In 1889, when Thomas Edison and George Eastman created the film for the Kinetograph, the forerunner to the movie camera, little did they know the impact video would have on world culture and business. Motion picture pioneers Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, and MGM Studios quickly capitalized on the medium of videos by creating 10-minute “shorts” that featured the music in their movies, which followed the shorts in the theaters. That’s right: Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Tom & Jerry were the first forms of video content marketing, and they endure still today.
The industry and medium have dramatically transformed since those days of the late 19th century. Today, businesses of all types and sizes are engaging in video content marketing because of its relatability to audiences and long shelf life. But getting started is not always easy, especially for smaller firms with limited budgets. In this article, we’ll discuss six keys to get started with your own video content marketing campaign.
1. Have a Vision
Develop the vision and strategy for your video and put it on paper. You must convey the general idea, the process and road to get there, and the anticipated return on the investment. An example of a high-level vision a small accounting firm may focus on is quarterly reminders for the payments of estimated taxes. Your videos could be one-minute clips featuring the managing partner, principle, or some other person who does well on video. The content could be reminders of due dates, along with a tip or two for preparing for other individual or business deadlines. The anticipated return would be clients becoming more aware of the deadlines and making payments on time. It also gets a consistent branding message out to clients at least four times a year.
2. Choose a Theme and Format
The above scenario uses a theme of reminders, and the format is a one-minute clip. Your firm may choose others such as instructional videos, explanations of new federal, state, or local tax laws, QuickBooks updates, PowerPoint presentations, etc. You get the idea. Locking in to a theme and format helps brand your firm, so choose a format and theme that aligns with your firm’s culture and character. Also determine a budget to stay within. For your first foray into video, let a smaller budget dictate what you will do.
3. Camera Crew or Just You?
There are some good videos made on phone cameras these days. And with a host of great editing and production apps out there, you can feel somewhat confident that you are able to do this on your own. However, for the less adventurous marketer, hiring a videographer is a safe alternative. With the latter, make sure your budget includes a few edit cycles to ensure you get the product you want.
4. Get Buy-in
After you’ve developed your vision and have chosen a theme and format, you must sell the idea to your firm’s leadership. Accountants are notoriously conservative and risk-adverse, so have things like your budget and timelines in order. Be prepared to answer all their questions, and if you outsource, have the team with you to answer more technical questions. If you are working on your own, produce a mini version of your vision to show them what the outcome could look like.
5. Determine Your Distribution Campaign
What good is an Oscar-worthy endeavor if no one sees it? Your distribution campaign should be thought of just like a regular professional motion picture, and this may be the most important part of the process. Create trailers, teasers, and long and short versions. This will allow you to take advantage of various social media channels, some of which allow only 60 seconds of video. If you don’t have one already, create a YouTube channel to house all your productions, and make it easy for those surfing the web to find it. Create a timeline chart with channels such as social media, email, text links, your website, and partner organizations (like a AAM or a chamber of commerce) that can help you distribute your work of art. Track accordingly so you can see how well it is doing.
6. Respect Billable Hours
When working with accounting firms, marketers must always be aware of the almighty billable-hour dilemma. Billable hours sometime hinder what we marketers want to do, but we must respect them. Without solid billable hours, we do not have a job — client work ALWAYS comes first. So when scheduling filming or requiring time from staff to help develop story lines, do it during slower times. Also, create a special billing code for the project and set a budget for the maximum number of hours so your leadership knows what to expect.
Now you are ready to show your inner Steven Spielberg to the world by putting your firm’s message on video and sharing it with the world. As you become more adept at creating video, there will be other things you must consider. But for now, these key areas of focus should help you get started. Good luck, and remember to share with AAM when you have created your masterpiece!
About Eric Elmore
Eric R. Elmore is the marketing and brand manager for Drucker & Scaccetti, a tax-focused accounting firm, in Philadelphia. He has more than 20 years of experience working with professional service firms helping them communicate to the world who they are, what they do and why it is of value to targeted audiences.