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April 26, 2022

Local Marketing Insider #032 // How We Designed a Video Strategy That Works For Our Small Marketing Team

Take an inside look at Widewail's video marketing strategy for 2022.

I’ve been working with Matt for almost two months now on a new video strategy for Widewail. Today, I want to take you inside our process.

This is how I’m thinking about the strategy generally:

  • Identify which brand messages Widewail would like to communicate to the market
  • Feature our CEO, Matt Murray, as the subject matter expert explaining these topics on video
  • Distribute this content where our customers are already spending time

For this post, I’ll go through how I’ve structured the strategy as we put this idea into motion so that you, the LMI audience, can learn from it and translate it to something that’s useful for your own business.

Matt and I recorded a 6-minute podcast on the process:

The Message

My first objective was to identify, at the highest level, which ideas Widewail customers believe in and how we could communicate those values more widely. Assuming that local marketers believe in our strategy, in time, they may look to partner with Widewail. Ideally, they would look to us to help facilitate the technical and scaling challenges associated with implementing a trust marketing strategy.

Core messages:

  • We live in a world of distributed trust. Trust is built peer-to-peer.
  • The job of the modern local marketer is to capture, distribute and shape the narrative around the brand through the words of past customers.
  • A reputation strategy is a key pillar of an effective SEO strategy.

While the topics ebb and flow, each time we record a new video, we attempt to keep these core concepts in mind. Our ability to associate tactical topics or smaller ideas with core WIdewail is how we keep the content relevant to growing Widewail while also educating our audience.

Why video?

I’ll spare you a long list of generic stats to make a case for why we are pursuing a video strategy. 

There are four primary reasons:

  1. Many of the successful marketers and companies I see in the market are using video heavily
  2. Matt effectively conveys key ideas in an approachable way on camera
  3. Video establishes a personal connection and builds trust
  4. Our competitors are not doing anything like this

How we record

When setting out we wanted to come up with an approach that was affordable and didn’t consume a significant amount of our team’s time. Originally, we were going to record longer podcast episodes and chunk out pieces of each episode for social media video content. 

We ended up moving away from that strategy, at least for now, in part because it requires a lot more prep to produce an insightful 20-30 minute show. Being realistic about the skills we have on the team, focusing on shorter clips with Matt made the most sense.

Here’s our approach:

  • Repeating calendar block from 8:45-9:15 Thursday mornings
  • I’ll prepare an outline ahead of time with a few prompts/ideas for the week.
  • We record each session using our laptops and headphones - using the “pin” feature to keep Matt on camera (admittedly took me far too long to figure this out) and recording with a free Zoom account. 
  • Edit video and add captions and graphics using Descript

Between recording and editing, we dedicate an average of 1.5 hours per week to the process. Zoom, at our current level, is free and Descript costs us $30/month. 

The real secret sauce for us is that Matt can put together an interesting 2-6 minute clip on the fly with little-to-no prep. Before joining Widewail, I managed the CarGurus YouTube channel, producing 400+ vehicle reviews and from experience, that level of comfort on camera is unusual. It certainly makes the whole process way more efficient.

Our Content Distribution Hierarchy

Here is how we currently distribute the video content, leading the way with Matt’s personal page.

  1. Matt’s personal Linkedin page
  2. Email to Widewail’s marketing list recommending the video on Matt’s LinkedIn channel
  3. Promote via LMI newsletter (check out this week’s video)
  4. Use paid social to distribute videos to target audiences at scale
  5. Post via Widewail FB page so that if people see our ads and click through to the brand page, there will be more content for them to consume
  6. Repromote via Widewail’s brand channels for additional exposure

We’ve decided to lead with Matt’s personal page as the tip of the spear because: 

  1. People generally prefer to follow people as opposed to businesses
  2. Matt has a large audience of influential people in key industries
  3. LinkedIn’s algorithm prefers to promote content from individuals over brands

In the next few months, we are considering adding a media experience on our website and syndicating content to YouTube and Instagram.

Using Paid Social to Reach More People with Video

While our organic go-to-market strategy is the obvious first step, our ability to reach the broader market is limited. To expand our ability to communicate our key messages to specific industries and job titles at scale, we’re testing out a paid distribution strategy on social. 

The hypothesis is that if we are able to effectively communicate the value of building trust, trust marketing and reputation management over and over again through video where potential Widewail customers are already hanging out, over time interest will increase.

Ad Testing Thus Far

Last week we wrapped up our initial 1-week paid video testing period. We started with three tests: a Widewail website visitor retargeting audience, automotive marketers audience and a property management marketers audience, each with its own unique video content.

In the short term, we are primarily interested in engagement and consumption metrics. 

As an awareness and thought leadership play, over the mid-term (3-6 months) we expect to see interested companies contacting us directly via organic search or direct channels, rather than converting directly from the ad. 

The week 1 test results:

Audience: Retargeting Widewail Site Traffic

Video Length: 6m

Reach: 455

Thruplays: 31

Cost per thruplay: $6.17

50% plays: 2

Spend: $191

Clicks: 11

Frequency: 3

Video hook rate (3-second view/reach): 41%

Video hold rate (thruplay/reach): 6.8%


Audience: Automotive Marketers

Video length: 2m

Reach: 71,417

Thruplays: 360

Cost per thruplay: $0.31

50% plays: 46

Spend: $112

Clicks: 34

Frequency: 1

Video hook rate: 7%

Video hold rate: 0.5%


Audience: Property Management Marketers

Video length: 1m20s

Reach: 62,440

Thruplays: 240

Cost per thruplay: $0.44

50% plays: 35

Spend: $105

Clicks: 35

Frequency: 1

Video hook rate: 6.1%

Video hold rate: 0.38%


  • Limiting the audience to only those who have visited widewail.com significantly decreases reach and raises the cost. That said, familiarity with our brand produced by far the highest hook rate (3-second play/reach), with 41% of those served the video stopping their scroll.
  • The wide audience of the industry-targeted videos generated a lot of engagement at a low cost.
  • Although these campaigns are not designed to be direct response, we still had 80 clicks through to the website which is something we can work with.
  • For $408, we captured the attention of and made a brand impression on 631 potential customers, capturing the attention of 71 people for a minute or more talking about key trust marketing topics.

Wrapping Up

Video is a great way to connect with buyers and build trust. Operationally, it’s a more technical medium, but in many situations, I find the message is much more important than the quality. More than likely, a massive upfront investment isn’t necessary.

I’ve mentioned George Mack’s work in previous newsletters and I think his observation about the “content barbell” rings true for me:

My guess is that in time most marketers will end up focusing on content on the left side of the barbell, getting a lot of value out of Zoom recordings and customer videos shot on smartphones.

If you want to follow along with our video content, follow Matt and Widewail on LinkedIn.

Eventually, we will have something on Widewail.com and, when we do, I’ll let you know.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @Widewail

Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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