ontent marketing has been around for hundreds of years. Content includes things like white papers, books, demos, literature, just to name a few. Think about it. When you were a kid, how many cartoons where just content marketing aimed at getting you to ask your parents to buy toys? Thanks to the internet, we have more tools available to us to distribute content marketing now than ever before. However, the world is also now full of more noise in the form of content than ever before. Content marketing has unfortunately become a buzzword resulting in a lot of brands creating content, but this isn’t really marketing. It’s just noise.
In reality, content marketing is some form of educational information. It is not about what the company sells. The idea is to provide good information that the reader or viewer cares about, so they become loyal to the brand. My number one marketing tip is that good marketing is about your audience, not you. Many brands are just getting started with the idea of real content marketing because it is overwhelming and expensive to create something of value.
Content marketing takes a lot of hard work and does not provide instant results, so you will need patience. Content marketing is a long-term strategy. I have heard some explain it as being a marathon, not a sprint. Many brands expect to create a few emails, videos or blogs and get instant results. This has caused many companies to declare that it isn’t worth their time, that it doesn’t work, and shutting down anyone who brings up the idea. However, while it does take time if people notice that they are getting the best information from your site, you become the expert.
The most effective form of content marketing is video. Video, in terms of making connections with people, is only second to face to face contact. Video works well on all devices so all viewers are more likely to have a good experience. Scrolling down your Facebook news feed, you’ll most likely find a majority of the content is in video format, usually re-posted by your online friends. If you doubt this, go to Facebook and see how many of the first 10 posts are videos. I just did this, and the first 9 posts were videos. (I was expecting about 5 of them to be video.)
Start with research. Learn which topics are most important to your viewers. Your video needs to be optimized to answer questions or solve a problem. This is often done with keywords. The topics need to be around things people are searching for which often times is not actually what people really need. For example, if your key differentiator is that you sell website security, but businesses just want websites that convert, your content needs to focus on what they want information about and then you need to use that information to warm them up to the security problems they should also be aware of.
Don’t spend too much time looking at what your competitors are doing. It is good to know what they are doing but I have seen many companies fall into the trap of spending so much time looking at what their competitors are doing that they end up copying what their competitors are doing. The problem is that their competitors, in many of those instances, were not doing it right. At the very best, copying your competitors will have you playing catch up. Your content needs to be better than whatever they are doing to get the authority for your content to stand out.
Similar to written content, videos should not contain straight-up sales pitches or become pseudo-infomercials. Instead, like when hosting a blog on your website, you need to show your customers you are here to help them. Not the other way around. When you provide tips, advice, or guides for activities related to your industry, you are accomplishing a few different things. First, you are proving that you have expertise in the subject of what you’re selling. Second, you’re building a trusting relationship.
For example, let’s say you’re a pool cleaner. What if your customer successfully uses your tip to solve a problem with their pool? Boom! Trust. Now you’re the one they’ll go back to when they need a pool expert because you’ve proved you know what you’re talking about. Third, you provide value. Keep your videos to the point. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a video and discovering that it takes the person five minutes to actually get to the point. Start by telling them what you are going to talk to them about. This is often called the hook. Next, you can introduce yourself but keep this short. Introduce the problem, if needed, then tell them the information that what they came for. End with a call to action.
Please don’t start your video with your logo. That is a waste of your money and the viewer’s time. Some people will find that they need to write out their scripts word for word. Others may just need bullet points. I know a lot of people who think they are going to wing it and quickly learn that they are not good at winging it. If you’re not sure, get out your cell phone and test yourself. Make sure your content is easy to understand. Clear communication is key.
Now, just because this is content marketing and your video content marketing needs to be big on value and light on sales. Doesn’t mean you can’t try to get them to move the next step. If you are on YouTube, you might invite them to subscribe. If you are on Facebook, you might invite them to like and comment. You could invite them to learn more from a video series. Whatever your call to action is, it must be valuable. You can’t expect them to take that action the first time they view your content. That is like asking someone to marry you on the first date. It could work but the chances are not good.
What if they don’t take your call to action? You can use a re-marketing campaign. Google, YouTube, and Facebook all allow you to purchase ads that are aimed at people who have already viewed your content. This allows you to show them more content. The biggest challenge is how to make it so that people can find your content. This is why you need to create content that people are searching for. Properly set it up for searchability in YouTube.
Getting a video to rank in search takes a while so the next thing you are going to need to do is to buy ads. Social media has become ‘pay to play.’ Don’t get sucked into the idea that your target audience isn’t on social media. 70% of the world is on Facebook. Even if you think your B2B product is too obscure, if people make the decision about if they are going to purchase your product, there is a greater chance that you can reach them, at least on Facebook. Make sure that you know what you are doing before you spend any money on the ad. That boost post button is very tempting, but I see a lot of companies waste money with bad ads and bad targeting of their videos.
Your video content should give a glimpse into your company. Have some consistency to your videos. If your brand has a bit of an attitude, let that show through your videos. This includes the way you talk as well as the people you include in your video. Having at least one consistent person in your video is important for the viewer to find an expert they can connect with. This is why a lot of shows have a host.
One reason video content marketing is still effective is that video is hard to produce and is expensive when done correctly if you want to get results. You can reduce costs with proper video strategy and planning. Plan to record all of your videos at the same time. This provides huge cost savings. This also means that you must spend quality time developing and preparing for the physical production. Don’t fall into the trap that you can just hire a video editor or videographer. They are not video marketers or creative directors and you aren’t either. If you have an internal team, there is a good chance they can’t do this alone.
Once you have all the footage saved and edited, we understand you’ll be eager to share it all, but bombarding your audience with videos is counterproductive. Instead, schedule a video to appear on news feeds once a week. Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur providing automotive repairs. Once a week, on Tuesday at noon, share one video about how customers can do small fixes on their own. Subscribers mean business. If a consumer knows exactly what they’re getting when they subscribe, and it provides value, then they’re more likely to come back for your paid services because you are constantly staying at the top of their mind. This consistent schedule is also important for your viewer and it shows sites like YouTube that you have a plan and they can count on you for more content.