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3 tips for creating great video case studies

Creating Video Case StudiesConsistently, year after year, case studies have proven to be one of the most effective types of B2B content. White papers, blogs, and webinars have all been near the top of the list too. But video has been growing steadily in influence. In one study from Content Marketing Institute, video has now overtaken case studies.

The results are actually pretty interesting. The most effective technique is in-person events. While effective, it’s hard to reach a larger audience one by one. So the next most effective was webinars. These online events let companies reach lots of people and usually include some sort of interaction on a personal level like Q&A sessions.

Tied for the third most effective content was video and blogs. Just below that in fourth place was case studies. The study noted that case studies had the most drastic change of any content. It dropped seven percentage points in one year, which landed it below video.

But what if that major shift is because marketers weren’t counting video case studies as case studies, but instead as video? The study of North American marketers didn’t elaborate on that possibility. But it might be true. Case studies have always been effective because they let potential customers see what you’ve done for others.  But is a video case study a video, or a case study? It’s both of course, so that may have muddled the results in the study.

Even so, video and case studies still rank in the top 5 most effective forms of content for B2B marketers. Creating a video case study combines them both and can offer great returns. But they are more difficult to produce than a typical written case study. While a lot goes into making one, keeping the following three things in mind before you get started can help ensure it will be a success

Decide on the type of video

If you haven’t created very many videos, you might be surprised at how varied they can be. Even if you have, there are still a lot of decisions to make about the look and feel of the video itself, regardless of content.

For example, will you have a “talking head” video? That’s where the video is primarily of someone talking and not much else. Or will you have video shot on site with either a voice over or text on the screen? Will you have one professionally filmed or have someone use their smartphone?

There isn’t anything wrong, or better, about any of the choices. It really depends on your company, your brand, the style you use, and what you think your audience will relate to when they watch it. B2B is often maligned for being boring (as are “talking head” videos), but it doesn’t have to be.

Knowing how you will approach the video though will help in planning and expectation management. This is especially true if you work with an outside agency for production. The more details you can specify for the look and feel of your video the less chance you’ll have of going back to the drawing board when you don’t get something you like.

Think of your target audience

You probably have all kinds of customers. Maybe they are in different industries, or in different aspects of the same industry. Maybe they are big companies, or maybe they’re small. That leaves you with a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a case study candidate (assuming they are willing). To help narrow it down, first decide who your target audience is for the video case study.

Are you looking to grow your small business division? Maybe you want to expand further into the insurance market. Whatever it is, look at your case study candidate list and focus on people and companies most similar to those you want to watch the video.

In addition, people relate to similar people. Even if you’re able to find a match in terms of industry or company size, try to also match up people. For example, let’s say you’re selling computer systems and services for large enterprises. You have the CEO of that company on the video saying how great you are and how you solved their issues. But the target market for that video is a CIO or IT Director. The latter is probably quite technically knowledgeable. Seeing a CEO on the video might not be as impressive to them as another high level technical person. It’s more believable that way.

The better you are at matching your audience to the subject of the case study, the better your results will be.

Stay focused

People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. A Microsoft study published earlier this year said the average attention span is now only eight seconds. The survey consisted of only Canadians, so make of it what you will but it echoes similar findings in other research. The takeaway is that you have about 8 seconds to get your audience’s attention. Once you have it you have about three minutes (less is better) to share your story.

Three minutes isn’t that long when you consider you need to convey a lot of information, with credibility. Chances are you’ve helped your case study subject with many areas of their business. At least most case studies have multiple areas that are improved, or a few that are significantly improved. That’s what makes it a good case study. But for the video you might not be able to get to all of them.

Instead, focus on the one main problem you solved for the organisation. That problem is probably similar to one your target audience has too. Explain it, show or tell how you solved it, then let the customer tell the viewer how much better their company is now. If you try to include too many things the point will be lost.

If you do have a strong case study with multiple aspects you want people to know about, you can offer a link to download a printed version with all the details. It’s great for lead generation!

There’s obviously a lot more that goes into creating video case studies than these three things. But these three tips can get you started off right.

Oliver Burt

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