Advice to content marketers is all over the web. And most of that advice relates to what type of content is now the latest and the greatest that you must incorporate into your repertoire.
Of course, there is some research that provides great, generalized stats on the types of content that most engage audiences, and this is valuable information to have. For example, you already know that:
- Long unbroken text is a huge “no-no”
- Providing content in little digestible chunks is a good thing
- Using bullet points is also a good thing
- Interspersing visuals throughout your content engages, etc., etc., etc.
Differentiated Content Type Based Upon Niche and Audience
There is another important consideration, however, that advice-givers don’t talk about much. It is differentiation of types of content based on the audience you are targeting. The content type that might be created for a 20-year old looking for clothing, for example, might be very different from the type that would be used by a B2B site selling logistics software. Some types of content lend themselves well to certain types of industries and audiences (e.g., white papers, infographics, research stats, or podcasts for B2B marketing), but those same content types will not engage a wholly different audience (customers of consumer products).
Marketers must thus make some important decisions about the types of content, content creation tools they will use for their target audiences.
One content type, however, crosses all industries and all target audiences, and that is video. In fact, the video is beginning to trump most other types of visual content marketing. Why? Because it is so versatile, and technology has made it so easy to create.
Engaging Content Types for All Audiences – Using Video for Any Product or Service
Whether you are marketing wine or machine parts, research does show that video will engage a target audience. In the past, only big guys could use video because of the production costs. It has become a mainstay of marketing today because marketers have so much more tools to create great videos. Like any marketing tool, however, it has to be done right.
Video can tell your brand’s story, can show the human factor of your business, and can also take boring products and services and make them much more appealing. But here’s the thing: Turning on a smartphone and spouting off does not a good video make. Most of the video tools have tutorials built in and that is the place to start. Studying examples of great videos in your niche (and related niches) will also provide great ideas. Here are the types of video that both B2C and B2B businesses can use.
1. Tell a Story:
A company can tell its own story or the stories of its customers through video. It can be anything from a slide show set to music or song, to a customer explaining an unusual use of a product or service. And the production cost can be quite minimal. Here is a B2B example from Taulia, a company that sells cloud-based solutions for invoicing, payments and bookkeeping. It tells the story of what could happen if suppliers don’t get their invoices paid on time and ends with a CTA.
If you watch this full video (YouTube), you will see that this was a low budget production with three scenes and a voice over. Yet it gets the point across in a humorous way that lets B2B customers see a company as more human.
2. Explain a Product/Service:
If you have not viewed the explainer video on the home page of “Dollar Shave Club,” it would be a good idea to do so. This is a B2C business, of course, and the concept is a monthly subscription plan for the delivery of razors right to a customer’s mailbox. While this was a professionally produced video, there are some great ideas that could be scaled down for a more amateur production. (Plus, it’s just funny). Explainer videos should be short – no more than 90 seconds, so it will take the time to encapsulate a company purpose and product/service in that amount of time.
3. How-To Videos:
If you are marketing a product that lends itself to video tutorial rather than text (and most do), then creating a how-to video is the answer, and it doesn’t have to be professional. An everyday person demonstrating how to use product can be engaging and certainly more helpful that a host of printed instructions. Benjamin Moore paints have a series of videos on staining a deck. These are low-cost, low-budget films that show rather than tell.
A “variation on this theme” is what has come to be known as the “helper video.” This is a low-budget video, usually featuring a company spokesperson or a paid actor, who, with something as simple as a whiteboard, will provide information about a product or service in simple, graphic ways. These videos can quickly and simply explain the features and advantages of a product or service, and even use a story to do it.
4. Using Customer-Submitted Videos:
Sometimes these can be the best of all marketing tools. A customer with a Go-Pro camera, for example, got a video of a fireman resuscitating a kitten after a house fire, and it went viral. Perfect amateur video that Go-Pro has used to showcase its product without having to say a word:
A Word About the Future of Video in Marketing
Video marketing will continue to get more sophisticated, and, with newer technologies, such as Periscope and Meerkat, real-time streaming will become a highly-used marketing tool in the near future.
Another technology that will impact video marketing is the use of augmented reality. When target audiences can experience a product or service through the video without actually having purchased it yet, engagement and a potential sale are even greater. Technology is now enabling companies to embed videos right in their product labels so that customers can have an experience as they shop for a product on a store shelf.
Companies can tell their products’ stories; on their websites, they can provide an experience (e.g., a spa experience at a resort) in which the consumer places himself in the environment. How about a customer being able to try on a clothing item virtually before making a decision to buy it? All of these things are now possible at reasonable cost to a business, and signal that the future of video marketing will be exciting and critical.
Are Other Forms of Content Marketing Dead? Of Course Not.
There are at least 15 other forms of marketing content that are effectively used by marketers every day. And an overall marketing strategy should always include those that will be best suited to the target audience. Great blog posts, all types of visuals (photos, infographics, etc.), guides, lists, eBooks, case studies, etc. all have their place. But as all of these content types are crafted, keep thinking about how you might incorporate video.