Jamie Field is the managing director of TopLine Film, a video production and animation company based in London. Jamie is passionate about creating beautiful films that have a measurable impact.
We’ve all been to one of those weddings where so much time and money is poured into creating the perfect day but little thought is given to the ensuing marriage. Producing a video can be a lot like the wedding planning process: a lot of marketers get completely caught up in making the video and don’t give enough thought to what comes afterwards. A successful video project includes much more than just the production – you need to build a distribution strategy that works too – and that process needs to start early on.
In other words, making a great video is only one part of the problem. Now you’ve got to make sure people see it. Here’s how you can do just that.
There are literally thousands of different ways to distribute your video content. But before you start choosing your distribution channels, you need to set your objectives. These goals might be to elevate your brand, to generate leads, or to help your customer services team answer some common questions. And they provide the blueprint for much of your eventual strategy. If you’re looking to generate leads, for example, you’ll likely want to make sure the video is positioned on a strong landing page with a form. If you use Wistia, you can even put a form in the video itself through the ‘Turnstile’ feature.
Having set your objectives, you can only know if what you’re doing is successful if you also set your metrics and your targets in advance. For instance, if it’s a conversion video, what
impact should it have on your website conversions? And if it’s a community building video, how many shares, likes or followers should it generate?
Sometimes success is a bit less clear cut. Our video for Cambridge University Press was designed to announce the publishing house’s new “Core” platform to its stable of authors – explaining its key features without over-complication or unnecessary confusion.
The aim here was to raise awareness of the product, for sure, but not necessarily to attract new users – more to make the current author base comfortable with the changes to come.
Among others, a possible metric could have been ‘customer service enquiries related to Cambridge Core’: if users felt blindsided by the new platform, or confused by it, the video would not have succeeded.
Plan your channels
Armed with your KPIs and your audience research, you can now start planning your distribution channels. These might include owned, earned or bought channels such as:
- Your own website or blog. Set it to autoplay to draw viewers in immediately.
- Broadcasting at an event. This kind of video can work beautifully – but make sure
your video works without sound, or with subtitles; you likely won’t be able to play it
over the sound system and the bustle of the conference hall will drown it out anyway.
- Social networks. If possible, chop the video up into smaller ‘social cuts’ that
highlight a particular feature or an arresting image.
- An industry blog or website. You could link to it as part of a larger thought
leadership piece, or sponsor some content to put it right in front of your audience.
- Video cards via mail. A combination of physical and digital media, this is a slightly more complex undertaking, but one which can pay off – customers appreciate the personal touch, and a video you can hold in your hands is just plain cool.
- Influencer partnerships. Get someone respected to share your video and you can often attract a wider audience.
- Your email database. They’ve already shared their details with you, so they probably don’t hate the idea of viewing more content. Send them some tailored email marketing and watch the likes and shares roll in.
If it’s one of your owned channels (your website or your email database) distribution is easy. Just hit publish! But if it’s a media partnership or influencer approach, you’ll need to ask, persuade or even pay.
Test, test, and test again
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter how well you plan, sometimes it just doesn’t come off. We have experience of this ourselves.
Consider this video:
As self-promotional videos starring smart, charming heads of production with immaculate dress sense go, it’s a good one. But we wanted to generate leads, and for some reason or other, it just wasn’t delivering. And then it hit us: the video was fine; the video had plenty of potential; the video wasn’t the problem. It was the way we distributed it: on our website, on social media platforms, on…well, line. The internet wasn’t the right venue for it. It had a chummy, ingratiating tone that made it feel personal – and it brushed up against the incongruity of an impersonal format. So we decided to change tack and turned it into a physical video card that we mailed to each prospect. We also invested in shooting personalised introductions for each prospect – so if they were called Alex/Jane/Sam, we’d shoot an intro saying “Hi Alex/Jane/Sam” to make the viewer feel it was specifically addressed to them. It worked like gangbusters, we got a bunch of leads, and we’re still testing and strengthening that campaign today.
Don’t feel like your strategy has failed if your video seems to fall flat at first. Try something different. If the content’s good, and you’ve got it in front of the right audience, it will succeed– the thing most people don’t realise is that the second part of that equation is just as important as the first.