What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘video marketing’? Chances are you’re thinking about explainer videos, funny ads or even customer testimonials. I’d bet a dollar to a dime that you can even go further from those types of videos but you’d never think about educational video.
You’re not alone – most business owners neglect educational content in their video marketing strategies. However, that doesn’t make it right. In fact, that’s all wrong!
When done correctly, however, educational videos can bring new visitors, increase your visibility and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing. If you’re skeptical, you should try making one. Before you jump in, though, here are some considerations to make to ensure your final video is as close to a perfect educational video as it can be.
Fit Educational Videos Into a Larger Content Strategy
Just like any other marketing material out there, educational videos alone won’t bring you astonishing results. They are just a small part of a bigger strategy you’ll need to put in place to get what you want (more leads, more views, more engagement, or whatever goal you’re pursuing). So, you’ll need to learn what an educational video can and cannot give you.
The first thing an educational video can bring to the table is value for your audience. Since these videos aim to teach a certain topic, anyone watching them should learn something after they are done. Educational videos are all about providing information related to what you’re ultimately trying to sell, of course.
That doesn’t mean that educational videos are actually selling something. Instead, these videos are about sharing information that can subtly nudge the viewers into researching more about your brand and what it has to offer. You’ll have time for selling your brand with other types of content (like product videos, testimonial videos, company videos, recruiting videos, etc.). Try to make a sales pitch in an educational video and you’re doomed to fail – people aren’t watching these videos for that.
That’s why educational videos are great for the awareness stage of your buyer’s journey. They work when people don’t truly grasp the problem they are facing, let alone the solution they can use to solve it. Ideally, your educational videos will help people who have just found out about a particular pain point and are looking for more information to deal with it.
Your video will then provide them with said information and point them in the right direction. In the meantime, you’ll generate trust in your brand and make people curious about how you can further help them. Following up an educational video with other marketing content is key, because that’ll be the time to introduce your solution and turn to a more advertising tone. That’s the importance of a bigger marketing strategy.
Pick the Right Topic For Your Audience
Understanding the role of your educational video in your overall marketing strategy is just the start. Next, you’ll need to decide what to talk about. It might seem like a no-brainer at first – just talk about something essential to your industry and that’s that… Right? Wrong.
You’ll need to go deeper if your videos are to have any impact at all. Let’s say that you own a travel agency. A good educational video might be about tips on how to get around when visiting an unknown city. It addresses a pain point, it gets your brand out there, it’s valuable… Yet it is still too broad!
Google says (and I strongly agree) that you shouldn’t be afraid to go niche when creating educational videos. Talk about specifics. Shoot a video about the challenges of traveling to a tiny Asian island or focused on avoiding being scammed when booking rides in a far away country or, like the video above, share the considerations someone should make when planning their gorilla trekking adventure. Niche? Yes, but interesting and helpful. People love concrete answers, not vague broad-stroked suggestions.
Now, of course that sounds a bit more challenging but it doesn’t have to be as long as you pay attention to your target audience. Research your competition, check the questions your intended audience posts in your competition’s social channels, and ask questions in your own profiles. In short, learn what’s troubling your audience and address those issues, no matter how small it feels.
Brand Your Videos Subtly
Again, educational videos aren’t the right place to go all ‘salesy’ on your audience. They are about providing valuable information while dropping enough hints for your audience to start making a subconscious connection of the information they are receiving with the people providing it (AKA your brand).
This is truly an art you’ll have to master. If you can’t balance your brand’s presence on your educational videos, you’ll end up with one of two possible outcomes. Either you make it so subtle that people fail to identify your company after watching the video, or you focus on your brand too much that it scares your audience away.
There isn’t a recipe for branding an educational video but there are some pointers for you. For instance, be sure you include your company’s colors and logo somewhere in there. Don’t make it too flashy, though – just make it look as if they were casually there while you were filming. Volvo does an excellent job of this in the above video.
You can also develop unique visual and audio elements to include. An animated character, a distinctive narrator, a set of exclusive icons or sounds, and any other thing you can come up with are perfect ways to stand out from the crowd.
Finally, don’t neglect the power of finding your own voice. That’s the main thing that people will pick up on. A funny presenter that explains things simply and with humor, a series of strangely accurate metaphors to illustrate an issue, a real-case scenario explanation… You get it. Find how you want to be perceived by your audience (funny, serious, helpful, creative) and be sure that the way you explain the problems in your educational videos always carries that tone.
Invest In the Best Possible Video
And I mean that in more ways than just money. Ok, sure, things will look a lot better if you have a high-quality camera, the right lighting, good mics, and the structure to mount it all. However, all of that can be rented or you can hire a production company to do that for you. What money can’t buy is what you should be focusing on as well.
First and foremost, there’s the necessary preparation for everything to go smoothly. On the production side, ensure you have all the materials you’ll need, the time to shoot and reshoot, the locations scouted and checked, and the necessary people available. Secondly, be prepared (yourself and everyone involved). If you’re going to be in front of the camera, then you have to be confident, humorous and natural. Funnily enough, all of those things come with practice.
There’s also the matter of the storyboard and script. You can understand the topic you’re about to talk about front and back, yet once the camera is on, you’ll find how quickly you can forget about everything. To prevent that from happening, relying on a storyboard and script is a must. You’ll have all the video mapped out, which will make it easier to edit and insert everything you need. You’ll also know what to say, when to say it and how to say it.
Finally, invest in time. This also has a lot of aspects to remember. The most important one is that you have to take as much time as you need to get your video right (especially if you’re shooting your first one). You’ll also have to invest time in every phase of the video, from conceiving it to putting the final touches on it. The last one is a tricky one – Be sure to keep your audience’s time in mind. Don’t go for a long video if you don’t have to. People love short videos. Be concise and simple. Don’t overstay your welcome.
Promote Your Video As Much As You Can…
…as long as you do so in the right channels. There are lots of ways in which you can use your educational videos to your benefit. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to use them all. In other words, devise a distribution plan that works for your brand and that ensures your videos find their audience. With that in mind, there are several things to consider.
For instance, educational videos work amazingly in YouTube, so having a channel to upload them there is a must. The most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) also love these videos but they have specific languages and different audiences. That means that you should use only the social network that fits your marketing strategy and the one (or ones) in which you know you’ll find your audience. For instance, teens won’t be on Linkedin and professionals will rarely look for serious videos on Twitter.
Your email marketing, blogs with guest bloggers, and online forums and communities within your industry are also great places to distribute your educational videos. Knowing that all of those places already have the audience you look for is something of a guarantee, so you can bet that your videos will perform well there.
Of course, you can get creative with your promotion. You can use your educational videos in your booth at any event you attend, use them on television, put them on your website or whatever you can think of. A video (any video) is a powerful marketing tool that can work for you for a long time in the most varied contexts. Take advantage of that.
With all these things in mind, you’ll be closer to the perfect educational video for your brand. It won’t be an easy task and the whole process will require a lot from you but the results will be very rewarding, so much so that it will make you question why you’d never thought of educational videos for your video marketing strategy before.