To create compelling content for your brand, you need to know your audience. But what does “knowing your audience” really mean? Which audience? And how much do you need to know about them? As the president of Bleacher Report, Rory Brown, told Digiday, “You can reach so many more people [in this era], but the definition of audience is murkier than ever.”
And when it comes to endeavors like creating branded shows, a podcast, or even an ad campaign, your potential audience suddenly expands beyond those who are just interested in learning more about your product or service. This is great news, but it also brings us back to that tricky question — how do you know who you should actually be making content for in the first place?
“How do you know who you should actually be making content for in the first place?”
Determining your audience is a key part of the creative process that should happen before you even pick up a camera or jot down a script. So, let’s start narrowing down who makes up that nebulous audience of yours!
Whether you set out to make a video series, a documentary, or heck, even a docu-series, looking to your brand values for guidance is a great place to start. Your brand values define your company more broadly than your main product or service does, and ultimately guide your business’ core purpose and personality. Chances are, you probably already have a consensus on what those values are, so dust off that internal document of yours that covers them in detail, because you’re going to want to reference this! Let these brand values be your starting point for understanding your audience and the types of content they might be interested in consuming.
Here at Wistia, for example, creativity is one of our core brand values. We try to be creative in the way we approach everything from developing products and producing videos to funding our business and delighting our customers. As a company who invests in creativity, we know that our customers rely on us to look at problems differently and solve them in ways they may not have thought of before.
So, when it came to deciding on a theme that would resonate with our audience for our first-ever docu-series, One, Ten, One Hundred, exploring the relationship between money and creativity seemed like the perfect fit. Leaning on this brand value helped us reach more people who are just as passionate as we are about being creative, regardless of your budget.
How to incorporate brand values into your content strategy:
Use your brand values as headers for lists of topics to brainstorm. These topics can start off pretty broad, i.e. under “Creativity” you could write down topics like “Freelancing” or “Photography.” Then, pressure-test your topics by simply polling your current customers, blog-readers, and social media followers. You can always send out a survey with a tool like SurveyMonkey, but nowadays you can do polls on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. Get a consensus around the areas your audience is most interested in. Later on, you’ll narrow these down and get even more specific about the execution of the content itself.
How this helps you grow your audience:
Ideating around your brand values is a safeguard against short-term thinking. By keeping your content ambitions in line with your company’s long term goals, you’re making sure that the content you create has legs that can last a lifetime. Plus, involving your current audience and customers at this stage will help reveal which values actually resonate with them the most.
“Ideating around your brand values is a safeguard against short-term thinking.”
From the Jobs to Be Done framework to simply asking “why” over and over again, understanding and solving your audience’s problems is a tried-and-true marketing tactic that helps you win fans for life.
As a business, you’re probably already very familiar with the problems your customers face because you know what problems your product solves. And while your content should share some of that utility, the greater focus should be placed on the problems your customers face in their daily lives and at work.
For example, Robinhood wants to “democratize the financial system” for millennials and younger generations through app-based stock trading — a mission that led to the company buying and taking over the MarketSnacks newsletter and podcast (which was rebranded as Robinhood Snacks).
Robinhood’s product solves the problem of making market investing less complicated, but the newsletter and daily podcast give their audience a look at the broader financial landscape in a way that’s more engaging and entertaining.
How to define audience problems:
When it comes to defining audience problems, we recommend using quantitative (demographics and behavior) and qualitative data (comments, feedback, customer interviews, and support queries) about your current customers to form hypotheses about audience pain points at work or at home.
Search online to see if anyone is discussing these pain points to validate your hypotheses, and then create a problem statement using the “people who + but” framework. A “people who + but” statement for Robinhood Snacks’ audience might be:
“Young people who want to make intelligent investments, but don’t always have time to track the financial markets.”
Use the problem statement as the basis for solutions you’ll explore in your content, and as always, be sure to check what you land on against your brand values to ensure it’s still a good fit.
How this helps you grow your audience:
The “people who + but” framework works well for growing your audience because it focuses on identity. A New York Times study on the psychology of sharing found that 68% of people share content online because they want to “give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.” People who identify a certain way often face the same societal or cultural restraints that cause problems in their daily lives. If you can solve problems for people who identify in a certain way, or as part of a certain social group, your content is more likely to be shared around that group.
Narrowing your audience might sound like contradictory advice for growing it, but doing so actually helps you create better content. Niches allow you to come up with solutions that resonate deeply with the audience you’re targeting, and ultimately, create the kinds of relationships that lead to lasting brand loyalty and fandom.
MailChimp is a great example of this. They’ve stated on their About page that creating an “empowered and inspired community” is part of their company culture. Their video content brand, MailChimp Presents, is focused on telling stories about “the entrepreneurial spirit.” And each of the series they’ve created so far focuses on a specific niche of entrepreneurs. For instance, the series Wi-Finders is all about digital nomads changing the cultures of the cities they live in.
The “people who + but” statement for Wi-Finders’ audience might be:
“Entrepreneurs and creatives who are considering a more adventurous lifestyle but feel limited by obligations at home or at work.”
The statement above articulates one clear problem these specific people face. What follows next, is a pitch that explains how you’ll address the problem with the execution of your content. Here’s what a pitch for Wi-Finders might look like:
“We’ll document the daily routines of digital nomads to show entrepreneurs the numerous ways they can make a life and live in cities around the world.”
How to create niche content:
Use your problem statement to zero in on an interest group or identity you want to focus on. Then, come up with a pitch for a branded show directed towards that audience. Start by testing out your ideas with smaller content first. Post a tweet thread or a blog post about the problems you’re observing, or create a short (2–5 minute) video exploring your idea.
Share your content out in the world and gauge interest based on the response you get. You know you’ll have found a good audience niche when it feels like you hit a nerve with a specific online community. With that confidence in your back pocket, start investing in bigger initiatives like a branded show directed towards that audience niche.
How this helps grow your audience:
Specific, concrete details are what make content watchable, and you can only provide these details by narrowing the scope of each project. If your subject matter is too broad, your content will be bland and unhelpful. With a specific niche, you can draw in a quality audience that identifies with and is passionate about your subject. And the more content you create, the more specific, unique audiences you can pull in.
When you’ve found the right ideas and the right people, a kind of magic happens. You can create original content that’s valuable to others, aligns with your brand values, and allows you to flex your curiosity and creativity.
“When you’ve found the right ideas and the right people, a kind of magic happens.”
Without an audience for your content, you may as well be shouting into the void. Values, problems, and identity are all closely connected for getting to know your audience and then creating great content that engages them.
After all, the best content serves its audience in a way that speaks to what they already know about themselves, but also helps them change perspective and think about things in new ways. By grounding your content strategy in the knowledge of your audience, you can take more creative risks with confidence.
Why a Wistia Channel Is like Netflix for Your Branded Video Content
When it comes to long-form videos, serial video content, and documentaries, there’s nothing more important than creating a high-quality viewing experience (well, aside from making the awesome content itself).
Take Netflix, for example — their impeccable viewing experience is a huge part of why they’re so successful. From its highly effective discovery algorithm and its human-curated micro-genres to its elegant hover-over previews to its smooth “Up Next” transitions from episode to episode, Netflix’s thoughtful and user-friendly design keeps viewers watching for hours on end.
Now, imagine a world where you could create a similar viewing experience for your business’ branded shows that lives right on your website. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, luckily, there’s a tool for that! Wistia Channels help businesses maximize their video engagement and eliminate distractions all while building a beautiful home for your content (without writing a single line of code).
The rise of social media platforms has made driving deep engagement a challenge for marketers. Plus, focusing solely on traditional success metrics like conversions and impressions doesn’t accurately capture the most meaningful interactions you have with your audience.
We think measuring “time watched” is the best way to understand the true value video is bringing to your business, and just as Netflix encourages binge-watching, Wistia Channels are optimized around maximizing the time people spend with your content.
Why time watched is so important
Focusing on the number of seconds, minutes, and hours people spend with your content reveals a strong connection between you and your audience that goes beyond product utility or clever stunts. People who are watching full-length episodes of a video series are engaging with your brand in a more meaningful way than those who are watching a couple of seconds of a social media clip.
“People who are watching full-length episodes of a video series are engaging with your brand in a more meaningful way than those who are watching a couple of seconds of a social media clip.”
The time watched metric proves that your content is compelling, relevant, and entertaining to the viewer. People are voluntarily sticking around to hear what you have to say for an extended period of time, and that means they’re likely to come back for more.
How Wistia Channels increases watch time
Grab some popcorn, sit back, and relax, because Wistia Channels are designed for long viewing sessions. In fact, these features work so well you won’t even notice they’re there! Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes to encourage deep engagement with your video content:
- The full-screen player: Clicking the “Watch” button on a Wistia Channel opens up a high-resolution, full-screen player that loads quickly, attracting and sustaining attention.
- Next buttons: While videos are playing, a subtle white “next” arrow appears on the right-hand side. It lets the viewer know that there’s more to come and the story’s not over. At the end of a video, an “Up Next” thumbnail appears in the lower right corner of the player, giving a preview of upcoming content.
- Sections and categories: With section headers, you can break out your content into chapters, categories, or topics. You can pique curiosity with section titles or just keep things organized so that viewers can navigate to exactly what they want to see.
Netflix is a form of escapism for many people; you can watch whatever you want from wherever you want, whether that’s in the comfort of your own home, on a bus, or even on the toilet (no judgment here). And while other corners of the social web feel like noisy intersections, your Wistia Channel is a zen-like space focused solely on your content. Why not give your content the spotlight?
Why it’s important to eliminate distractions
Social media is great for shorter interactions, but when you’re releasing long-form video content, it’s best to create a distraction-free environment where your audience can engage more deeply. Think about the last time you watched a video from a business you follow on Twitter. Were you easily distracted by the surrounding content? Did that puppy who was learning how to walk downstairs catch your eye? Yeah, us too.
It’s impossible for viewers to focus on and fully absorb what they’re watching when they’re distracted. If you’re sharing a story that’s near and dear to the heart of your business and speaks to your values and what you do, you want people to remember what they watched, and you want to open up the possibility of starting a conversation.
Increase signal-to-noise ratio
Wistia Channels are designed to shine a spotlight on your videos so you don’t have to worry about viewers getting distracted by other shiny objects (or adorable dogs). Here’s how we keep the focus on your content:
- No ads or links to other sites: Your Wistia Channel is part of your own website and doesn’t link out to promotional content or other sites … unless you want it to, of course. Either way, you’re in the driver’s seat.
- Control over the display of content: When it comes to the presentation of videos within your Channel, the choice is yours. Even if viewers are tempted to click on a different video, they’re still only being exposed to the content that lives in your Channel, not your competitor’s.
- Minimalist design: You won’t notice tons of animations, blinking lights, flashy ads, or other distracting elements on a Wistia Channel. The text, buttons, and other UX on the page inform viewers about the content they’re meant to watch, keeping the focus on your video content.
Netflix celebrates its original content by ensuring each show has a stand-out, distinct visual brand to go with it. The eye-catching visuals are unique to each series and help viewers remember which shows looked appealing to them so they can come back later and tune in. Luckily, with Wistia Channels, marketers can also customize the look and feel of their content’s home base so that it matches their brand.
Why it’s important to brand your series
With Wistia Channels, you can do things like add a video or image header, select a font and color scheme, add text details, and more. But why put all this effort into creating a consistent, cohesive experience for your viewer, you ask?
Well, when you brand the content that lives on your Channel, you’re building on the familiarity principle: The more people see certain visual information, the more they’ll come to develop a preference for it. These little repetitive branding details add up to you and your audience getting to know each other better. It’s ground zero for relationship building.
“When you brand the content that lives on your Channel, you’re building on the familiarity principle: The more people see certain visual information, the more they’ll come to develop a preference for it.”
Netflix has a carefully calibrated brand for each series that’s designed to evoke an emotional reaction with the viewer. Thumbnails are A/B tested, short preview copy is written, and previews start to autoplay when you hover over a thumbnail. From our own Wistia video data, we’ve found that a factor as simple as video-player color can affect the play rate, so don’t sleep on giving the content you create some extra attention from a brand perspective.
Customize your Wistia Channel
Custom branding on your Wistia Channel creates a visual identity for your series that, in turn, creates a positive association with your brand. Here’s how you can get started:
- Autoplaying hero video: Adding a silent, auto-playing hero video to your Wistia Channel really kicks your branding up a notch. Turn on this setting and you’ll be capturing your viewer’s attention in no time.
- Thumbnails: As with other Wistia videos, you have full control over the thumbnails displayed on each video in your Channel. We recommend featuring people’s faces in your thumbnails because faces convey more emotion, but at the very least, keep the colors and fonts consistent to build that brand of yours.
- Color themes: This one’s plain and simple — choose a consistent color scheme for your series that lets viewers know it’s coming from you.
- Custom font and logo: Add your brand logo and choose your font so that people really know it’s you. No doppelgangers allowed.
- Titles and descriptions: Add text to your Channel to entice people to click on individual episodes and learn more about what the entire series is all about (and to give your series an extra SEO boost, too!).
We love thinking big about video content and the impact that long-form videos, serial video content, documentaries, and more can have on a business’ brand. After all, serious storytelling deserves all the support you can give it, and investing in a better user experience for your audience gives your content the chance to go the distance. So, what are you waiting for? Give your content the beautiful home it deserves.
The Story Behind “#OverheardAtCoSchedule,” a Video Series by CoSchedule
CoSchedule is a North Dakota-based SaaS company that provides over 8,000 customers the ability to organize their marketing in one place. The rapidly growing marketing suite (#153 on Inc. 5000) helps marketers stay focused, deliver projects on time, and keep their entire team happy. When they tell their customers and prospects, located in 100+ countries, they’re located in the Midwest, it’s not unlikely that they’ll receive a jaw-drop or double-take in return.
With this insight in mind, Eric Piela, CoSchedule’s Brand & Buzz Manager, saw an opportunity to revamp CoSchedule’s original series #OverheardAtCoSchedule to showcase the company’s unique culture and location, while building a deeper connection with their audience. Before Eric joined the company, the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series focused on building thought leadership and saw the videos as an additional way of sharing information that was typically detailed in a blog post.
Early #OverheardAtCoSchedule video:
Late #OverheardAtCoSchedule video:
From outsourcing a production company to help tell their story to distributing their video series and measuring success, we dug into how the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series was created and the outcome it had on CoSchedule’s business. Hear what Eric had to say below!
Wistia: Tell us about your role as a Brand & Buzz Manager?
Eric: What a trendy “millennial” title — ha! How fun is that, right? Truth is, I started as the Head of Public Relations and Community but we quickly determined the needs of our startup were less traditional and brand & buzz hit on the two key focal points for the role. At the end of the day, my job is to tell the CoSchedule brand story and find the opportunities to tell those key storylines to the right audience. As part of that, I make sure I know who our target demographic is, where they seek marketing information, what technologies they leverage, and what marketing influencers they go to for thought leadership. Seeking influencer marketing opportunities and managing our social media presence are also a big part of this role.
Essentially, the Brand & Buzz team’s job is to help shape the CoSchedule narrative but to also amplify it — ensuring we’re telling the right story, in the right way, to the right people. For example, CoSchedule was recently named to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, this is a killer accolade and my job is to bang that drum as loud as possible so that both our prospects and our customers know we’re the fastest-growing up-and-comer in the enterprise space with the credibility to back it up.
Wistia: How did the #OverheardAtCoSchedule idea come to fruition?
Eric: #OverheardAtCoSchedule actually started before I joined the team. I’ve been at CoSchedule for two and a half years now, and prior to that #OverheardAtCoSchedule actually began as just an intern’s Twitter hashtag for funny things overheard in the workplace in 2015. We have two offices in ND, so it was a way for us to share experiences across locations by injecting some levity and humor. Later it evolved into a way to give external audiences a look inside what the strange brains here at CoSchedule were talking about and eventually it really became an extension of our culture. And yes, it’s still an active twitter hashtag and entertaining as hell to follow.
If you look at the docuseries as a whole, there is definitely a clear transition point. In its inception, the video series was owned by our content marketing team and started out as a way to extend the success of our blog by bringing some of our posts to life via video. However, when I started working on #OverheardAtCoSchedule, my vision for the series was to shift the focus primarily on our culture and share our unique story. That meant transitioning the content to be more about the quirky, Mid-Westerners who were proving the naysayers wrong and building one of the top 15 fastest-growing software companies in the U.S. smack dab in the breadbasket of North Dakota.
At the end of the day, I think part of developing brand affinity is not only connecting people to your product and what you provide, but also to the individuals and the creators. The series ended up being a great recruitment tool for us too because it gave potential candidates a feel for our passion and personalities.
“I think part of developing brand affinity is not only connecting people to your product and what you provide, but also to the individuals and the creators.”
Wistia: Did you outsource others to help with production or other creative needs?
Eric: When it came to #OverheardAtCoSchedule we decided to go with a third party video production crew. We used another fellow startup out of North Dakota, called Threefold, to help with the more professional production we were looking for. There are certain times when I think an unpolished video does a great job, and there are times when a little more production value helps you tell your story better. We decided to take the latter approach with #OverheardAtCoSchedule. It’s also all about knowing what your strengths are as a company and the talent you have internally. At the time, we were a marketing team with strong writers and graphic designers, but we didn’t have someone who knew video production on staff.
We leveraged Threefold to help us tell our culture story — we’d create the script, describe our vision and they’d help us bring the video to life. They did some art direction, editing, and helped to make sure a 2.5-minute video held attention and flowed exactly right.
Wistia: How long did it take to get each video produced from end to end?
Eric: We published an episode once a month but we’d aim to have our series planned out for the entire quarter. We would then try to shoot the videos in sprints. If I was feeling very ambitious, we could record up to three episodes in one day. Beforehand, I would create a creative brief for each video, which consisted of things like the goal of the video, the brand message we’re highlighting, talent needed and suggestions for video shoot locations. I would then create talking points and storyboard everything out about two weeks in advance and get it into Threefold’s hands for our pre-production call. They really provided strong art direction and a specific vision in mind, like “We’re going to find a pasture in North Dakota outside of Bismarck and you’re going to sit on a hay bale like so — I know just the spot.”
I’d create a detailed schedule for the day of the shoot, we’d do a quick kick-off sync, and then we’d record from about 9 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon. Doing multiple episodes in one day meant that sometimes I would have to hop from one episode to another, jump from scene to scene, and throw on different shirts so that it looked like we filmed across multiple days. After the day-long shoots, the production team began editing the videos and would turn those around back to me about one to two weeks later. Lastly, I’d create the marketing promotion plan and schedule distribution.
Wistia: How did you distribute this series?
Eric: We began by promoting the series to people who were already familiar with CoSchedule — a fan of our blog, our Headline Analyzer, and even existing users of our app. We leveraged our large 100K social media following and, on occasion, did boosted posts to our target demographic. In addition, we had an email list that was around 350k people at the time and made sure to work it periodically into our e-newsletter. We created a blog post about each episode to ensure our large blog followership were introduced the video series as well. Lastly, we added the videos to our Youtube channel.
Wistia: What was the feedback or outcome of the series?
Eric: The series was really well-received — we garnered 90K views and from my perspective, it is one of our most successful social media efforts to date. You can measure social a variety of ways, of course, but our goal was to get targeted reach, sustained viewership and drive engagement. We saw great engagement with people watching a majority of the video, instead of dropping off right away. It was just an awesome feeling to create content that our viewers were actually sticking around to watch since the audience retention can waver at that video length.
The series also helped generate some additional earned media coverage. We were able to get a number of guest posts published and additional coverage in publications like, Entrepreneur, Inc.com and Startup.com discussing how a small startup based in North Dakota was making waves in the technology scene. The series was an amazing way to share our story that ended up being a gateway to even more opportunities for our brand, especially for recruitment. In 2017, our company grew by 40 employees — many of which referencing the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series during interviews.
In terms of hard numbers and ROI, this stuff is always tricky to measure and tie back directly. We analyzed the vanity metrics, which were the number of views, engagement, etc. My CEO, Garrett Moon, said, “Eric, you’ve been doing these videos. They’re really fun, I’m laughing, and you’re good at this, but how are we able to track the true impact?” And that’s always a difficult question to answer. It’s tricky with anything that’s brand-related because sometimes you don’t see the fruits of your labor until a year or two down the road. So, was it a success? I believe it was. Can I go back and accurately measure how it affected our bottom line? Not definitively.
Wistia: Was it hard to get buy-in from other stakeholders to make these videos?
Eric: As I mentioned before, when I joined CoSchedule the series was already in motion. However, we believed there was potential to go beyond doing a video blog format and leverage the #OverheardAtCoSchedule series in a more profound way. Instead, I saw the opportunity for us to use video as a tool to share our culture, our brand, and just maybe people would fall in love with who we are. By this point, people were already eager to connect with brands on a personal level and actively develope “relationships” with brands, and we thought this was our chance to provide that. So, that’s when we completely reimagined what #OverheardAtCoSchedule looked like and got our CEO on board with the new vision for the series.
Wistia: What was the most challenging part of the process? What felt like the biggest risk?
Eric: I think the biggest risk was changing the format of the series. I didn’t know if people would care. I didn’t know if our story was going to be enjoyable to watch or hear. When I drastically changed the format, it was extremely risky because we already knew that CoSchedule was known for delivering thought leadership — our blog was crushing it, and when the series first started out it was a learning tool.
I knew that was our wheelhouse, but we were really missing an opportunity from a brand and buzz standpoint to share how we weren’t content machines, but people and marketers, just like our customers, trying to figure this stuff out. There were risks associated with changing the show’s narrative, trying to build in some goofy humor, and thinking people would relate to someone from North Dakota. It was challenging to get over that voice of fear in our heads that this wasn’t going to work. But that’s the beauty of CoSchedule — we’re a company that believes in taking risks and failing fast, and I was empowered to do that.
“I knew that was our wheelhouse, but we were really missing an opportunity from a brand and buzz standpoint to share how we weren’t content machines, but people and marketers, just like our customers.”
Wistia: Does CoSchedule plan on investing more in episodic content?
Eric: I think we accomplished exactly what we wanted to at the time. It was about telling our startup story and growing our brand awareness — I think the docuseries definitely accomplished that throughout the year. I still have people asking, “Hey, when are you going to make more of those videos?” For this year, if I could find a way to tell the story of how CoSchedule is the only way to organize your marketing in one place with a docuseries, we would definitely consider doing it again. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that a series works with your goals and what you are trying to achieve with your brand.
After hearing the story behind #OverheardAtCoSchedule, it doesn’t matter if you’re a SaaS company in the middle of North Dakota–video can help you build brand affinity and connect your audience to the individuals inside your company. Is this the year your business will create an original series, or do you already have one out in the wild? Be sure to share with us in the comments!
15 Types of Videos That Every Business Can Use
“Where do I begin?” is a question we hear a lot here at Wistia (and not just from visitors who are overwhelmed by the number of snacks we have on hand).
We know the thought of creating videos can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to decide which types of videos you should make at your business. At Wistia, we’re constantly saying “There’s a video for that!” and it’s true — creating a video is often a better, more effective way of presenting information.
For instance, why send a long email when you can record a quick video voicemail? Why write a long how-to article when you can craft a simple explainer video? And why talk about your product when you can demonstrate its value in just a minute or two?
We’ve gathered a list of the essential types of videos your business can create in order to promote your product, convert leads, and grow your audience. Along the way, we’ve included estimated production times based on the experiences of our video producers, so you can factor them in based on your workload. Sound good to you? Great!
Do you sell a product or service that isn’t easy to explain succinctly? Or maybe you’ve done enough research to know that including video on your product page increases visitors’ time on that page, and thus the likelihood that they might convert.
Product videos show your product’s features and benefits and often include examples of how it works, all while engaging your audience. They’re particularly beneficial for consumers who are in the awareness or consideration stages of the buyer’s journey and need a clear, comprehensive explanation of what you offer.
Product update videos
Product update videos will keep your existing customer base in the know about the latest changes and upgrades to your product. Additionally, these videos can teach your customers about new features and help to increase product adoption. They’re perfect for putting a face to the name of some of your teammates, whom your audience has come to know and trust.
Because they often take prominent positions on businesses’ websites, product videos can have lengthy production times with multiple edits and revisions. Often, getting the concept and script perfectly aligned, as well as looping in key stakeholders, can be the longest parts of the process.
On the other hand, product update videos have lower stakes, since they’re more likely to be featured on blog posts and across your social channels, so producing them is less time-consuming. From the moment you start scripting to the final embed, you can usually expect your product update video to take between 3–4 hours.
Once you’re all set and ready to upload, your product video should generally run anywhere from 2–5 minutes for the best engagement results.
Metrics that matter
After you embed a product video, you’re primarily looking for a combination of the play rate and engagement rate. Obviously, you’re trying to communicate a lot of new information in only a few minutes, so you want to make sure your viewers stick around for the entire duration.
Rewatches will let you know if there were certain portions that people might not have understood the first time — or they could indicate that your viewers are especially excited about a certain feature that they want to see again.
Explainer videos are educational videos that teach your audience how to solve a problem. That problem could be related to using your product, or it could be a more tangential issue. But by the end of the video, your audience should be armed with the knowledge to take action based on the new skills they’ve learned while watching.
All of these factors make explainer videos perfect for ramping up content on your blog or even assisting a page in your support documentation. Why force people to write in with a common question about your product when you can explain it in a video that’s easily searchable? You’ll know your explainer video has really done its job when it results in fewer questions for your support team.
While a product video is likely to be replaced by an updated video down the road, explainer videos often have the capacity to provide value for years to come. Think of these guys as the ultimate classics of your video collection, lined up right next to your Lord of the Rings extended edition box set.
The team at Sticker Mule knows all about using explainer videos to give helpful tips to customers who might not be super familiar with their product line. They created this video to answer a frequently asked question in a visually engaging way, complete with step-by-step instructions.
Since explainer videos require lots of detail-oriented planning, you’ll need to put more time and effort into producing them — about 20–24 hours on average. But that amount of time is worth it when you remember that new customers, returning customers, and leads who might be looking into your product for the first time are all going to benefit from them.
Explainer videos generally have a running time between 2–5 minutes, so it’s imperative that the content is dynamic and engaging.
Metrics that matter
Once again, engagement is the key metric here. But you should also take into account which parts of your video viewers took time to watch more than once. Does this mean that section was particularly confusing for them? Maybe it signals that a certain segment warrants its own explainer video. You’re teaching your customers with these videos, but let the metrics teach you a thing or two, as well.
When a lead finally converts and becomes a customer, what’s the first impression they’ll have as a new member of your company’s family? How will you welcome them to make them feel right at home? And perhaps more than that, how will you make sure they understand everything there is to know about what you offer? Enter onboarding videos, in which customers are shown the ins and outs of all that your product has to offer them.
These videos help your customers start off on the right foot with your product. That’s why it’s crucial that you take extra time to polish the messaging to ensure they’re valuable and easy to understand.
HubSpot has perfected the art of the onboarding video, as seen in this example for welcoming participants to their kickoff HubSpot Academy session.
Put on your video thinking cap and buckle up, because production time on onboarding videos can take up to a few days. You got this!
Onboarding videos run a bit longer than most business videos, ranging from 5–10 minutes. Because of their extended length, it’s all the more important that you keep viewers engaged throughout. If you need to sprinkle some shots of puppies in there, we won’t blame you. Get creative with it!
Metrics that matter
Obviously, you’ll want your new customers to watch the entire video and take in all the information, so the question will ultimately be, just how engaged were they while watching?
Simply pull up your video’s heatmaps in Wistia and look at how individual viewers are interacting with the content.
Everyone could use a helping hand sometimes. Especially new members of your team who are overwhelmed with information. Here’s where video’s special powers come into play.
By using video to take new employees through in-depth processes about how your product and company run, you can save time and stress (for both yourself and your new teammates). And what’s more, internal training videos are useful for all your employees, not just new hires.
Curious what they might look like in context? The creative minds at Dollar Shave Club have you covered with this internal tutorial they use to teach their employees everything they need to know about a new product: the Dollar Shave Club Traveler.
Internal training videos usually take anywhere between 1.5–3 hours to complete.
Feel free to go as in-depth as you need to with your internal training videos. If they end up being on the longer side (say, 5–10 minutes), it’s not a problem. Since these types of videos are more for communicating basic information to an internal audience, there’s less pressure to make them super polished.
Metrics that matter
Because internal training videos are for onboarding purposes, you’re probably looking for your employees to watch from start to finish. So naturally, play rate and engagement rate are important to track. And you guessed it — this is another perfect opportunity to analyze the content of your videos. Are there certain parts that are being watched multiple times? This may set off red flags that a specific section is particularly information-heavy or even confusing for viewers, so you’ll know how to improve your videos in the future.
People influence people. From Yelp reviews to Facebook comments, honest reviews can change our opinion of a product or convince us to buy. That’s what makes testimonial videos so valuable.
These videos can clearly show your leads the positive impact that your product has on real people. Hearing from customers’ voices and seeing a product in action is far more engaging than reading a paragraph. In the end, testimonial videos can be indispensable for winning over new customers.
Need some testimonial inspiration? The video team at Toast has their testimonial game down to a science.
Testimonial videos can take anywhere from 1–2 days to put together, depending on whether or not you have to travel to the customer to shoot footage. If you have a video team, there are definitely pros to sending them to your customer.
Not only does it make things easier for the customer (after all, they’re doing you a favor), but it also means the video itself will be consistent with your production style. If it’s inconvenient to travel and the customer has their own video team, having them film their own testimonial is a solid backup plan.
When it comes to length, testimonial videos generally fall within the 5–10 minute window.
Metrics that matter
For testimonial videos, play rate and conversion metrics are key. Your play rate will clue you into how many people are interested in viewing the endorsement once they’re on the page with the video. If you’ve added Timeline Actions to your video, like our Turnstile email collector or a Call to Action, you can quickly see your conversion rates on your video’s Stats page.
Promotional videos are like personal video invitations. Whether you’re inviting guests to a conference, webinar, or office open house, promotional videos pitch your event while giving your audience a feel for your brand.
In these videos, you’ll want to give a brief but detailed overview of the event you’re promoting, along with a Call to Action that encourages viewers to sign up or save the date. Your end goal is to generate leads or attendees by prompting viewers to take an action.
Convincing people to travel to attend a conference is a big ask. So the team at Moz used a promotional video to briefly summarize what attendees could expect to learn and take away from the event if they booked a ticket.
Production can take anywhere from 1 hour to multiple days depending on how major the event is. A webinar invite video probably won’t need as much production time as a promo for a 3-day conference, for instance.
Event videos should be short and succinct, ranging between 1–3 minutes.
Metrics that matter
Play rate is the main metric to take into account here. But perhaps more importantly, if you’re implementing Turnstile or a Call to Action within your video, you can track just how successful your video has been at convincing viewers to enter their information or click your CTA.
When it comes down to it, company culture videos are the most fun (and dare we say easiest?) to create. After all, they can pretty much be about anything and everything. Did you throw a guacamole-making competition for your team during lunch one Tuesday? Show it off in a video! Your CEO rode a unicycle to work? You have no choice but to make a video of that.
These videos let customers see who you really are behind the scenes as both individual employees and a collective company. There’s no better way to connect with your fans than by giving them a behind-the-scenes peek into the goings on at your office. (Hint: spotlighting your office dog is always a good idea, right Lenny?)
You can also use these videos for recruiting purposes to show potential employees what your work environment is like. Don’t just describe your great company culture and list your cool benefits — show them how it works in action.
Because you can never have enough dog videos, here’s how London-based branding agency Rooster Punk used humor and a healthy dose of charm to show off their office dog, Amelie.
Your company culture videos will, in most cases, take 1–2 hours to craft, so they’re relatively quick and easy to produce. As long as your audience finds them delightful, you can never make too many of them. Plus, they’re a perfect way to ramp up engagement on your social platforms.
These can come in a range of lengths, from less than a minute to more than 5 minutes, depending on the scope of the content.
Metrics that matter
When looking at the analytics, the overall play count can be particularly insightful. You’re basically selling your brand based on the work atmosphere you’ve helped create, so the barometer of success will ultimately be whether or not people took notice and pressed play. If the number of plays is telling you that your company culture video is making a splash, you know what that means: more guacamole-making contests are in store for your team!
Video voicemails are low-cost, high-reward videos that customer-facing employees can use to connect with customers and leads. Think of them as jazzed up versions of phone voicemails. Using just your computer’s camera, you can introduce yourself to a prospect in a memorable way or quickly respond to a customer’s question. More and more sales and support teams are inserting friendly video thumbnails into their emails and delighting recipients.
Check out this creative video voicemail from Jonah, who’s on our Customer Success team. Jonah uses video voicemails to encourage prospective customers to book a time on his calendar to talk more about the Wistia product. And especially with that Matrix poster in the background, how could they say no?
Your overall production time generally will be less than 5 minutes. Don’t overthink them: Just be yourself and keep your script concise.
These videos can be super short (most tend to be just under a minute long).
Metrics that matter
You might only be sending this video to 1 or 2 people at a time, so don’t be as concerned with your play count. Instead, look at how engaged your audience is, no matter how small it may be. Take a peek at your video’s heatmap to see whether or not your voicemail recipient watched the entire video or only part of it. Did you add a CTA or an Annotation Link in there? Be sure to check if the viewer clicked on them.
Video can be a sales secret weapon, especially if you’re working with clients all around the world. There are many advantages to using a pre-recorded sales presentation, not least of which is timing. Emailing back and forth just to get something in the books can slow the momentum of the sales process.
Recording a sales presentation with a webcam and screen-recording tool like Soapbox can help speed things up. Prospects can watch your pitch on their own time, returning to points you made earlier in the pitch, and then share it with colleagues if they need to. Not only will they appreciate the effort and planning you put into it, but they can also get more of the information they’re looking for up front.
When creating a Soapbox video, you’re able to record both your friendly face via webcam and your laptop screen simultaneously, giving you the opportunity to add a personal touch to your videos, just like Nextep does in this example:
A Soapbox video requires very little overhead — all you need is your computer and some good lighting. Depending on where the lead is in the sales funnel, you may just be dropping a friendly line, with a few screenshots of your product or website, or you may be conducting a more extensive walk-through, answering questions, or recapping prior meetings. If you want to learn how to create a persuasive pitch with video storytelling, try using our Sales Presentation Template. This may take a day or two to put together from end to end, but once you’ve done one, the next one will go much faster!
Aim for up to 3 minutes so you can give yourself enough time to get into the right level of detail, answer all questions, and finish off with a call to action.
Metrics that matter
Sales presentations are meant for small audiences, and the most important metrics are engagement, watch time, and conversion (if you’re including a conversion action within the video).
When it comes to livestreams there are endless possibilities, but one type of video that your business can get started with right away is a live event stream. If you’re already hosting conferences, conducting seminars, or sharing big product announcements with your audience, you can easily turn those events into a livestream to reach a wider audience.
Wondering where to stream? Facebook is a safe bet, especially if your company already has a presence there. We recently opened up our monthly Show and Tell meeting to the public in a Facebook Livestream to bring our customers up to speed on what we’ve been working on lately:
Production for a live video is all in the setup since there’s really no post-production process. In most cases (unless you’re on the go), and especially if you’re broadcasting a speech or announcement, you’ll want to use a tripod to keep the shot steady. Make sure to direct speakers to stand in the frame so you’re capturing the whole shot, and depending on the location and time of day, you may want to add some extra lighting to brighten up your shot. Give yourself plenty of time to set the scene, and once the cameras are rolling, production will end when the event wraps up!
Depending on the event, livestreams can last from a few minutes to a few hours. And while it may go without saying, if you’re livestreaming a three-day conference, don’t let the camera roll for everything. Schedule livestreams to capture keynotes and seminars, and then promote these individual livestreams on your social channels. That way, people can attend virtually, just like they would in real life.
Metrics that matter
In-the-moment engagement is everything with livestreams. Facebook’s engagement metric for live video includes the number of people who took an action on your livestream, including liking (or reacting), sharing, and commenting. Facebook also shows the number of people who watched all the way through, and how many people watched for ten seconds or longer, so you can see how successful you were at holding audience interest.
Livestreams are a key component of community building for companies with global audiences, which are most software and e-commerce businesses. With a livestream, you’re attracting participants who are enthusiastic about your brand but can’t necessarily make it to your events. Interact with those people in the moment to forge meaningful connections and deepen relationships.
So, you’ve started a podcast for your brand — that’s awesome! One of the best ways to get the word out is to develop lots of related content surrounding your podcast. To get more mileage out of your new podcast, film each episode and shoot short supplementary clips, such as sneak previews and behind-the-scenes footage. Then, post the videos on your website and social channels. That way, more people can tune into your podcast, whether that’s watching, listening, or most likely, a combination of the two! Plus, you’ll have a better chance of drawing in a larger audience, all thanks to video.
The Spanish Football Podcast is an English-language show dedicated to soccer in Spain. Due to its creators’ media savvy (the hosts are reporters in addition to full-time podcasters), the five-year-old show has already monetized through Patreon, where the hosts post bonus episodes and exclusive content. As they experiment with audio-visual content on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, their dedicated following continues to grow:
Podcast videos won’t take you any more time than it takes to produce your podcast. Wherever you host your show, simply set up a tripod and start recording. You’ll also need an extra microphone since podcast mics aren’t great for video (this post has some tips about choosing a microphone. You may also want to consider what’s on your desk and around your shooting location. If your space is a mess, clean it up! If you want people to see your signature coffee mug, make sure to include it in every episode. In post-production, you should add a title card (keep it consistent!) as well as a Turnstile link to subscribe to the podcast. We’ll give this about 20 minutes, but it really varies depending on how much effort you want to put into jazzing it up.
We won’t tell you how long to make your podcast, but some of our favorites, including Science Vs, How I Built This, and Safe for Work, run between 30 and 60 minutes long. That’s just enough time to get nerdy about your subject matter, but not so long that it’ll outlast your listeners’ commutes.
Metrics that matter
Since the goal here is to grow your podcast audience with the help of video, we recommend focusing on viewer count (how many unique individuals view your videos) and then try to grow that number with each subsequent video. If you include a turnstile in your videos (and we recommend you do!) you can also count conversions, e.g., how many emails you collect from each video.
If you’re wondering where to place your podcast videos besides YouTube, might we suggest Wistia Channels? With Wistia Channels, you can create a site for your podcast within your site, get rid of pesky recommended content, and take advantage of Wistia’s marketing tools. Try it out!
You used to have to go to Hollywood to produce a TV show, but now, thanks to the democratization of video, any business can get started with a video series on their own. There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a creative project, and a video series is a perfect outlet for just that. This type of content can contribute to the long-term growth of your brand (and business) in ways that other types of videos can’t. Create engaging, episodic video content, and let your viewers binge-watch all your shows right on your site. We experimented with our first docu-series back in 2018 called One, Ten, One Hundred, and the reaction from our audience has been pretty amazing!
Making a series was one of the biggest marketing risks we’ve taken as a company, but it also taught us a ton about video production, sparked endless conversations on social media, and introduced us to a whole new audience. We even managed to pick up two Webbys for it!
We won’t sugarcoat it — producing a video series can take some time (granted it does depend on what type of show you create). From deciding on the right concept and figuring out how it fits into your brand marketing strategy to getting the green light from your CEO and other key stakeholders, there are some extra steps you may need to take here in order to get rolling. But just like investing in your brand is typically a long-term play, creating a series is also often a long-term, ongoing endeavor. We’d recommend spending a few months to get all your pre-production ducks in order, and then move forward with scheduling your shoots.
We really recommend experimenting with video length here since there’s not a ton of benchmark data available about web series and because every show is different. The first episode of our series, for instance, comes in at just 10 minutes, while the last one is 42 minutes. Figure out what it is that you want to say first, and then worry about optimizing the length of your content.
Metrics that matter
A series is a long-term investment that is built for long-term results. If you must measure short-term success, use brand awareness metrics such as views to prove your concept and engagement metrics such as comments and social shares to see if you’ve touched on conversation-worthy topics. We’re also big fans of the “Time Watched” metric. In other words, how many minutes did people spend with your brand? Looking at the Time Watched metric helps you focus on what types of content your audience has meaningfully, voluntarily engaged with.
Similar to video series, full-length features and documentaries are bets on your own creativity and deep investments in your brand. And just like video series, full-length films are smart investments, too. Streaming has made long-form video extremely popular — after all, your customers and potential customers are more open to watching videos now than ever before. So, why not reach out to them with a full-length film?
Patagonia has always been driven by an ecological mission. Their latest creative project is a full-length film about the fishing industry:
You don’t have to be as big or as well-known of a brand as Patagonia to produce a feature-length film. You just need the right resources, a lot of expertise, and one bright idea.
Production time for a feature-length film varies. If you have a team working on it full-time, you can probably complete it faster. We recommend planning to work on it for at least 6 months to a year, again, depending on how many resources you have at your disposal.
A feature-length film, by definition, runs at least 40 minutes. One film data scientist found that the median run time of the highest-grossing US films between 1994–2015 was 110 minutes, so make of that what you will!
Metrics that matter
It depends on if you charge for tickets to the show! Just kidding, although crowd-funding is one way to make your company’s creative dreams a reality. Making a documentary means you want to make an impact far outside your organization and your existing customer base. For such a big project, we’d recommend zooming out on long-term brand metrics.
Sure, videos are fun to watch and even more fun to make, but they’re also a pretty fundamental aspect of how you do business. By now, you should have a good idea of how to create videos that resonate with your audience, whether you’re talking to customers or superfans of your brand. We can’t wait to see what types of videos you make for your business. Got a great example of one of these 15 types of videos? Share it below in the comments!
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