As marketers, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our audience. New channels, strategies, and campaigns. At the core of these initiatives is our content, which fuels each and every one.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Vidyard’s Video Marketing Summit to learn about the latest and greatest in creative content, video analytics, and digital marketing technologies. If you’ve been keeping track of key trends, you know that video is now an essential part of any content marketing strategy. Video content allows you to communicate with audiences on a different level, speaking to their senses.
At Viewtopia, I sat in on some great sessions that demonstrated how you can elevate your marketing with engaging content. Here are my takeaways from four sessions that really stood out:
1. Shift from Content Economy to Attention Economy
Art and science have come together to empower marketers, and we can leverage both to build relationships with our buyers and understand our impact. Tyler Lessard, CMO at Vidyard, opened up Viewtopia with his session on “Connecting with Buyers in the Age of Experience.” We live in an “information age,” where information is now a commodity and buyers are overwhelmed—this reality transcends across demographics and generations.
Buyers are more informed, and it’s all about earning their attention—giving them the best customer experience. So how do we rise above the noise? As Tyler put it, digital marketing and marketing automation are major breakthroughs that are influencing the way we engage our audience. Paired with video, we can create compelling content experiences on a variety of channels and glean unique insights from each.
The brands that are leading the pack have nailed down these three key areas: content, channels, and insights. Effective marketing utilizes a cross-channel approach, placing personalized content and seamless messaging at the forefront. In addition, it’s now imperative that metrics go beyond just clicks and views, showing how your efforts are translating into revenue.
2. Take a New Approach to Content
It’s time to adopt a post-digital mind shift and approach content in a new way. Laura Ramos, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, shared some valuable insights in her session, “The Power of Video in Making Your B2B Story Come Alive.” Content is all about the buyers and their unique journey, and we can deliver on this expectation through effective storytelling.
Laura revealed five ways to use storytelling to engage our buyers:
- Repurpose “great” content as stories or narratives.
- Experiment with long-form, multi-chapter assets.
- Put customers center-stage.
- Shoot more video.
- Create a value exchange with buyers.
She also shared four key principles of B2B storytelling, which can be applied to B2C as well:
- Empathy creates trust and deepens relationships. Show your audience that you understand what they care about. Don’t just speak to their business problems, but speak to what they deal with on a daily basis. Your marketing should be relatable.
- Decision-making is emotional. It’s not always rational, so use stories to stir emotions. Experiment with humor and tragedy, as well as stories that tug on the heartstrings. People are sick of hearing pure success stories. Focus on failure and redemption.
- People trust friends, families, and peers. They trust other people more than they trust you as a brand, so build brand advocates and encourage them to share their stories.
- Engaging the senses leaves a lasting impression. Engage all of the senses, experimenting with different types of content like visual and audio.
The biggest takeaway that transcends across marketing? Deliver something of value without expecting immediate commercial returns. It’s all about building relationships and trust with your audience.
3. Fuel Account-Based Marketing with Personalized Content
Account-based marketing (ABM) is all about aligning marketing and sales efforts to target and engage high-value accounts with personalized messaging, campaigns, and outreach. And the benefits are tremendous—92% of B2B marketers worldwide consider ABM extremely important or very important to their overall marketing efforts, according to SiriusDecisions. In her presentation, “Multi-Channel Personalization: The Key to Account-Based Marketing Success,” Charm Bianchini, Sr. Director of Marketing at Marketo, revealed how you can take your target account strategy to new heights.
After you identify your high-value accounts and profile them to focus on the right part of the organization, it’s important to have personalized, relevant content to fuel your ABM campaigns. By developing buyer personas and mapping their journeys, you can create content that speaks to specific roles. And the options are endless—videos, reports, webinars, SlideShares, ebooks, blogs, podcasts, infographics, and more. Not to mention, these don’t have to be created from scratch. You can repurpose existing assets and tweak them to resonate with your target audience. This can be done by simply switching out terminology, examples, and language to speak to a specific company or industry.
Once you’ve got your accounts and content nailed down, use as many channels as possible to coordinate your story and target and engage your audience. This includes core channels such as your website, social media platforms, email, and mobile, but don’t forget about video. A video platform integrated with a marketing automation platform can help you gain insight into audience engagement with webinars, demos, and videos to help you score your target accounts appropriately.
4. Unleash Your Inner Storyteller
Some of the best examples of engaging content come from social influencers. Zach King, filmmaker and YouTube and Instagram personality, took the stage in his presentation, “The Storyteller in All of Us.” Zach King started pursuing his passion for videography at the early age of seven, when he experimented with a camera at a family wedding. From that moment on, he saw how video helped frame his perspective and vision to others. Since then, he’s blossomed into a social celebrity, with over 16M followers on Instagram alone.
He shared valuable lessons that he learned along the way. The first? Educate and listen to your audience. Zach got his start on YouTube with his Final Cut video editing software tutorials. He amassed a good following of about 40-50k followers, but his career really took off after he started listening to his audience. People commented that they wanted to see the effects in action, so he created the short film Jedi Kittens one night. It was a spur of the moment idea that went viral and was covered by major news channels.
Here are some of his tips for creating an effective video:
- Make it clean so everyone can watch it.
- Your video should be contagious. It should be something that you would repost or share as a viewer.
- Establish a voice and be relatable.
- Have a beginning, middle, and end—no matter how short your video is.
- Understand what to give, gather, and grow.
- Give: What value are you contributing? A story, feeling, informative technology? There should be no strings attached.
- Gather: Find the right platforms. Determine where the right audience will consume your content and use analytics to help you understand how they’re engaging with it. When Vine first emerged, Zach moved onto the platform from YouTube, captivated by the fact that he could create shorter videos that still got a lot of great engagement. The short six second snippets helped him hone in on how to tell a story in a short period of time. Then, once Instagram came out with a video feature, he started experimenting and posting the same videos on both platforms and got much better engagement on Instagram, so he began focusing his efforts there.
- Grow: Nurture your audience. Go deeper versus going viral. Vital content adds value or entertainment, but viral content only gives you 15 minutes of fame.
There’s no telling what’s in store for us next, but one thing’s for sure: it’s time to rise above the noise by creating compelling content. What takeaways you be applying to your content marketing strategy? Share your thoughts below!