By Al Falaschi
In 2006, I joined the sales team at Widen Enterprises, where I was supposed to sell digital asset management (DAM) systems. We used to email prospects an 18-page case study on DAM. Guess how well that worked.
My dream was to land a job in a marketing department where I could use my video editing skills. No one had a video guy back then. YouTube was about one year old.
Rather than torture people with 18 pages, I contacted the customer in the 18-page case study, recorded him talking about our platform, and made six ninety-second videos on common pain points. We started sending those to prospects. Within four weeks of joining Widen, our CEO said, “I know we hired you for sales, but could you just make videos instead?”
If you’re strapped for time like most entrepreneurs, no media delivers an ROI like video. Data suggests that videos outperform other media in organic reach, retention, and social shares, among other things.
You don’t need an army to make videos, but the workflow becomes messy for a few reasons:
- Most companies create a single video for a single purpose, which is a waste.
- Video files must be converted for different web pages, social networks, and apps.
- Videos files are huge, so they’re difficult to store and share.
I’ve spent 12 years creating a video workflow that scales to produce more and more content, even as our ‘video team’ stays the same size (i.e., me). Let’s spare you that experiment and discuss what would enable you, a small business owner, to produce quality videos with the least amount of effort.
I base these tips on my experience using Widen’s DAM system, but they are not specific to one platform. If you have a DAM, great. If not, you can cobble together some tools.
1. Creating and editing videos
Getting an hour of video footage isn’t difficult. Agreeing on the final clips is. In small businesses, the video person usually emails the clips to teammates, who, unable to see each other’s feedback, send conflicting, inconsistent comments.
Instead, post each video on a private page where teammates can make comments in a central feed. That way, one person can’t give feedback without first seeing other people’s opinions.
2. Managing video
Initially, a small business will have a tiny video folder. But, if you turn that hour of footage into 15 to 20 clips, as I advise, one folder won’t scale.
Not all videos are for everyone. You don’t want your salespeople to accidentally send out the video where your client gives raw, critical feedback.
First, decide which videos need to be public or private, and for who. In a perfect world, salespeople only see sales videos, customer service only sees support videos, and so on.
Second, tag your videos with useful metadata. Companies usually start by coming up with a file-naming convention for their videos (date, subject, client name, etc.). If you plan to make a lot of videos (or grow your company), don’t bank on that. Come up with a detailed ‘brand vocabulary’ for labeling and searching videos. Contract a digital librarian if that sounds unpleasant.
3. Publishing multiple video types
Many companies have awesome marketing videos but don’t use them because it’s a pain in the butt. Unlike a jpeg file, video files can be enormous, and content management systems are picky about what video formats you can upload.
Keep a high-quality ‘master file’ then embed links to it. When you update the master copy, the embed links automatically update to show that latest video, meaning you don’t have to update the videos individually.
If you have a B2B business that sends videos directly to prospects, find a tool that generates share links. Most email services will reject your 50-megabyte master video.
4. How’s it working?
Once you publish a few videos, analyze how the audience responded. Views, likes, and other cosmetic metrics can be misleading. Instead, use a tool to analyze the retention. At what instance do viewers stop watching the video? Where are the ‘hot spots’ that viewers seem to rewind or fast-forward to?
If there’s a drop-off point, re-editing that part of the video can boost retention. As for the hot spots, they tend to be moments the viewers liked. Expand on that subject in future videos.
Small businesses usually brush off tips about preparing their marketing technology to scale. Reviewing a video with 15 collaborators isn’t a problem. Yet.
When you set up a video workflow, or any new marketing process for that matter, overestimate how quickly you’ll grow. If you have ten employees, picture the same process with 100. If video is central to your marketing, pretend like it already delivered results.
Al Falaschi is the Video Product Manager and Video Subject Matter Expert at Widen.