Video Marketing: What The Shawshank Redemption Could Have Learned from Carpool Karaoke

Great video content doesn’t always equal successful video content. Take the legendary movie The Shawshank Redemption as an example. It’s an incredible film ranked by as the #1 movie in its Top 250 list. However, it was a box office flop in 1994 for its notoriously poor distribution strategy, earning only $16M against a $25M budget. Ouch. It wasn’t until Warner Bros. changed the marketing and distribution strategy when the video came to VHS (those things collecting dust on the shelf of your parents’ entertainment cabinet) that things really took off for the film. They then sold the rights to air it on TV to TNT, which added rocket fuel to the film’s appeal, consumption and success.

The moral of this story is: it’s not enough to make the #1 movie (or best video content) of all time – you have to have a distribution strategy to get people to watch it.

The same is true for videos created by brands for consumption online. Take The Late Late Show’s Carpool Karoake. While there’s nothing monumentally amazing about that musical-comedy bit, how CBS leverage it online is what makes the segment a real success; they don’t just rely on live-TV or DVR viewers. To make sure your marketing video doesn’t become “the Zyzzyx Road of web content” (the lowest grossing movie of all time), you’ll need to create a solid video strategy before you ever touch tactics. Your video distribution strategy should fall under your content strategy, which is under your brand marketing strategy, which is under your business strategy, which all should be documented and followed.

The best video distribution strategies can be broken down into four parts:

1.  Creating a Publishing Schedule

It’s important to think through the entire video series and how it will come together as a marketing campaign. Timing and cadence are paramount in a posting schedule. An entire series should not be posted at the same time (apologies to House of Cards); It is important to stagger uploads to platforms to maximize SEO opportunity. If there are four videos in your series, try posting one a day or one each week. This will look good to Google and also allow the time needed to create corresponding blog posts, emails and social media messaging.

2.  Optimizing for Search

The videos should be easy to find, link to and share. Quality titles, tags and descriptions containing content-specific keywords are important to build an SEO foundation and to increase overall reach. Google crawls this information to understand what the website videos are about and determine who should see them while searching. Shortened URLs, strong call-to-action messaging and share buttons are all good ways to promote sharing and prompt engagement.

3.  Embedding Videos on Your Website

After the videos have been uploaded to YouTube, it is strategic to develop additional content – we suggest a corresponding article that shares more information or provides background for the video – for your website and embed the video directly into the article. Once more video articles are created and posted, links should be provided under the embedded video for quick and easy reference of the previous video(s).

After a video has been uploaded to YouTube, it is important to embed it on your website. Following your content marketing strategy, we suggest developing a corresponding article that will amplify the video’s message. Once the video articles are created and posted, this is an opportunity to provide links to previous videos under the embedded post. This can ultimately enhance the user’s experience while supporting your content marketing efforts.

4.  Pushing Awareness

Posting the videos on social media platforms or hyperlinking the website articles/videos in e-newsletters are great ways to get target audiences to view the videos. Content moves so quickly on social media that it’s important to post the video more than once. Uploading the video directly to social media and offering unique messaging for each approach is a good way to offer multiple points of entry for the user, thus delivering an enhanced user experience.

Once a video content marketing strategy is created and implemented, most video campaigns can use the same structure for success. Lastly, and this is important, measurement of viewership is key to show your success and optimize for future video initiatives.

After all, if Andy Dufresne could break out of his walls, so can you.