As a marketer, you’re looking to create a feeling with your content. You know the one. The feeling you get right after you watch an incredible video and think, “Woah, I gotta share this!” This is usually your first thought after watching videos like Kmart’s Ship Your Pants, IBM’s Foul Plea, or even General Electric’s latest Jeff Goldblum video. I mean, holy smokes, these are incredible. But before you can get your target audience feeling all the feels, your content marketing needs to attract an audience in the first place, and this is why we invited Scott Alexander to speak at Vidyard Ignite.

As Director of Digital Brand Marketing at Oakley, Scott is very familiar with creating captivating content. In his career working with mega brands (including Quicksilver and Red Bull) he’s learned that it’s not necessarily about the format you use to deliver your message, so much as it’s about gaining meaningful attention for your efforts. Attention is the name of the content marketing game. The question is, how do you get it?

In Scott’s experience, you gain attention by thinking like a media company and becoming customer-centric. You can catch his Ignite keynote in the video below (26 mins), or read on for the highlights.

The Benefit to Thinking like a Media Company

If you’re a typical B2B brand, you might second-guess your investment in content at times, but as Scott notes, there’s a reason so many brands are aiming to behave more like media companies. A media company’s revenue model is directly dependent on their audiences’ attention. If they experience a lack of revenue, it’s because they haven’t attracted an audience for what they put out there. This is extremely relevant to content marketers because it’s directly correlated with how customer-focused you are and how well your content is performing in general. Your content may not be directly creating revenue, but it can certainly influence revenue and the time it takes to close deals.

When a media company creates content, their first instinct is to ask, how do we get our audience involved here? This may not always be your default thought as a marketer dabbling in content, but it definitely should be! Thinking like a publisher at a media brand will ultimately create a sense of urgency for you to build an audience based on your target market’s interests first, and then find a way to insert your brand. This is the correct approach to content, versus the “build it and they will come” Field of Dreams mentality; or worse, the brand-focused mentality where everything you produce is about you. Your goal should always be to attract attention using something your audience loves (or finds especially useful) and then find a way to tie it back to your brand. It doesn’t really work the other way around.

The Competition is Fierce

Although attention is what you’re striving for, it’s certainly true that it’s becoming difficult to get noticed. Scott insists that this is because customers now have a new level of control over how, when, and where you are permitted to have their attention.

While you might think your content simply needs to be better than other brands in your industry, the truth is, your stuff is actually competing with everything in everybody’s daily newsfeeds. Your customers have communications coming in on smart watches, tablets, and multiple platforms or layers. They have filters and settings that allow them to choose how they’ll engage with you, if at all.

Social is seriousThis means that whether you’re competing for attention on social platforms, email marketing, YouTube, or elsewhere, you have to be as interesting or relevant as anything else vying for attention there.

A good way to think about your video content is to ask yourself, “Would my target audience choose to watch this if it appeared among their friends’ cat videos? How about baby photos?” This has become your real competition in the quest for attention.

In a B2B context, this challenge is a bit different as buying committees perform research beginning on Google as opposed to social networks initially, but if you’re seeking attention at the top of the funnel, you’re still trying to attract leads in locations where they hang out. This includes their favourite blogs, sites, etc. Ultimately, consider how your video marketing will break through that noise, or even complement its surroundings in a way that makes it stand out.

The Keys to Consumer-Centric Marketing

Oct17th-02The common link across the three video examples Scott presents in his talk is the personal value everyone can derive from each one. In every case the content is awe-inspiring, emotional, humourous, or educational, so the audience takes away something that works as a gift. None of the examples felt like a thinly veiled product pitch.

The lesson here is that the content marketing trade off is very similar to a typical retail exchange. Instead of exchanging money for an item, your online audience is trading their time for something they hope is going to provide equal or increased value. Scott put it best when he said:

“[your viewers] have to walk away feeling like they took more away from you than you took from them. In that environment, they’re happy to share. They feel like they aren’t marketing on behalf of your company, they’re marketing on behalf of whatever personal value you gave them”.

Your content should make viewers feel like they got a great deal, and make them inadvertent brand advocates who share your message because they loved it.

Don’t Combine Personal Value and Business Value in one Video

No fly zoneIn consumer-centric marketing, you’re looking to inspire, entertain, educate, and build your brand. On the business-centric side of things, you’re teaching prospects more about your product or offering and trying to increase conversion. The former is definitely more about your customers than your business.

The trick here is that these two categories or goals don’t work as a combo in the same video. As Scott insists, the place between these categories is a no fly zone. In other words, don’t create a high-level video that goes from entertaining to something that feels pitchy.

To prevent mixing up your goals, declare the intended outcome of a video you want to make before it’s initiated . This ensures you know what you’re aiming to achieve and whether the intended piece supports personal value for customers (great videos for top of the funnel), or if the video is intended as a conversion tool for later in the funnel (supporting business-centric values). Choose only one goal per video or your content will reek of a pitch.

If you liked these takeaways, be sure to subscribe to the Vidyard blog for our continued coverage of the Ignite B2B Video Marketing Summit. Let us know with a comment below why your brand is behaving more like a media company. Do you feel like it’s paying off? How do you know?

Jennifer Pepper