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.