The popularity of video content is increasing with every passing day. Statistically, the number of digital video viewers in the US alone is expected to be as high as 239.2 million a year by 2021 (compared to 213.2 million in 2016). Company owners should consider video content as a viable means of growing awareness about a product or a service. While shooting a video is quite challenging on its own, coming up with a solid online video distribution strategy is an even bigger hurdle.
There are dozens of platforms and promotion methods when it comes to video content. In this post, we’ve collected a few tried-and-true tips to help you choose the most efficient video content distribution strategy.
Steps to creating a good distribution strategy
1. Define your goals
When thinking of ways to promote a video, start by conducting thorough market research. Define the list of goals you want a campaign to achieve. For example, you can aim for views and awareness or sacrifice the virality in favor of high conversion rates. Then, make sure you understand the audience you’d be reaching out to. Here are a few tips on how to connect with potential viewers on a deeper level.
- Take a look at similar Youtube channels and check out the list of channels their creators liked as well;
- Browse Reddit threads that correspond to the topic of your campaign on a regular basis;
- Visit local events to make a personal connection with a few of your potential audience members.
After conducting research on the market and the audience, you’ll get more insights on winning video concepts, production and editing style, video distribution software, and more.
2. Create a video content plan
Since you’re going to need a budget for promotion, pouring all of the generated traction down the drain would be inconsistent. That’s why successful campaigns normally have a few videos that follow each other.
In order to have better control of the campaign, be sure to plan it in advance. This means outlining the list of videos you’re going to be making in the future – their concept as well as the estimated production and promotion budget.
Here are a few tips on how to create an efficient video content plan:
- Analyze search queries to determine trending topics;
- Determine a message you want a video to convey;
- Allow your social media followers to choose a video topic every once in a while.
3. Choose a platform for distribution
While there are dozens of social media and video distribution platforms, using all of them for promotion simultaneously might not be the best idea.
Instead, pick one website that you’re most experienced in using or the one where you have the busiest traffic or most followers.
Here are a few additional criteria to consider while choosing video distribution software:
- Live streaming feature availability and simplicity in terms of setting up;
- Mobile optimization;
- Optimization for VR videos and immersive experiences;
- User base size;
- Popularity among your audience;
- Algorithm constraints;
- An option to include ads in videos;
- Max video duration;
- Monetization tools.
4. Choose promotion methods
After you’ve decided on the video distribution platform where you’ll be hosting a video, it’s time to outline promotion strategies. Depending on your goals and budget, possible goals can include:
- An email marketing campaign;
- A PPC campaign;
- A social media campaign;
- Sharing videos as attachments to guest posts and press releases;
- Posting videos on reddit threads and relevant forums.
While some of these means need to be paid for, there are free ones as well. For instance, you can write guest posts or post press releases for free – however, this places a strong emphasis on the value and the production quality of the video. Otherwise, you might not generate any traction as a result and the campaign will have a low ROI.
5. Define benchmarks and success metrics
There are several ways to determine the success of a video’s performance. In order to understand if a campaign was successful, you need to measure its efficiency in the context of particular metrics. Here are a few benchmarks marketers normally consider to assess the efficiency of content.
- View count;
- Conversion rate;
- Social sharing;
The metrics listed above can be enough for basic performance assessment. However, if you want to be more specific, you can also determine the location of your audience, the age of its members, etc.
6. Write down a list of all promotion methods for a single video
While narrowing down the list of every video distribution strategy in order to get the cheapest and most efficient ones, a creator should use more than one way to increase awareness about their content.
In order to make sure you go all out while promoting a video, write down a list of all the ways to push it out there. You can even group the promotion strategies by price, time needed to hit the benchmark, and other factors.
7. Plan your promotion activities on a daily basis
In order to succeed with a campaign, make sure to contribute to the goal on a daily basis. In order to get more views and engagement, write down a plan that would involve using more than one video distribution strategy at a regular pace. Here’s how such a list can look:
- Day 1: sharing the video on a website, via email and social media accounts;
- Day 2: starting a social media advertising campaign on Instagram (running time – 2 weeks);
- Day 3: posting about a video in relevant social media groups and forums;
- Day 4: running a paid Google AdWords campaign.
Types of videos that are easier to promote
Consistency is key when it comes to promoting video content. Looking at how famous Youtubers start their careers, it’s clear that it took dozens of videos in order to as much as hit the 1,000 views benchmark.
However, as a company’s content manager, you might not have enough time for a long term video distribution strategy. In this case, it makes sense to create videos that already have viral potential and are easier to promote.
Here are a few concepts a creator can consider:
- Vlogs. They allow users to connect with a creator on a deeper, more personal level. Moreover, this type of video is where you can show your editing skills, showcase a product or a service in a seamless way, and prove that these are passionate humans, not soulless machines to drive the brand forward.
- Challenges. This type of videos is designed for virality. By joining a flashmob of a famous youtuber, you can benefit from his traction and attract a chunk of his audience. A creator can even start their own challenge – which if successful, can pay off. However, you need to have quite a large user base to encourage other video makers to join.
- Comedy sketches. While the time of short funny videos is slowly coming to its end, comedy sketches are still a trend on Youtube and other video platforms. Overcompensating for production issues with a clever and witty script is one of the main advantages of this type of videos. Also, comedy sketches creators can reach out to broader audiences, thus increasing the number of views.
- Tutorials and how-tos. This type of videos allows creators to showcase and prove their expertise. Tutorials can cover different topics – from drawing to tech. Tutorials are known to be extremely shareable on social media – and this increases their virality potential.
- Explainers. While not being a universally viral format, explainer videos are by far the best way to showcase a commercial product to a big client or a potential investor. While most of videos described above constrain a creator to mention the product in a seamless way, explainers can directly promote the said tool or service. That’s why this type of video tends to have higher conversion rates than other concepts listed.
- Interviews. A creator can get more exposure and draw in new viewers by inviting a person of interest into a studio for a discussion. The main advantage of interviews is that they don’t require exceptional creativity or filming quality. Chances are, it’ll be challenging to invite exciting guests – however, a lot of potential candidates might actually be eager to accept an interview as a possibility for self-promotion and even share it via social media accounts.
- Product reviews. These videos tend to get exceptionally viral if a reviewed product has generated a lot of hype online. Of course, you can review your own product as well, though the traction of such content will be considerably lower.
- Live streams. It’s a relatively new yet popular form of content online. Unlike traditional videos, live streams allow creators to capture their audience’s immediate attention at a given time. That’s precious when making an important announcement or throwing a giveaway.
Video distribution channels
Today’s content marketing is mostly omnichannel – essentially, you need to share each new piece across all channels possible. That stays true for videos as well. There are several video content distribution channels a creator can consider. Let’s do a brief rundown on them.
- Website. While embedding a video on a website might not improve the view counter or the conversion as drastically, it will actually improve the website’s ranking and increase the amount of time spent on a page by a single user. Apart from putting a video in a slider or as a page block, you can consider creating a dedicated video hub where all the visual content will be stored.
- Email. Sharing videos with your newsletter subscribers is another way to promote it and raise awareness about your YouTube channel or any other video distribution platform account. It’s also recommended that you mention a video attachment in a subject line of the message.
- Partner blog. Posting your video content as a part of a press release or a guest post is another effective way of online video distribution. Moreover, it allows the reader to develop a deeper connection with a brand.
- Social media. Social sharing is extremely viral these days. Quite often, Facebook and Instagram users watch a video more actively than those who come across it on specialized platforms like YouTube. Be sure to share your video via all of your social media accounts. As many users play videos with no sound, make sure to add subtitles to improve the viewing experience.
Video distribution platforms
By now you have a brief understanding as to which promotion channels you want to invest in for video distribution. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most popular video sharing platforms to determine if they are worth your while.
YouTube is the largest, most popular video distribution platform. Due to its tremendous popularity, Youtube is constantly improving its viewing experience and creator studio. For instance, it wasn’t too long ago that the platform started supporting 360-degree videos.
Having said that, at times, the site is known to be unreliable. Creators are frequently complaining about demonetization issues and copyright strikes. If you want to permanently run a YouTube channel, be sure to learn more about the platform and it rules in order to not risk strikes.
The audience of Vimeo is significantly less than that of YouTube. However, there are perks to come with it – as videos of high production quality are mainly popular on the platform, you’re more likely to get in touch with professional, educated viewers.
Some also find the interface of Vimeo cleaner and easier to navigate. Moreover, the platform doesn’t have ads interrupting videos which won’t disturb a user during his watching experience.
According to AgoraPulse, the audience reach for video content on Facebook is thrice that of Youtube. This leads marketers to conclusion to not disregard the opportunities of the platform. At the end of the day, hosting a native video on Facebook could be a worthwhile decision as it has a higher chance to go viral.
However, keep in mind that, as Facebook is not a video hosting tool, it doesn’t have a set of metrics as precise as that of YouTube. Neither will you be able to make money with AdSense and monetization.
Instagram is a good choice for promoting short self-made videos. It’s a platform where even low-quality user-generated content stands a chance to get views. However, keep in mind that, in order to be hosted on Instagram, videos have to be short, with a clear and concise message. For longer films, it’s better to consider YouTube or Vimeo.
Twitter as a platform designed to share short content, has time constraints for its videos. You can only upload the videos with the overall duration of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Normally, videos that are posted on Twitter are attention-grabbers, they are hilarious and short. Posting real-time footage of an important event is another way to go if you’re looking for Twitter virality.
Twitch is the holy ground for gamers as they live stream their gaming experience and share it on the platform. The website has a clear view-dependent monetization model which helped the tool gain its reputation among renown Youtube creators.
Up to 2016, Twitch only allowed live content broadcasting. Now that you can upload videos as well, the website has become a full-fledged video platform to consider. If you’re going to create frequent live streams or an entire live show, Twitch is the go-to website.
Whenever you visit a top website like CNN or Huffpost, you inevitably see blocks with promoted content – this content is provided by syndication platforms. Needless to say, having your video posted on top websites can increase the number of views by numbers.
Be sure to consider using this video distribution software for promotion. Here’s a rundown on the most popular ones:
- Outbrain – this platform reposts videos and other content to third-party websites in order to help the creators of these posts gain views. The choice of partnering websites is tremendous – there are millions of pages across different topics available in 14 languages.
- Scoop.it – another tool for promoting your video content. It has a user base of over 4 million which offers business owners exposure to a wide variety of websites, including the top-tier ones like Forbes, FastCompany, or TechCrunch.
- Taboola – a native advertising platform with over a billion active users.
Platform for press releases
Despite being repeatedly claimed to be dead and outdated, press releases are still a widely used form of content distribution. Compared to other promotion methods listed above, a press release might not win in terms of traction or conversion, though it can certainly help you increase the status of the brand.
Here’s a brief rundown on platforms you can use to upload press releases:
- PRNewswire – the largest press release base online. In order to submit a press release, a user has to pay $196 as a membership fee.
- PRWeb – another press release sharing platform. A membership fee for submitting materials here costs anywhere from $99 to $389.
- WebWire – a cheaper tool for press release distribution that still has quite a wide range of interested media. The basic WebWire membership costs $34.95.
- PRLog – a free press release distribution tool that offers visibility across search engines and RSS feeds.
Video SEO Guide
When deciding on video content distribution channels and promotion platforms for your next big video, you’ll have to dive into SEO at some point. Optimization is crucial to make sure your video gets noticed by the algorithms of the search engine and is pushed higher in rankings.
While optimizing a video might seem a difficult task at first glance, in reality it’s quite straightforward. Here’s a brief video SEO checklist.
Video keyword research
Most video views come from when YouTube or another video hosting platform suggests a video to a user who has just watched similar content. In order to get into the “suggested videos” tab, make sure to conduct a keyword research.
Here are a few keyword research strategies to use for video optimization:
- YouTube Suggest – start typing a query into the search bar and similar queries will appear in a drop down window. Write them down and use them when creating a video title and description.
- TubeBuddy – a free extension that tracks down the list of keywords and tags that your competitors use;
- YouTube Studio Stats – takes a look at keywords people used when they found your video and uses them for future content.
When coming up with a video title, be sure to include one keyword with a high search volume. Don’t go overboard by putting two or three keywords as that will be considered spamming by search engine crawlers. Keep the title short enough as it should be, above all, interesting to your audience.
Here are a few tips to help you spice up a video title:
- Create a personal story – start a title with “How I…”;
- Include numbers in a title;
- Use trending words like “challenge”, “vlog”, or “how-to” to provide a viewer with an understanding of what a video will be about.
Brian Dean, one of the most famous SEO experts in the US, suggests writing video descriptions with over 200 words in order to give the viewer a better grasp on the content. While that might be a good approach, keep in mind, however, that the fraction of users who read video descriptions is declining. Having said that, there are still a few important functions a video description tab carries out:
- Crediting your collaborators and their channels;
- Crediting the music and all the copyright disclaimers;
- Time-codes for longer videos.
Other than that, creators rely on their understanding of their audience while writing a video description. A solid approach is to make a brief summary of the video and share links to any of your related content.
YouTube video tag optimization
While you still might find articles that emphasize the importance of tags, they have pretty much lost their relevance. With that in mind, there’s no need to be overthinking which tag to put. Normally, creators go by with 5-6 keywords that outline the topic and the message of the video.
Improving the look of the channel
The visual aspect of your Youtube channel is highly important. It can increase the trust factor and improve your brand value. Here are a few things to pay attention to:
- Thumbnails. Most creators specifically take the picture for a video thumbnail instead of going with the automatically generated one. Rightfully so.
- Place the main message of your video into your thumbnail. This can be an eye-catching picture that closely corresponds to the topic or a tagline with a short summary of the video.
- Channel cover. Putting a company’s logo and tagline as a channel cover is a good way to increase the awareness of your brand. You can tweak the cover even further by making it animated.
Video distribution checklist
- Choose a hosting platform. One of the better practices would be to test a few and determine which one provides you with higher traction;
- Embed a video on your website;
- Share the video with your newsletter subscribers. Include a video as a part of your email marketing. You can consider promoting it in several letters in order to get more attention from subscribers;
- Share the video on social media. Most video sharing platforms generate links for social media sharing. Be sure to use those as you’ll be able to track the traffic flow and will be giving broader analytics;
- Do paid promotion. Most common strategies include a social media and Google AdWords campaigns.
Video distribution hugely determines the overall success of a video. While choosing a distribution platform and promoting a video might seem tricky, in fact, there are dozens of forums and tutorials online that will help you spread the word about your content.
At Xplai, we’re happy to help our clients with creation and online video distribution. We have already been working with various businesses to increase their presence on YouTube, Vimeo, and other video hosting platforms.