In 2013, 87% of marketers used video for content marketing. Were you one of them?
Video continues its onward march as the bannerman of the content revolution, yet it’s fairly safe to say that most start-ups and scale-ups have yet to take full advantage of video marketing for their brand. While 87% seems like a large number, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The 66% of marketers that use blogs are definitely writing a blog post a week, but they may have only deployed one video per quarter (if even).
A big hurdle to video production is, of course, upfront cost. But an even bigger hurdle is lack of creativity. Many marketers wouldn’t know how to diversify their video offering even if you gave them the money to do so. Blog posts and articles just seem a whole lot safer and easier to manage. It’s easy to write about a different topic each week, and much more daunting to produce a different video each week.
But if YouTube celebrities can do it, so can you. Here are 10 useful types of video content that your viewers will enjoy. Remember: when your viewers are enjoying themselves, you’ll have already separated yourself from the competition.
Vlogs, or video blogs, are just what the doctor ordered. There are too many blog posts in the world, and vlogs are the cure. They’re cheap to produce, personality-driven, and quite possibly the best bang for your buck in terms of sheer engagement value.
Yet so few companies have vlogs, opting instead to spend the big bucks on product demos and polished business intro videos for landing pages. While this certainly isn’t the wrong way to go about it, it bears repeating that vlogs are cheap. You can shoot a 5-minute vlog in front of your webcam with a one-page outline and come off as a real human being instead of a “brand ambassador.” Total cost? One cup of coffee.
So far, only gaming sites like Gamespot have really embraced brand vlogging. One of their most popular ongoing vlogs is “Top 5 Skyrim Mods of the Week”, which is essentially an ongoing product review/tutorial with color commentary. YouTube celebrities, on the other hand, have been vlogging for years, and are experts at producing engaging content about engaging topics. Check out the most-subscribed channels and start brainstorming.
When Robert Iger convinced Steve Jobs to sell Pixar to Disney, Jobs was adamant that Iger maintain the culture of the company, which he believed played a huge part in Pixar’s runaway success.
The culture behind a brand is the secret sauce that whets employee appetites and perks up bored, disenchanted consumers. But even if you don’t have a whimsical, fairytale culture like Google or Pixar, you still have a company culture you can share with viewers. Good content marketing makes your brand more human, and more alive, than it is right now. And there’s no better medium for tapping human engagement than video.
“Culture videos” can include slice-of-life employee interviews, game days in the office, pranks, birthday parties, and everything in between. The goal is to show that your brand isn’t just clockwork, but a human fabric with a lot of personality. These types of videos also go hand in hand with HR, and can be used to attract the best and brightest job candidates.
Speaking of interviews, what better way is there to be a thought leader than by interviewing other thought leaders? SingleGrain CEO Eric Siu holds weekly interview videos with entrepreneurs on Growth Everywhere for a reason – interview videos are the perfect way to inject some authority into your bevy of engaging, funny, and humorous offerings. They also help build relationships with potential referral partners, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
A good interview should follow a set of guidelines like a vlog, but feel unscripted. As an interviewer your job is to make your subject do the talking, not the other way around. A well-done interview video is like a Get Out of Jail Free card for your content calendar, and at the very least is a surefire way to spark some discussion on LinkedIn.
Google Plus is on the rise, with over 70% of all businesses having some sort of presence on the social network by the end of 2013. Its 540 million monthly users is growing rapidly, and its user base is expected to pass Facebook’s by 2016.
One of the reasons Google Plus is becoming so popular is because of its Google Hangouts functionality, which allows multiple people to see each other in real time all at the same time (bye, Skype). It’s a fantastic, user-friendly way to host webinars, one of the most valuable video offerings you can give your viewers. Think of webinars as free live events that offer helpful, valuable insights to attendees.
They are high-value, low-cost endeavors that require no scripts or actors, just a Rolodex and some Google Calendar invites. You can host Q&A sessions with clients, product demos with participating customers, or even roundtable interviews with thought leaders in the industry. Companies that feel comfortable shooting vlogs should definitely think about setting aside a few hours to host webinars on a weekly or monthly basis. There’s literally nothing to lose, but a whole lot to gain. Check out Harvard Business Review for samples.
One step up from a webinar is an event video, which covers the proceedings of a corporate event, usually B2C, in a polished and highly shareable fashion. Traditionally, event videos cost a lot more than other video types (usually because it takes an entire crew and multiple cameras to do them justice), but with the rise of 15-second Instagrams and 6-second Vines, many companies are starting to capture snippets of their events in montage form.
Event videos bring the party to viewers who couldn’t make it and extend the reach of any single event exponentially. Think of the Macy’s Day Parade in NYC. How many of us actually went to that parade, ever? Now compare that to how many of us know about it, and have seen it year after year, because it was covered on television. A great event video increases a brand’s online presence in a way that the live event itself is not able to by reaching the right verticals. There are even production houses that specialize in shooting pre-event promotional videos.
TED Talks have become so popular that you can even find them on Netflix. But the popularity of these “short, powerful talks” is sort of hard to pin down. Are they hugely popular because of the quality of speakers and the chosen topics? Or is it because TED is a global platform with global reach? (My money’s on the latter.)
A presentation takes the excitement of an event and combines it with the usefulness of a webinar to create a compelling and shareable narrative. When you really think about it, most TED speakers are just men and women looking to increase their brand presence. If they can do it, why not you? One way brands can use the mojo of presentations to their advantage is by giving targeted presentations at company events or small-scale networking events.
Michelle Phan (above) amassed a following of millions with her makeup tutorials, which eventually led to her own angel-funded makeup line. The theme of Michelle’s success story is simple: viewers value actionable insights. By offering free tutorials, Michelle was able to eventually build her own business on reputation alone.
Most brands could stand to use some coaching from tutorial producers like Michelle when it comes to their own content offering. Helpful content has to be more than just promotional tie-ins and soft selling because consumers are always smart enough to know when they’re being sold, and they never like it! A tech company could focus on producing more helpful product tutorials, for example, while a health and wellness brand might put out training videos that offer workout tips. Think of one way you could offer an actionable resources relevant to your target vertical, and you’ve got yourself a tutorial video (maybe even a series?).
8. Product Review
Another helpful type of video content are product reviews, which have been popularized by tech sites and blogs the world over. Amazon, whose amazing sales rely heavily on the perceived trustworthiness of its product reviews, also rolled out customer video reviews in 2012. Check out this customer video review of a Sharper Image Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager (which also happens to the most “helpful” customer review on the page).
Granted, you probably don’t operate on the same retail business model as Amazon. How could product reviews possibly benefit an SaaS model, a B2B model, or a vertical business with only one product on sale?
Well, product reviews don’t have to be reviews of competitor products (in fact, they shouldn’t be), but they can be reviews of products not in your line that may still be useful to your customers. Just think about how happy you are when someone refers you a good product, and now start thinking about how you can make your customers feel the same way. As Customer Experience Insight duly notes, being helpful is better than being affordable.
If you’ve been doing your job with content so far (i.e., being helpful), then you should be amassing a sizeable number of quotable testimonials you can use on your website. Figuring out how to get those customer testimonials on camera can be a bit tricky, which is why Fiverr has a category just for video testimonial actors, but it isn’t impossible.
Our advice? Don’t use Fiverr. You don’t want it to seem like your testimonial videos are populated entirely by actors. Testimonials are a type of product review (almost more of a “company review”), so they need to look genuine.
If you’re a B2C company, try throwing an office event instead to attract existing customers that you can record live for a fun testimonial. Or maybe create a contest for customer review videos you couldn’t possibly have written yourself. If you’re an SaaS company, offer existing clients a one-time monthly discount for an in-person video testimonial. There are plenty of ways to encourage customers to give you video testimonials, but it’s up to you to figure out how.
Okay, sure – animation is more a style of video than a type – but what a powerful style it is. Animated videos have the power to leave viewers in a tickled, feel-good frame of mind (and will also save a hefty chunk of your marketing budget compared to live-action).
Animated videos are perfect for companies that have complex products and services that can be difficult to explain, which is why the most popular types of animated video are landing page explainer videos. Whiteboard animations are an extremely affordable and popular type of explainer video that’s currently trending.
Since animated videos are best used to explain complexities, they’re perfectly suited for product tutorials and business presentations, too. Want to nab an investor’s attention? There’s an animated video for that. There are also several DIY applications that can help marketers affordably create their own simple animated presentations and explainers.
So…What’s The Point?
Yes, you should be vlogging. Yes, you should definitely be hosting webinars and events. Not shooting helpful tutorials and interview videos in 2014 is a content marketing crime. Not taking advantage of the affordability of animation is just plain silly. But at the end of the day, these different types of video content won’t do you much good if you aren’t approaching content marketing from the right place.
Great content engages by having an intrinsic value of its own apart from any product or service. Video content that will really wow viewers has to start with the right questions, like “What will Customer A find helpful about our new product for Customer B?” or “Is there anything about our recent changes to hiring policy that Customer C might want to know?”
Sometimes, the best content is right under our noses, and it’s up to us to stay vigilant. As content marketers, we have to be prepared to be helpful. So keep those cameras (and smartphones) rolling!