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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Digital Human

Staying Human in a Digital World

I have recently read Nick Harkaways book “The Blind Giant” and found it a fascinating, engaging and eye-opening read. It makes you realise that we must not forget that those who follow us, will be born into a purely digital society, where eBooks and augmented reality will have gone from exotic to everyday. In The Blind Giant, Nick Harkaway, considers whether this new world of ours will be a place of purpose or hellish.

Some of Nick’s arguments about what could lie ahead seem a little extreme, a little affiliated to “Minority Report” but we cannot ignore that as more and more of how we consume and deliver content is not only digital by nature, often it’s out of necessity, not choice – and that trend is likely to continue. Ultimately, Harkaway makes the case that technology is like any other tool: neither a good or bad thing, except in how we use it.

Reading this book opened my eyes not only to the future of digital in our world but also the present. Technology, software and the devices we use have of course shaped our social and human behavior on a number of levels, from shopping, to leisure, to business. Lives are lived online, and the opportunity to have a live feed into the minds of those you care about is becoming a clearer reality. People are more willing to share and consume horizontally through their social networks, rather than vertically. The organic spread of ideas, relationships, and trade can now be observed and measured on scales of unprecedented detail.

Amongst all the positive aspects of instant global communication, accessibility of information, improved efficiency and the potential for learning, it is clear that there are negative “de-humanisning” aspects of the Digital World now and this will likely continue in the future. People see less of other people, there can be a lazy attitude inherited as a result.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I want to highlight how in the context of businesses to consumers, organisations can act, appear and deliver more human aspects of behaviour both through and alongside their digital communications to complement each other.

As more and more businesses advertise, show and deliver pre – sale and post – sale communications online, there is no doubt that they have had to adapt to a world of highly concentrated digital consumption. This though can deliver opportunities to show human connection through and alongside digital. For example an online retailer can still bring visible human aspects to their business. They can:

  • Show the people within the business on their website and LinkedIn page etc,
  • Personalise their twitter with a unique or range of staff administrators assigned to social media, giving a personal tone to the messages and responses
  • Ensure sales and support emails are from staff addresses and use appropriate signatures
  • Deliver video and audio content to connect with the audience on real terms and improve brand personality.
  • Personalise emails both through whom it is addresses but also based on preferences.

A high street retailer that also has an “inevitable” online presence can also humanise their consumer’s digital experience as well as complement the real in store experience by:

  • Promoting specific exclusive offers and promotions online but only available in store to drive footfall
  • Building knowledge of the online offering amongst staff to help deliver sales and consumer loyalty
  • Use social media to help profile the products, local team(s) and staff to consumers
  • Have staff actively engage with customers online
  • Ensure telephone numbers are clearly promoted online.

I think we all know the inevitability of an increased trend for more digital consumption and communication out of necessity due to rapidly evolving commercial, media and interpersonal landscapes. But this doesn’t mean we have to be any less human. It’s about balance. We must continue to act, sound and appear human even online and I hope that the norm isn’t that we get lazy and devalue personal contact by default over a more convenient digital equivalent or alternative.

Google Glass is an example worth noting. This technology due to launch next year has the potential, for us to act more human, from the perspective that our digital media consumption can be consumed whilst interacting visually and in body with the real world. An argument to this though is that we may as users of the product, disconnect from the real world as we focus on what the heads up display is communicating to us. The latter is a de-humanising effect, (well… based on our definition of human behaviour) but perhaps a new set of human and social behavioral attributes need to defined “the norm” in light of communication and technological advances and trends.

Related to this discussion from a social media perspective is a really good Q&A worth checking out with Nicholas Christakis from the TED series, entitled: “Our modern, connected lives.” It’s interesting as it raises many points around the our influence and behaviour driven by our modern connected online social experiences. It’s a well-balanced series of responses to topics of friendship, social influence and even online dating from a real world vs digital perspective.