Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Originally posted on Forbes May 16, 2017

Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

POST WRITTEN BY
Adam Wagner
Chief strategy officer and partner at Raindrop.

We believe in the power of human connections and helping our clients build relationships.

Did you know that more video content is uploaded to the internet in a single month than network television has produced in three decades?

The world of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) might be complex and constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: Video continues to be a big driver of traffic. How can you use video to strengthen your content marketing strategy and SEO?

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Leverage The World’s Second Largest Search Engine: YouTube

YouTube is not simply a website; it is a search engine. YouTube’s user-friendliness, combined with the soaring popularity of video content, has made it the second largest search engine behind Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com combined. If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.

Since Google owns YouTube, video content hosted on YouTube ranks well on Google. One of the best ways to capture search traffic from YouTube is to create videos around topics people are searching for or talking about, from viral phenomena to commonly asked questions.

Drive Social Engagement

In addition to platforms such as YouTube, social networks are increasingly promoting more video content. You have likely noticed that your Facebook newsfeed is dominated by video content from friends, paid advertisers and the brands you follow. Consumers are hungry for engaging video content. It is critical that your business is creating content that users will want to view and share.

Make sure your video has subtitles if you are sharing on Facebook. Users are very likely to be scrolling in an environment where they don’t want sound but may still want to watch your video. Don’t miss that opportunity to engage with them.

Showcase Video On Your Website

Video is a great way to quickly and easily explain your business’ unique value proposition and showcase your company culture. Explainer and introduction videos are really strong tools for your homepage or a “how it works” section on your website. Don’t assume that people want to read through your services or scroll through a bunch of products. Make it easier for them with video.

Email, Email, Email!

Yes, email marketing still works. You must always be providing value. Email is a terrific way to stay top-of-mind and in front of consumers because it goes directly to them. Also, consumers on your email list have likely opted-in at some point, so it is a warm audience that is ready to hear from you.

There are tools that allow you to embed video directly into email campaigns, but video can be just as effective in email if you simply tease the video in the email and push users to your website. Those who are interested will click through. The key to successful email marketing is to create content that provides value.

What Type of Content Should Your Business be Creating?

You are probably now wondering, “Okay, I know where my video content should live, but what content should I be producing?” Here are a few ideas for types of impactful video content:

Answer common questions. This is a great tactic for SEO since searchers often search in question format. Think of the most common questions you get from potential customers and those are the same questions they are Googling.
Make engaging, funny videos. Humans love to laugh and have short attention spans. Create content that speaks to both characteristics!
Show how your brand works in behind-the-scenes videos. People want to know how your brand works and what makes you great.
Review products or services. Share your expertise with the world by providing reviews on products/services related to your industry.
Create tutorials or explanation videos. The internet is a wealth of knowledge and consumers are using it to research and learn. Capture some of this opportunity by creating relevant tutorials or tips videos for your audience.
Go live on social media platforms, such as Facebook Live. Social platforms are always looking for ways to generate engagement and what better way than live video and interactions? Facebook and other networks are really pushing their live offerings and placing priority on these in their ranking algorithms. Take advantage of the extra traffic potential while it lasts. Be thoughtful with your content. Viewers may not want to watch you playing video games, but streaming your upcoming panel discussion, an inside look at the new office or anything that consumers may find interesting/relevant can drive real engagement in social.
Hold webinars or presentations. Consumers are hungry for knowledge and love hearing from industry experts. Give them what they want.
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Quality Is In The Content

One of the concerns clients have about creating video content is that the production quality will reflect poorly on their brand. Luckily, a content marketing plan should consist of a variety of video content and not all has to be national TV spot quality. As internet video is being consumed in record volume daily, production is becoming more affordable. The quality that people really care about is the content itself — are you providing them with a video that is helpful, useful, enlightening, applicable, entertaining or amusing? Achieve any combination of these qualities and you can expect success with your video marketing.

Video can change the face of your content strategy and bring you closer to your audience. Make sure as you are planning out your next marketing roadmap that video has a prominent place in your content marketing strategy in order to capitalize on the benefits of YouTube, social networks and general consumer interest in video.

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Marketing Calendar 2017

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New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

Being Human Is How Your Branding Strategy Will Succeed

Originally Published www.entrepreneur.com April 8, 2015 – Written by: Melanie Spring, Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina

Being Human Is How Your Branding Strategy Will Succeed

Ask any group of people what branding is and they’ll tell you all sorts of things. From the logo and business cards to the reputation of a company. They’ll talk about branding being an experience, interaction and visuals that match. And they’re right: All of these things are part of branding.

Branding is a collection of all of the interactions of your business. Branding is essentially a feeling — from the person who greets potential customers on the phone or as they walk into your space to the social media messages and sales conversations customers receive. People don’t buy because they go through the features and benefits. They buy from you and tell others about you because of the feeling you gave them.

So if branding is a feeling, why do we list our features and benefits instead of finding the heart of the matter and getting them to experience an emotion? It’s a valid question.

Related: Shark Tank’s Daymond John: 3 Ways to Build a Loyal Social Media Following

Most companies sound like they are businesses talking to other businesses — buildings talking to buildings. Because we’re in business-to-business or business-to-consumer instead of human-to-human, we forget how to have human conversations. It’s time to start sounding like humans again.

Dove has done an incredible job with branding themselves without talking about what they do. Their numerous campaigns are focused on helping women see their self-worth instead of selling soap. And they work. They hit the feelings of their target customers with every video, campaign and message. If a huge corporation like Dove gets more business by not talking about what they do, it’s time for you to do the same.

Get everyone in your company on the same page with your branding and you’ll be on your way to connecting through feeling, which leads to more happy customers.

Here are a few tips to get your started:

There are no rules.
First rule: There are no rules. Throw away that corporate business textbook you’ve been following. You get to do and say whatever you want without following a script. It’s your brand.

Related: Why Denny’s Sounds Like a Chill Teenager on Social Media

Make your brand human.
What would your business sound like if it was a human? Think about the conversations you have in person and how they can be translated into content. Would your brand be casual or corporate? Excited or subdued? Fancy or full of flare? What words would it say or not say?

Find a parallel.
Do some research and find a parallel industry to yours and see what companies are doing with their branding. Ask yourself what you like about how they share information on their website, in emails and through their blog or social media. Write down characteristics you want to include in yours.

Read your stuff
Go through everything you have online, in print and through email. Does it sound like it’s all from one source? Does it fit the sound of the humanized brand you want? If not, update it. Get your team together and write responses to clients, potential clients and referral partners so everyone knows how they should sound.

Write it down.
Create a list of do’s and don’ts with your brand. Keep it simple but clear. And practice it. If it’s just you, compare the list to every email, tweet and conversation. If you have a team, meet weekly and review the list against your interactions to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Related: 5 Steps to Brand Your Startup for Success

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Social Media Marketing Still A Gray Area For Advertisers

Originally Published in PPAI Publications March 5, 2015 by: Frank V. Cespedes

Social Media Marketing Still A Gray Area For Advertisers

Social Media Marketing Still A Gray Area For Advertisers

When it comes to business, we talk too much about social media and expect too little. It’s like the old joke about sales people: one person says, “I made some valuable contacts today,” and the other responds, “I didn’t get any orders, either.” Companies measure the market results of their sales investments. But few have measures or even have accountable managers in place for their social media investments, and only 7% say their organizations “understand the exact value at stake from digital.” Meanwhile, according to a Gallup survey, 62% of U.S. adults who use social media say these sites have no influence on their purchasing decisions and only 5% say they have a great deal of influence.

Consider:

The most common metrics for evaluating social media are likes, tweets, reviews, and click-through-rates (CTRs) for online ads — not cause-and-effect links between the medium and market results. The basic investment logic is typically no deeper than a version of “Fifty million tweets or likes can’t be wrong” . . . or can they? There is justifiable skepticism about this data. Farming services spike these numbers, with evidence that one in three online reviews is fake. For $50, you can buy 1,000 Likes, 5,000 Twitter followers, or 200 Google +1s. With real people, moreover, 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads, and 85% of social media updates come from less than 30% of a company’s social-media audience. One online reviewer, Harriet Klausner, has reviewed more than 25,000 books.
A Forrester study found that posts from top brands on Twitter and Facebook reach just 2% of their followers (note: that’s followers, not new customers) and only 0.07% of those followers actually interact with those posts. As others have noted, people are more likely to complete a Navy Seal training program or climb Mount Everest than click on a banner ad.
There are, as always, opportunity costs. Since 2008, according to a McKinsey study, companies have devoted more time and money to social networks and 20% less to e-mail communications. Yet, the same study found that humble e-mail remains a more effective way to acquire customers — nearly 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Why? Because 90% of U.S. consumers use email daily and the average order value is 17% higher than purchases attributable to those social media.
Technology changes fast — remember MySpace and Friendster? — but consumer behavior changes more slowly. As a result, people tend to overhype new technologies and misallocate resources, especially marketers.

When banner ads first appeared their CTR was 10%, but that soon fell due to heavy usage by firms, and clutter. Research has long demonstrated that ad elasticities are generally very low, that firms often persist with ineffective ad media (because they have the wrong measures or no measures), and that companies routinely over-spend on ads (due to ad agency incentives, the fact that ad expenses are tax-deductible, and companies’ use-it-or-lose-it budgeting processes). Other research indicates that traditional offline consumer opinion surveys (when they use representative samples) are better at predicting sales than clicks, number of website visits or page views, positive or negative social media conversations, and search (although online behavior is good at tracking the reasons behind week-to-week changes in sales.)

With new media, therefore, great expectations are common and missing the goal is understandable: it takes practice and learning. But changing or dismantling the goal posts is a different story.

It’s now common to say that social media is “really” about awareness, not sales. Companies that “get” social media should be “relentless givers [who] connect instead of promote.” In fact, forget “traditional” ROI (that lovely qualifier), focus on consumer use of social media and, instead of calculating the returns in terms of customer response, measure the number of visits with that social media application. How convenient: to be evaluated with a metric without tangible marketplace outcomes. But it’s wrong, a circular argument, and smart companies should not follow this flawed business logic.

The value of any advertising, online or offline, depends on what effects it has on purchases. As Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, and other ad execs have emphasized, “our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise, not ourselves.” Those effects are difficult to measure, because consumers buy (or not) for many different reasons and even good ads in the right media have both carryover and wear-out effects that vary over the product life cycle and an ad campaign. But to justify an investment by activity and not outcomes is a tautology — we advertise because we advertise — not a meaningful business argument.

Even an activity measure, moreover, assumes the consumer can see the ad. Did you know that a display ad is deemed “viewable” if at least half of each ad is visible on your computer or smart phone for a minimum of one second? Data released in 2014 by comScore indicated that more than half of online display ads appear on parts of a web page that are not viewable. In response, the Interactive Advertising Bureau noted that for various reasons 100% viewability is “not yet possible,” but the industry should aim for 70%. In other words, hope that “only” 30% of your intended ads are not seen by anyone for at least a second!

Further, what we now know about shopping and social media activity says that online and offline behavior interact. They’re complements, not substitutes, and you ignore these interactions at your peril. The vast majority of communications on social media sites are between friends who are within 10 miles of each other. The same is true about the available data on buying behavior. As Wharton professor David Bell documents, the way people use the internet is largely shaped by where they live, the presence of stores nearby, their neighbors, and local sales taxes.

For years now, we have heard big talk about the big data behind big investments in social media. Let’s see who is behind the curtain. It’s time to expect more from social media and prove it. The Association of Advertising Agencies has refused to endorse the 70% goal and wants 100% viewability, which means if an advertiser buys 1 million impressions from a site, that site must display that ad as many times as it takes to ensure a million viewable impressions. In 2014, The Economist guaranteed those who buy space on its apps and website that readers will spend a certain amount of time there. For instance, it will guarantee that a site containing an ad appearing for three weeks will receive X hours of readers’ attention — documenting, not assuming, engagement with the medium.

Other companies try to trace the links (or not) between online platforms and sales outcomes. They buy point-of-sale data from retailers and have systems that purport to match Facebook or Twitter IDs, for example, with a given campaign and subsequent retail sales for a product. The validity of these approaches is still to be determined. And the FTC has raised concerns about privacy issues and disclosure practices, and has urged Congress to pass legislation to give consumers the right to opt out. But shining light on what does and doesn’t happen here will be a good thing.

Business success requires linking customer-acquisition efforts with a coherent strategy. You can’t do that if you are not clear about the differences between hype and reality when it comes to buying and selling. And we should care about this distinction for reasons that go far beyond making even more ads more viewable. Companies’ abilities to make better use of their resources are important for society, not only shareholders. It spurs productivity, and productivity — not just tweets and selfies — is what spurs growth.

Frank Cespedes is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and author of Aligning Strategy and Sales (Harvard Business Review Press).