How to Develop a Video Content Strategy

Video content strategy illustration with computer screen and data visualization

Any marketer or internal comms professional worth their salt knows that not only do audiences prefer video, they often demand it. After all, video already accounts for a vast majority of web traffic. And brands that hope to keep their audiences’ attention need to offer up something worth paying attention to. But developing a great video is no easy task. Even harder is developing a video content strategy that will breathe new life into your marketing and internal content.

Every organization’s video content strategy will be different. Your approach should be as customized to your brand as possible. But luckily, there are some fundamental steps that will bring you closer to the right plan for you. Let’s take a look. 

Your Video Content Strategy: Brand-Wide or Campaign-Specific?

First of all, you’re going to need to determine whether you want to build a video content strategy for your brand as a whole, or for a particular marketing campaign. If you have the time and resources, we recommend starting from the brand down. But if you’re still testing the waters for what feels like the right fit, starting with one marketing campaign might be the better approach. 

A brand-wide video content strategy defines the design, animation, and/or cinematography style, content style and tone, and other key features of the videos and/or motion graphics that will be produced across your brand. And it can come in pretty handy over the long term. That’s because it can serve as a guide for every brand communication or marketing campaign you create. On the other hand, if each one of your campaigns has a unique goal and/or audience, it can still serve as a great starting point. 

To develop a video content strategy for a particular marketing campaign, follow all the same steps below. Just remember: the answers along the way may be different than they are for your whole brand. 

Identifying Your Audience

You should start the process of developing a video content strategy in much the same way you start developing any strategy: by figuring out who you’re trying to reach. You need to know who they are, what motivates them, what channels and modes of communication they prefer, and what will be most beneficial to them about connecting with your brand. Without knowing this, you can’t be sure the videos you’re making will really resonate with them. 

When taking a brand-wide approach to your video content strategy, the best starting point for many organizations will be to create a set of customer profiles, if you haven’t already. These will prove useful for your marketing and sales departments in making a whole range of business decisions. 

Still, customer profiles can take a lot of time and effort to develop. So if you want to start simpler, make sure you know these basics about your audience: 

  • Demographics: Age, gender, etc. 
  • Geographic location 
  • Preferred social-media platforms 
  • Preferred media platforms and channels 
  • Preferred media type(s) (video, image, text, etc.) on each channel 

Defining Your Goal(s)

Whether it’s a set of brand-wide goals around company growth or a single campaign’s goal to spread the word about a new product, you need to know what you want your content to accomplish before you create it. 

Just remember, a single piece of content should have a single goal. This holds similarly true for campaigns: the more singular and focused your goal, the more your content can be fine-tuned to achieve it. 

All this means that defining your goal(s) can happen at multiple stages: not only while you’re developing your video content strategy, but also while you’re planning each video or content element.

Curious what visual communication can do for you?

Design, Animation, & Cinematography Style

You probably already have a brand book that outlines design guidelines for your content. This might include things like a color palette and typography direction. But few brand guidelines were created with video specifically in mind. So as part of your content strategy, you may need to take your brand book one step further, defining how video fits into your brand. 

Here are some key questions to ask when developing this segment of your brand book — or when deciding how video for a single campaign can remain consistent with your brand overall: 

  • Does your brand use photography and live-action cinematography in your videos? If so, when and how? Should these meet certain content or editing standards? 
  • Does your brand use animation in your videos? If so, when and how? And will you ever combine it with live-action video? 
  • If your brand uses animation or any kind of graphical overlay — from lower thirds to data visualizations to icons — what design style should these be in? In what cases should they be used? When should they not be used? 

Of course, in all these cases, your answers should be determined by what will appeal most to your audience(s) and what will achieve your goal(s). 

Plan to Optimize

You don’t want to invest a lot of time and effort into developing great video content if your audiences can’t actually watch that content when and where they want to. Yet this is the biggest mistake many brands make. 

That’s because they’re not optimizing their video for each platform or channel on which it appears. But with any video you produce, optimization should be a part of your plan from the beginning. How are you going to make the video the right dimensions for each channel? How are you going to make it horizontal for Twitter and vertical for your Snapchat Stories? How can your 3-minute YouTube video be shortened effectively for Instagram? Plan ahead, and ask for advice from your design agency partner — you’ll find it’s a lot easier than trying to make these decisions later on. 

Plan to Repurpose

Likewise, you don’t want to produce a great video to use it only once. Think about ways that highlights or single data visualizations can be repurposed into short-form animated videos or GIFs. Use icons or illustrations from the video on your website to create a consistent look and feel across your campaign or brand. Pull graphs to reuse in your visual annual report. 

Especially when working with animation, you can even use many of the elements of your first motion graphic as the basis for a visual workbench of assets you can use again and again — not only in subsequent videos, but across your marketing content. 


 

These steps are fundamental to planning any video content strategy. But you’ll discover more questions on the way. For answers, ask your visual content agency partner to weigh in and recommend the best approach for your needs. Then it’ll be time to kick off a whole new era in your marketing content! 

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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