Monthly Archives: November 2013

Your Epic Content Marketing Plan: 3 Steps for Driving Subscriptions


Nearly 200,000 people have signed up to receive regular content updates from Brian Clark and his software business, Copyblogger Media.

Kraft Foods has over 1 million people who request and pay to receive its print magazine, Kraft Food & Family.

OpenView Venture Partners now has approximately 20,000 business owners and CEOs who have requested a subscription to its weekly eNewsletter.

Two individuals known as Smosh started developing and distributing videos on YouTube back in 2005. Eight years later, Smosh runs the most popular YouTube channel, with 8 million subscribers.

Copyblogger sells software to bloggers. Kraft is one of the largest food companies in the world. OpenView is a venture capital company. Smosh is a comedy network. Even though their businesses couldn’t be any more different, they share a business model imperative: Subscription is key to a successful content marketing plan.

The forgotten goal of subscription

I’ve talked with dozens of marketers over the last month about their content marketing programs. While collecting email addresses is often cited as an important priority, rarely do I find a content marketer who talks about generating subscribers as key to achieving theircontent marketing goals.

This is a major problem.

If a prospect appreciates and values your content in some way, the next and easiest behavior for them to take is to affirm that they want more of that great content.

Begin with the end in mind

In 2008, the Content Marketing Institute was just a year old. We had a few thousand subscribers to our weekly eNewsletter, which was sent out each Friday. As we were becoming more sophisticated with our marketing, we decided to do an analysis of our subscribers.

What we found both surprised and delighted us. The average CMI subscriber:

  • Was more likely to attend our events and purchase our products
  • Was more likely to share our content with their networks
  • Closed three times faster than a non-subscriber, once he or she had entered our sales process (for our consulting service).

We had the goals of brand awareness, lead generation, and thought leadership — just like your organization most likely does (see all the available content marketing goals in thiscontent marketing research). But what we didn’t realize until this analysis was that we could accomplish a number of marketing goals through the one, unified goal of subscription.

We found that by developing epic content marketing on a consistent basis, we were creating better customers for our business, as well as accomplishing a number of marketing goals.

Our understanding of the value of our subscribers transformed our little business that was just surviving into a thriving and growing brand. Yes, it’s that important.

The digital footprint

In 2009, I had the pleasure of hearing Dan McCarthy speak, then CEO of Network Communications and now a partner with DeSilva & Phillips, a leading media investment bank. Fittingly, Dan spoke about the changing mentality of his media company and how it had expanded its definition of subscription.

Subscription, for most media companies, is better known as circulation. The circulation of a magazine or newsletter is what you can sell against. For example, our magazine, Chief Content Officer, is delivered to 22,000 marketing executives every quarter. This reach of 22,000 is what we charge our sponsors for (which generally calculates to around $7,000 per full-page advertisement). If we only had an audience of 10,000, we would have to charge much less for a full page of advertising.

Dan said that his media company was evolving away from this mentality and focusing on offering subscriptions around the places where customers were hanging out — known as the digital footprint.

Owned subscription sources (i.e., print and email) are still primary because we can actuallyown the data from those channels. Secondary subscription sources, such as Twitter followers or YouTube subscribers, are important as well; but since that data is owned by those companies (and not ours), we can’t place as high an emphasis on those.

The point is this: You are your own media company. As a media company, you need to focus on your subscription channels in order to deliver on your marketing goals. And the only thing that keeps those subscription channels growing and vibrant is consistent amounts of epic content.

Some tips to drive subscription:

  1. Make content-for-content offers: As readers are engaging in your content, be sure you have a clear offer that takes your content to the next level. This means offering a valued eBook, research report, or white paper, in exchange for subscribing to your email list. You’ll see that we do this on the upper right hand corner of this page.
  2. Pop-ups work: As much as I loathe pop-ups or pop-overs as a reader, I LOVE them as a content marketer. We use Pippity as our pop-over service, where we offer an eBook on100 Content Marketing Examples. Over 50 percent of our daily sign-ups come from Pippity (Pippity also integrates nicely with WordPress).
  3. Focus: So many companies want to throw 100 offers in front of their readers. Don’t confuse the issue. If your goal is subscription, that should be your main (and only) call to action.

Once you focus on subscription as your goal, make it a priority to find out what makes a subscriber different to your business than a non-subscriber. Once you find that little piece of secret sauce, everything will start coming together for your top-of-the-funnel content marketing program.

B2B Content Marketing in the Software Industry: 6 Points From New Research


B2B-content-marketing-software-2013-report

The Content Marketing Institute is excited to publishB2B Software Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends — North Americasponsored by International Data Group (IDG). This report, which reveals how business-to-business (B2B) software marketers replied to questions on our most recent survey on B2B content marketing, shows that this group — in many ways — has embraced content marketing with more gusto than any other industry we’ve studied.

For example, nearly all software marketers (99 percent) are now using content marketing. They use more tactics (14) than their B2B peers overall (12) and they use those tactics with greater frequency. Here are some of the other key insights:

Software marketers prioritize their goals differently than their B2B content marketing peers do

Lead generation, thought leadership, and lead management/nurturing are more important goals for software marketers than they are for their B2B peers, who generally cite brand awareness and customer acquisition as their top goals.

They measure content marketing success differently

While website traffic is an important measurement tool for software marketers, it is not as important to them as sales lead quality. Their B2B content marketing peers, on the other hand, rate website traffic as their number one metric.

B2B-content-marketing-software-measurement

They are on par with their peers in terms of social media use (even though they don’t rate it as being very effective)

Social media (excluding blogs) is the content marketing tactic that software marketers use most, as is the case with their B2B peers. However, just 39 percent of software marketers (and 49 percent of their B2B peers) believe it is effective. Software marketers say webinars/webcasts are the most effective content marketing tactic, while their B2B peers cite in-person events as most effective.

B2B-content-marketing-software-marketers

They use an average of five social media platforms

Like their B2B content marketing peers overall, software marketers reported an average usage of five social media platforms to distribute content. They use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and SlideShare more often than their B2B peers do, and Google+ and Pinterest less often.

Fifty-three percent will increase their content marketing spend

On average, software marketers allocate 29 percent of their total budget to content marketing (their peers allocate 33 percent). Slightly over half of software marketers are planning to increase this amount over the next 12 months — a figure that is in line with the amounts we see marketers in other industries investing.

Producing enough content is a challenge

Like most other content marketers, the two biggest challenges software marketers face areproducing enough content and producing the kind of content that engages.

While most other challenges are similar to those experienced by their B2B peers, software marketers do struggle more often with lack of integration across marketing: 36 percent of them say this is a challenge, compared with 25 percent of their peers across all industries.

B2B-content-marketing-software-challenges

Special thanks to MarketingProfs for their participation in the annual survey on content marketing and the overall B2B North America comparisons made here.

Want to learn more? Download our full report to get answers to more questions, such as:

  • How effective do software marketers think they are at content marketing?
  • How often do they outsource content creation?
  • How do they tailor their content?
  • What does the profile of a best-in-class software content marketer look like?

Are our findings consistent with what you are experiencing? Let us know in the comments!

 

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Hot iPad Apps for Content Marketers


I’m not a cultish Apple fan, but the iPad has me swooning. For online content fanatics, it’s the ultimate consumption gadget… sort of like a Big Gulp for technophiles. For those of you lucky enough to have an iPad under the tree this season, here’s a round-up of the very best iPad apps for content marketers.

Flipboard

The app that leaves content marketer hearts aflutter. It aggregates your favorite online reading materials and suggestions from friends, and plops it all into a stunner magazine format. Think RSS feed + glossy mag. This app alone is worth the $500 iPad price tag. For a better understanding of the Flipboard experience, see the video.

Cost: Free

iWork

So you’re considering leaving your laptop at home next time you travel? The iWork app for iPad lets you modify Microsoft Office Word through Mac-based Pages (the Mac-equivalents of Excel and PowerPoint are also available through iWorks, but with less favorable reviews). Without a full keyboard, the iPad is not ideal for creating documents from scratch, but iWork lets you modify your existing docs while on the road.

Cost: $30, or $10 each for Pages, Keynote or Numbers

Sketchbook Pro

Whether you are a doodler, a visual thinker or a professional illustrator, Sketchbook Pro is a wicked little app that will let you indulge your inner artist. A great tool for fans of the visual problem-solving book, Back of the Napkin.

Cost: $8

Instapaper

Stumble upon an interesting article or blog post but don’t have time to read it at that moment? Click the “read later” bookmark from Instapaper, then come back when you’re in the easy chair. You can pull your reading list from any Internet-connected device, including your phone, Kindle or iPad.

Cost: $5

Evernote

Evernote is like an inspiration board for the OCD-type. Store notes, photos, screenshots or voice memos in the cloud. All your materials are organized by tags for quick retrieval later. A great tool for marketers who pull inspiration from other companies, people and everyday life.

Cost: Free

Dragon Dictation

You’re driving in the car and have a moment of profound genius that you’d like to capture for a future blog post? Speak into your phone and the app delivers a text message or e-mail, ready for sending.

Cost: Free

Readdle Docs

Your co-worker sends you a PDF proof of a document for your review and commentary—and you’re a long way from a printer/scanner. PDF Expert from Readdle lets you mark up PDF documents and forms from your iPad. Read and annotate PDF documents, highlight text, make notes, draw with your finger (great for leaving signatures) and save changes compatible with Preview and Adobe Acrobat. Done!

Cost: $10

Things

The ultimate to-do list app is now available on the iPad. Includes to-do lists, notes, due dates and project categories (great for sorting). Document your current priorities—and even your future goals.

Cost: $20

Print Central

Print Central lets you print directly to most WiFi/Wireless printers—perfect for stopping by your local office store or hotel business center.

Cost: $10

Timeli

With Timeli you can view your projects at a glance and see what’s coming up next in a smooth timeline.

Cost: $2.99

Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner ofSoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms.You can follow her @soloportfolio.

Chief Content Officer Magazine Launches in Print and Digital


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NOTE: Chief Content Officer magazine is completely free while we are in beta.  Get your free subscription today! (and it will continue to be free after that)

When Joe Pulizzi asked me to join him to launch Chief Content Officer magazine, I leapt at the chance in part because I love the glossy, rich feel of a print magazine. You could even say I’m a bit of an addict, subscribing to ten magazines at home—from the uber-hip Fast Company to straight-laced Foreign Affairs (and more than a few low-brow mags in between that I hide under the couch when company comes over).

During the darkest days of the recession, lots of people were predicting that print magazines were in a death spiral—suffering from the combined forces of fewer advertisers, competition from free content online, and a lack of innovation in integrating digital and print. I’m not convinced. Flipboard may bethe coolest new iPad app on the market, but many of us still love the rich look and feel of a print magazine.

What does it take to build a great print custom magazine? Joe Pulizzi wrote the definitive post about the planning, execution and measurement of custom magazines. Joe got his start in custom media so he’s like the Miyagi to my Karate Kid. Instead of trying to re-hash his smart advice, below is my list of magazine must-have intangibles.

Design on equal footing with editorial

Even more so than content online, the design of your magazine is crucial – and just as important as the editorial. Your magazine’s chief editor and chief creative should have great chemistry and a shared sense of how content and design inspire one another.

An appreciation for the quirky and new

When someone sits down with a print magazine, they are in browsing mode, ready to be entertained and inspired. You’re catching them at a very different moment than when they may receive your e-newsletter or blog post—which is more likely to happen during work hours. Meet your reader’s browsing, relaxed mood with content that is more entertaining than purely educational. Profile a person whom your audience aspires to become. Showcase a company that is not just successful, but daring and even quirky. Mix in short-format content and lots of visuals for skimmers.

Networking, baby!

The success of a magazine depends on sniffing out interesting stories and gaining access to interesting people. Ensure your team has the necessary sales skills to pull in contributors and snag interviews with influential people. You need at least one (if not more) extroverts on your team.

Writers who speak Smart and Snappy

There are many different kinds of skilled writers, but only a small cohort make great magazine writers. The very best are natural storytellers, willing to say something silly or controversial for the sake of capturing their readers’ attention, and don’t wander around on intellectual detours.

A deep knowledge of (and affinity for) your target audience

This one seems nearly too basic to preach to a roomful of marketers. If you are going to write aspirational stories, you need to know what your readers aspire to–what challenges they face and what fuels their passion. Ideally, your editorial and design team shares that passion.

Our goal is to deliver all of these intangible qualities in every tangible edition of Chief Content Officer, and hopefully convince the world that print is alive and well.

Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner ofSoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms.You can follow her @soloportfolio.

5 Ways Persistence Pays For Online Content Creators


Image of persistent tulips

No matter why you create online content, there is something to be said for being persistent.

Persistence is often touted as one of the vital ingredients behind success — no matter if you’re a hobby blogger or a full-time freelance writer.

In this post I’m going to explore five reasons why I believe every online content creator must be persistent.

1. You can make more money

When I first started blogging for clients, I didn’t know how much my service was worth.

The first job I ever completed for a client was something like 50 product reviews at 700 words each for $150. It took me a good two weeks to complete the job. I’d massively underestimated the task.

I took a good hard look at myself and decided to set firm rates.

My rates were fair. They ensured that I was working for a sum I was happy with, which in turn meant that the work I completed would be of the highest standard.

Naturally, people tried to barter with me. At first I went along with it, until I realized there was no need to compromise.

Today I enforce my rates with persistence.

No longer do I bow to demands from clients for X, Y, or Z rate. I work to my own rates.

Sure, work was slow at first when I started to be persistent (and insistent) about my rates, but over time it has allowed me to make more money.

2. Because Rome wasn’t built in a day

About a year ago a friend asked me to set up a blog for him. He wanted to blog about cars and motorbikes. A week or so after handing over the reins to him I asked him how it was all going.

Amazingly, he’d given up.

“I’m not getting any traffic,” he explained. “I’ve got no followers on Facebook or Twitter, and no one is reading what I’ve written.”

Naturally, I said, “Woah! Hang on a minute … your site has been online for a week, your first post only went up five days ago, and you’re downhearted because you haven’t seen traffic in the space of just a few days?”

It turns out he’d read some “make a million dollars overnight with your own blog” ebook. When he didn’t get any traffic in the first week, he decided it was a bit too much like hard work and threw in the towel.

I’m confident that if he had persisted his blog would have been very successful.

On the flip side, I know bloggers who write for their own sites in niches like stock trading and sports betting. Their persistence has driven them to revenues of $10,000+ per month in affiliate sales. Sure, it might have taken time to see their first decent pay check, but their belief in what they were doing paid dividends — literally.

A lack of persistence will shave off 99 percent of your competition. Make sure you’re an exception. Make sure you’re in the 1 percent that does persist.

3. You can impress clients

It’s not often that a client turns around and says, “Nick, I really don’t like what you’ve written for us.” But it does happen from time to time. When a client says something like that there are three ways to deal with it:

  • You can ignore them (not recommended).
  • You can be peeved with them but revise their work to a point where both parties are okay with it. The project comes to an end, but there is a slightly sour taste left in everyone’s mouth.
  • You can be persistent, salvaging what you can from the initial work you handed over and then starting fresh.

You may think you have better ways to spend your time than putting in unpaid overtime to complete a project twice, but it’s good business to make sure every last client is delighted with the work you produce.

Persistence has to prevail.

Now I’ll let you in on a little secret: two clients who were once unsatisfied are now two of my most loyal clients.

Persistence in satisfying clients often comes at a cost in terms of time, but when those people throw bucket loads more work your way, as well as referrals, it’s well worth it.

4. Without persistence, rejection is final.

Rejection is something we all fear as bloggers — and in life in general. (I particularly enjoyed this post on rejection from last week.)

Sometimes I think about where I’d be right now if I had stopped in my tracks every time someone said “No.” I still haven’t worked out the answer.

Every now and then certain posts that I write are rejected by the people who read them. Sometimes people just don’t agree with what I have to say. But this is absolutely fine because we’re all free to draw our own conclusions and formulate our own opinions.

When I see someone disagreeing with me or writing offensive comments about my ideas, I see that as a rejection. If I stopped blogging because people wrote nasty comments, then I wouldn’t be writing this post.

Unless you’re preaching hate, there is no reason at all why you should let the rejection from naysayers deter you from writing and publishing.

Be persistent.

At some point you will connect with an audience that does appreciate and identify with your views and ideas.

I can come up with many vivid examples of times when I’ve faced rejection. I have no doubt that you can too. It’s not something to get worked up about or something that should put you off your quest to be the best — it’s simply a case of turning rejection into something positive.

5. Persistence leads to self-fulfillment

It may sound a bit soppy, but I strongly believe in self-fulfillment.

There’s nothing worse than locking up the office door or closing your laptop and thinking, “What have I actually achieved today?” If no immediate thoughts are forthcoming, you’ve probably achieved very little and are not fulfilling your potential.

The greatest feeling for me as a writer is self-fulfillment. There are various ways in which writing helps to make me realize my own self-fulfillment:

  • I like that my writing helps people
  • I like that I’m putting my talent to good use
  • I like that I’m making a difference (and at the same time paying the bills)

There is no other feeling quite like that of self-fulfillment, and you’ll never achieve it if you’re not persistent.

But there’s a fine line …

Remember, persistence is an admirable trait that’s almost certain to lend you success … but there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance or a pest to clients.

With that in mind, now is the time to audit your persistence.

Do you flit from one idea to the next on a regular basis? Do you let negative energy from others put you off what you’re doing? If so, you, my friend, need to become more persistent.

It almost always pays off in the long run.

 

About the Author: Nick Whitmore is a published journalist, blogger, and Managing Director at ContentWriting.org. Read more from Nick on his blog and on Twitter.

Create Great Content? How to Get More From It Through Repurposing


repurposing-fresh contentDeveloping new materials for content marketing requires a great deal of effort, from coming up with an idea and researching the topic to content creation and promotion. There are often multiple people involved in the process: copywriters, designers, SEO specialists, social media marketers, and others, which can make content marketing quite the investment. Fortunately, great content can be repurposed into something new and different, continually furthering your investment along the way.

The benefits of content repurposing

benefits of content repurposing

Content repurposing requires altering a piece of content to make it fresh by changing the angle or switching up the format. Integrating repurposing into your content marketing strategy can lower costs, advance production, expand audience reach, and provide myriad additional benefits, including:

  • Expanding one idea into several content pieces: For example, the topic of a popular blog post can be used for a slideshow, a video, a free information guide, a white paper, a podcast… you get the idea. Repurposing allows you to leverage the research you conducted for one piece of original work across additional content projects.
  • Substantially cutting content creation time: Certain elements that have already been created or curated — like images, quotes, or text — can be applied to new works.
  • Serving multiple different audiences: Some people are visual learners, while others may prefer reading a document. Further, some people love to read in-depth research articles, while others wish to quickly skim blog posts to gain information. Content repurposing allows you to appeal to multiple audiences with different content preferences. For example, if you’ve created great video content, your script can be used as the basis of text documents, such as blog posts or downloadable PDFs. Similarly, statistics, facts, and figures can be illustrated through data visualization and delivered as infographics or charts.
  • Cross-promoting content: Through repurposing efforts, you can cross-promoteyour great content pieces across multiple channels. For example, in a YouTube video description, you may link to a blog post, a slideshow, and an infographic about the same topic, which sends traffic to your website or other owned mediaproperties. This targeted traffic reinforces branding and increases the likelihood of conversion.
  • Extending content’s longevity: With so much content being published every day, people are bound to miss a blog post or video once in awhile. However, through repurposing, your audience may come across your content after it has been altered, through a different channel. Additionally, repurposing evergreen content expands the life cycle even further, as it can remain relevant for years to come.

The content repurposing process

the process of repurposing

Creating a repurposing plan at the beginning of your content marketing strategy development will help you brainstorm and produce content efficiently, while keeping your repurposing process streamlined and in alignment with your other great content efforts.

When beginning a content project with hopes of repurposing in the future, consider the following four steps:

  1. Start by brainstorming an idea that multiple content pieces can be based off of. Even in this initial phase, it is important to consider how one topic can be translated across multiple types of content. For example, if you have a store that sells sunglasses, your topic may be Sunglasses Trends for 2014. Though broad, this topic can be the focal point of many content projects.
  1. Once you have a general topic, think of how it can be altered and applied across content types to appeal to numerous audiences. In the Sunglasses Trends example, a few content pieces you can create might include:
  • Blog posts on women’s/men’s sunglasses trends for 2014
  • An infographic illustrating different styles of sunglasses predicted to be popular in 2014
  • A video interviewing your expert employees about 2014 sunglasses trends
  • A slideshow featuring images and descriptions of the top sunglasses styles for 2014
  • An eBook on how to choose sunglasses for 2014 that fit your face and style

And that’s just the beginning. With a wide-ranging topic like Sunglasses Trends for 2014, it is easy to see how researching one concept can lead to multiple content pieces. Each piece has a different point of view and is transformed to appeal to a specific audience, but the core idea remains the same.

  1. Now that you have assembled a list of different takes on your core idea, start researching, keeping the first piece you want to create in mind. Start with whatever piece makes the most sense. If you create a slideshow, can you easily adapt it to create an infographic? Can a video script work as a blog post? The first piece of content you construct will take the most work up front, as it requires the greatest amount of research and development. However, know that when you’ve finished researching for your first content piece, you can undoubtedly apply your findings when creating additional content in the future.
  1. After you have created your first piece of content, repurpose your research and other elements from the project to make new works. You may need to research more specific facets of your core idea as you go, but most of the grunt work should already be completed.

Key content types

types of great content

There are a variety of content types you can utilize in content repurposing projects, and it’s possible for one idea to be used across all media. Consider the following:

  • Blog posts: Every content idea you have should be featured in a blog post, if not multiple posts. Most businesses have a blog, and with good reason — as small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads. Blog posts are a great place to start when creating content, especially if you have an active blog with lots of audience participation. You may be able to garner feedback about your core idea from readers, and audience participation may spark additional inspiration on how to take that idea further.
  • eBooks/Free guides: You can create eBooks and free guides by compiling all of the blog posts you’ve written about a certain topic and adding additional components, like a table of contents, images, more in-depth research, an index, etc. Often eBooks and free guides are more detailed than blog posts and are considered high-value pieces. When offering a high-value piece, you may be able to collect visitor information in exchange for access. For example, you may offer an eBook to people who sign up for your email newsletter, or make a free guide available for those who enter basic visitor contact information.
  • Video: Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have a professional recording studio to produce a captivating video. A cell phone or everyday portable digital camera can record compelling video to be used in content repurposing projects. When thinking of video ideas, consider interviewing your employees or industry experts, or creating a skit based on a facet of your core concept. Keep in mind that you can also produce a video without recording anything live — through moving graphics and voice-over audio.
  • Infographics: Infographics are excellent vehicles for data, processes, and visual content. They can be used to explain a topic in a step-by-step fashion, showcase data in an interesting way, or illustrate a story. When a topic lends itself to visual interpretation, creating an infographic is the way to go.
  • Slideshows: Slideshows are not just for presentations anymore. Creating a slideshow can often challenge you to simplify an idea, as you don’t want to create a text-heavy slideshow. If someone wants to read a text document, they will seek out a blog post or free guide. Slideshows cater to visual learners, featuring images and short descriptions.

Get the most out of your content

In summary, content repurposing can be a very efficient way to make the most of your great content creation efforts. Numerous content pieces can stem from just one main idea, each catering to a different audience in a unique way. The process of repurposing can save you time and money and extend your initial content marketing investment, making it a worthwhile strategy.

How have you been successful with content repurposing? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

Author: Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is the president of Vertical Measures, an agency specializing in providing strategic search, social and content marketing services. He is the author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing available on Amazon. You can also find Arnie on Twitter: @ArnieK.

Tap into the Thriving Video Content Scene: 5 Types of Brand Videos


google imagesBusiness video content is thriving more than ever before, and long-form copy is rapidly giving way to the 30-second script. With massive studies done by the likes of Wistia, YouTube, and Ooyala on video engagement, and with video projected to take up over 90 percent of the online content pie within the next decade, it’s hardly surprising that businesses are scrambling to keep up with the expectations set by YouTube celebrities and Viners.

A good way to assess the pervasiveness of online video content is to look at its projected growth. According to a comprehensive 2011 white paper by YuMe, 48 percent of online viewers expected to watch more online video and less TV in 2012.

online video and television usage change

Even if you don’t entirely understand what’s going on in this chart, it’s easy to see that projections for online video content are high, and declines are nearly nonexistent. eMarketer also did a 2010 study that projected the total number of U.S. online video viewers from 2008 to 2014.

u.s. online video viewers chart

Notice that these projections only took into account viewers that watch video content once a month, and that the projected increase from 2010 to 2012 was only 5.4 percent. As it turns out, over 100 million Americans were watching online video once a day by 2012. By 2013, over half of all online content had become video, and by 2016 the number is expected to jump to 86 percent — just a few percentage points shy of YouTube’s 2012 prediction.

But the biggest sign of online video’s explosive growth is Cisco’s projected 1.5 billion daily online video viewers in 2016, which would be 15 times as much as the current number in 2013.

Clearly, businesses need to start making engaging brand videos in order to give their content a much needed lift and to stay competitive. When it comes down to it, if you’re not making video in 2013, you’re not marketing.

But that’s not to say that businesses should just pour their resources into a specific type of business video (like 30-second promos with viral ambitions). There are many different types of business video content, and each can be used to target a specific subset of consumers in an engaging way.

Here are five types of business videos used by big brands to push the content marketing envelope (and none of them are promos):

1. Vlog

vlog image-gamespot

Short for “video blog,” vlogs have been made popular by famous YouTube celebrities like Jenna Marbles (comedy), Michelle Phan (beauty tips), and Tobuscus (gaming). Each of these three celebs boasts several million views per video.

Vlogs are typically 1–5 minutes in length and can be about anything — unlike webinars, which are more thematic in nature. While many small businesses have embraced the webinar model, not many big businesses have embraced vlogs. The few that have are tech companies, and the only one to do it exceptionally well (for now) is Gamespot. The company does several regular vlogs, including one on the five best mods of the week for Skyrim.

Takeaway: Vlogs are different from webinars because they don’t need to be about business commentary or best practices, and they don’t need to follow a script — they can be about anything, and are limited only by a content marketer’s creativity and a speaker’s dynamism. Vlogs also don’t have to be high-production in order to be engaging.

2. Vine

mailchimp dog-vine

Six seconds is very short, but also very reliable — the completion rate of a 6-second video is practically 100 percent.

That’s exactly why Vines have become so appealing to big business. Dozens of big brands have already tried their hand at mastering this new, bite-sized form of content. Coca-Cola and Red Vines are using 6-second videos to try and convince moviegoers to buy licorice and soda; Lowes is making quick DIY videos; and MailChimp is familiarizing everyone with its mascot.

While most companies have only been using Vines for quick laughs, a few have elevated the art form to new and clever heights. Take this Vine by Simon & Schuster, for example. The publishing company managed to fit a whole month’s bestseller catalog into a 6-second flipbook. Pretty neat.

Takeaway: Is shorter video better for business? The simple answer is yes — shorter video content sees much better engagement than longer video (i.e. >5 min.). But even 30-second videos suffer from over 20 percent viewer drop-off by video’s end — that’s why Twitter decided to up the ante with Vine’s 6-second limit. That one extra second above 5 seconds gives you just enough time to make an elemental story and still retain 100 percent completion.

3. Event videos

harley davidson image

An event video is a powerful marketing tool (especially when it doesn’t contain a script) because it’s inherently more trustworthy than a well-written promo. While no product is being marketed, per sé, well-made event video content that highlights the best parts of a given evening can convey a depth of information about your company, product, and culture that is unrivaled by practically any other type of business video.

Event videos should show, not tell. When done correctly, there’s no better way to tap target engagement. For example, take some time to think about the type of consumer Harley Davidson targets, and then watch this event video:

Takeaway: Event videos are like the black sheep of business video because they don’t require scripts. While this might seem counterintuitive (and almost like a waste of money), take a moment to think about the complex, knee-jerk decisions you make as you try to decide whether to wander into a new restaurant, for example. Sometimes, actions and imagery both speak louder than words.

4. Interviews

google logo image

There are so many possibilities when it comes to interview videos. Lead creatives can be interviewed about the vision for a new project; employees can make slice-of-life recruiting videos that showcase a culture of camaraderie, or your company could host an interview webinar that interviews industry experts via Skype. Perhaps the best type of interview video, though, is the type that remains the most undervalued and underappreciated — the recruitment video.

It never ceases to amaze me how many companies don’t have a relevant video in their About Us section or on their Careers page. And guess what? Your HR team can always use another recruiting tool at its disposal. These insider peeks at company life, work, and play aren’t just for potential employees, either. Slice-of-life interview videos are a fantastic way to invite your viewers into the office for a quick tour of the people and places making their products.

Google is one of the biggest companies in the world — as well as one of the most well-respected. That doesn’t stop it from putting out “Inside Look” videos, though, to give audiences more intimate familiarity with the company, its products, and what it stands for. Google understands that no matter how good your brand reputation, there’s nothing like seeing when it comes to believing.

Takeaway: Interviews are genuine, spontaneous, and believable. They force interviewees to dig deep and really think about what makes them tick from day to day, as well as why they’re passionate about their work. This unearths the type of genuine dialogue that viewers respond to enthusiastically.

5. Presentations

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Presentations shouldn’t be limited to boardrooms and PowerPoint meetings. A well-prepared presentation by a charismatic, engaging speaker is a special type of speech that carries a lot of purchasing power with it.

Ever watched a TED Talk? When you think about it, TED could just interview all of its speakers and then upload the videos to YouTube; but instead TED makes sure that each of its presenters has a live audience for a full 20 minutes. When viewers see the engagement on the part of the live audience, they’re hardwired by group-think to feel more favorably toward the presenter, too. The TED model can and has been applied to big business presentations as well, most famously by the late Steve Jobs.

Takeaway: A golden rule of content marketing is to think beyond direct response and focus on top-of-the-funnel customer engagement. If you want to distinguish yourself as a thought leader, presentations are the best video content tool in your arsenal.

Have you found success in creating any of these types of video content for your business? Are there others you would recommend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Author: Justin Park

Justin Park is a co-founder of Vidaao, a video production marketplace that connects marketing teams with creatives and provides them a collaborative project space. Justin previously ran a video production company. Follow Vidaao on Facebook, and Twitter.

How Audio Enhances Your Brand Content: Find Your Signature Sound


uses for audio dna-chartWhen I joined Publicis in 2000, I traveled the world to meet with Publicis agencies and their clients to dive into the core of their brand communication and to discover new ways of thinking about marketing. Much of our work centered on finding a common brand essence that would be understood globally, but could be interpreted relevantly at a regional level. I found that our agencies’ approach to expressing their clients’ brands was predominately visual, and that our use of music tended to be more campaign-oriented, not brand-oriented. Music was often chosen as a final consideration, not planned from the start. It wasn’t seen as a key element of a brand content strategy but, rather, as a somewhat insignificant aspect of a campaign.

It wasn’t until late 2011, when a friend invited me to attend the Audio Branding Congress, that my eyes — and ears — were opened to the power and potential of audio branding. I felt as if I had discovered a deeper way of connecting with an audience through a sense that was as old as the human race.

Content marketing’s continual evolution

As content marketing strategists, we are responsible for the creation and multichannel publication of an organization’s content (text, video, audio, animation, etc.). One of the difficulties of managing a brand content strategy is making sure that, despite the various messages and methods used, all efforts consistently reflect well on the brand — providing an opportunity to create coherence and meaning in a distinctive way.

At its core, music is a language — when used well, it can convey meaning with great clarity. To get started with audio branding, it’s essential to first clarify what our brand stands for — i.e., its essence and values — and then evaluate the sounds that might help translate those values into the language of music. From there, we define our current positioning in the market in order to build a creative content strategy around our audio communication.

To do this, ask questions that will help you understand the qualities you want to convey through your audio branding, such as:

  • What are the core values of my brand? “Innovation and entrepreneurial spirit” will suggest different music than “familiarity, ease, and security” would.
  • What does my brand’s voice sound like? Is it playful and casual? Authoritative and reassuring? Those aspects, too, will influence your brand’s audio identity.
  • What brands in your own world appear to design their sounds rather than leave them to product engineers or licensing managers? What do their sounds convey?

These aren’t the sorts of questions that you come across in your day-to-day duties. Nor are they likely to be ones that you’ve posed to your marketing partners. But today more than ever, we’re operating in a noisy, crowded, and competitive marketplace. Finding the heart of what your brand represents and then expressing it in your content — through text, visuals, sound, or any other medium — should be your top content marketing strategy priority.

How audio branding works

Audio branding’s approach uses unique and proprietary sound and music to convey a brand’s essence and values. It provides a consistent system of sound that connects people with a brand at a profound level.

To determine the audio branding elements that your signature sound should include, start by conducting an audio audit based on your brand’s marketing strategy. This evaluation’s purpose is to identify the components and priorities in your brand content plan, so you can optimize their impact with the audio branding elements you choose.

  1. Define your brand’s current positioning in the market, and characterize how it differs from that of your competitors. The audio audit will consider, among other things, whether any current sounds and music you are using:
  • Are consistent with your brand values
  • Are unique and original
  • Leave a memorable imprint
  1. Examine what audio elements competitors are using, as well as the audio themes, formats, or features that your target audiences are more likely to engage with. For example, if you are marketing a coffee brand, here are some common sector marketing themes that audio branding can enhance:
  • Sensuality/Seduction: Orchestrated in more or less a cinematic, romantic, or symphonic fashion, this has been a recurring and repeated theme in coffee marketing for many years. Musical sounds: A closely linked, romantic mixture of string instruments, a noticeable reverberation of the sound; the presence of a trumpet or other brass instruments; an intimate rhythmic base (muffled cymbals); a marked bass line.
  • The Family; The Everyday: Several brands have adopted this positioning, characterized by friendly, accessible, and jovial musical tones. Musical sounds:Simple guitar or ukulele music; a childlike chorus of voices; jazz rhythms. 
  • Indulgent Pleasures: A commonly used, recurring theme in many coffee advertisements, this mood can be brought to life through sexy sounding music — often funk or lyrical. Musical sounds: Similar to the sounds found in those of the sensuality / seduction sound, but orchestrated in a more dramatic and cinematic manner.
  1. Take a look at brands outside your sector that embody the feelings you want to convey with your audio brand — especially ones that could serve as inspiration for your own brand’s best audio practices.
  2. Create a touch-point analysis: What sound, if any, is currently heard at each of your brand’s touch points? What does each sound convey? Does it carry a positive sounding message? Does it align with your overall brand positioning and values? Are there other sounds that might communicate these qualities more powerfully or more directly?
  3. From there, an audio brand strategist can create initial “audio mood boards” — musical demonstrations of different ways to express your brand’s core values. These boards are developed by the audio brand team into sample audio DNAs that can then be selected, evaluated and refined to your satisfaction.
  4. After the DNA is finalized, you can begin to adapt its use to suit each content marketing touch point it will be used in.

The combined power of audio branding and content

Today people are conditioned to take in sight and sound together. Studies have found thatattention spans have declined, and that people today often operate in a state of “continuous partial attention.” Given this landscape, you’ll need every tool in your kit to reach through and transmit meaning.

Audio branding lends coherence and continuity to your messaging, so what your consumers hear when engaging with your content is always clearly and distinctively recognizable as a part of your brand. The technique provides brand strategists and CCOs with the tools to make every content marketing touch point a relationship-builder and to get consumers to form positive associations with your brand’s values.

It’s particularly critical to bring your Audio DNA to your entertainment content or instructional content, to subtly remind your audience who’s behind the messaging without overwhelming the experience itself. It’s also important to note that your audio strategy should not be left until the last minute — for maximum impact and continuity, it should be planned at the outset.

Other critical factors to always keep in mind include:

  • It’s not about entertainment — it’s about brand enhancement: Articulate what your brand stands for before addressing what the music must do. Investigate what audio approaches your competitors are using, so you can stand out.

The audio branding agency’s job is to create a core audio DNA that remains consistent, while allowing flexibility for adaptations to multiple touch points over many years — including what consumers will hear when they are on hold with your salespeople, visiting your trade show booth, viewing your videos, opening your branded mobile app, etc.

  • Impact without meaning can be distracting and counterproductive:Decide if you need the audio branding to underscore or to add to the messages conveyed by your other brand content efforts.

You don’t want to develop and/or choose a piece of music and audio content just because you like it — it must clarify what your brand stands for. Are you carefree, festive, and mobile? Trustworthy, supportive and comfortable? Innovative, surprising, and friendly? As we mentioned above, when music is used as language, it not only creates a bond, it helps tell your story.

  • Don’t neglect a measurement mechanism: After you’ve incorporated your signature audio elements in your brand content, you will want to test their impact. For example, consider surveying loyal customers (as well as prospects and other consumers) directly or via social media to see if — and where — the incorporation of audio in your brand content has helped to improve their perception of your brand.

Have you used audio branding in a content campaign? Or, are there some brands that come to mind that use audio in an easily recognizable way? Let us know how audio might play into your brand content efforts in the comments below.

Author: Colleen Fahey

A senior marketing executive with over three decades of experience, Colleen Fahey is the U.S. Managing Director of Sixième Son, a unique audio branding agency founded in Paris, France in 1995. Working from a deep understanding of every brand’s ability to strengthen its position within the marketplace by creating and owning its own audio identity, Colleen helps clients tap into the value that audio branding provides through the use of music and sound. Colleen makes her home in Chicago.

Embed flipbook on webpage, blog, or wordpress


You can use the following sample code to embed a flipbook on webpage, blog, or wordpress:

1) <iframe src=’http://epagecreator.net/demo/brochure/’ width=’500′ height=’380′ frameborder=’0′ scrolling=’no’></iframe>

2) <embed width=”600″ height=”380″ src=”http://epagecreator.net/demo/brochure/main.swf” play=”true” loop=”true” quality=”high”>

This is the result of method 1: