How can you make video content that people actually want to watch?

You need to ask yourself some important questions:

Who, why, what, how, and where….

These are five great questions all content creators must answer.

If you don’t know who you’re making content for, how will you know if the right people are watching?

If you don’t know why you’re making a video, how will you know if it’s doing its job?

If you don’t know what the video should be about, how to engage your prospects, or where you should place the video to make this happen…how will you know if the video is working?

If you don’t answer these questions, then you’re just doing video for the sake of doing video.

And doing video for the sake of doing video is the wrong way to do video.

Enough of that mess! Now let’s look at why these questions are so darn important to answer.

Think about the Who — Who is this video for?

When we say “The Who” we aren’t talking about what goes on behind blue eyes, or the band, or anything like that.

(I had to, I’m sorry)

Anyway–what we’re really talking about are your prospects!

Think about the last time you saw a commercial on cable TV and thought…. “Wow, that was a great commercial! I want to go talk to my doctor about X today!” Or “I want to go buy Y” or “I want to lease Z car from XYZ dealership.”

If you’re like me, it might be hard for you to think of one (but if you do have an example I’d love to hear it). Not so long ago, the lion’s share of my TV-viewing time went to Law and Order: SVU. Not the new episodes–the reruns that were syndicated on USA Network every Tuesday in marathon form.

Do you know how many commercials were geared towards an early-twenties, healthy male watching syndicated, daytime, cop show television? Essentially zero.

Who cares? Well, every dollar you spend towards getting your content in front of people outside of your target market is a dollar wasted.

The more specific you can get with who you’re targeting, the more tailored you can make your message. The more tailored your message, the more strongly you’ll hook your leads.

Social media channels like YouTube and Facebook let you get pretty specific with who you target (we’ll talk more about that in a bit). So if you haven’t figured out your target market and got to the bottom of all their hobbies, likes, and dislikes, then any time you make content you’re just guessing.

Who has time for guessing? The research will give you much more powerful insights into what your prospects want to see.

You’ve probably heard some iteration of this before idea before–trying to appeal to everyone is a good way to not appeal to anyone. Don’t try to be a universal solution–be the best solution for your specific section of the market.

Once you understand who, it’s time for why.

Why do you need this video, anyway?

You need a goal for the video. Don’t just make video for the sake of making video!

Why not?

Because it won’t work. At least, not as well as it could.

You, like most marketers at this point, are likely aware of the impressive retention and consumption stats supporting the power of video. According to a survey by Accenture Interactive, by 2018, 84% of marketing communications are expected to be visual, and video could make up 80% of web traffic. Everyone wants video, and for good reason. But if you don’t have intention and quality behind your video, no one will watch.

Think about what you’re trying to achieve with the video.

Is it extra conversions on your sales page? Then an animated testimonial video might be the perfect nudge to move those on-the-fence prospects toward that final click.

Maybe potential customers hit your landing page and leave too soon–An interesting explainer video on the page could keep prospects around longer, giving you more time to convince them you’re the best solution to their current problem.  

When you have a deliberate goal that you want your video to achieve, you can actually keep track of the results and see if it’s working (e.g. have sales gone up on the sales page with the testimonial? Has retention increased on the landing page with the animated explainer video? etc.)

What content will your audience engage with, and how should you encourage that?

Remember how we just said, “don’t make video for the sake of making video?” After the why comes the what and how.

You know the likes, dislikes, interests, and hobbies of your ideal prospect. So it’s time to think about how to use that information to create content they’ll want to watch.

How you show this information is as important as what. Saying what your customers want to hear, how they want to hear it is the best way to join the conversation that they’re already having internally.

Give your audience some credit. Avoid underestimating them and talking down to them. Resisting the urge to hold their hand as you walk them across the street can be tough, but it will pay off in the end. If they feel like you trust them to “get it,” they’ll appreciate you all the more for it.

A current trend is the “at the bar” style of writing (for everything from video scripts to landing pages). If you wouldn’t say it to your friend at the bar, don’t say it in your video to your prospects.

In more concrete terms, this will typically involve simpler, less formal language. If you’re too formal, long-winded, or technical, you run the risk of boring or confusing your viewers (you know, the exact opposite of what you want to do).

Oh, and put the snake oil away. No one likes an overt sales pitch!

Where should this content go?

Where do you put this new video of yours in order to get the word out?

The good news it that you already know exactly who this new animated video of yours is for. The even better news is that sites like YouTube will let you capitalize on your in-depth knowledge of your ideal prospects.

YouTube lets you get crazy specific on your targeted advertising:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Location

Those are just the beginning.

You can pick certain videos or channels to advertise in front of. If your prospects like The Who but not The Monkeys, then you can advertise only in front of The Who videos and not waste any money advertising in front of The Monkeys.

Advertising in front of bands won’t make sense for a lot of brands, but it does serve as a good example of the power behind YouTube’s targeting.  

The same idea goes for Facebook and Instagram. Go deeper than age and gender. Put yourself in a position to capture strong leads. (For more information see our recent post, How Gen X, Y, and Z Consume Video Differently which provides a wealth of information on how different generations see video).

That’s a wrap!

Before you think about your next video, make sure you know the who, the why, the where, the how, and the what. Does it add to the front-end, pre-production work? Yes. Is it more fun than diving right into making a video? No.

But is it worth the effort? Absolutely.

Need help identifying your big questions? Contact our team today and learn more about making video for the right reasons.


Elliott Regan

Plain ol’ Elliott Regan is a psychology fan, a writing man, and a member of a rock n’ roll ban…d. A triple threat in the loosest sense of the phrase, he likes to write about what makes people tick and what makes their screens flick. Apparently, he has a thing for rhymes. He’s ghosted pieces for a best-selling author whose byline appears in top-tier publications–but that’s a story he’ll only tell ‘round the campfire…

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