As video content becomes a staple for brand communications, it’s important to keep in mind a few key principles of success. Gone are the days where a single video will captivate audiences and provide a massive boost to a brand. The economics of video and its metrics of success have changed. Here are three principles to follow when you kick off your next video content program.
1. Post often
If there’s one major factor that drives viewership on YouTube, it’s the daily release of new videos. Any successful video needs to be engaging and relevant, but consistent uploading spurs audiences to consume videos as they appear. The approach is simple: produce content that aligns with your brand, post frequently and watch your audience emerge and grow. While it’s never that easy in practice—promotion, relationships and accidental successes all play a role—these basics will help you build momentum.
The takeaway: Upload frequency has to be rapid: once a week or better. Your brand might not be focused on the YouTube ecosystem, but the audience behaviors there are generally informative.
2. Maintain a serial narrative
It may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked: tell your audience a story. To do that, mine your brand or existing content pieces for threads that can be turned into something longer. Follow a narrative structure and take your audience on a ride. Every video must present a challenge, either for the characters in the video, or for the audience themselves. Every video must have a payoff—what happens in the end or what unexpected things do we realize? These dynamics have fueled the most successful channels, ranging from the daily vlogging of Casey Neistat to the counterintuitive health research series What I’ve Learned. Each video might stand alone, but the goal is to provide something that will grab a viewer’s attention and give them a reason to come back and see what happens next.
The Takeaway: Whether your brand and content are geared toward health, travel, automotive or personal finance, you need a theme and a challenge that your brand is trying to achieve. It must have uncertain outcomes, a consistent push towards a goal and it cannot have a foregone conclusion.
3. Don’t get hung up on budget
Viewers will overlook a low-budget production if the content measures up. So long as the video can tell a story, its technical quality doesn’t have to dictate its success or failure. Being creative and using simple tools to capture and edit videos puts the pressure on the content, not the production. Many successful YouTubers film themselves up close with wide-angle lenses on small digital cameras. A one-take attitude and simple approaches to editing means videos are finished quickly and ready for release.
The takeaway: Having a limited budget doesn’t mean video is out of reach. While selfie filming and iPhone audio might not cut it for your brand, that doesn’t mean you need a huge production budget. As a content agency, Totem has the tools and talent to help you minimize and streamline production activities, keep costs low and help you build a compelling narrative.