In my time at VideoBloom, I’ve worked with a lot of clients both big and small on a very wide spectrum of video projects. The most insistent problem I’ve seen over the years is having a poor or non-existent video strategy.  A brand can spend copious amounts on high quality creative and production, be using all the best VSEO techniques and have a video player with all the latest social sharing technology, but if they don’t have a video strategy to tie it all together, they are losing out on engagement, conversion and ultimately new revenue.

Today I’d like to share four of the most prevalent video strategy pitfalls I’ve seen, and what you can do to avoid them.

1) If You YouTube It, They Will Come

This is a very popular pitfall I’ve seen with flawed video strategies, the ‘strategy’ here being if you put your video on YouTube, people will automatically flock to it and you’ll have a million views in no time.  This strategy is perpetuated by some of the YouTube statistics that get thrown around, the classic being ‘4 billion hours of video are viewed each month’.  What this strategy fails to account for are the statistics on the other side of YouTube about how much content is being posted to YouTube (72 hours of video uploaded every minute).

Expecting your video on YouTube to generate views by itself is like expecting a needle to be found in a haystack, not once, but thousands (if not millions depending on expectations) of times in a haystack that gets bigger with every passing minute.  Unless you are incredibly lucky (we’re talking won the lotto more than once lucky), this just doesn’t happen.

There are several steps to avoid this strategy pitfall and the most important is having realistic expectations.  This is not to say that you can’t expect six or seven digit view numbers, but it is realizing that the likelihood of reaching that level of viewership is directly proportional to the amount of resources you are willing to invest.  ‘Viral’ videos almost never happen completely organically, especially when they are branded or commercial videos; there’s a lot of work and sometimes money involved to ‘seed’ or strategically promote the video to spark the initial rise of a ‘viral’ video that a lot of people don’t realize.  If you want your video to be successful on YouTube, you have to be prepared to put the leg work in and promote that video both on and off of YouTube.

2) One and Done

Another mistake in video strategy I see quite often is creating and promoting just one video or one video at a time.  This is something that is easy to fall into; with everything going on with your brand or at your company it can often be hard to see past the present challenge, but to think one video is enough or to treat your video content as a series of individual projects is a huge mistake.  Let’s say, for example, you create one video and it is a huge success; it generates a lot of attention and buzz for your company, you get a nice bump in traffic to your Web site or YouTube channel and everyone is happy.  Then, after month, a week or even a few days, the traffic dies off and you’re back to where you started.  Now what?  Did you spend all the time, money and resources to get your content noticed for just a few minutes in the limelight?

For some, maybe the answer is yes, but for smart marketers looking to maximize ROI and get the most bang for their buck the answer should be a resounding NO.  They want sustained traffic increases, consistent community engagement and measurable long term results.  To achieve this through video, the answer is serialized video content.  Creating recurring video episodes with consistent branding, themes and creative execution should be part of all successful video campaigns.  In addition to building a permanent community for your videos, there are often significant cost and time savings on creative and production when videos are planned in bulk.

3) Everyone Likes Infomercials!

This flawed video strategy stems from the belief that people will not only watch, but actively seek out video advertisements on the internet.  I can’t say that this never happens, there are some situations where it does (mainly with clever and entertaining commercials, think Super Bowl ads) but those are the exception and not the rule.  Your average person will not hop on YouTube and say to themselves, “Gee, you know what I’d really love to watch? Infomercials!”

The key to avoid this faulty video strategy is matching your video content with the appropriate distribution method.  If your video is an advertisement, you need to treat it as an advertisement and secure viewing for it by paid placements.  If you are attempting to distribute the video organically you need video content that users WILL seek out, content that in some way is valuable to the viewer.  The sky is the limit on what this content could be, but a classic example in the commercial world is a series of how-to videos that showcase your expertise in your subject matter and answer questions your target audience is likely to have.

4) Strategy?

The last and most prevalent pitfall with video strategy is to not have one at all.  A strategy for your video content is crucial to the success of your video marketing.  When you have the end goal for your videos in sight at the beginning of the project, it enhances your ability to tailor everything about them, from the creative concept to the optimization to the distribution and promotion, to ensure you will hit your mark.