Activate your video

Getting the word out on your expertly produced video is just as important as the process of making it. If no one knows about your big brand film or quirky how-to YouTube series, they might as well not exist. Blasting your videos haphazardly through all available channels with no release timeline or content strategy in place is just not going to cut it in today’s crowded marketplace. As we’ve said already, you’re in a war for attention and all battles require a strategy. 

Activation is the part of your brand strategy that must be considered well ahead of production but comes into play after the content has been planned and made. This is about making sure your video content reaches the right audience through the right platforms at the right stage of the marketing campaign. It’s also about considering the relative benefits of different platforms and planning content outputs that mirror these.

Following those goals, this means knowing your:

  • Target Audience: Who your videos are for.
  • Distribution Channels: Where your audience congregates and shares content
  • Scale: How many consumers you want to reach.
  • Unique Selling Point (USP): What differentiates you from the competition.
  • Industry Trends: What the competition is doing and what gets interest.
  • Return on Investment: What concrete results you are hoping to achieve (e.g. sales, email address, social media followers).
  • Branding: What your business’ identity and tone of voice is. Ideally this should be laid out in a set of detailed brand guidelines. 

The importance of maintaining a consistent brand narrative to make market activation work cannot be understated. The help, hub, hero content marketing model is an incredibly useful technique for developing varied video content that all reinforces the same core message through every phase of the marketing funnel, from generating brand awareness to establishing brand advocacy.

Planning Your Video Activation Strategy

With the requisite market research done, it’s time to create the activation strategy that will guide the entire marketing campaign. This can be broken down into three stages.

1. Find and Optimise

Search engine optimisation (SEO) goes hand-in-hand with any digital marketing campaign and that’s because a huge amount of potential traffic to your video will come from search, whether that’s Google or YouTube or any other search engine. Video content is certainly no exception. We have already covered SEO for video in Chapter 5, but as a reminder, you will be optimising descriptive text and metadata around the video to make it scrapable by site crawlers which are used by search engines to index and assign relevancy to content. 

Call-to-actions for your products or services must be clear, easy to follow and in line with the tone of your branding. Your target audience needs to know what desire your business fulfills and what steps they need to take to get what they want from you.

Your video content should be easily integrated into all the digital channels where your target audience can find and consume it. Deploying specific content through the right platforms to match your different key demographics makes for maximum online impact.

2. Campaign Assets

If properly planned your hero video content can become a goldmine for further content in order to promote your brand campaign. While you are in the middle of shooting, take the time to record additional footage. This can include behind-the-scenes production work, interviews with the cast and crew and even humorous outtakes. Photos taken from the shoot can also be useful in creating hype for the video so make sure you have a professional photographer on set.

Complement these efforts with other types of content. A press release to go with your hero video coming out is a simple but effective method to raise awareness. Blog posts and infographics that go into detail about specific parts of your videos are great for repurposed content. 

Editing your videos for different social media platforms (e.g. non-audio, captioned Facebook video, 15-second Instagram video) makes them easier to access and consume by different audiences. Social media is a big platform for pushing content out to your audience so make sure your videos are optimised for the platforms you’ll be using (this includes potentially portrait footage to cater for the many views you’ll get on mobile phones).

3. Push to Audience

Leading off the last campaign asset tactic, it’s mandatory that you share your videos to all the social media platforms relevant to your target demographics. Whether it’s making your video your pinned tweet on your official Twitter account or adding it to your company’s Facebook highlights, social media promotion should be in your video activation foundation.

Paid social media and search advertising are avenues that you should explore if you have the budget. They allow you to create laser focused video marketing campaigns through targeted demographics and keywords.

Influencers and journalists also play key roles in widening your video content’s reach. Do the PR legwork to establish connections with such figures.

Keep an open line of communication with your potential and current customers. Directly engage with people commenting on your social media accounts and official website, and regularly send emails so your audience is always updated on all the video content you publish.

Distribution Channels

Media platform

We mentioned earlier the value of knowing which channels to target for your video content to reach your audience. To help make the process easier, let’s separate them into three major media categories:

  • Owned Media 

Owned media is the media you control directly. This includes your own website, your official social media pages, and other online spaces that your company runs. These should be the ultimate destination for your audience. Do note that these particular distribution channels have a limited reach until you have established your brand.

  • Earned Media

Earned media refers to the conversations and coverage your brand and content get naturally and through relationship building. From YouTubers to media outlets to social media chatter, these channels generate powerful word-of-mouth. Traditional and online outreach that you can scale is necessary for your videos to get promoted through earned media.

  • Bought Media

Bought media are the channels where you pay for your content’s publicity. TV, radio, and print advertising fall under this category as well as paid social and search advertising. There’s no denying their mainstream penetration, but you will need to assign serious budget if you want to leverage these channels, which may be unfeasible outside big hitting hero brand film releases.

Video Activation Tips

google video activation

Before we close the chapter, here are some top tips to get the most out of your video activation campaign:

  • Reframe Your Video — After you’ve shared your video on social media, you can get more value by embedding it in your blog, pairing it with other visual content, and tying it up with a discount or free offer.
  • Maximise the First 7 Days on YouTube — YouTube boosts new videos on their first 7 days before determining their search ranking by average watch time. Focus your efforts on promoting your video on YouTube on its first week to guarantee its longevity.
  • Use Google Trends for Tags — Find out which relevant tags you want to rank for using this handy tool. You can compare similar terms by popularity over time and specific regions, periods, or sources.

QUICK CHAPTER SUMMARY

  • Video activation is the part of your brand strategy that deals with how various video content is deployed through specific channels to establish a relatable brand identity.
  • Pre-activation factors to understand the target audience, distribution channels, campaign scale, your USP, industry trends, ROI, and branding
  • Creating an activation strategy can be broken down into three areas: find and optimise, campaign asset creation, and push to audience
  • Apply SEO to video and optimise your CTAs for the target audience and content goals
  • Make your video content accessible on all relevant digital channels
  • From your hero videos, create complementary content for promotion boosts
  • Share on social media, consider paid advertising, and connect with influencers and customers
  • Make owned media (your official website, social media accounts) your customers’ ultimate destination
  • Practice traditional and online PR tactics to get coverage on earned media (media outlets, social media buzz)
  • Budget for distribution through bought media (traditional media as well as paid social and search advertising)
  • Repurpose video content Promote your YouTube videos heavily on their first week
  • Use Google Trends to determine tags