Is 2017 the Year to Adopt a Video-First Content Strategy?

The great thing about New Year resolutions is that they force you to break with the past, as well as embrace the future. Video has been leading the future of marketing content for some time now, but it also represents more of a break with the past than most people realize.

To date, most associations have only dabbled in video, if they’ve explored it at all. Wary of its expense or the skill sets it requires, many associations have stayed away from video marketing, preferring to work more diligently at refining their existing marketing content.

But, let me ask you this. . .

If you were to start a brand new association today, would you place written content at the center of your content marketing strategy?

For an increasing number of marketers, the answer is no.

While blogs and other forms of written content will always play an important role in content marketing, maybe it’s time for other forms of digital content to take a more prominent role in our content strategies. Graphic, audio and video content are being produced and consumed at an unprecedented rate, as the providers of these media move from the early adopter state to the mainstream.

Video content, as the richest of all media, is especially well positioned to take a more dominant role, with several converging trends pushing it forward.

The Democratization of Video Is Driving Down Costs and Complexity

Video was once the exclusive realm of professional film makers and hobbyists. With the advent of inexpensive camcorders, and now the smart phone, video marketing capabilities are now within reach of everyone. Still, there remains a very clear quality gap between smart phone recording of a child’s birthday party, and the professional production of a Super Bowl commercial. But, that gap is narrowing, in significant ways.

Now, with a minimal investment in money and training, associations can learn to shoot video of sufficient quality to get their message across in an impactful way. For a bit more money, it’s possible to hire a video marketing agency or studio to make your videos really sing.

The growing affordability of video makes it possible for associations to move beyond single video productions, which are often required to serve multiple roles, to true video marketing programs that rely on multiple videos, across a range of topics and purposes. Marketers are also realizing that video is often easier and faster to produce than written content, making it possible to replace the honored blog post, for less money and effort.

Video Content for the Post-Truth Era

Another trend that supports the growth of video is the inherent honesty of the medium, and its ability to help restore trust in our institutions and brands.

Fake news and alternative facts abound. Social media platforms contain stories carefully crafted to lead all but the most discerning readers astray. But, video is different. Video provides a wealth of information above and beyond the message alone, making it, by its very nature, more transparent and open to scrutiny.

Writing for Forrester Research, Dr. James McQuivery recently noted that “a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” He backed up this claim with some fuzzy math that I wouldn’t want to defend in a court of law, but even if he’s off by a very wide margin, the gist of his message holds true.

Video contains visual and audible content that written content does not. Vocal tones, body language, the interaction between guests, and other clues all provide the viewer with information they can use to determine the sincerity and honesty of content.

Watch the Sunday-morning news shows, with the sound off. Can you tell who’s angry, nervous, happy, or sincere? Chances are, you can.

In short, video doesn’t lie. And, that’s why more and more brands are adopting video as their go-to content medium. It provides an added measure of trust that brands sorely need, in the post-truth era.

So, if your association is truthful and forthcoming, that will come through in your videos, lending credence to your messaging and information. And, nowhere will that be more evident than with our final trend – social video.

Social Video Content: Where Democratization Meets Sincerity

Twitter, LinkedIn, and especially Facebook are making huge investments in streaming video, and associations should jump on the bandwagon.

Nowhere will you find content more honest, and more sincere. Plus, social video is extremely easy and inexpensive to produce. As such, social video represents the apotheosis of the two aforementioned video trends.

Social video takes advantage of existing social networks, providing associations with an established audience for their content. Also, social video is almost always streamed live, putting you on a scary-fun highwire, without the benefit of post-production editing, sound tracks, titles and all the other components of professionally produced videos. When you miss a cue, drop your coffee cup, or stare blindly into the camera – and you will almost certainly do all of these things, at one point or another – there will be no doubt in the mind of your audience that you’re a real person, working for a real association, with a real message to share. It’s invigorating and revealing for everyone involved.

So, think twice about the relative prominence of video in your marketing mix. If the richness and honesty of video is something from which your organization could benefit, maybe 2017 is the year to begin moving toward a video-first content strategy.


Impexium would like to thank Paul Gannon, CEO of Thoughtcast Media (the association industry's guru on video content strategy) for agreeing to be a guest blogger.