Important: Don’t Ignore Video in Your Content Marketing

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By Sue Brady

Film you own.

If you haven’t jumped on the video bandwagon, it’s time. YouTube claims to have over 1 billion unique users per month. That’s one seventh of the world’s population! According to a Nielson study last year of brand marketers, 64% said that video content will dominate their strategies as they move forward. I’ve read in a number of places that the future of content marketing is in video.

Like other forms of content, video content needs to be relevant, compelling and engaging. Know your audience and how to talk to them, and know your video goals. It’s not enough to post your ad to YouTube and hope it catches on. Instead, think bigger:

  • Produce short informational videos showing your product in action, or talking about various benefits of using it.
  • Use tutorials.
  • Show yourself as the expert in your industry so that when it comes time for a user to purchase what you’re selling, they’ll think of you first.
  • Film some of your customers making positive comments about your product.
  • Solicit content from your customers by having them upload their own videos.

Make sure your videos are interesting so that they’ll be watched. And don’t forget to include a call to action if appropriate.

Video has applications for both B2B and B2C brands. For one thing, there is a beneficial impact to SEO that shouldn’t be ignored. These 10 tips will help you optimize your video for local SEO. Video appears in Google search in a whopping 70% of the results (source: Searchmetrics).

Figure out the length that will work best for you. Shorter videos seem to be well received in the business world, though the length you decide on should be driven by your goals. Forbes Insight’s Report found that 47% of the C-Suite prefer videos to be 3-5 minutes in length. You do want your video to be long enough to convey your message, and if you think your target audience will watch a 10-minute how-to video, then don’t cut it too short.

Identify where you’ll be posting your video. YouTube is an obvious choice, but maybe a video would do well on your company’s website or blog. Or perhaps a video is appropriate on a pay per click or banner landing page. Consider your audience as you make these decisions. And don’t forget to make your video mobile friendly. 40% of YouTube viewing happens on a mobile device.

A long time ago, at the turn of this century, I worked for AOL and needed to show how easy and beneficial it was to sign up for a new program we were launching. I created a video to run on the AOL site that used animated graphics to demonstrate the ease with which our customers could enroll in, and use, the program. Over a million people did! Who knew I was on the cutting edge of a trend!?

In a recent post on humor, I mentioned the Kmart videos that went viral. Who doesn’t want that? But going viral doesn’t need to be your goal. Figure out what is, and get started. That’s the hardest hurdle to jump.

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Creating Content: 6 Goldmines for Finding Relevant Topics

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By Sue Brady

Content development requires careful thought and planning. And it can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Content can come from anywhere really, but how you create it depends on who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish.

Once you understand your ‘content goals,’ here’s how to find topics to write about:

  1. Case studies. Case studies are short stories about how a customer successfully used or uses your product. These are often used in B2B marketing. The best source of case studies is your customer service or sales departments. Ask them about the customers they talk to and have them identify a handful that were positively impacted by your company. Call the contact person there and ask if they’d mind being interviewed for a case study you’d like to post on your website. You can explain that it can be good press for their company and that they’ll be able to approve the finished article. You can even offer to share their URL in the story. Set expectations regarding length of time the questionnaire will take and even offer to send it to them in advance of the interview. You can do your interview over the phone or in person. If you are going to have the interview in person, I recommend having someone videotape the conversation for later use on YouTube or on your website (you of course have to ask for permission from the person you’d be filming…and you’ll want to get that consent in writing).  If your product services multiple industries, it’s a good idea to develop at least one case study per industry.
  2. User reviews. Read your reviews. Note if there are benefits or features that are pointed out more often than others. Use those as topics for your next blog post. And pay attention to the comments that others leave after reviews. If you can identify questions that are frequently asked, you can devote a post to just that topic.
  3. Customer Service and Sales Departments. Survey your customer service agents and sales people to find out what questions/complaints/praises they hear most often from customers and prospects.  Use those to develop a list of topics to write about.
  4. Employees at your company. Employees talk to their friends/family/clients/each other. Ask them what questions they hear most often about your products.  Form some blog posts around those. In addition, employees can be great authors. Have each employee in your company write about a topic they feel is relevant to your customers, company or industry.  You can even make an event out of it where for 2 hours one afternoon, everyone focuses on writing about a business-relevant topic of interest to them.
  5. Identify someone who is respected in your industry and see if they’ll agree to an interview. It’s great press for them and identifies your company with a thought leader.
  6. Social media conversations. Read what people are writing about your industry or your products specifically to identify hot topics to write about. You can find relevant topics using hashtags on Twitter, or look for conversations on Facebook or Linkedin that have generated a lot of comments. It’s a great way to enter the conversation.