Video Content Marketing Strategy for Brands

Tips for integrating video as part of content marketing

“The next big thing in content marketing is video,”

…so said, nearly everyone in 2013.

Rather than attempt to convince you of this as a consumer of brands or a business, in this article I’d like to show and advise as to how as part of integrated content strategy, video content can work hard for you and deliver results.

The growing popularity of online video

Online video is big business and it’s visibility and the demand for it is statistically astounding. The Content Marketing Institute report the following stats to help paint a picture:

  • On-line video has increased eightfold in five years.
  • In 2016 the gigabyte equivalent of all the movies ever made in the history of film will move across networks every 3 minutes.
  • It will take 6million years to watch all the video that will uploaded in one month, in 2016.
  • Video will be 55% of all internet traffic by 2016.
  • Video on demand will triple by 2016.
  • Mobile video traffic will increase by eighteen times by 2016 (from 2011).

The key drivers encouraging video content marketing

Video is a great way to narrate stories, persuade prospects, impress your audience, and take your business to the next level. From a business perspective, it’s often difficult for companies and individuals to grasp the starting point of a strategy for using video within their own business. It helps to start with the purpose and  look at the key drivers for using online video for business, as part of a multi – dimensional content marketing strategy.  The main reasons to use video from your businesses perspective are:

  1. Customers buyers are becoming increasingly influenced by video.
  2. Marketers need more feedback about their content.
  3. The pressure to show content ROI is increasing.

With these reasons a very clear reality in 2013, it’s vital that businesses find the right video content to produce and distribute as part of a wider integrated content marketing strategy.

Video as a Marketing Tool

Simply put, videos are generally quicker and easier to digest than text-heavy content. Video also enables your brand’s content to stand out from the online clutter of text. The data backs this theory up: ROI Research reports user interactivity with content that incorporates video at twice the rate of other forms of content. Video content marketing is all about creating a memorable visual representation of your brand either through you or your customers, advocates or peers. To work well, you need to learn how to use this storytelling medium to be a key part of your content strategy. Here are some key tips to ensure success in video content marketing as part of your other tactics.

Key Video Tips:

Tip 1: Align with your brand

Branding involves clearly communicating your product or service offering and showing distinct differentiation across all customer touch-points. It is important to ensure your videos both clearly use your brand identity and key messages but perhaps more importantly support and build the brand through style, pace and quality. The best brand videos understand how the brand needs to communicate through video to match the essence of what the brand stands for. You only need to look at Nike and Red Bull for example to see how the videos match the brand proposition and position; perfectly. Another fantastic example of branded video content comes from B&Q who not only have on their video channel their excellent TV advertising, but cleverly used videos for DIY, providing tips and instructions. Real value that matches their customer – centric brand.

Tip 2: Use Video to Display or Demo Product

Content marketing often works best when it provides a window into the inner workings of a product or company. Traditional forms of marketing in the past would have shown product photographed alongside advertising led narrative to seduce the customer. Of course this still needs to happen to deliver an initial emotional response to a brand, product or service, but in age of heightened competition real differentiation can be heightened by product video and demonstration. When considering the best way to demonstrate your difference, think about how video can really help your audiences to see your product in action and ensure you plug it in to your product display on your web and social channels as part of your integrated content strategy. Ikea, do this really well and in the context of real environments their product videos feel very connected to real life.

Tip 3: Be Human

I a world of online shopping and many services being handled online or via the phone, there is often a disconnect between customer and consumer, and as humans we all crave that interaction. Even though technology has made our roles less face to face, video has an opportunity to allow people to see and understand the personalities within a business at a small or on a large scale. Steve Jobs and his apple keynote videos and guest presentations were a perfect example of how he, as a leader, and often rebellious, controversial character helped strengthen the apple brand and customer’s affinity for the head of the company.

Tip 4: Leverage Audience Generated Content

User generated content is a great way to deliver brand or product oriented content for your business. The quality, control and nature of these videos can be pain points for a brand but on the plus side, if done positively this authentic video content from fans and audiences can add significant value and indeed proof points of quality or the life enhancing nature of a product. Perhaps though, the key advantage of user generated video content for your brand is it’s vitality. Creators of content are much more likely to share their own content and their peers are more likely to then engage and re-share due to common friendships and online behaviours. This snowball effect often means that the success of the video can outreach company created brand videos. In order to encourage this an in incentive is often required; think creatively about what this could be. Finally, make sure you then use this user generated content to create a video or series of videos from this to show your true connection to your audiences or to help support the wider campaign.

One of the best examples of effective user generated content can be found from Coca Cola, and it’s decision to give its marketing creative brief to consumers in North America, Asia, and Latin America instead of a high-powered ad agency, as is the norm. An incredible quantity of content was created with more than 3,600 submissions including animation, illustration, film, and print advertising. Out of those 3,600, 10 of the highest quality were chosen and shown to creative directors and other ad professionals from around the world with one winning ad eventually shown. Surprisingly, the winning ad, “Happiness is in the Air,” was ranked in the top 10 percent of ads shown globally after its debut on Valentine’s Day during “American Idol,” proving that user-generated content can test very, very well.

Tip 5: Try Short Form Videos

Vine and Instagram video have proved increasingly popular from a brand perspective over the past year. These short videos stretch creative minds and the popularity of the platforms should be leveraged where possible if your audiences live there and you can encourage a folliowing. Companies such as GAP and Samsung have developed loyal followings on Vine and the nature of the videos allows the brands to be more creative and less “salesy” with their message, which in this day and age connects well with the majority of savvy audiences in 2013. Brands also account for 40 per cent of the 1,000 most-shared Instagram videos, according to data compiled by marketing technology company Unruly.

Integrating Video for Effective Content Marketing

On its own, video can deliver interest and engagement, but when not appropriately connected to your brand’s online content and marketing activities it has the danger of being isolated, not supportive of your brand and campaigns. Here are some key tactics to ensure you make video connected to and an important aspect of your content marketing activities.

  • Create a branded YouTube or Vimeo Channel and cross promote through website, email signatures, business cards, other social channels
  • Embed click through on your youtube video to deliver the user to a key landing page where action can be taken
  • Ensue video sharing is encouraged and use incentives where appropriate to encourage shares across all of your brand’s other social channels
  • Integrate video into all social channels available to your brand
  • Widen your scope and awareness by investing in pre-roll video online to key demographics
  • Make sure to create or reference already established hash tags # on your videos, to help gain campaign discussion and aggregation
  • Use video in email marketing (that will link through to a website landing page). Simply having the indication of a video via email will drive up click through rates.
  • Ensure your video titles and descriptions are SEO friendly and that any inbound likes use keyword rich link anchors.

Finally, it’s worth noting that not all video needs to be expensive. It has already been discussed how short form videos can show authenticity and differentiation and also how user generated videos have the power to be highly effective.

It is worth though, making sure that your content marketing budget is appropriately proportioned as if video has the power to work for you, then you should make sure that it has the appropriate proportion of your budget as there can be no doubt that video has more power to differentiate, connect, visualize and share than any other online content form.

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Content Curation: Digging out and delivering digital content that works

Content Marketing is the trending Digital Marketing topic of 2013. A strategy for the online content you are publishing, now more than ever seems essential for online engagement, search and social sharing of your brand messages or services. It’s not new of course, it’s always been there in various forms. Now though, everyone is a publisher – everyone is a mass consumer – everyone is a media outlet to spread the news – everyone is using digital as a communication tool. Now you simply cannot afford not to give your audiences the digital content they crave, how they want it and in a way to keep you competitive and engaged with your audience and customer. It’s not an easy challenge to effectively and strategically develop a content strategy that will work, especially if resources are limited.

As a blogger I know all too well that thinking, planning and actually delivering on original content to write on my blog or post on social media can be time consuming and challenging. Inspiration comes in many forms. Often the best content is not always 100% original. Often the best traction can be attained from curated content; but it has to add value. It must correlate to your brand, products, services and generate insight, interest and debate beyond the original author(s) points. Now… if you are really looking to have an impact with your audience, curation should not be the beginning and end of your content strategy. Totally original content (if there is such a thing) if you are involved in digital marketing, or mostly original, should still be a key part of your content strategy; it will build brand recognition, trust, thought leadership, differentiation and enhance your sense of meaningful content contribution to your audience. Overall though, for the majority of brands, organisations and individuals – it makes sense to centralise content curation in addition to publishing original articles and any other form of content such as news, events, products etc in their various forms.

It Takes Time…

Effective content curation happens over time. Of course it cannot exist individually, staying active across social networks, industry events and of course originating your own content play a big part of the content marketing challenge. Curation though, can play the central role in generating your brand awareness, credibility and popularity. Having something interesting to share in context to how you interpret it, the benefits to your audience, or your opinion on it’s industry validity and use can often be as effective, or if not more, effective than original content that might not meet your audiences needs.

1.Source – 2.Curate and Comment – 3.Publish

Successful curation does not happen by chance. Of course, stumbling across something worth sharing naturally occurs, but this doesn’t mean you should; you are right and also your audience might not want or care about it right now. By effectively setting up channels, approaches and time to correctly source, filter and the in a timely and effective manner, publish content, you will find results become measurable, resources can be allocated and trends can become established.

1. Source

Your sources of content to curate could be.

  • Subscribing to the most appropriate online and offline publications
  • Social Sharing sites you can or should subscribe to
  • Social media monitoring tools like Social Bro or Hootsuite
  • Aggregators such as Storify, Flipboard and Scoop.it
  • Press release distribution services
  • Google Alerts

2. Curate and Comment

Your curation content can be a selection including some of the following content types

  • Statistics, research, white-papers and reports
  • Posts from influential people important to your target audience
  • Best practice content writers on blogs, news, training, industry events sites
  • Guides and eBooks
  • Infographics are hugely popular and easy to digest information from
  • Tips and “how to” lists.
  • Videos are great for engagement so embed away…
  • Slide share presentations, which can also be embedded

3. Publish

Where might you publish curated content…

  • Company or brand blog, of course – this should probably be your hub
  • Email Newsletters
  • eBooks, guides and white-papers
  • Social networks
  • Guest author posts on industry sites

Success Factors

Strategic and timely content curation, as part of an overall content strategy can lead to many positive online factors:

  • Improve website traffic, interactivity and engagement
  • Help you or your brand / business to become a thought leader particular topic (this will take time!), naturally you’ll be more find-able online as a result
  • Generate website leads through awareness, SEO and carefully constructed calls to action.
  • Become well known by people of influence in your industry leading to networking opportunities and organic sharing potential.
  • Increased conversion on audience goals due to improved confidence in the curator and organisation

Success will be gained, as with all content marketing, when you take the time to learn and focus on what matters to your audience or community and align that with your own online value proposition. The more considered you are about any content you curate, or in-fact create, the more naturally you’ll optimise the content that your audience is craving and it will gain traction across search engines.

This video below is well worth a watch, breaking down the purpose and tactics around successful content curation and supporting some of my previous points.

My Top 5 Digital Marketing Curators

Some of the many blogs and social accounts I value highly from a curation point of view are listed below. I could list 20+ reputable sources but I guess everyone that might read this already subscribes to mashable and e-consultancy for example. For me, these curators add value as they don’t always post the same content type, don’t simply re-tweet the obvious posts from the big players, they have interesting comments and opinions based on their sourced content and keep their curation efforts varied, fresh, engaging, on brand – and importantly sprinkled with thoughtful opinion and insight. Naturally, they do not solely curate. Original and engaging content forms part of their mix and that’s one of the key reasons why their content curation is also highly valued by myself and many others. I’d recommend you visit and follow them for your own digital marketing curation efforts, or look at what they post to get some good ideas.

Simply Zesty

http://www.simplyzesty.com – @simplyzesty

Christopher Wellbelove

http://about.me/wellbelove – @wellbelove

The Drum

 http://thedrum.com – @thedrum

Silicon Republic

Siliconrepublic.com – twitter.com/siliconrepublic

Ion / Niall McKeown

http://ionology.com – @niallmckeown

Billy Ray Harris: Lord of the Ring

A Homeless Hero: The Power of Online Storytelling

This week I stumbled across a story online, not only worth sharing for it’s interesting content but also for it’s ability to highlight the true power of the digital world to share something positive, engage with people’s emotions and then encourage positive action.

Billy Ray Harris of Kansas City recently returned a diamond engagement ring, which fell into his collection cup, to it’s rightful owner. He found the ring among loose change after its owner, Sarah Darling, accidentally dropped it when she was giving him some change. When Sarah went back the next morning, she found that Harris had been waiting for her to return that ring.

What a humbling and amazing gesture for a man with nothing. A man who could have used the ring’s value to improve his current situation and get himself some things to help him survive. This story certainly helped add some more positive weight to my global humanity perception scale.

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, to show their appreciation, Sarah and her husband set up a Giveforward fundraiser with a goal of raising $1,000 for Billy Ray. The total now sits at the time of writing, €138,000 after only 10 days. With 81 days left Billy Ray could become a very wealthy man indeed. He certainly won’t be out on the streets begging for loose change.

Sarah’s husband posted a blog post updating donors with Harris’s response to the news and his plans for the future. He wrote:

“We talked about a lot of things related to my family’s ring and the many donations. We talked about one day in the future the ring may … be passed down to my daughter. We talked about how insanely positive all this has been. We talked about what he’s planning to do with the donations. The details would be better left for later but know that he has a very solid plan and a very solid way of making it happen.”

For me this example really highlights the ability for the virality of the web to raise awareness, capture the hearts and imagination of those that care, of those who become aware of such kind acts of humanity and who may not have given Billy Ray or any other homeless person their loose change. How this money and new found fame affects Billy we’ll soon see. I’m sure his selfless attitude will ensure he spreads his fortune. I’m sure amongst the escape from poverty will come a struggle with adapting to the real world and rebuilding his life under the public eye, but for now I am delighted to see the virality of the internet once again proving it’s positive worth for sharing stories, connecting individuals, raising hope and rewarding those who deserve it with positive actions.

Whilst writing this article it made me think of a previous blog post that I wrote after my Ad Age Digital Conference attendance last year. In this article I mentioned how the true value in content engagement is creating content that is emotional. People will take action, engage with and share content online that emotionally connects with them and their friends, peers and connections.

With Billy Ray Harris and this campaign, those who donated are not just donating money online to any homeless guy they heard about. If that was the case, every homeless person would set up a donation page right now and get rich. With Billy Ray, your emotions are supercharged by the story behind the campaign; the humbling actions of a man in need, who made the right choice over the selfish one and who has created the unlikeliest of friendships that we can all now read about. Now that’s emotional content. That’s what makes a difference to people’s level of engagement and that’s what has made Billy Ray Harris an overnight sensation and changed his life forever.