Worried about your budget or what stories to tell? Columnist Michael Litt has some tips to get you on the right path to a successful video marketing plan

1. You Need Dedicated Resources

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Everyone worries about budget. Dollars are tight. Every organization is trying to do more with less.

If you can only invest in one dedicated hire, a videographer is a good place to start. A strong videographer can shoot and edit all of your footage and produce at least one short video per week for about $1,000.

And you don’t need a formal studio and top-of-the-line equipment. Quality is important, but so is authenticity. Shoot in the office instead of a studio, and you can get a great HD-quality camera for a few hundred bucks.

2. Figure Out What Stories You Want To Tell

For most organizations, there’s no shortage of potential video content. Think about your audience and what you want them to know about you.

A good first video is an explainer about what your company does and who you are. Then you’ll want to create videos for every step of the marketing funnel. It’s said that buyers do more than half their product research independent of vendors, so you’ll want to provide videos for every step of that journey.

3. Show People Not Just Products

Product explanations are important, but they don’t always make the most compelling stories. Interview members of the C-suite to put a human face on the company. Involve customers by featuring their success stories. Let your partners talk about their businesses and why they work with you

4. Keep Them Short

As any filmmaker can tell you, editing is one of the toughest steps. All that content you shot is great. Everything your company does is amazing. You couldn’t possibly do it justice in one minute.

Unfortunately, viewers have short attention spans so you have to keep it short, especially in the beginning.

5. Never Fade To Black

If your viewer has watched to the end of a video, don’t just leave her with a blank screen. Provide a call to action pointing to related case studies, research or white papers. Recommend a related video or give her contact information to learn more. Promote an upcoming webinar.

You can even add calls to action within the video — for example, a quick poll question halfway through — to help gauge interest

6. Be Smart About Where People Can View Your Content

It’s tempting to pop your videos on YouTube or your own website. The best strategy is to do both — and Facebook, too, now that it’s enhanced its video capabilities.

YouTube is great because it performs well in Google search results. Plus, it’s free. But you sacrifice control. YouTube could refer your viewer to unrelated or, worse, competitive content.

7. Prioritize Measurement And Analytics

Measuring performance is the only way to know whether your videos are successful. Don’t settle for vanity metrics such as the number of views. That won’t lead to more leads and deals.

Collect data on how your videos are watched and how viewers engage with them. Check the duration of views, repeat views and drop-off rates. That data helps you know whether your videos are working.

Even more powerful: Track those stats down to the individual viewer. Your sales team would pursue a lead who has watched three videos all the way through differently from one who turned one off after 10 seconds.

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