More than ever before, companies are turning to web video to tell their sustainability stories. Video is a great medium for CSR communications that can be used to entertain, educate and engage stakeholders.

Variety, quality, distribution, engagement and consistency are five elements key to online video success. They will help your brand build a solid foundation for sustainable video communication – and may even launch you to viral fame!

1. Video Variety for Multiple Audiences

If you have multiple targets for your marketing, consider multiple types of videos as well. Media, investors, employees, prospects and clients are all looking for different information, so don’t expect one type of video to work for them all. You’ll need variety of content – from how-tos and news reports to promotional videos and interviews – to appeal to all of these different audiences.

2. Quality Matters

In some ways, online video has become synonymous with low production values. But any video that represents your brand needs to achieve a basic level of quality. This isn’t to say that you need to buy a lot of equipment or spend a lot of money to make effective online videos.

Depending on the content and audience of your videos, you’ll need to adjust the amount of work that goes into the production. Hand-held camera phone videos can work for man-on-the-street testimonials, but executive interviews require a more professional setup.

3. Distribution

I love YouTube, but it should be the beginning – not the end – of your video distribution strategy. Once you have your video posted on YouTube, you need to share that link through social media, blogging, email and wherever else you can.

Also, there are hundreds of smaller video hosting sites serving niche audiences interested in sustainability and CSR. These sites get a fraction of YouTube’s traffic, but often offer a more relevant audience of people specifically interested in your topic.

4. Engage With Audiences

Video doesn’t have to be a one-way medium. In fact, it can be most successful when audiences are invited to get involved. Some ways to engage audiences include soliciting user-generated videos through a contest, asking for endorsements from customers, or posing a question in your video and asking for viewer responses.

On YouTube you can use annotations to encourage viewers to leave comments, “like” your video, or share it with friends. On Twitter, you can create a unique hashtag to drive and monitor a social conversation about your video.

5. Consistency Matters

Online video can work as a one-off project, but it’s more effective to have a consistent, regular publishing schedule. That way you can take advantage of your video distribution network, build your audience and get repeat viewers, and refine your videos based on feedback.

Instead of trying to score a viral video hit, aim to produce a steady stream of good videos. Each one is a step toward building a larger network and a more engaged audience. This is an authentic, sustainable approach to online video that will steadily increase the impact and influence of your CSR communications.