Trying to get your business off the ground is an uphill battle. How do you establish your brand? One of your most effective tools is content marketing. Targeted online content can help you find people interested in your field and draw them to your brand. And in particular, video marketing is one of the most effective ways of spreading your brand’s message quickly. So how can you use it to raise your content marketing game? Here’s a brief guide to using video content to promote your brand more effectively.

Start with a Strategy

When it comes to marketing trends, many companies make the mistake of just jumping on the bandwagon. “A lot of videos are going viral,” they’ll say, “So we need to make videos too.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spotting a growing trend and recognizing its potential. But if your entire plan is, “Make videos because videos are popular,” then you’re doomed to failure.

What kind of videos will you make? Who are you trying to reach with them, and what kind of content will those people respond to best? How will this video promote your brand? What message will it deliver to viewers who are interested in your field, and how will it help them along the buyers’ journey?

Another important question to ask is, what resources do you plan on using to make these videos, and how much will they cost? You can, in fact, make great videos for virtually nothing and have them explode in popularity, but only if you have a comprehensive plan for what you want to do and how, as well as a lot of talent at every step. Decide in advance exactly how much time, money, personnel, and other resources you’re willing to commit to video projects, so that you can budget for them appropriately and measure your ROI.

Go Where Your Customers Are

Just as important as knowing what kind of videos you’re going to make is knowing where you’re going to put them when they’re finished. YouTube is the obvious answer, but there are a number of other options to consider. A number of brands have become popular by posting videos specifically on Facebook or Instagram. Others choose to do short videos on Snapchat. There are even alternate video hosting platforms such as Vimeo, which might be worth exploring.

The question is, which platforms do your audience spend time on? Where are you most likely to reach them? This depends on a lot of factors, including age, gender, and a variety of other demographic information. Do your research to find out which platforms your audience uses most, and concentrate your video efforts on those specific channels.

Make Useful Content

You’ve got your strategy. You’ve got your channels lined up. Now it’s time to make your content. So what should you make? What’s going to appeal to your audience and help you gain a following?

Some people think that the foremost goal is to make your videos entertaining. It’s true that more entertaining videos are more likely to attract a wider viewership. But there’s a difference between getting a lot of people to watch your videos and actually convincing those people to buy your products. Entertainment is great, but in order to get customers, your main focus should be on making your videos useful.

What do people need in your field? What are they looking to do? Create how to videos that show them, step by step, the solution to a common problem, or a set of tips and tricks that will help them complete a task, or something else related to your field or product. Your videos can still be entertaining. Just make sure there’s some genuine substance behind that entertainment, which will grab people’s interest and make them want to know more.

Establish yourself as an expert and provide your audience with information that will help them. Over time, they’ll grow to trust your brand, and when they’re ready to make a purchase, yours will be the first product they think of.

Promote and Measure

Your first video is complete. Now it’s time to sit back and let the views roll in. But where are those views coming from? How is anyone supposed to know about your video unless you promote it and promote it and then promote it some more?

Spread the word everywhere you can. Post the video link on all your social media channels. Send it to your e-mail lists. Send it to content sites that might find it interesting, such as Buzzfeed or Huffington Post, along with a press release, to see if they’ll pick it up and spread the word to their viewership. Send it to online publications in your own field to see if they might be interested. Put the link everywhere you can, so that more people have an opportunity to see it.

Then, once you’ve done that, measure your success. How many views did you get? Are people commenting? Sharing? Most importantly, has it led to an increase in leads or sales? If it’s not doing that, then all the views in the world aren’t going to make any difference.

Evolve and Improve Your Strategy

If the videos aren’t doing as well as you’d hoped, or if they’re proving to be popular but not actually helping your brand increase its revenue, then you need to figure out why. Then from there, you can determine what you need to do differently in the future, in order to get better results.

Or maybe some of your videos are doing well, but others aren’t. What’s different about those? Focus more on the content that people respond to and less on the types that don’t get as much response. Measure and analyze your results over time, and use that data to improve your strategy as you go. The more videos you create, the more data you’ll be able to collect, the better you’ll be able to target your content going forward, and the more success you’ll enjoy.

There are all sorts of different ways to use video content to promote your brand. What kind of videos can you make for your startup that will help spread the word and get people interested in what you have to offer? Let us know in the comments below!