Why 'authentic' is the new 'viral': How relevant video marketing can boost your bottom line

The use of video for businesses has exploded in recent years, and for good reason. Not only is video highly engaging and easily consumable, but it also provides a unique opportunity for businesses to tell authentic stories that connect with their audiences on a deeper level.

And yet, with an increase in consumption comes an increase in volume, making it much more difficult for businesses to stand out. It’s estimated that about 18 years of video content is uploaded to the internet every day.

Many brand marketers are still chasing that ‘viral’ hit, understandably assuming that metrics like view count are critical benchmarks for success. But this isn’t the case any more.

The goal is not to go viral

The truth is, having a video go ‘viral’ isn’t likely going to do much for your business. People simply don’t celebrate one-hit-wonder style content like we used to. What used to be 15 minutes of fame is now 0.5 seconds if you’re lucky. They’ll see it, they’ll react, and they’ll move on, and they’ll forget about who authored the video in the first place. So putting all your eggs into one asset is a huge risk.

The money is in building trust with consistent touch points that can keep up with the varying demands of your audience. Demands that keep changing day-by-day.

You might be thinking, what about the cost? Won't investing in ongoing video production and distribution eat into my bottom line? Our business isn’t in making videos, it’s building widgets.

Well, let me tell you, if done right the benefits of using video for storytelling far outweigh any potential costs. In fact, implementing a video strategy can provide a significant return on investment, both in terms of increased brand awareness and customer engagement.

Research your audience

First and foremost, video is an incredibly effective medium for capturing attention. 87% of content consumed is video. So yes, your customers are watching videos online.

But rather than chasing trends, it’s important to do the work to recognize where on the internet your audience is seeking value. Effective keyword research can be a good place to start. Assuming that you have some baseline knowledge of areas of interest to your target audience, try plugging in some industry-related terms into Google (or better, YouTube) and see what shows up.

Create a spreadsheet that accounts for the keywords used for your search, the video titles that show up, their ranking from top to bottom, what phrases are showing up in the thumbnails and descriptions, the length of the videos, the style and tone, and most importantly: browse through any comments left on the videos and look for any critical feedback or questions. The concerns brought up by an active audience are perfect subject ideas for your content.

In today's crowded and noisy digital landscape, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter and grab people's attention. But with videos that touch on specific and relevant topics as made apparent by people’s comments on other videos, you’ll have a much greater chance to grab people’s attention.

Make it emotional

The next thing is to make an emotional connection in a way that text and images simply cannot do. Through the use of music, visuals, pacing and storytelling, your video can elicit strong emotional reactions from viewers. This emotional connection can then be leveraged to foster a deeper sense of loyalty and trust in your brand.

Don’t only focus on tactical information, even in a “how-to” video, there are plenty of moments to embed storytelling and values-based messaging to connect with your audience on a more personal level.

Don’t overlook the importance of music for setting the right tone. I sometimes spend hours searching for the right track. While it’s tempting to use popular music, you do need to consider copyright as a factor for usage. Thankfully there are some great resources for licensing royalty-free music made specifically for online video usage. YouTube has a decent library to choose from, but for more variety you can look at resources like www.musicbed.com or www.artlist.io or www.premiumbeat.com

It’s not so expensive

One of the interesting side-effects of the commoditization of video is that the bar for “quality” has, let’s say, shifted.

The topic of the perception of quality deserves its own blog post, but what I’ll say here is that quality is obviously subjective. We’ve been trained for years that a certain approach to cinematography, acting, direction, storytelling, audio, set designs, etc. That this stuff is what makes a presentation valued at “high quality”. This is entirely subjective.

We’ve all seen an unintentionally sad movie or two where despite hitting all the marks for a professional production, they just sucked. And now, to the dismay of many professional filmmakers, there are videos shot on iPhones that take over the world.

All this is to say that the actual cost for video production can be relatively low, especially considering the potential return on building trust and brand loyalty because people can come to you for valuable insights on the things they care about.

To put it another way, making consistent and relevant content that brings value to your audience is far more important than production quality. Invest in the research and care. Don’t worry so much about the camera.

Videos for conversion

But it's not just about giving free advice - the use of video can also lead to increased customer engagement and conversions. According to a recent study, incorporating video on landing pages can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. Additionally, viewers are much more likely to remember a message that they have seen in a video, compared to one they have read in text.

Some ideas for conversion oriented videos can be product demonstrations, user testimonials, unique industry insights, and employee success stories.

Videos for search engine optimization

The use of video can also provide a significant boost to search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Google (which owns YouTube) will favour video results for information-based search queries. With a video you have the ability to transcribe the dialogue into search-engine friendly blog posts. Apparently, adding closed captions to your video can also be useful for search engines. And now there are powerful tools that can automatically transcribe your videos and generate .SRT files, which are the technical file-type for adding closed captioning to videos on platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. For example, check out www.descript.com

Building brand loyalty

Ultimately, when customers are looking to brands, they’re looking at their brand story. It’s no longer just about having the best widget. If that’s all you do, then it’s a race to the bottom the second your neighbour puts out the same widget for a dollar cheaper.

Instead, customers want to purchase widgets from people who look and sound like them. Because by purchasing that widget, they’re investing in the right to wear that story as their own. As a business that wants to survive the identity-focused consumer demands of the next generation, you need to tell your story in everything that you do.

By putting out videos; whether they’re educational, inspirational, insightful, or mindful; as long as they are valuable, people will see your story. And the people who see your story and believe in that story, they will want to leverage that story to show off to their friends. That usually results in them purchasing your widget and all the widgets you make in the future, regardless of the price, because that’s brand loyalty.

So let's embrace authenticity and use our unique stories to make the world a better place. Because at the end of the day, a truly successful business isn't just about the bottom line - it's about making a positive impact on the world around us.

Written By
Inder Nirwan
Co-Owner & Filmmaker