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Consumers and marketers alike have noticed a significant upward trend in video content over the last few years, but what does this trend look like practically? A recent report by Hubspot sheds light on some key figures: 85% of businesspeople use video as a marketing tool, up from 61% just five years ago. Perhaps the most important stat for marketers, though, is that 99% of those that use video content do so again the following year. Once video is deployed, the results speak for themselves. Related: 6 Ways to Strengthen Your Video Marketing Strategy That is, if you use the medium correctly. Video can take brand voice to new levels, but the form is not an easy one to master. If you want to get the most out of your video strategy, you’ll need to tread carefully. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:Capitalize on existing video platformsThough video-embedded banner ads are becoming increasingly popular, the best destination for your video content is on platforms already based around video: YouTube, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Hulu, and so on. If users can seamlessly go from watching content of their choice to watch well-curated ads, they’re more likely to respond to what they’re seeing. Experts say that YouTube Ads are the next “blue ocean,” a place where marketers can expect to make between four and five times their typical ROI. Consumers on platforms like YouTube are already primed for video content — it’s up to you to deliver it to them. And instead of waiting for those customers to find your videos organically, you can shortcut the process by targeting them using YouTube’s ad platform. Deliver quality before quantityWith so much excitement about the future of video, it can be tempting to jump in headfirst. An important thing to understand, though, is that users are already bombarded with more videos than they could ever hope to watch in their lifetimes. If you’re hoping to cut through all that noise, you’ll need to produce top-quality video content.Related: Tell Me a Story: 4 Ways That Video Can Create Brand Fanatics — Maybe Even Your Brand FanaticsHootsuite has published a helpful guide for knowing what video formats and qualities work best for each platform, but your quest for great content needs to go beyond orientation and pixels. Make videos that you yourself would want to watch, videos that will stick with people after they watch.Demonstrate your product — don’t peddle it It’s one thing to tell someone to make great videos, but actually demonstrating how is something else entirely. Step one is to make videos that have a fundamental respect for their viewers. Consumers know how valuable their time and attention are to you, and your content will have to earn it.It’s important to keep in mind that over 70% of people feel that ads are more intrusive now than they were three years ago, according to consumer insights agency Kantar. Your video should blend in naturally with the content around it and should never explicitly sell your product. Instead, demonstrate your product’s value and emphasize some of its key elements – you can trust consumers to connect those dots on their own. Be a storytellerIf you can land content on a platform that supports long-form content, lean hard into the storytelling aspect of things. Video is perhaps the best-suited of all marketing media towards storytelling, and consumers are ready to respond in turn: 55% of customers who love a brand’s story are willing to make a purchase according to researchers at the University of West Alabama. Related: How Brand Storytelling Is The Missing Link To Building a Loyal Community of Followers All of the information you’re hoping to share through video content can be molded into a narrative. Hoping to share product specs? Weave them into the story of the product’s conception and development. Want to promote a new discount? Show what went into making that price drop possible. Customers will recognize and respond to your efforts, meaning serious ROI down the line. Follow the three “E”sIf all else fails, you have three simple commandments to follow: engage, educate, and energize. You engage potential customers by placing your video content in the right place at the right time, ensuring that your audience is exactly who and where you want them to be. You educate them with well-written content that is elegantly produced and contains information relevant to them. Most importantly, you energize them to engage with your brand further, securing a new relationship for your business. While no two companies will want to produce the same content, following a few of these guidelines can go a long way in refining your output. 2021 is poised to show just how far video content has come, and every business worth its salt should ride that wave as far as it takes them.