Video is not new. But it’s prov­ing to be a great tool for mar­keters. As with any mar­ket­ing tool, there is a right and a wrong way to use video. These tips will help you lever­age video con­tent for marketing.

The Wrong Way

A lot of com­pa­nies think it’s a good idea to shod­dily pro­duce mar­ket­ing videos, with long, repet­i­tive, redun­dant, and bor­ing sales pitches. They’re wrong. No one wants to see that. Videos should not appear ama­teur­ish. They should not be long, tech­ni­cal, and inef­fi­cient. Videos also should not be ambigu­ous or irrel­e­vant to consumers.

Some peo­ple think that pour­ing money into video mar­ket­ing is the answer. Video requires some finan­cial com­mit­ment, but also requires indi­vid­ual effort. Unless you already have a team who han­dles video media (we have Adobe TV), you prob­a­bly need to pay to get your video pro­fes­sion­ally pro­duced. It’s worth it.

Don’t overdo video. Don’t spend your money on pop-up video ban­ners that force cus­tomers to con­sume media. Allow your cus­tomer to choose to see your video, or choose not to. Cus­tomers don’t want to be both­ered by irrel­e­vant media, and you don’t want to adver­tise to unin­ter­ested cus­tomers. Save your con­sumers’ time and your own. Let them choose to engage in your videos.

Once you have great con­tent, you still need to mar­ket it. You shouldn’t just leave videos on the company’s home­page for only direct fol­low­ers to see it. You also shouldn’t give cus­tomers dead-end actions. (I’ll get back to action­able options on video.) You shouldn’t let video become “just another” mar­ket­ing scheme or media opportunity.

The Right Way

Videos should uti­lize the medium of video (and its sub­sidiary tools) to its fullest extent. The key is to do in video what you can’t do in any other media form. Cre­ate engag­ing con­tent by using audio, images, words, and ani­ma­tions. Peo­ple like short, con­sum­able media.

Opti­mize your videos for search by tak­ing advan­tage of SEO key­words and cross-linking. Spread video across many sites. Link to videos on home­pages, through social media, and in blogs. The bet­ter your SEO, and the more places you link your video, the bet­ter organic search result your video will render.

Just as in search marketing—where you fos­ter a com­bi­na­tion of paid search and nat­ural search—you should uti­lize a mix of paid video and free video options. Paid video options include adver­tis­ing on sites like YouTube, Yahoo, and Hulu. You can also post free videos to sites such as YouTube and Flickr. With a mix of paid and free video options, you’ll be able to bal­ance two ideals: One, you’ll be able to get your video to a lot of peo­ple, and two, you’ll be able to main­tain an air of engag­ing non-sales-oriented content.

Make video inter­ac­tive and action­able. YouTube offers click­able anno­ta­tions within videos that let mar­keters give con­sumers calls to action within the con­tent. A lot of video is devoid of any call to action. Even if that con­tent is engag­ing, inter­est­ing, and well made, the con­sumer has no option to take the next step on the sales pipeline. Let cus­tomers inter­act with video. Make it easy for them to take the next step toward a purchase.

The Future of Video

Online video may soon usurp tra­di­tional broad­cast media. Already, video has the abil­ity to appeal to tar­geted demo­graph­ics, allow users to choose the media they want to con­sume, and offer an inter­ac­tive mar­ket­ing expe­ri­ence. Be on the fore­front of video mar­ket­ing as it moves forward.