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The first part of this series on content marketing offered business owners an overview of why it screams "opportunity" in the digital age. The second part focused on online video, pointing out that far too often professional video shoots overshadow the actual marketing. This time, it's all about making sure you have the right video strategy to get the most value from your investment.

It starts with a plan to get those videos seen by your target audience:

Before pressing play

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It's one of the most basic pieces of advice in almost all areas of business: Plan ahead. Like any marketing or advertising plan, your online video content should be part of an overall strategy and it should serve a definitive purpose if you want to reap the rewards.

How much video content do you want to release? Where and when do you want to release it? Fine tune your messaging, and make sure everyone involved is on the same page. Timing is key, so you want to promote video on a regular schedule, which enables your audience to know when to tune in. If you can only commit to posting once a month, that's fine, just make sure you are consistent. You'll know soon enough what's working and what's not.

Create high-quality content

Low-quality content – whether it's your brand's white papers, blogs, or presentations – won't be widely accepted. The same rule applies to video. Just because you can shoot it with your smartphone doesn't mean you should, especially if you lack the skills to polish it to a level considered professional. Everything you put online with your brand name represents you and your business. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

Optimization

Once your video content is ready, take the time to have a professional properly optimize it so existing customers and potential clients can find it. Crafting an optimized title and description, entering meta-tags, and choosing or creating a captivating cover shot are all things that must be done to position your video content for maximum success.

Distribution

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Unless you've been building your video marketing library for a while, and you already have an eager audience, it is critical to regularly and properly share your videos as they are released. Post them on your website, fan them out across social media, and send them to your mailing list. Research also shows that big brands – including Coca-Cola and Toyota – are not just creating effective video content, 61 of the top 100 brands embed YouTube videos on their websites.

Encourage your existing audience, regardless of its size, to share your videos with their networks. If you have a video advertising budget, you can give your content a targeted boost by having someone run a paid campaign for you. If you don't have a budget for such things, you should strongly consider it.

Whether your company is business-to-consumer or business-to-business, video provides a chance to stand out from the crowd. We live in an increasingly visual, interactive and engaging online world. When you build your presence by telling visual stories, brand recall will greatly improve and you'll likely get an excellent return on investment.

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook .

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