Being a marketer is a lot of fun these days.
We’re living and working in a time when communication is changing, and with it, so are the formats and channels with which we engage. It’s a time when innovation and creativity are rewarded, and the marketers who move quickly and build smart, agile strategies around these shifts are earning the attention of their target buyers.
Nancy Bhagat of Intel sums it up quite nicely in her article when she writes, “It’s an exciting time to be in marketing as our desire for impact and speed is leading to new approaches and philosophies.”
Today, I’m interested in some of those new approaches, specifically rich media content marketing.
Rich media content goes beyond the blog. Apps, videos, games, calculators, quizzes, magazines, infographics, memes…the list goes on and gloriously on. And as the options continue to expand, it’s worth asking: should you invest in these new content formats?
“Why should I create rich media content?”
With 91% of marketers using content marketing, there’s more of a need to stand out. And as brands invest bigger budgets into ideation, production, and distribution, the bar is being raised when it comes to quality, unique content.
“People expect their content to be a bit more interactive these days,” says Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at Confused.com. “It’s a bit old-fashioned now to just have an article. We use multimedia to add value to a piece of content, or article where we can.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. Text content (as long as it’s useful) is still incredibly valuable. Look at HubSpot, for example. According to Mike Volpe, 80% of HubSpot’s leads come from the HubSpot blog, and 70% of those leads are from articles that weren’t published in the most recent month. What does this mean? Text-focused content continues to deliver well beyond the publish date.
So, if text works so well, then why add anything else into your content marketing mix? Because rich media content is about building deeper emotional relationships with your customers. Ryan Hanley, an-insurance-broker-turned-content-marketer after growing their business with blogging says this:
“Rich media takes consumers farther down the rabbit hole of who you are both as a person and a business. Text-based content draws consumers in but rich media establishes a much deeper relationship. Professional marketers realize this and are moving forward.”
Let’s take a look at some examples of brands using rich content successfully.
Whole Foods – Dark Rye Magazine
With their Dark Rye magazine, Whole Foods uses rich media to tell more detailed stories, especially through video. In recent magazines they’ve interviewed wild game huntsmen, ranchers, and adventurers. Along with that, they’ve used beautiful design and photography to make this magazine entertaining for their target audience.
Confused.com – A Range of Apps, Games, Videos, Infographics, and More
Confused.com is a UK brand that’s really pushing the envelope in terms of rich media content marketing. From a “MotorMate” app which tells you if you have a safe driving style to infographics for learner drivers and videos highlighting issues such as drunk driving by asking “would you help this drunk man get into his car?” The content is deep, rich, and focused around helping motorists drive more safely, affordably, and less stressfully.
Is it worth it?
Compared to just blogging, rich media needs more manpower to produce, and that makes it more expensive. However you can still make a small budget go a long way, if you’re selective. For example, video content marketing is only getting more popular. You could bring in a videographer for one day a month into your offices to do something like Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays quite inexpensively. Or, take a look at top performing blog posts, and hire a freelancer to condolidate them into an eBook. And once you test certain approaches or channels, and they don’t work, ditch them.
But before hiring a freelancer, journalist, or app development agency, check the need for your ideas to avoid wasting resources. After all, 60-70% of content is wasted due to a faulty content marketing process.
Ask youself, are there specific problems that they need solving? Confused.com, for example, realized that drivers had parking difficulties, so they created a parking app. Are there big issues that your customers need help understanding? That’s the perfect candidate for a big eBook.
Ultimately, what you create comes down to the ideas of you and your team. Regardless of the format, the same rules apply to rich media content as to short blog articles. That is – focus on getting your brand to add value to your customers’ lives.