Everyone understands that implementing video is an absolute necessity these days if you want to be a successful brand. People see other brands growing and engaging their audience with video, and they want to reap those same rewards and benefits. Often times, though, brands enter the game without a clear plan for how they are going to achieve their goal.

Instead of developing a coherent strategy for their videos, tactics often amount to little more than “throw it at the wall and see what sticks.” Video is pushed out everywhere, without any identifiable goals to measure success. While that may be better than creating no video at all, getting the most out of video requires an understood, well thought out strategy.

Understand Your Video Strategy Goals

Not all video is made for the same purpose, so you need to ask yourself what you’re hoping to get from the video you are producing. Is the goal to grow and engage your social following? Is your goal to drive traffic from social media to your brand’s website? Or is your goal to engage viewers already going to your website, to get them to spend more time in your ecosystem? Are you trying to make money off of video, or is this simply about brand awareness?

Clear answers to those questions set your goals, and with those goals in mind you can consider where to take your video, the contents to include in your video, and how to go about sharing it with the world.

Video for Social vs Video for Your Website

Video made for social media should be aimed at growing and engaging your audience. Social video should be short - to match attention spans - and work to develop the character of your brand, fostering familiarity. Social is also a tool to drive followers to your own website - try using teasers of lengthier content housed on your site to shuttle people along.

Videos on your site should be especially aimed at your existing audience. The content should be engaging and valuable, aimed at keeping people on your page for longer and at making your brand feel necessary, so they come back regularly to check out new videos. This brings up a very important point...

Your Branded Website isn’t Dead

Everyone seems singularly focused on social media these days, and while a strong social media presence is undoubtedly crucial, it doesn’t mean that your website is useless. In fact, a website has a very important place in any brand’s ecosystem as a home for premium content and as a revenue generator (be it through ads, product sales, or other conversions).

Remember that videos on social media can be a partner to the videos on your own site, driving followers to lengthier content housed on your page. That more substantial content should really shine, making it valuable to your audience so they return to your site for new material on a regular basis. An engaged follower who frequents your site is much more likely to convert to a customer than someone who gets dropped on your page through a traditional advertisement, because they already know and trust your brand. A few quick tips to keep in mind when putting video on your website:

  • Always place your videos at the top of the page, never at the bottom or in a sidebar - because in those areas, users might confuse them with ads!
  • Consider using video on your landing page. It’s an easy way to immediately catch attention and keep folks on your site. Videos are great for product pages, too, allowing you to quickly show off the most exciting features in a compelling way.
  • Always make sure your video players work for mobile viewing - you don’t want to drive a mobile user to your site to find it doesn’t function properly on their mobile device.

Video Syndication

Syndication can be a powerful tool in growing brand awareness and creating revenue. In the simplest terms, syndicating your video means distributing your video to a multitude of different sites, typically through a partnership that monetizes your content.

You enter into an agreement with a distributor who pushes the content out to all manner of places, from blogs to media sites to social networks, sells ad-space in the video stream, and splits the revenue with you. Beyond monetization, syndication can get your content onto some of the most heavily trafficked sites and services.

For example, AOL On pushes video to major outlets like The Huffington Post, Engadget, The Weather Channel, and many other highly trafficked sites. A distributor like Anvato syndicates content across the major social networks as well as premium destinations like Hulu, iTunes, and Roku. Find a distributor whose outlets align with the audience you’re attempting to reach, and work with them to zero in on that audience.

Your Video Strategy Should be Your Own

You shouldn’t try to imitate the strategies of others. Your brand, your content, and your audience are unique entities, and you understand better than anyone what your followers will engage with and respond to.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the strategies of other publishers, just don’t think that because someone else does it you have to do it, too. There are no set rules for a one-size-fits-all video strategy - everyone is trying to sort out the best video strategy possible for their unique brand, and those efforts are regularly evolving. You must be nimble and ready to evolve as well.

Your strategy exists to give you a plan for your content and to allow you to measure what works against what doesn’t. Your strategy is not meant to be set in stone. If something isn’t working or stops working along the way, don’t be afraid to change it up. You’ll need to constantly explore and experiment to find what brings the best results for you and your brand, but the first thing you need to do is get a strategy in place!