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Best Practices: Video Content for Energy Utilities

Best Practices: Video Content for Energy Utilities

Consumers prefer video content. In the age of nonstop streaming television, social media and smartphones, video is the most effective way to get your message in front of customers. Video makes your message both memorable and shareable, while being adaptable across all of your communication channels, from websites to social media channels. A well-produced video will look great on any screen, from the smallest smartphones to the largest widescreen TVs.

According to HubSpot, video is now the most commonly used format in content marketing, overtaking blogs and infographics. Energy utilities can benefit from this interest as well. By producing entertaining, informative video content, your utility can increase customer engagement, grow program participation and educate residential and business customers about important energy topics.

Download Questline’s tip sheet, Best Practices: Video Content.”

Maintain High-Quality Production Values

Video content is easier than ever to produce. Thanks to smartphones, most of us practically have an entire movie studio in our pockets. However, the DIY aesthetic is probably not consistent with your energy utility’s brand. You want your messages to be professional and authoritative, not like a homemade social meme.

Follow these tips to ensure your video production values reflect that professionalism:

  • Subjects should be well-lit and properly exposed, including key lighting from the front and backlighting. Overhead office lights are typically not sufficient.
  • Capture video in horizontal, widescreen mode. Vertical videos look fine on social media but don’t translate well to other platforms.
  • Use a tripod and avoid unnecessary camera movement like zooms and pans. Shaky, unstable camera work is a surefire way to make your video look amateurish.
  • Hire professional talent to appear on-screen and record voiceovers. Actors who are comfortable, confident and clear on camera make your videos more enjoyable to watch and add authority to your message.
  • Use high-quality graphics and legible type to explain or label items in your video. Utilize bright, contrasting colors so that graphics are clear for smartphone viewers and the vision-impaired.
  • Spoken audio and voiceovers should be loud and clear. Professionally recorded music can add interest, especially for an introduction, but make sure it’s not distracting.
  • Always add closed-captioning text files. Captioning ensures that your video is accessible to those with hearing impairments as well as mobile viewers who mute their phones.

Entertain as You Inform

Video content is an extremely effective way to educate customers about energy topics. Moving images and graphics can make complicated concepts easy to understand. But your videos won’t hold viewers’ attention if they come across as dry, boring or too technical. To make a positive impression and truly build customer engagement, video content needs to be entertaining as well as informative.

Follow these tips to ensure that your message is memorable and shareable:

  • The tone should be upbeat and energetic. For example, approach energy efficiency as a positive change, not as something customers are doing wrong and need to fix.
  • Keep it simple. Most residential customers are not energy experts, and they don’t need to be. Ask someone from outside your utility to review scripts to make sure they’re understandable and don’t overuse industry jargon.
  • Use animation and on-screen graphics to bring topics to life. Don’t explain something if you can show it instead; using animation to show inside equipment is even better.
  • Content for a business audience can be more advanced, but it should still be enjoyable to watch. Save the technical specs for an infographic or detailed article.

Keep the Video Short and On-Point

It probably goes without saying that today’s consumers don’t have a lot of free time on their hands. Video content is popular not just because it’s easy to consume — it’s also a fast way for customers to get lots of information while they’re on the go. Make sure your videos don’t bore customers or tempt them to reach for the “skip” button.

Keep your content brief by following these tips:

  • Videos should be as short as possible while still being informative and entertaining. You don’t want the video to feel rushed, but it should be concise. In other words, stick to the point and eliminate the fluff.
  • With few exceptions, website videos should be no longer than 90 seconds to 2 minutes. If you can’t fit your topic into that time, consider narrowing the focus or splitting it into a multiple-video series. 
  • Social media videos should be 30 to 60 seconds in length, with graphics optimized to display on smartphone screens.

Video Series Promote Ongoing Engagement

From movie trilogies to streaming season after season of TV, viewers can’t resist watching the new adventures of characters they already know and love. Presenting video content as part of an ongoing series is an effective way for energy utilities to increase customer engagement. Customers who are familiar with a series are much more likely to watch the latest videos in that series — and learn about new energy topics.  

Follow these tips to build long-term engagement with your video content:

  • A content series creates familiarity and reinforces consistent messaging by returning to the same style and format over time.
  • Using the same on-screen talent and series title helps customers connect the overall theme (e.g., energy efficiency) to specific topics (LED lightbulbs and smart thermostats).
  • Questline performance metrics show that content presented in a series increases subsequent viewings, with up to 42% of customers watching multiple videos in a series.

In our Netflix-loving culture, videos are an easy and effective way to engage with your customers. Make sure the videos are high-quality, entertaining, informative and concise. Your energy utility will see overall increased engagement and satisfaction, and your customers will be coming back for more.

Click here to download Questline’s digital marketing tip sheet, Best Practices: Video Content.”