Enterprise Videos for Dummies Part 2

Storytelling

Strategy & Planning for External Videos

Welcome to part 2 of our Enterprise Videos for Dummies series. Last time, we spoke about the strategy and planning of enterprise videos for internal audiences (i.e. employees), focusing on how to:

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Map and choose which topics you want to articulate with video (since you can’t really make every comm a video comm)
  3. Identify the best path to engagement with your audience (topics, tone of voice, etc.)
  4. Measure success (views, clickthroughs, employee surveys, etc.)

In today’s installment, we’re going to be looking out instead of in – examining how to strategize and plan enterprise videos for external audiences, particularly – customers and prospects.

Step 1: Identify the Why and the Who

When we are charged with communicating out, it is always our goal to create and distribute marketing content that is relevant and valuable, that will attract and engage our target audience, and which will ultimately result in action on the part of the buyer persona.

So, where’s the best place to start? The first step, as with any other activity really – is to define our objective, e.g.:

  • Are we looking to bolster our thought leadership position or generate new leads?
  • Do we want to drive awareness for our solutions or cross-sell/upsell into an existing database of contacts?

Moreover, we also need to hone-in on our ‘who’ – are we targeting mainly IT vs. business, CXO vs. mid-level manager?

And, finally, we should identify which part of the funnel we are aiming at – the top (for creating awareness and desire), the middle (for motivating consideration), or the bottom (for justifying the decision to buy).

The answers to all these questions will greatly impact which content we decide to use for our videos. To illustrate, if we want to engage IT folks at the top of the funnel, we could create short, numbers-oriented videos that provide the high-level story, and which are intended to inspire to learn more.

Alternately, if we are looking to convert CXOs at the bottom of the funnel – we should produce a different kind of video, one that brings the solution’s quantifiable benefits to life and presents a compelling ROI.

Step 2: Get to the Source of It All

The wonderful thing about marketing content is that even if you don’t have a lot of it already in your arsenal – almost any marketing asset that you do have has the potential to be turned into an engaging and converting video.

For example, if you ran a customer survey you can create a video that presents the data and insights. The main takeaways of any eBook, SlideShare, or infographic, can also serve as rich fodder for your next video.

Step 3: Spin a Good Yarn

It’s in the wiring

But it’s not just about the numbers or even the insightful takeaways.

When thinking about how to structure the story of your video – it’s so important to remember that your video really should be telling a story. Numbers, takeaways, product features, and benefits are all good – but if we want to engage and be truly memorable, we need to weave a good yarn.

It has even been neurologically proven that our brains are hard-wired to remember stories (vs. features and benefits). When we are being told a story, it’s not only the language processing parts in our brain that get activated. As far as our brains are concerned, when we hear stories, we experience them.

And that’s why, when we hear a story every other area in our brain that we would use were we to actually experience the events of the story, is also activated. Not just one lightbulb gets lit when we’re hearing a story (like it does when get a list of features) – but a whole bunch of light bulbs get lit.

Stories we remember. Features and benefits, much less.

The Structure of a Great Story, a La Pixar

So how can we create a story around our message/product/solution/service? Well, when it comes to storytelling – we can learn a lot from the folks over at Pixar. The story artists of the studio have mastered this ancient art – and they make a great business out of a spectacular skill.

Emma Coats, formerly a storyboard artist at Pixar once published her 22 rules of storytelling, ‘according to Pixar.’ Among these 22 there some very salient ones that enterprise video makers would be well served to keep in mind:

“Rule #2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to get swept away by the cool and innovative capabilities the product guys and gals are coming up with. And it’s tempting to want to say everything there is to say about them. But the question is not – what do we have to say to customers? The question is – what do customers need to hear to move further along the sales process, further down the funnel, and one step closer to the purchase decision?

Customer centricity is the name of the game – in service, sales, and enterprise video creation.

“Rule #4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.”

Let’s see how this could work out as the storyline for an enterprise product video. Imagine this is the voice-over (so to speak):

Once upon a time, there was a compliance officer who had to deal with tougher and tougher regulations. Every day, his bank was being audited. One day Acme Amazing Software came and showed the officer how he could leverage big data analytics to monitor all trade communications and transactions and alert the bank to any potential misdeeds. Because of that, the compliance officer saved the bank millions of dollars. Because of that, he was able to meet all of his KPIs. Until finally he got promoted to Chief Compliance Officer.

Pretty neat, huh?

Step 4: If You Love Your Videos, Set Them Free

We put so much effort into that killer video. We profile our personas and research what they need to hear and see in order to move down the funnel. Then we slave over coming up with engaging, entertaining, thought-provoking, and enlightening stories. And once we’ve created those brilliant videos – it’s time to set them free. (Note: what are the production elements that make those videos brilliant will be covered in our next installment).

The channels for setting them free, i.e. distribution, are pretty basic: social media, outbound emails, paid and owned media.

The question now is, when we put them out there how can we make sure that our audience will click the play button?

This is where some CRO (conversion rate optimization) principles come into play. Namely, when crafting the email, ad, or landing page for the video, it’s critical to make sure that the promise of what they will see after hitting play is aligned with what they will actually see.

And, when contemplating the visual elements of your video promoting email, ad, or landing page, remember that higher conversion rates are often correlated to:

  1. Design with humans vs. objects
  2. Images that are accompanied with a quote or stats
  3. Short copy vs. long copy
  4. A specific audience call out, e.g. naming the target persona in your copy, whether CTO, director of operations or any other title relevant to you

Ok, so now we’re set. We know what purpose our video is charged with, we know who we’re targeting, we know how to tell a great, memorable, and converting story.

But, how do we actually make a brilliant enterprise video? What do we need to do? And how do we do it?

Well, that’s the topic of our next post, so stay tuned!

See you next time.

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