I’m a sucker for a good story—you know, the kind that transports you, for a moment, from reality into a world of make-believe. These stories usually involve relatable characters who discover important life or business lessons through a rigorous learning process. The best-written stories will spell out experiences for you to follow; the best visual narratives lead you through these outcomes as if you’re part of the action.
For content marketers, video content has long been a format yet to be conquered. Many see its potential, but lack an understanding of the system and process needed to scale video marketing in the same way many have learned to grow their written strategies.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), video is the sixth most commonly used content marketing format, but the third most effective type for B2B brands. So why aren’t more marketers turning to video, and what has led those who have to credit it with such extreme effectiveness?
The answer is simple. Brands get hung up on the price of producing video and fail to fully understand the malleability of the format for the Web.
A recent Aberdeen Group report found that 43 percent of brands that use video report an ability to use it across all targeted channels. Of those who do not use video, only 16 percent indicate they can adapt the content they do create in the same way.
So there you have it: Video is adaptable, and that’s why it’s great. But not so fast. Simply posting the same clip across social media doesn’t count. You need to go back to the beginning of your strategy to really understand how to use video to support larger marketing initiatives.
Video Planning Starts at the Core
Content marketing is all about breaking down business silos—but even within content marketing teams, barriers can exist. When you employ one person to focus on video, another to pioneer blogging, a third to run eBook marketing, and a fourth to manage social media, you wind up with a lot of people only looking at the one or two channels they deal with every day. No one is paying attention to the big picture.
It’s important to involve everyone in the planning process. This helps ensure that any created content maps to the underlying strategy, and it’s where many video marketers crumble. Let’s take a look at how video can create and support your demand generation, blogging, and social media efforts:
CMI found in its 2015 research that fewer than 40 percent of B2B brands plan to use eBooks in their marketing over the next year. What once resided atop the content food chain now sits well below most every other format. This is largely due to changing consumer behavior, which now favors snackable content over long-form editorial.
But that doesn’t mean producing the occasional eBook should be out of the question. In fact, there’s still a lot of value in these reports, especially when you understand how to break down the content into more digestible segments and you make navigating them even easier for the user. Software Advice, a marketing technology consultancy, found that marketers frequently point to video as producing a “very high” quantity of leads, so it makes sense to use visual content in your demand-generation programs.
One of my favorite examples of using video to break down big ideas held in eBooks and white papers comes from L2. The company regularly puts out new research and thought leadership, but rather than using text-only content to drive awareness and downloads, the company produces a trailer-like video to communicate key points quickly. Here’s an example:
L2 doesn’t stop repurposing video there. It takes its information-rich research to social media, using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to further broadcast its ideas through video across channels.
For its latest Digital IQ Index®: Big Box report, L2 doubled down on resources, creating a summary video for its website (above), as well as lifestyle video content for social channels (below). The company repurposed its original data and packaged it up in a way that appeals to the channel’s audience. In the case of Facebook, L2 included its own data in a pop culture montage that updates followers about three separate, but relevant, updates related to the report. This allows L2 to jump in on trends already being discussed on Facebook while simultaneously tying in data from its research.
L2 also repurposes the videos it shares across social in fresh blog posts on its website. By packing short posts full of data, visual elements, and calls to action, L2 draws a unique, direct, and organic audience that’s hungry for more information—and sharing video across social and publishing it on its blog helps L2 reach an audience across the Web, doubling engagement potential.
In this example, L2 published the video it used on Facebook, along with the transcript and links to download it:
But the company also uses its reports and videos to launch into broader conversations around the topic being discussed. In this case, trends affecting big-box retailers. So what started off as a long-form eBook transitions into lifestyle editorial content that reaches a new market.
How Do These Formats Play Together?
When you think about how you engage with a story or an idea, you don’t often rely on a single source, nor do you access information in one standard way. L2 understands this—as a result, it makes its content available across the Web, in varying formats, all supported and connected by video.
How do you use video to support your other marketing activities? Share in the comments below!