Ann Handley: Using video to amplify your content marketing programs

By Mitch Solway in Thought Leadership

I was fortunate enough to catch Ann Handley during a rare moment when she was not surrounded by eager content marketers after speaking at the 2013 Content2Conversion conference a few weeks ago, and even more fortunate when Ann shared her current views on content marketing and video marketing for our thought leadership series.
Ann, the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, shared where she saw content marketing heading overall, where she saw video playing a key role, and also offered up some great advice on what content marketers should be thinking about and doing right now.

True to Ann’s advice, I’ve broken up her interview into 3 parts to “keep it short”.

In this first part, Ann shares some of her research findings on the rising interest in video content. She also talks about how marketers are using video in so many interesting ways, including using it to amplify other pieces of content. Ann also references a great example of “video as content amplifier” from our friends at Marketo.

Enjoy and stay tuned to more from Ann!

Dig deep, think big: More from our Video Thought Leadership series:

Joe Pulizzi: The growth of video content and the future of video storytelling in marketing
Susan Solovic: Video marketing for small business – who needs bright lights or big cameras!
Video marketing trends with Alan Quarry
Video Marketing Strategy: Selling your brand through video
Why “Now what?” is the next inevitable question.
Why marketing teams are taking over video content creation.
Why storytelling trumps high production for video content.
The Narrowcast Age of Online Video has Arrived.
Video in 2013: Mobile, social, interactive

Do you have any big ideas about video? We’d love to hear from you, we’re looking for contributors to our “Video Thought Leadership” series and would love to talk to you about your ideas! Simply drop us an email or tweet us @Vidyard to get the conversation started.
  • Calvin Lai

    Hi Mitch,

    First, thanks for sharing this. I was about reply to an email regarding how to cut through clutter using video when I saw your blog post.

    I thought Ann nailed it when she said videos could amplify content. It’s a medium I think more and more marketers should and will take advantage of once they realize how powerful it can be in (1) story telling (2) product breakdown and demonstration.

    Most video marketers treat their prospects, customers, repeating customers all the same. They don’t realize people in different parts of their buying cycle respond better to certain videos.

    I think it’s about knowing exactly who your customer is and using video marketing to fill your funnel with MORE people who are EXACTLY like the ones you ALREADY have.

    Some of them don’t care about your new product feature launch and some of them want to know what you ate for breakfast.

    Do you think it would be smart for marketers to make videos that address certain groups in their customer list? In other words, do you think videos seen by repeat customers should be hidden from prospects? Does it hurt your marketing efforts if you don’t do this?

    • vidyard

      Great comments Calvin. You’ve touched on a number of themes. Absolutely folks should be creating unique content for each phase of the buying cycle. I know a number of companies just struggle with getting enough video content out there in the first place but having unique content for each phase of the cycle should be a goal – so don’t roll your eyes if you aren’t there yet. Keep at it – goals are important and keep you pushing forward.

      Knowing who your customer is is indeed super important. And attracting customers “exactly like the ones you already have” has historically been the way to go. Trust me, I am a big fan of customer focus. But as marketing continues to evolve we are seeing much more one-to-one customization of content and experiences. This is allowing companies to market one product or service but to effectively position it uniquely to different audiences. The key here is relevancy.

      So, before, when you could only deliver one experience to all customers focusing on one customer type was key. But that’s evolving and businesses can now dynamically serve web content, including video content, based on knowing who you are. If you are a lawyer, you will see a “Service for Lawyers” page and content but if you are an IT Professional you may see “Services for IT Professionals” web content. In this way, you still need to understand your customer and focus in on the insights and their needs – but it also allows you to expand your reach into new and additional segments without having to give anything up.

      So, I absolutely feel that it is smart for marketers to make videos, and other content as well, that address certain groups on their customer list – they are already doing this!

      Do I think videos seen by repeat customers should be hidden from prospects? I wouldn’t say there is a golden rule either way here. It really depends. If you are testing and measuring the impact and engagement of your video content you’ll learn what works for which segment and ultimately end up with the right execution.

      Thanks for your great comments and questions. There will be more content along these lines coming up…so stay tuned!

      – Mitch

      • Calvin Lai

        Hi Mitch, thanks for being so comprehensive with your reply.

        Your observation about companies getting really good at shooting laser-targeted messages to certain groups on their list is spot on.

        I think we’re going to see a lot of businesses drown as the water level rises in the coming years. The ones who are going to brace the tide and float on are the ones who can produce the more relevant content that fits their customers ( as you say).

        A retired copywriter I’m learning from now, argues that human desires evolve from the general to the more specialized.

        I thought it was such a simple concept at first – I dismissed it.

        But then I imagined myself going through the process of buying a pair of shoes.

        You drive to the mall. Then you find the shoe store (first division).

        Then you walk towards to men’s section (second division).

        And then maybe you start playing around with some of the sample shoes.

        This cues the salesman and he approaches you.

        “What will you be using this shoe for?” says the salesman.

        “I’m going hiking this weekend, but it might rain too.”

        “Oh wow, lucky you. We just got a large order from Timberland. They just came out with a new line of hiking shoes with super grip soles for wet surfaces.”

        You follow him to where they have the hiking shoes on display (3rd division).

        From that moment on, no catchy headline, no creative marketing videos, no free newsletter, no slogan, no tempting 200% money back guarantee will be required for me to want those hiking shoes.

        It means that if you’re the first marketer to spot a major new subdivision of desire about to erupt, the specialized product sells itself.

        Too many people get caught up into finding a niche when they don’t know the market. They don’t know the customers in that market.

        They don’t know it well enough to predict when it’s going to subdivide. I think that’s the kool aid a lot of people are drinking – “just find a niche market and raid it with a specialized product”.

        “Um, are they ready for it?”

        Anyways, I’m looking forward to seeing how Vidyard will carve its own space inside the online video hosting saas market among giants like Ooyala and Brightcove. And I absolutely love the direction you guys are heading in (building a thought leadership blog for video content marketing).

        Keep up the great work!

        – Calvin Lai

        • vidyard

          Thanks Calvin – you’re example on the process of shopping for shoes is a great one – and extremely well articulated.

          With respect to our own niche, while others have focused on publishers, we’re focused on the marketer. And typically those that are marketing a product or service that will ultimately lead to a sale and, after the sale product/service adoption, and then success.

          It’s universally understood that video content is and will continue to play an increasingly critical role at every phase of the buying cycle for businesses. They key challenge is that video content has been a black box for marketers. Even though a company may have 100’s of video assets, if you ask them “how are they doing?” or “how are they impacting and influencing your leads in the buying process” the answer is almost always “I don’t know”. And we know this because we’ve asked it many, many times now.

          So our goal is to enable marketers with video content through easy access to the powerful data at the video (how are my video assets performing) and user-level (what video content have they watched and for how long). And, where they are using marketing automation or CRM tools, pump that data into those tools so it becomes “workable” data wrt segmentation, lead scoring, nurturing etc. We also want to provide them with the most advanced and practical tools for the video itself so that the video helps to capture leads, drive action, and continue to funnel buyers down the buying process through increasingly relevant and engaging content – video or otherwise.

          I don’t know if you’ve seen it but our CEO, Michael Litt just shared our view of the video marketing landscape in a great article by Lisa Arthur in Forbes. You can find it here:

          ..based on this thread, I think you’ll enjoy it.

          Thanks again for contributing to this thread in such a thoughtful way Calvin!

          – Mitch

          • Calvin Lai

            Hi Mitch,

            I hope you’re having a good weekend!

            Thanks for the link to the article – I enjoyed the read and the Spock vs Spock video.

            I’m not a big Star Trek guy myself but I heard the new movie that just came out is pretty epic.

            What really stood out for me in the article was this quote from Michael Litt:

            “…With copy on a web page or white paper, you aren’t able to identify which content is actually being read, but with video, you get the full picture.”

            That is absolutely HUGE!

            I’ve never used a marketing automation platform before but I do see the value in them.

            I first found out about Hubspot when they launched their Certification Program. After I got certified, I was introduced to Marcus Sheridan. He’s got an amazing book on content and inbound marketing (one of the best I’ve read).

            One of the problems with learning about copywriting from the older generation is that they don’t tie it in with SEO. Writing for keywords and search engines adds a whole new dimension. I’m really glad I found Hubspot or else I would still be suck in the 1980s.

            Also, while we’re talking about cool people, Maria Andros has built an information marketing business from selling products on video marketing techniques and principles.

            I can’t but feel some of her followers would REALLY appreciate Vidyard’s services.

            Unfortunately I have no business or personal ties with her, or else I would hook you guys up!

            – Calvin

          • vidyard

            Hey Calvin,

            Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for passing on the tip on Maria!

            Here’s to more great info on video marketing!

            – Mitch



Mitch Solway

Mitch is the VP of Marketing here at Vidyard and loves to help companies grow and customers succeed.