If long-form articles are the elder statesmen of content marketing, consider videos to be the up-and-coming whiz kids. Over the past few years—thanks to the rise of the smartphone and increasingly faster internet connections—a handful of smart, forward-thinking companies have embraced this engaging genre of content to leverage its potential.
Now it’s time for more companies to follow suit.
The cost of entry for video marketing is well within the reach of any business; it doesn’t matter if you’re a small startup selling B2C tech products or a large B2B corporation. Platforms like YouTube, Vidyard, and Wistia have transformed this medium into something that any business in any industry can—and should—capitalize on.
Why Video Rules the Content Marketing Roost
When it comes to promoting a product or service, video stands out in an online marketing space that’s cluttered with words. Forrester estimates that a 60-second video has the same value as 1.8 million words. To put that into perspective, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy contains a paltry 828,000 words; even the Harry Potter series barely surpasses 1 million words.
But video content isn’t just amazingly efficient; it’s engaging, too. A solid 59 percent of senior executives say they would rather watch a video than read a block of text, and when an email campaign makes use of video, engagement rates jump between 200 and 300 percent.
“59% of senior executives say they would rather watch a video than read text.”
The positive results from video can be attributed to a neurological theory called dual coding. Video appeals to both the auditory and visual senses, and because of that dual stimulation, people end up retaining 68 percent of the information they’re presented with. When you only stimulate the auditory sense, that number dips to 10 percent.
Two Brands Leading the Way
LEGO and Red Bull are two companies that currently carry the torch when it comes to exploiting video’s incredible engagement opportunities. In December 2015 alone, Red Bull’s content marketing videos were watched 220 million times; LEGO’s weren’t far behind at 189 million views.
Anyone who has seen “The LEGO Movie” knows that this product is well-suited for filmmaking, and LEGO has carried that over to its digital marketing persona. The company produces and posts stop-motion videos and webisodes across its YouTube, Facebook, Vine, and Instagram accounts, and users can sort them based on LEGO themes. Want to see LEGO Minecraft videos? Easy. The Avengers? Simple.
LEGO even pulls in expert builders to offer tips and building secrets to fans, and it also gives those fans the opportunity to share their own videos through its LEGO Click community platform.
Red Bull pursues a similar strategy. Its YouTube page has more than 5.1 million subscribers, and this large audience is regularly treated to high-end, professional-quality filmmaking. Simply substitute building blocks for high-octane extreme sports and action stunts.
How to Get Started
You don’t have to have the spending power of big companies like Red Bull and LEGO to make video an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Here are three easy steps that will send you in the right direction:
- Build from the ground up. Just like Rome, neither Red Bull nor LEGO created all that content in a day. Everyone has to start somewhere—and I suggest you begin with a simple video blog. All you’ll need is a decent camera, an internet connection, and a YouTube account. Take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube channel for a great example of what yours could look like.Combining commentary videos with some well-planned product explainers will be your recipe for success. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy library of both informative and entertaining video content for viewers to engage with.
- Lose the viral obsession. Regardless of what video marketing companies might say, there’s no blueprint for creating a viral video campaign. Rather than litter your videos with the hallmarks of the latest viral sensation, focus on providing high-quality content that viewers will actually find useful.Lose the gimmicks. Stop trying so hard to be edgy. If each and every one of your videos provides solid information to viewers,your content will build a better following for your brand than any flash-in-the-pan viral video ever could.
- Don’t stop. Consistency is key to any marketing initiative. One or two videos might draw attention for a short period of time, but they’ll quickly get lost in the flood of new content. You need to create a production schedule that ensures your brand releases videos on a regular basis and keeps its name at the top of consumers’ minds.As you plan ahead, try exploring different approaches.Add training videos, customer testimonials, FAQ resolvers, and product explainer videos to your digital stable. Keep new content coming, and more people will take note. Some might not be immediate buyers, but they could easily convert in the future.
Video may still be the new kid on the content marketing block, but incorporating it into your content marketing strategy is a must. Luckily for you, it has never been easier to do so.
Grab your camera and get to shooting. There’s a worldwide audience out there eagerly awaiting your content.
Brandon Houston is the CEO of Switch Video, a video animation company that produces simple videos that “explain what you do” in an engaging and compelling format. Switch Video has produced more than 800 videos for clients, including LinkedIn, IBM, HP, Bayer, and American Express. Reach out to Brandon on Twitter.