Top 5 dos and don’ts for online video content in 2020

Get better results from your online videos with these top-tips.

Are you looking to do more with online video in 2020?  Have you done a bit before but aren’t sure of the effectiveness of your video content?  Do you have absolutely no idea where to start?!

Worry no more.  Here’s my top 5 do’s and don’ts for video marketing in 2020.


Do consider your audience with every piece of content that you create.

If you know your audience then you’ll know what videos to make. You’ll know where those videos need to be distributed and you’ll have some real insight into how to create a cohesive video content strategy across the full customer journey.

To really understand your target audience take some time to create a customer persona, a detailed profile of your ideal customer. It doesn’t make assumptions or categorise people into groups. Instead, it focusses on one person and outlines everything about them.

When you understand your audience, then you understand what they care about and therefore what content you can create that’s going to cut through and actually mean something to them.

Don’t position yourself as the hero in your online video content.

You need to know your audience and recognise that your audience is the hero of your content. You can’t be positioning yourself as the hero and expect people to really care. When you’re creating content that’s designed to cut through to your target audience, you need to recognise this and position them as the hero of the story. You can then position yourselves as the hero’s guide, who has a plan to help them achieve a positive ending to their own story.


Do create content for your primary platform first.

What I mean by that is it’s critical in 2020 to be producing your online video content according to the optimum specifications for that particular platform.  Such things as screen ratio or the size of the actual video frame, the way that you use captions or titles on the screen and even the duration of your video.  Not just technical specifications either, the way that the video is actually structured should be considered. All of those decisions need to be made in a way that is recognising the nuances of the individual platforms that you’re going to be publishing on. The reality is is that YouTube is a different platform to Facebook.  LinkedIn video is different from Instagram video. Every social media platform is a video platform these days and we need to be creating content with production considerations aligned to what is your primary distribution platform.

How do you decide on the primary distribution platform for your video strategy? Well, it’s a decision you need to make as a business owner, as a content creator. Ultimately what it comes down to is aligning your primary platform as the primary growth platform for you and your business. Make a decision on where to best focus your time, attention and energy in 2020 to grow your influence and reach. If that’s YouTube, then you need to be creating your content primarily in a style that is relevant and native to the YouTube platform first. And then looking for ways to re-purpose that content into other platforms.

Don’t therefore, create and release the same content on every platform without changes.

It’s a common mistake, taking the video that you upload to YouTube and then posting it on Facebook, on LinkedIn. Just posting it everywhere and hoping that as many people as possible see it but you can’t be releasing the same video unedited and unchanged on every single platform. What you need to be doing in 2020 is actually looking at ways to repurpose the video content that’s created for your primary platform into different formats for different social media platforms.

So if you take YouTube as a primary platform, then you can quite easily take an extract, a shorter section perhaps, to use on your Instagram feed and that would need to be reformatted into a square aspect ratio as well as adding burnt-in captions. So you would embed that 16:9 widescreen video into a square frame. There’s a number of different ways to do this and that’s perhaps for another article but by considering the native language and visual language of each individual platform, then you can start to really win with video marketing in 2020…


Do use captions on social platforms. 

This leads on from the previous tip and I’m talking specifically here about burnt-in captions.  Not SRT files, not your subtitle files, which you may use on YouTube or potentially on LinkedIn or Facebook as well.  Burnt-in captions are basically when the captions or the transcript of what’s being said in the video is overlayed as a text onto the video.  These are “burnt-in” and can’t be removed by switching the CC button on youtube for example. On Facebook or Instagram, you don’t need to enable the sound to know what the video is about because the captions appear as text on the bottom of the screen.

When it comes to using burnt-in captions on social, consider how to create those burnt in captions in a way that creates a visual style for your brand. You don’t want your videos looking like everyone else’s videos so by using burnt-in captions and stylized frames to embed a video in a platform-native format, you can really capitalise on the visual style that’s going to make your content stand out in the newsfeed. 

Don’t forget about the value that lies in the headline either.

When you are going to the effort of creating burnt in captions for your videos, you need to consider what’s normally at the top of the frame in those social versions of your video, which is typically the headline. That headline text shouldn’t just be the title of your video. It needs to be a benefit or an emotional hook. That text really becomes your opportunity to stop the thumb scrolling as your audience is browsing through a social media feed. You can make the most of that headline space when you’re creating burnt in captions and a stylized square or vertical video frame. 

4 .

Do pay attention to the metrics that matter so that you can refine your video strategy moving forward.

What I mean by the metrics that matter is whatever publishing platform you’re distributing your online video content on, think about the data that you have access to and how that data can inform your future strategy.

One of the critical pieces of data when it comes to online video is how long people are actually watching your videos for? Take some time to understand the data. Look at those places where people are dropping off in your retention graphs, whether that be on YouTube or on Facebook and identify based on that information how you can better improve your video content and strategy moving forward. 

Don’t however, let the metrics and the data get in the way of you actually taking action.

It’s much better to get the content out there and worrying about analysing the data later rather than getting bogged down or suffer “paralysis by analysis” by spending too much time obsessing over the data and not worrying about getting the content out there in the first place. Don’t let the metrics and the data stop you from producing the content in the first place.


Do consider where online video fits within your full video marketing funnel.

Video is much more than just marketing and advertising. Online video content can be used all the way through from the awareness phase, to the consideration phase, where people are weighing up whether or not they’ll take further action with you or your brand, through to the sales process when you’re looking to convert a sale and attract some income into your business all the way through to after the sale to the delight phase, which is your opportunity to improve the customer experience so that people not only buy from you but they love you and they rave about you and hopefully come back as repeat customers too. The more you can integrate video strategically across the full video funnel, the more effective you’re going to be with each individual piece of content because one piece of content feeds into the next

Don’t then, simply see online video as a promotional only tool.

In fact, in many cases, depending on your strategy, you don’t want to be selling or be seen to be selling within your online video strategy. You want to be leading with value, helping people, creating content that will improve your audience’s life. Doing that consistently builds trust and builds the relationship so that people will buy from you anyway. In fact, they will seek out ways to buy from you. 


Okay, so that’s my five tips for your online video content in 2020:

  1. Think of your audience first. 
  2. Consider using platform-native content and understanding your primary platform. 
  3. Understand when and how to use burnt-in captions on your videos. 
  4. Analyse and pay attention to the metrics so that your video strategy can be refined and you can move forward with the right sort of data behind you.
  5. Understand where video fits along the full marketing funnel and capitalise on video in different ways along that journey in order to move people to take the right sort of action with you and your brand. 

There is one final tip though, and this is maybe the most important tip for you if you’re looking to nail your video marketing in 2020. That is: don’t do video for video’s sake. The ability to create video is literally in everyone’s hands with their smartphone.  It is easier to create video than ever before but the problem is the more video that’s being created without a strategy, is just adding to the noise. So in 2020, you don’t want to be adding to the noise, you’re going to nail your online video content strategy and you’re going to create video that’s effective at moving people to take the right sort of action. 

Good luck!