Your Guide to Creating Award-Winning B2B Video Content

February 25, 2013

Editor’s note: We would like to thank everyone who voted for our first annual B2B Oscars! The results are in and you can view the winners below!
When B2B marketers set out to launch their content marketing strategy, they typically start by tackling some of the more traditional B2B content formats — case studies, white papers, and corporate blogs.
While those are certainly effective, one new study suggests that a very different content tactic is quickly becoming the content format of choice for B2B buyers: Video.

In January, global research firm IDG Research Services revealed that 95 percent of B2B tech buyers now watch tech-related videos, and that those videos positively correlate to their purchase behaviors. In fact, after those buyers watch a video, IDG’s research suggests that:

  • 66 percent will continue to research a product
  • 46 percent visit a vendor website or contact the vendor for more information
  • 42 percent purchase a product
  • 25 percent add the vendor to their consideration list

Simply put, online video is a red hot content marketing currency that can drive more traffic to your website, allow you make complex topics easy to understand, and drive stronger prospect engagement. Best of all, video content is relatively simple and inexpensive to create, and even easier to distribute if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Before You Start Writing Your Acceptance Speech

Just like written content or audio podcasts, for it to be truly effective video content must be well produced and relevant to the consumer. As such, you should be mindful not to rush ahead without a plan.
It’s also important to consider how much your audience values video quality. If your customers prefer professionally produced videos, you will need to invest in a decent HD video camera, capable video editing software, and myriad other tools and technology (e.g., an external microphone, sound dampeners, and special lighting). And you may want to consider hiring a video production agency.
If your needs are more basic, then you might consider shooting your videos with a simple point-and-shoot camera (or maybe even your smartphone).
Regardless, it’s important to consider your budget for online video content, because costs can quickly spiral out of control if they aren’t managed properly.

4 Steps to Successful Video Production

Your votes are in! This year the B2B Oscars go to:

Best Viral Video Sh*t Entreprenuers Say Grasshopper: Sh*t Entrepreneurs Say Best Explainer Video Crazy Egg Explainer Crazy Egg: Crazy Egg Explainer Video Best Recruiting Video Inside HubSpot HubSpot: Inside HubSpot Congratulations to the winners and thank you for your votes! See the other nominees for Best B2B Videos of the Year.

Armed with that knowledge, you should be ready to press record and upload your videos to YouTube, right?
Not so fast, Stephen Spielberg.
Depending on your video goals and objectives, video production and distribution requires, at the very least, some high-level preparation and strategic planning. To ensure that your video production effort is efficient and effective, be sure to execute these four steps:

Step 1: Prep for the Shoot

If you have a plan in place, a team prepared to execute the video shoot, and willing subjects who are prepped for their interview, you will be amazed by how painless video production can be.
So, as you get ready to film your first video, it’s a good idea to consider these things before you actually schedule a shoot:

  • Develop a list of participants who you would like to interview on camera and identify the main points you would like to cover in each video.
  • Write interview questions ahead of time and develop prompts to guide your participants throughout the filming.
  • Stick to a rough schedule to follow on the day of the shoot. Each session may range from five minutes to an hour, depending on the topic and the participant.
  • Communicate the plan to each participant in advance to ensure that they feel comfortable speaking on camera and communicating your message.

Once you have set up your video shoot and your subjects are ready for their 15-minutes of fame, have fun with the experience. Nothing will turn viewers away quicker than dry, boring, or awkward corporate videos.

Step 2: Create Quality Control

Whether you are developing high quality videos with Hollywood production value, or creating simple product demos shot with your iPhone or computer video capture software, it’s important that your dimensions for recording, editing, and production are all standardized.
Nothing is worse than setting up for your shoot and pressing record, only to learn later that you didn’t set your camera for HD recording, or that your audio lacks clarity. Err on the safe side by starting with higher video dimensions and limiting background noise as much as possible. While most consumers are no longer offended by amateurish videos, they won’t appreciate being distracted by a grainy or pixelated output, or frequent car honks and whirring air conditioners.
They key is to not take shortcuts. As with product development, sometimes a bad video is worse than no video at all.

Step 3: Edit Your Raw Footage

Even if your videos are only going to be 30 seconds long, it’s important to do something with your raw footage before you release it on your website or publish it online.

  • Start by editing your videos down to easily consumable segments. Generally speaking, 30 to 60 second clips are a good length because they are easier for users to view and they’re less likely to induce boredom.
  • If you don’t have the budget to pay someone to edit your footage, don’t fret. There are several easy-to-use (and free) video editing applications on the Web, including the 9 reviewed here by TechRadar’s Mike Williams.

Your goal should be to add simple transitions, breaks, or soundtracks to make the video more compelling and engaging.

Step 4: Create a Distribution Strategy

Now it’s time to get the video in front of your consumers’ or prospects’ eyes.
To do that, you need to do much more than simply post the video to your website or blog. Here are a few additional distribution suggestions:

  • Go social: Use services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon to distribute your video. TubeMogul’s service OneLoad is also an excellent resource. It not only distributes your video to all of the top video and social networking sites, it also helps you create RSS feeds to syndicate your videos anywhere.
  • Use your newsletter: If you have a company newsletter that you send out to your customers and prospects, include a link to your videos or embed them directly in to the newsletter.
  • Create a YouTube channel: If you plan on creating a series of videos, consider creating a YouTube Channel. It stores all of your videos in one convenient location and provides a central place for users to find your content.

While not every company has the budget to launch a video initiative like the ones that big consumer brands like Old Spice and Red Bull have executed, your video content creation doesn’t have to be big budget to be highly effective.
Like almost anything else, successful video campaigns require smart strategy and execution. If you have that, you can tap in to a fantastic resource for engaging your customers.

Examples of Striking Video Content

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Additional Resources

OpenView: 11 Ideas for Creating Video Content
YouTube: Creator Playbook
MarketingProfs: 3 Metrics for Measuring the Success of Your Video
TopRank: 3 Video Marketing Gifts
OpenView: Funny or Die? Why B2B Brands Shouldn’t Be So Scared of Comedic Content

Don’t Miss the Other Guides in our Content Snapshot Series

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Content Marketing Director

<strong>Kevin Cain</strong> is the Content Marketing Director for <a href="">BlueChip Communication</a>, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.