You may have a great website with a beautiful custom theme and copy you can take pride in, but what does your content strategy say about your brand? Getting an onsite blog up and running is essential for building early momentum in an SEO campaign and making an impression with new visitors, but these days, you’ll need a bit more if you want to stay relevant among the competition. You need a strong video content strategy, properly integrated in your website.

Why Video Content Is Growing in Importance

Video content has grown to be exceptionally important in recent years, and it’s only growing in significance. Why? For starters, the ease of creating and accessing videos has increased tremendously. With mobile devices, ample wireless coverage, and better video players, consumers have grown used to finding video coverage on their most wanted topics. It’s evolved to become a self-perpetuating system; the more users want video, the better video capabilities become…and the better video capabilities become, the more users want video. As a result, we’re enjoying an age where great video content is a minimum for a brand to succeed.

How to Implement Video Effectively

Video content is good, which is fine, but how can you implement it effectively on your site?

  1. Host your own (or embed from YouTube). You have two main options when it comes to hosting the videos on your website: either host them yourself or upload them to YouTube and embed them in your site. Hosting your own videos will give you a greater degree of control, but you’ll have to deal with a few snags—your hosting may be less reliable, users won’t be able to share and comment on your videos as easily, and you won’t get the cross-platform coverage of a more visible platform. YouTube offers a great alternative to achieve these goals; it’s an ideal solution for businesses of any size.
  2. Establish dedicated video galleries. Though you’ll want to occasionally embed videos in pre-established articles, it also pays to create dedicated galleries for different video types; for example, take this tutorial gallery for window sign installation, or this gallery of walkthroughs for an ecommerce platform. This makes it easier for your users to find what they’re looking for, and at a distance shows your commitment to your video content strategy. You can even go a step further by including an onsite search function to help users find exactly the content they need.
  3. Pick the right topics. You may have the categories and angles down, but are you choosing the topics that your customers really need? For example, you might have an extensive tutorial video for an introductory feature of your app, but neglect some of the more advanced features of your app entirely. You’ll have to rely on a combination of reason, research, intuition, and personal customer experiences to choose the right topics here, but it can make all the difference.
  4. Keep it brief. Unless you’re hosting some long interviews or are uploading some avant-garde film, you’ll want to keep your videos as concise and brief as possible. Most people are looking for quick answers to their questions, or don’t have a lot of time to put up with an extended video. Keep your content under a minute if you can; and if you can’t, keep it to only a few minutes. This will simultaneously make each of your videos more compelling and give you a greater quantity of videos to upload (for more web “territory”).
  5. Optimize your videos for search. If you want more people to find your videos (and come to your website), you need to optimize your videos for search engines. On your website, this means including a short, snappy, descriptive title and a meta description that accurately describes your video’s topic using terms a search user might call upon. When uploading to YouTube, this also means selecting the right tags and categories, as well as attracting as many views and shares as possible.
  6. Incorporate user feedback. If you want to make your users happy, the first step is to listen to what they’re saying. Your users will give you ample feedback-both direct and indirect—to let you know what type of job you’re doing on the video front. Are your videos getting lots of comments and views? If not, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Are your customers frequently asking for more direction on a certain topic? Make a video out of it. You can also check your competitors’ sites to see if they’re leaving any holes or opportunities for you.

Getting Started

Most business owners now realize that video is an important content medium, and even realize how much they stand to gain by implementing a strategy, but refuse to do so because of a perceived level of complexity. They believe that video content is either ridiculously expensive, or too difficult to pull off without an in-house videographer.

In reality, neither of these beliefs are true. Two decades ago, professional video equipment might have been an overly expensive investment, but today you have everything you need to get started on a campaign on your smartphone. Your videos don’t have to be professional-film-grade to be effective for your target audience, so pull out your camera and start filming.