Many of our blogs have focused on the value of content marketing - neatly summed up by the oft quoted ‘content is king’ missive - and the value of using video. This has largely been driven by two key factors during the new age of ‘digital marketing’ which started with email and the internet evolving onto social media and the plethora of channels we all use today.
Firstly, technology gives users controls over the way they consume marketing such as the ability to block ads or to fast forward through them when watching on catch up or on demand. Marketers realised that people don’t really want endless in-your-face adverts, they want real, authentic and helpful content. Secondly, this led Google to push companies to create more of this real content with their E-A-T algorithm update which they introduced in August 2018. E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness and this new algorithm completely changed how Google ranked websites by focusing on these three core components. By successfully implementing all three concepts into a website, companies can start to improve their rankings within Google.
Expertise can be demonstrated through thought leadership content and expert advice as well as being referenced or linked to in news articles. Authoritativeness can be achieved through consistent user reviews, likes, shares and mentions, and the final component, trustworthiness, is accomplished by posting blogs or FAQs filled with relevant, new and interesting information about your industry and your brand. Strong content, blogs, posts, articles and white papers have all become crucial parts of every company’s website in an effort to master the E-A-T algorithm and provide engaging and relevant content which is key to high ranking on Google.
This has moved on again as Google has recognised user demand for video content and prioritised it along with mobile optimised sites. Users don’t just want to read content, they want content delivered in videos as they’re more user friendly - who reads the book when you can watch the film? And that’s especially true on mobiles. The popularity of video has exploded in recent years with more than 250 million hours of videos watched each day on YouTube. It’s become the format of choice for Millenials and Generation Zers who have doubled the amount of time they spend watching online videos every day since 2015. The piles of statistics and studies prove just how much video is being consumed making it an essential media for marketers to use if they want to reach their audiences.
Videos in your website are becoming essential because the average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video. There’s lots of opportunity for video content even on B2B sites from the corporate overview, to an introduction to your team, expert pieces, overviews of products and services, Q and As, customer case studies and interviews.
Videos can also play a vital role in your proactive marketing too but bear in mind, as with all marketing activities, it’s important to consider how it fits into and contributes to the overall sales process. The classic sales funnel model starts with raising initial awareness before moving users onto consideration and finally engagement. The content needed for each of these categories is different so it’s advisable to put a content plan together to cater for each specific group.
For that initial stage and those who are completely unaware of your business you need to try and grab their attention. This is best done with short form “snackable” videos because research shows that 33% of viewers only watch a video for about 30 seconds, 45% for one minute and 60% for two minutes which highlights that short form videos are essential for awareness raising. Research also shows that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text which is one of the main reasons why users want to see more video content from brands.
These short form “snackable” videos need engaging content, whether that’s informative, humorous, inspirational, original or a combination to gain users’ attention. These videos aim to grab the viewers’ attention quickly and then deliver just one or two key messages - bearing in mind the 30 seconds you’ve got to get your message across. And when you’ve got their attention it quickly needs to be followed up by a call to action - contact us, buy our products here or click to visit our website is often the next step for a user to verify a product or service - the consideration stage. You’ll want to track the number of clicks you get to see how well it’s working. Then, ultimately you are looking for leads and then hopefully conversions to sell your products or services and your site should again prompt users with clear, but not too intrusive, calls to action.
Short form short videos are ideal for sharing across social media platforms and can help build a strong connection with your audience and increase audience engagement rates as they typically get much higher view and share rates than static images or text. Publish videos on your LinkedIn pages, both company and individual and any other channels you use such as YouTube or Vimeo, Instagram’s IGTV and Facebook if you use it for business as well as your site. Once it’s uploaded you can check various stats including views, average watch time, audience engagement and shares. are a bit like TV ads - to draw attention to your brand.
Here's an example of one of our own short form videos, a '30 second short' about the project manager's role: https://vimeo.com/318222344
Whatever subject matter you choose, try to make it engaging by at least being informative so that the audience learns something, to do so you may need to give away a little knowledge to demonstrate your expertise. It may be that you have some inspirational stories such as some charitable or ground breaking work you or your company has done or the progress of an employee. Humour always gets a great response, as long as it is genuinely funny of course! I recall a video a few months back on LinkedIn, which gained tens of thousands of views, of two Directors from a scaffolding company in Yorkshire trying to talk about their company. They had the broadest Yorkshire accents and couldn’t string a sentence together without falling apart into helpless fits of laughter. The video descends into hysterical chaos before they eventually just give up but there’s a great payoff line about them being rubbish at making videos but really good at scaffolding. Originality is always a trump card as audiences are always looking for something new, obviously it’s not easy coming up with fresh ideas but that shouldn’t stop us trying and it may be that you can take inspiration from other sectors or even mainstream media which hasn’t been used in your market before. Finally, don’t forget it’s all about storytelling so you need to think about content within the classic structure of the story arc - set the scene, introduce a complication or issue then resolve it.
There are a couple of key points to remember when producing videos. Firstly, try not to get too precious about production values as you won’t beat Hollywood or Netflix unless you’ve got their budgets, so set a base quality level that you’re happy with then try to produce as much content as you can and keep re-iterating to find what works for your business. For B2B audiences, this probably means engaging with an agency or videographer who has the equipment and skills to create videos to a decent professional standard - it’s amazing how much difference good cameras and some decent lighting makes. Secondly, it’s a small but often overlooked aspect, but make sure all videos have closed captions, whatever the platform. More people are choosing to watch videos without sound than ever before — 85% of Facebook videos are now watched without sound likewise many LinkedIn users who may be in an open office. Not only does including subtitles show anyone with hearing disabilities that they are of value to your brand, but it also helps you keep up with viewers who prefer captions over audio.
Videos are an increasingly important way to catch a prospects’ attention by raising awareness of your brand through your content, to ascertain your relevance to their needs, to potentially share it and ultimately to engage with you directly. It is the preferred media for the younger generations of millennials and Gen Zers who crave authentic content. For companies and marketers who want to keep up with the ever changing digital marketing arena, using video content has become essential.