Marketing is vital to the success of a business. Over time it has morphed and changed into various different forms but content has always been key. The way it distributed and absorbed has changed with technological advances.
The biggest effect on marketing in recent years has been the change in the audience’s behavior. Now, people have more control over how, when and where they watch content. Traditional marketing is becoming a dying art form and although it may always be around in some form or other, it’s questionable in the next few years whether audiences will take any notice of it all. Viewing trends are changing with people choosing to watch catch up TV and programs through online streaming platforms. This gives audiences more control than they have ever had.
For these reasons, content marketing is becoming invaluable to companies who need to communicate their messages effectively to potential customers. Content marketing is all about relevancy and consistency, meaning that expensive adverts that interrupt and have no relevance to the audience, are losing their power to influence. Television adverts have always been considered something of a burden, mainly influencing the sales of caffeine products as people choose to brew up in between program breaks rather than wait for the adverts. Content marketing, on the other hand, engages with the audience, but even more importantly, the audience chooses to engage and consume its messages.
Content marketing needs to consistently contain targeted messages that communicate in an intelligent way. It’s a lifetime away from the old fashioned beliefs that an audience will soak up information like a sponge and are passive viewers that will absorb any messages being portrayed to them. Companies have realised that audiences are intelligent and want to be given useful information about their products that they can choose to act on or not. The most successful marketing doesn’t actually ‘sell,’ it presents a product to the customer, who then chooses whether to not to purchase based on their individual tastes or needs. A good product does the selling itself.
Great content marketing doesn’t just communicate with customers but actually has an effect on them. This can be measured through customer engagement, or the customers reaction to the content, whether it be a ‘like’, ‘comment’ or a ‘share.’ An invaluable tool in the content marketing toolbox is video. Short, snappy videos can reach millions of people in a short space of time, often conveying messages and advertising products but done in such a skillful way that not only do the viewers enjoy the ‘advertisement’, they then choose to engage with it and share it with their peers.
If you asked a pool of people to write down their top ten adverts of all time, you will more than likely find that there is actually very little, if any at all, ‘selling’ or ‘brand communication’ taking place. A popular favourite is ‘that Cadbury’s advert with the gorilla playing the drums.’ At which point in this video do Cadbury’s actually tell you to go out and buy a Cadbury’s product? Or even tell you why it’s so good? The answer is none. But people still talk about it now, and it is still mentioned in blogs like this one. Video advertising works.
So does this mean video is the future of content marketing? Think about many hours you’ve spent scrolling through YouTube videos or how many times you have turned to a friend and said ‘have you seen that video on YouTube?’ Since the moment moving image was pioneered, audiences around the world have been entertained and affected by what they see. As modern day viewers, with so much access to films and television, we can’t get enough of the entertainment that YouTube has to offer. In such a fast paced, modern life, people welcome the short, entertaining videos and want access to a lot of information in a short space of time.
YouTube has presented companies with limitless opportunities; everyone from small businesses to global brands have a viral audience waiting for them if they ‘get it right.’ YouTube statistics scream opportunity. With more than 1 billion unique users each month, more than 6 billion hours of video is watched every month. That’s an hour for each person on the earth if we break it down, and according to research by Nielsen, YouTube reaches more adults in the US aged 18-34 than cable TV. Not a bad audience. As a business you simply cannot afford to ignore the benefits of video marketing, and that’s why video is the future of content marketing.
We are in dangerous territory of sounding too good to be true, but the first mistake that people make is thinking that video marketing is easy. Producing effective video marketing is not a case of picking up a camera, uploading a video and waiting for the hits to roll in. The magic of video marketing happens before a lighting stand even goes up, success lies in the idea. A poorly thought out and executed video can do as much brand damage as it has the ability to do good. It is better left to the expert agencies. It isn’t just the good videos that go viral, some of the worst adverts have gone viral because they are simply so bad that they are just too much for viewers to ignore. They provide hours of comedy entertainment but for all the wrong reasons. You might argue that all PR is good PR; you wont meet anyone who enjoys that annoying Safe Style UK advert ‘you buy one, you get one free’ but then you probably won’t meet anyone who hasn’t heard of Safe Style UK. Would anyone really want to attempt to sit on this side of the fence?
Video is vital for effective, engaging content marketing. Successful video content, like any form of content marketing, is about a consistent, thought out campaign. The campaign needs to be clear and focused, with set objectives and results to maximise and measure success.
Rather than viewing video and other marketing strategies, such as SEO and social media, as separate entities when spending a marketing budget, they should be treated as a body of marketing tools that work together to achieve the same desired result. Videos not only increase the search ability of companies but keep internet audiences on websites for longer, which is at the forefront of a good, solid SEO campaign. If marketing is all about communicating with customers, then social media needs to be included and should be the pulse of any campaign.
A fully integrated marketing campaign that utilises video at the heart of everything isn’t the future of content marketing, it is already here and being used to great effect by the biggest and most lucrative global brands and SME’s. Statistics around the use of video all point to not only growth in the use and value of video but more importantly the success associated with it.