You can tell me the truth: You were just watching a video on your phone, right? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Video is a big part of our lives, from watching how-to videos to learning how to refurbish a table to sharing short-form videos from Instagram Reels or TikTok. In fact, one survey suggests people watch more than 2.5 hours of online video each day.

With all the opportunities that video offers, what’s stopping you from incorporating video into your content strategy? Fear? Lack of know-how? Whatever is holding you back, we can help.

During the #MELive2022 Spring Summit, our publisher, Mary Ellen Slayter, hosted a panel discussion with Sara Felsenstein (IBM), Stefanie Grossman (Prezi), Doc Rock (Ecamm Network) and Javier Valdivia (Kearney), who showed us why you need video and how simple it is to add video to your brand tool kit.

Why Is Video Important Today?

Almost everything in today’s content marketing world is tied to video. 86% of marketers say video has been effective for generating leads, while many people want to see videos from the brands and companies they like and buy from.

Video can bring significant benefits to multiple areas of your business, not just as a content feed for your social media. “I know that everyone thinks, ‘oh, for social, video’s great,’ but it’s actually great for nearly every channel,” Stefanie says. “We have customers using it for sales prospecting, and they’re getting five times the engagement rates when they send a video in their email. We have it on our website, we have it within our blog. It’s great for SEO.”

Video has become a wide-open field with fewer barriers to entry. With all that content flooding the market, people are attracted to the authenticity behind videos, particularly on platforms like TikTok. That said, “authenticity” may not be the best word to motivate your efforts. “If you have to be authentic, you’re not being authentic,” Doc says. Instead, it’s time for us to get “crusty.”

“Learn to get crusty. I tell all of my people, just learn to get crusty, learn to be real, because people, no matter how nice your company is, people are buying from people,” Doc says.

Video is much more than just content creation — it’s now one of the most common ways to communicate. The pandemic has accelerated trends in communication, and even as restrictions are lifted and a “new normal” arrives, video isn’t going anywhere.

 “I would just say that the way we use video has changed dramatically — from being something we kind of push out into the world to being how we communicate,” says Sara.

Make Video Easier for Your Team

Even though video has evolved and become more open to people, it can still be intimidating to your team, especially when planning and implementing content.

“When you think about how to make video easy to incorporate in your content strategy, I would say it starts even before the brief; it starts with understanding your audience, where they communicate, what questions they’re asking, who they want to hear from, because the answer might not always be a video,” Sara shares.

When your team is working on video, encourage people to bring their ideas to the forefront, then work with them to figure out the format and context of each video. Leadership on video strategy also means guiding your team by asking the right questions. These include: “Does the video help to personalize the content?” and “Does it help explain a concept in a better way than other forms of communication?” Then it’s on to storyboarding.

Javier shares that, at Kearney, it’s essential to establish the video concept as a way to guide the team through production. “If we do decide to do a video, we provide a storyboard template and guidance, and it’s so important at the beginning to create a video brief and just a general concept of what this is so that you can use that kind of as your target as you’re working through the production steps in the video,” Javier says.

The best part about video today is that there are many tools available that make it more accessible. Even the most novice of marketers can become interested in working with video and produce meaningful content. Everyone is carrying around a video camera of sorts, which lessens the need to make massive upfront commitments in equipment.

Enhance Your Written Content With Video

The content marketing space has changed significantly, but one thing remains the same — adding visuals can improve your written content. Each company can have its own way to approach this.

At IBM, for example, Sara shares that they tend to get more requests to turn videos into written content than the other way around. Sara and her team create story videos for many of their clients. And through some of these videos, they were able to elevate the critical points in the story and make an entirely new piece of content.

Prezi, meanwhile, is often receiving inbound user-generated content. With that in hand, Stefanie says, they’ll often find the takeaways and use them to create an outline for video. “We’ve really kind of thought differently about how to bring it to life on video. We don’t just read the content on a video, for example,” Stefanie says.

Kearney will often use voiceovers to enhance content that’s used in videos. Oftentimes that means using their own people rather than actors, although not exclusively. “We really try to leverage the user-generated content that we have in whatever way possible,” Javier  says.

At Ecamm Network, Doc shares that video helps improve technical support content. “Would you rather read the long nerdy support document, or would you rather watch the video?” says Doc. This type of content was typically very lengthy to get through, so using video made it more easily digestible.

Video isn’t going anywhere. Video can elevate your written content and create new forms and perspectives that can run across different platforms. And with today’s tools and software, learning how to incorporate video into your content strategy is easier than ever.