing page, or are you hoping to generate social media shares? Recent research from DemoUp suggests that video can boost landing page conversions by 95%, so set goals and be sure to study the results.

3. Your chosen platform for reaching your audience. An introductory video that appears on your homepage will need a very different approach to a video designed for distribution on social media, so knowing where and how you’re going to promote your content from the outset is important.

These might sound like obvious points to make, but it’s surprising how easily they can be forgotten in the adrenaline rush of coming up with a clever idea.

Knowing the who, the what and the where will help you stay focused throughout the creative process, allowing you to measure success and help you create great content that is tailored to the needs and wants of your customers.

Viral marketing is driven from the bottom up, so keeping a constant eye on what your target audience is talking about is essential if you are to get ahead of the curve and create the next big buzz.

Reflect what’s important to you

Develop your own brand and content guidelines to ensure consistency across the board. Great video content should reflect your values as a business, using a distinct brand voice, design and attitude, helping your audience instantly identify with you.

A great example of this can be seen with Chubbies Shorts’ ‘Mario Kart on Lombard Street’ stunt. The purveyors of ‘the most jaw-droppingly radtacular shorts ever’ pedal their wares by filming themselves having a jolly good time; their products rarely feature at all, as it’s just about having fun and living for the weekend, which in turn reflects their image, promoting their brand on a deeper level.

This particular short video achieved over 23 million Facebook views in under a month:

Keep it short and sweet

Great video content is succinct. Your potential audience online is huge, but their attention span is not. According to a report by Microsoft, the average attention span of an internet user is just 8 seconds, so you have precious little time to get to the hook before you start losing people. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for 3 minutes or less.

Zuum Social recently studied seven industry sectors – Luxury Fashion, State Tourism, Fast Food, Clothing Retail, Pet Foods, Luxury Autos and Energy Drinks – and found that video is the most-shared type of content on Facebook for nearly all of them, with Fast Food being the only anomaly (links to discount codes beating video into second spot).

The ability to reach out and directly connect with your target market is incredibly powerful, and a short video increases the likelihood of getting those all-important views, Likes and shares. More importantly, it gives you a chance to capture the imagination and leave a lasting impression – a rare commodity in a cluttered online world.

Get emotional

Provoking an emotional reaction can help you connect with customers in ways that logical persuasion just can’t. You don’t have to produce a John Lewis-style Christmas tearjerker to tap into emotion, though, as there are many ‘high arousal’ emotions, such as happiness, amusement, or even anger that can make your video content more shareable and memorable.

When coming up with ideas to film, think about what might provoke high-arousal emotions in your target audience. What do they really care about? What makes them laugh, cry, or feel nostalgic?

Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign nails emotive content on the head.

Hands up if you’re holding back the tears?

Note, again, that no products are on show – it’s all about encouraging people to appreciate themselves, letting go of the little hang-ups that can affect self confidence and learning to their inner beauty shine.

The message is incredibly moving and, as a by-product, the above video has now achieved close to 70 million views on YouTube.

The ‘Real Beauty’ drive has been running for 12 years, proving that tapping into emotional reactions – focusing on what you want your audience to feel rather than what they can buy – is a surefire route to success.

Start as you mean to go on

While Dove is a huge multinational with a gargantuan marketing budget, you can learn from the best and look to create content that stimulates the right reaction.

As a startup, you’ll invariably be looking to pique interest in what your company is all about, but the key to success is to always have your audience in mind. Chubbies appeals to young, carefree spirits that enjoying blowing off steam, and the series of prankish stunts places the brand in the right context.

Dove is pretty universal, as the message transcends age and gender (and most people have probably found a Dove product in their bathroom at one time or another, whether it was purchased by them or someone else) but there’s a real focus on 30-60 year-old ladies – the target demographic.

Whatever you sell or service you provide, make sure that your marketing output resonates in the right way.

Author: Jon Mowat is the owner of UK video production company, Hurricane Media. Follow @HurricaneMedia on Twitter and connect with Jon on LinkedIn.

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