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Best Practices for B2B Content Marketing With Video

  |  February 18, 2014   |  Comments

As content marketing matures, marketers are exploring new avenues for telling their stories, and revisiting - and improving upon - tried-and-true tactics like video.

Content is still king. Today's marketers cite content marketing as their top focus, ahead of search engine optimization (SEO), email, and even social media, according to Copy Press's State of Content Marketing report. As content marketing matures, marketers are exploring new avenues for telling their stories, and revisiting - and improving upon - tried-and-true tactics like video.

B2B Video: Great ROI, but Hard to Execute 

When it comes to return on investment (ROI), the majority of marketers say video and featured articles drive the best return. But video is also the tactic that the highest percentage of marketers (49.8 percent) described as "difficult to create." Why?

  1. Budget. Despite the growing number of affordably priced production shops, the perception remains that video is expensive.
  2. Resources. Creating video often requires outside resources, bucking the trend of bringing content creation in-house, especially among B2B marketers.
  3. Quality. The third reason marketers find video difficult is likely because while it's easy to create a video, it's hard to create good video content.

Many of the B2B marketers I meet with simply don't know where to begin. Below are some best practices for developing compelling B2B video content to fuel your content marketing strategies.

Best Practices for B2B Video Marketing

Start with your audience. Picking the right topic is key to your video campaign's success. Ask yourself, "If I were the audience, is this something I'd want to watch?" Start there. Doing so will set your video up for success, since you conceived the piece with their interests in mind.

Lead with the story, not with your brand. Once you've selected the right topic, tease it out with data, examples, and a narrative that has a beginning, middle, and end. As B2B marketers with limited resources, we often feel pressured to turn our videos into thinly veiled product pitches. Resist that urge. You'll build more brand affinity and trust by shedding light on a problem your potential clients care about than by pitching your solutions to them directly. That said, do include your brand where it makes sense - because you are an expert on the topic at hand, have data to share, or a new way of thinking about approaching the problem.

Let others speak for you. In life, as in marketing, it's best not to toot your own horn. Rocket Fuel has done an incredible job cultivating a stable of clients who speak on their behalf - in print, at events, and in an impressive series of videos. Cultivating these relationships takes time. Tien Tzuo of Zuora recently gave a brilliant speech at Bowery Capital's CMO Summit on how to do it: Move through successively larger asks, from logo placement on your website to unattributed text testimonials to attributed text to videos.

Show your stuff. Sometimes the story is about how your product makes your customer's life easier. There's no denying a strong "explainer" video can be a very effective B2B marketing tool: 94 percent of online shoppers watch videos, and the majority of consumers say that watching product videos makes them feel more confident about making a purchase. Keep these videos short - less than 45 seconds - and to the point, by focusing on client benefits. Over the years, Dropbox has done a particularly good job of this, relating the problems it solves to real-life situations.

Don't be boring. Who said B2B videos couldn't be funny or entertaining? Cisco made me laugh out loud in its absurdist spot for an $80,000 ASR 9000 router, while Zagg continues to push the envelope on how interesting a video about plastic can be.

Keep the conversation going. Your video is just one customer touch point. The best content marketing strategies will continue the conversation long after the video ends. Don't be afraid to go for the sale, as Coin did in its launch video, driving viewers to pre-order its product via a hotspot within the video. At a bare minimum, encourage users to access more information on your website, by including a relevant link in both the video itself as well as in its description.

Have more best practices for creating B2B videos? Send them my way @kristinkovner to be featured in a future column.

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

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Kristin Kovner

Kristin Kovner is a digital marketing, technology, and media industry veteran. Her firm, K-SQUARED STRATEGIES, helps high-growth media and tech companies develop and execute best-in-class marketing strategies. Prior to opening her own consultancy, Kristin served as the Vice President of Marketing Strategy at AOL, where she managed the AOL and AOL Advertising brands and set and executed the go-to-market strategy for AOL's owned and operated websites, including AOL.com, Moviefone, MapQuest, Engadget, and The Huffington Post.

Prior to joining AOL, Kristin served as the Head of Industry Marketing for YouTube and held various roles on Google's marketing team. Kristin has also worked as a journalist for Newsweek and SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal's magazine, and as an economic consultant at Bates White LLC.

Kristin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Yale College and currently lives in New York City.

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