Video is an incredibly useful tool in the marketing game, and it’s no surprise that not every company knows how to use this tool to its full potential. Many companies find themselves in deeply unchartered waters when they begin using video.
That’s why we talked to Amanda Subler, Public Relations & Media Manager for Content Marketing Institute (CMI), to get her expert tips and tricks for implementing video in your brand strategy, as well as getting her forecast for what’s to come in the video marketing landscape. CMI’s video marketing is superb, and their recent investment in a 45-minute documentary on the history of content marketing sets this company’s videos apart from competitors as an example of video marketing done right.
1) What role does online video play in the business?
Depending on the type of videos you produce and what you use them for, I think online video can be great for creating brand awareness and positioning your company or business as a thought leader in a space. More than any other form of media, I believe video can help a business tell their story because it can give customers an authentic feel of how your operation works. With video and sound, you can actually “take them inside” your business in a way still pictures and words can’t.
2) In your experience, how important is online video in the overall online marketing space?
If it’s done correctly, I think it can be a huge asset for a company. We keep hearing how video is so important, and everyone should be doing it, which is great, but you shouldn’t do video just for the sake of doing video. Not all content needs to be made into a video – sometimes it might work better as a blog post or eBook. You have to understand what type of video content makes the most sense for your audience (customers). Just like any other form of content, if it’s really bad – it’s only going to hurt your brand. Here at Content Marketing Institute, we produce promotional videos to help promote our brand and our event, Content Marketing World. We produce six roundtable discussion videos- that are tied to our B2B and B2C research that comes out in the fall; and we use clips from our CMWorld speakers to help promote and drive registration for the event. And last year, we produced a 45-minute documentary, The Story of Content, about content marketing. Could we be producing other “how-to” type videos? Yes, but we feel that much of our content is best presented in written form – in the form of blog posts, eBooks, Slideshares, etc.
3) In your opinion, how does the effectiveness of a video compare to that of a visual graphic online? (social media, websites, emails, etc.)
My background is in local TV news. The reason I chose to work in broadcast journalism as opposed to print journalism is because I’ve always believed there’s nothing quite like using moving pictures and sound to tell a story. Yes, you can write great stories for print – but sometimes video can tell the story with more emotion and authenticity. With video, you can see a person’s face and his or her expressions, hear their voice, witness an actual event- allowing you to judge first hand if you believe what they are telling you and feel the story on a much more visceral level. The same is true for marketing.
4) In terms of lead generation, which medium of your services do you feel are the most effective and why?
It’s important to remember with any of your videos that you include a clear call to action. Additionally, if you use YouTube, be sure to take advantage of the “annotations” and “cards” features to add text and direct links back to your website or wherever you want the viewer to go. You can track those links in Google Analytics. That’s what we do with all our videos at CMI. We feel strongly that our documentary helps set us apart as a thought leader in the content marketing space and drives awareness about content marketing and our brand. While those aren’t necessarily hard “leads”, we feel very strongly that it ultimately contributes to helping drive new business for us.
5) What role does video play in showcasing the brand story?
Again, I think video can offer potential customers a glimpse inside your organization and position you as a thought leader in the space – if done well. In our documentary, we showcase several companies who are using video to tell their brand story. For example, River Pools & Spas, a small pool company in Warsaw, Virginia, produces their own videos. In the videos, they answer their customer’s questions; they produce how-to videos; they use video testimonials from clients; and they use video to showcase their products. All of these, along with their blog content, have helped make them one of the leading fiberglass pool sellers (and now manufacturers) in the world. Much larger companies, like Red Bull, have become their own media company, and through their videos, TV shows, and live events, have positioned themselves as a leading expert in high-performance sports (not to mention they sell an energy drink.) So whether big or small, there is an opportunity to use video to showcase your company – you just have to figure out what type of content your audience (customer) is looking for.
6) If you were to provide your clients a top tip for integrating video into their online marketing strategy what would be your recommendation?
The idea of creating video can be very intimidating to people, with regards to the technical aspect of it and concerns about cost. I get that. If you’re a bigger company, and you have the budget to try it, my top tip is to make sure you have a plan or strategy for the content you want to produce and how you are going to use it. Don’t just hire a crew to produce a video – and figure it out later – you’ll ultimately be disappointed. If you’re a smaller company and have a limited budget, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Start small, maybe try one thing, like produce a “how-to” video or “tip of week” type video, or whatever type of video you think would be easiest for you to produce and best serves your audience. Learn from those, because there will be a learning curve, especially if you know nothing about shooting video, editing, lighting, audio, etc. Then once you’ve mastered that- you can try more videos. But don’t let the fear keep you from trying – it could be a huge opportunity for you (especially if none of your competitors are doing it).
7) How do you think online video has already affected the industry and what future changes do you anticipate in the next 5-10 years?
Technology has made it easier than ever for people to create and edit their own videos. This is great- but it also means lots of people are producing lots of really bad videos. I only see video technology getting even more user-friendly for people, which (hopefully) will allow them to make even better quality video. At the same time, I think we’ll only see the demand increase for great video production companies/agencies that can help brands tell their stories. We’ll also see more companies going all in – and creating their own in-house video production teams to churn out content.
If you’d like to view the CMI’s documentary, The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing, you can find it here on Youtube.
Amanda Subler is the Public Relations & Media Manager for Content Marketing Institute (CMI), overseeing all PR and media relations for the company. She also produced CMI’s new documentary on the rise of content marketing, The Story of Content. She’s a former award-winning journalist, spending 11 years in local TV newsrooms as a producer and executive producer.