Building an audience for your video series might feel a little daunting — how do you get people to actually sit down and watch the show you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into creating? The truth is, distributing your series and getting people to pay attention to and talk about it is a huge part of Brand Affinity Marketing. It’s also something you should actively pay close attention to throughout the entire production process. Don’t just worry about promoting your series once the entire series is made — there’s plenty you can do while producing your content to ensure that the right audience is tuning in.
So, whether or not you’re a few episodes deep on your business’ first video series, or if you’re just in the ideation stage of the process, check out these suggestions for how to grow your audience over time and get more folks interested in watching your show!
You went through all the trouble of sourcing guests, nurturing your relationships with them, and sending contracts back and forth, but you didn’t follow up with them when their episode actually aired. Oh boy, that’s a big no-no! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage with your guests and encourage them to spread the word. Make it super easy for them to share the episodes they’re on with their personal networks by giving them exactly what they need to get going with just a few clicks. Here are some suggestions for what you can share:
- Pre-written tweets and posts with short links to their specific episode
- Different cuts of their episode that features them prominently
- Images and other unique media with quotes and headshots of the guest
This is a great way to get more people to watch your content, and the good news is, you can encourage this type of behavior from your guests without coming off as needy or demanding. Be sure to word your communication in a way that lets the guest know that this isn’t mandatory (it’s the truth after all!), but it would be really great if they were able to give it a share on social media, for example. The main takeaway here is to make it so easy to share your series that your guest would be hard-pressed to not want to do it.
“The main takeaway here is to make it so easy to share your series that your guest would be hard-pressed to not want to do it.”
This is another simple marketing tactic that can be easily overlooked when hyping up a video series — promoting your show internally! Sure, you might work closely with the people on your team who are responsible for creating the series themselves, but people across the organization might not be as in-tune with it. Send a team-wide email every time you publish a new episode and be sure to include pre-written tweets and posts (similar to the ones you might share with guests) so your teammates can encourage their own personal networks to tune in. If you have a big projector in your office, you can even screen each new episode during lunch to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to tune in.
Also, be sure to think about who on your team has the biggest audience and personal network. Here at Wistia, our CEO has a pretty decent Twitter following, so whenever we release a new episode of Brandwagon he shares it along with a little friendly tweetstorm (it doesn’t hurt that he’s also the host of the show, but you get the picture!).
If you sense that folks on your team are a little reluctant to share about your series, you can always point out how getting more people to watch the series will help build brand affinity, turning passive viewers into active fans of your business. It’s a win-win for every team!
While we’re talkin’ email, your video series can also benefit from being featured in the email signatures of public-facing employees at your business. Adding your show’s logo to your email signature won’t cost your marketing team a dime and the impact it can have on how many people hear of your show can be huge. Here’s an example of an email signature that a lot of folks on our team have right now to promote our talk show for marketers:
Plus, for those folks in sales, it can be a great conversation starter! Just read out to teams at your company like sales, customer support, and human resources and give them what they need to get set up. Hopefully, you’ve noticed a trend by now — make it as easy as possible for people to help spread the word about your video series.
You’re going to want to order yourself up a nice plate of supporting content when promoting your new video series. One of the best ways to attract new viewers to your long-form content is by getting them in the door with content that already speaks to their interests. For example, a viewer might not only become interested in watching our docu-series One, Ten, One Hundred, after they’ve read a blog post about how to make a beautiful set based on lessons we learned while shooting it. That’s why we recommend creating and promoting other content related to your series — you just never know who might show up to watch your show!
There are a number of angles you can take to creating this content depending on the type of show you’re making. Here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing:
- Share an extended interview with a guest
- Dive deeper into a topic you only covered briefly
- Pull and share key takeaways from an entire season
- Take a segment from your show and expand upon it
- Craft thought leadership content based on overarching themes
Raise your hand if you’ve ever entered a contest or giveaway on social media. Is your hand raised? I’m (somewhat) embarrassed to say mine definitely is. From t-shirts and socks to stickers and pens, there are tons of different giveaway options out there that you can consider when promoting your series — and they won’t break the bank. Often it’s less about the quality of the prize (no one’s saying you should give away a car, though that would’ve worked well for Brandwagon), but you should offer some sort of prize or incentive for engaging with your content if you can.
For example, we ran a t-shirt giveaway on our Instagram Story where we had folks answer a series of questions related to the content in the most recent episode of our talk show. The first three people to get all the questions right got a free t-shirt — easy peasy! When you send the t-shirt to the lucky winners in the mail, be sure to ask them to post a picture of them with their prize and tag your business in the post. This will help you reach an entirely new audience, and chances are if this contest winner liked your series, some of their friends might too.
Pay attention to the people who are actively engaging with your content, plain and simple. These are your early adopters, the folks you want to find more of so you can grow your audience. Tactically, you can create polls on Twitter to get them to engage with your brand and share countdowns for when new episodes drop on Instagram so they never miss a beat.
Read and reply to their comments, ask them questions about your show, show them gratitude for tuning in, and above all else, be human. Thank them for their feedback and commentary, and then apply these insights when crafting future episodes of your video series. Letting your audience know that they’re making an impact can turn passive viewers into engaged fans, and who doesn’t want that?
Now, you might be familiar with podcasts that are recorded (video podcasts), but have you thought about flipping that concept on its head and starting with a video series first? Depending on the type of show you’re creating, you may want to consider turning your series into a binge-worthy podcast so more fans can enjoy your content. This tends to work particularly well for interview-style video series, as a lot of great content often gets left on the cutting room floor in order to keep the video watchable, engaging, and not too long.
Creating a podcast version of your show is also a great way to help get your series discovered — folks in your audience may actually be bigger podcasts-listeners than video-watchers. By turning your series into a podcast, you can meet your audience where they already are, and then ultimately, cross-promote your video series for a deeper, more robust content experience. Remember, though, there are tons and tons of podcasts out there, so you have to make sure your content is actually really good and provides value. In other words, don’t just rip the audio from your episode and slap it on Spotify. Take the time to create a really good podcast that can stand on its own, and then use it as another opportunity to talk about your show. Use your blog to write recaps and synopses of what you covered and include links and relevant time staps directing folks to interesting moments throughout.
Here’s an example of a podcast we created called The Brandwagon Interviews that’s based on our newest video series, Brandwagon.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to promoting your series. Think outside the box and try new tactics to see what gains traction with your niche audience. Why not make a Spotify playlist that features songs that match the theme of your series? Hang out on Reddit on relevant threads to see what people are talking about as it relates to your series, and if topics or concepts overlap, share an episode there (but make sure you don’t sound too self-promotional or spammy!).
Another way to get creative with your promotion is by finding other video series or podcasts that are targeting a similar audience and trying to get on their show. Many podcasters are already masters of this, which is why you may hear some of your favorite podcast hosts doing the rounds as guests on other podcasts you already listen to. Take advantage of the amazing content you’re investing your time and resources into creating and try to think about how your favorite streaming platforms promote their content. Rip a page out of their book and start promoting your content more creatively with clips, behind-the-scenes content, extras, and more!
This may sound obvious, but if your content is relevant to your core customer base in some way (which it should be!), send them an email to let them know about your new series. Of course, you don’t want to spam them, so refrain from emailing them over and over about your show. Instead, let them know when and where they can watch your series, and then give them the opportunity to sign up for updates. That way, they can opt-in for further updates and communication about your specific series.
You can also add a notification within your product if you’re a SaaS company, or simply update your website or homepage with a call to action to watch your series. You may feel like you’re doing everything to promote your show on social media, email, and beyond, but remember that not all of your customers might be following your business on social or subscribed for email updates. So what are you waiting for? Start growing your audience and getting more eyes on your content with these ten tips for promotion!
Why Your Business’s Brand is More Important Than Ever
When it comes to purchasing a product or signing up for a software or service, more often than not consumers will buy from and remain loyal to the brand that resonates with them the most. So naturally, in today’s cluttered marketing landscape, building your brand and growing a loyal audience should be a top priority for most marketers. Yet, small and medium-sized companies still insist on sticking to the same old strategies — ones that don’t help them cut through the noise. It has us wondering … what gives? Why aren’t more businesses investing in growing their brands?
In this post, we’ll explain how marketing has shifted and why traditional tactics aren’t as effective as they used to be. Read on to learn why your business’s brand is more important than ever and why you should invest in doing more (and better) brand marketing.
At our live-streamed event, Change the Channel, our co-founders Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz discussed how building your business has drastically changed over the past few years. In their experience, growing an audience was previously an entirely different ballgame. Savage said, “It used to be the case that you’d post something on Facebook and your entire audience would see it. Now organic reach is below 2%. So that audience that you worked really hard to build, now you have to pay to reach them.”
The stark decrease in organic reach signaled that something had to change. Nowadays, in order to stand out amongst the competition, marketers must invest in brand marketing to reach the right people at the right time and build an audience of brand advocates.
Marketers today are also at a disadvantage if they live and die by a data-driven approach to brand marketing. We’re all working with the same tools and tech these days, which means all of our competitors are on the same playing field as us. We all have the ability to calculate every interaction and every bit of marketing spend to see exactly how our digital marketing efforts tie to revenue. What was once a competitive edge is now merely common practice for businesses across industries.
“What was once a competitive edge is now merely common practice for businesses across industries.”
We shouldn’t toss data analysis out the window for good, but we do need to find a new way to differentiate ourselves in saturated markets — which means putting an end to constant tinkering and starting to take even bigger, riskier swings. We think businesses can do that by investing more in their brands and the stories they are uniquely positioned to tell.
We know what you’re thinking — we wrote this blog post that you’re currently reading and we’re saying content marketing isn’t exactly revolutionary anymore. That’s because, while it may not be a novel practice anymore, it’s still valuable. But investing in content marketing alone will no longer do the heavy lifting for your brand it once capable of doing. Unless you already have a large following, positioning your business as a thought leader with a single blog post is like tossing a coin into a magical fountain and hoping your audience would boom overnight.
To put things into perspective, there are about 30 blog posts being published every second, and quite frankly, a lot of this content is low-quality and self-serving. This makes it confusing for people to sift through the dust and find any valuable content your business is creating. Even if they do discover your content, will your brand leave a lasting impression and make them want to come back for more?
“To put things into perspective, there are about 30 blog posts being published every second, and quite frankly, a lot of this content is low-quality and self-serving.”
It’s time for marketers to lean into the greatest differentiator you’ve had all along — your brand. We rely so much on recommendations for products and services from friends, family, and co-workers, that building a reputable brand consumers can connect with is essential to not only growing sales, but also influencing how people speak about your business to others.
That’s where we think Brand Affinity Marketing can help. With this approach, businesses create and distribute binge-worthy content with the goal of positively impacting the overall sentiment, perception, and value of their brand. The truth is, digital advertising has become less effective over time and generating affinity for your brand is more important than awareness. So, why not let go of those old rusty marketing tactics and jump into creating more engaging content that’ll grow you an audience of true fans for your brand?
3 Common Problems Marketers Face When They Focus Too Much on Brand Awareness
Marketers have started experiencing some serious growing pains as of late. For years, most of us have followed a tried-and-true formula for getting people to know about our brands — create engaging content, post regularly on social media, run some eye-catching ads — lather, rinse, repeat. The problem with this approach is that marketers today have nearly all the same tools at their disposal.
We all know what it takes to make our content marketing efforts successful. We all know that we have to pay to play on social media. And because we’re all well aware of this, the internet has become a really crowded, cluttered place. Businesses have focused so much on making people aware that they exist, that they’ve lost sight of what matters most — getting people to actually like their brands.
In fact, the pursuit of brand awareness alone has ended up stunting growth for many businesses. Here are some common problems marketers face when they’re on the hunt for brand awareness, and brand awareness alone. If you can relate to any of these, you may just want to take a closer look at your goals for the year ahead and consider shifting your strategy accordingly.
Metrics that measure brand awareness like views and impressions don’t actually indicate whether people like your brand or not. For instance, it’s impossible to determine the quality of a view or impression. According to Google Analytics, a page view is any instance where a page is loaded or reloaded in a browser. On Facebook, an impression is the number of times your ad was displayed on someone’s screen. So, without taking the time to dig much deeper into either metric, a five-second view or impression would be counted the same as a five-minute view or impression.
Now, these metrics clearly don’t reveal very much, but, in the world of digital marketing, they’re easy to measure and track. The resulting chase for vanity metrics has pushed marketing teams to produce content that merely juices up these numbers instead of actually providing value to their audience. Since SEO tools can help marketers pinpoint the keywords, headers, and angle of a post or video required to rank on Google or YouTube and, in turn, attract as many views as possible, the results for virtually any competitive search term have eerily similar titles, examples, and structures.
“The resulting chase for vanity metrics has pushed marketing teams to produce content that merely juices up these numbers instead of actually providing value to their audience.”
Most marketers also source their research from the same search results, so everyone’s essentially copying each other in order to rank on Google and YouTube. The result? Bland and boring content, uninspired ads, and more of the same.
Just because you reach a ton of people (even millions!) that doesn’t mean you’ll connect with them, let alone convince them to buy anything from your business. Traffic and impressions don’t always equate to resonance, and they certainly don’t guarantee more revenue.
For example, here at Wistia we once spent $2 million on an ad campaign that featured some of our most creative work to date. With 43 million impressions, it certainly seemed like a successful campaign. But once we dug a little deeper into the data, we found out that our campaign generated the same amount of web traffic as a reasonably successful blog post, converted minimal leads, and generated barely any business. That’s one expensive and, embarrassingly, pretty ineffective campaign! Here’s a little look back at one of the ads we ran (we still stand by its cuteness):
Another interesting case study on brand awareness takes place in the marketing automation space. HubSpot, one of the market’s leaders, focuses heavily on building brand awareness and currently has four times as many social media followers and almost double the amount of organic traffic as Mailchimp, one of HubSpot’s main competitors.
However, Mailchimp, a business that focuses more on building brand affinity than awareness, has been able to generate more revenue and profit than HubSpot. Now, we’re not saying this the sole reason for Mailchimp’s success, but it’s an interesting case study in what can happen when you focus less on reaching the masses and more on reaching the right folks.
It’s true, Google and Facebook’s advertising model lets businesses find new audiences with ads, however, that doesn’t mean you’re reaching the right folks or that they’re happy about it. Just think about your own personal experience with ads — when they interrupt your favorite TV show, you probably look straight down at your phone. And when you’re cruising through your social media feed, chances are you won’t spare a passing glance at the countless ads screaming for your attention.
As of this past year, more than 25% of internet users in the United States used ad-blocking apps on their devices to help put an end to the noise. People have even started to develop banner blindness, which causes them to not only ignore ads but also any content resembling ads or content located in the places usually dedicated to ads. It’s pretty impressive what our brains can do!
“As of this past year, more than 25% of internet users in the United States used ad-blocking apps on their devices to help put an end to the noise.”
For most brands, their digital advertising return on investment also decreases with each year. Since digital advertising spend has been compounding by 20% each year over the past decade, the only way you can generate the same return on investment is by increasing your ad budget by the same rate. If you can’t (which is the case for the majority of brands) digital advertising will generate less of a return on investment over time.
When it comes to inbound marketing tactics used to gain brand awareness, the same issues run rampant. With over 500 million blogs and 23 million YouTube channels with at least 10+ subscribers, brands struggle to cut through the noise. And with the cost of consumer attention increasing seven to nine times over the past decade, inbound marketing’s return on investment is also dwindling each year. So, what’s a marketer to do?
Any marketer will tell you that making people aware of your brand is a crucial step in building a successful business. But, that’s only one piece of a much bigger puzzle, and focusing too much on that component alone can send you down a dark, fruitless path. Getting people to like your brand and actually recommend your products or services to their friends — or in other words, creating brand affinity — is a much more worthy investment in 2020.
Curious about how to get started building brand affinity? Sit back, relax, and dive into the world of Brand Affinity Marketing with us. Read our four-step playbook and learn how to connect with your audience on a more personal level, how to build loyal audiences, and ultimately, how to grow a stronger business in the long run.
How to Ensure Your Marketing is Consistently Creative in 2020
Jay Acunzo was angry. As a seasoned marketing professional who had spent most of his career deep in the trenches of the content marketing space, Acunzo couldn’t stand the commodity content and conventional wisdom that started flooding the industry. So, in 2016, he decided to wage a war against it with his own creative agency, Unthinkable Media. He crafted a podcast series called Unthinkable that tells compelling stories about the rare few who buck their industry’s best practices and hone their intuition to do exceptionally creative work.
In two and a half years, Jay shipped over 70 episodes of Unthinkable, attracting over 100 five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts and tens of thousands of social media followers. He even wrote a book called Break the Wheel about ignoring best practices, focusing on what actually works best for you, and prioritizing resonance over reach.
However, despite convincing many in his industry to subscribe to his philosophy and transcend the creation of cookie-cutter content, Acunzo is still frustrated. “Right now, because I’m running a media company for marketers who make shows (Marketing Showrunners), I’m mad at why so much ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ in marketing feels like random, one-off stunts,” Acunzo says. “Why can’t we be more consistent?”
As marketers, chances are you’ve asked yourself that question at least once. How can we turn creativity from a swing for the fences to a defining trait? To find the answer to this pressing question, we asked Acunzo and four other creative thinkers in content marketing — Ann Handley, Joe Lazauskus, Jimmy Daly, and Eddie Shleyner — how they hone their creativity to build loyal, passionate audiences. Let’s dig in!
Contrary to popular belief, the information that will help you create the most compelling content isn’t stored in a Google Analytics dashboard — it’s in your audience’s minds. After all, they’re the ones you’re creating content for in the first place.
In the content marketing industry, there isn’t a more passionate supporter of this notion than Joe Lazauskus, the author of the #1 Amazon New Release, The Storytelling Edge, and the Head of Marketing at Contently.
Over the past few months, he’s conducted dozens of what he calls “empathy interviews” with clients and prospects to test his team’s assumptions and develop new solutions for their clients. The goal? To fully empathize with his target market. And it’s paid huge dividends for his team.
“For the first time, I spoke to my clients without an agenda. I wasn’t trying to subtly influence a purchase decision or create their content strategy. I was just listening in an open and empathetic way,” he wrote in a blog post about empathy mapping. “These interviews were the greatest gift I could have gotten. I had two dozen spreadsheets on my computer that told me who our clients were. But these conversations told me how they feel. And suddenly everything — our messaging, positioning, content strategy — became so much clearer.”
Getting constant feedback from your audience not only supplies you with a laundry list of new ideas, but it also helps you truly serve your audience. So if you really want to be consistently creative and get your audience hooked on your content, take a page out of Lazauskus’ book and interact with those who consume what you make, learn about their challenges, and, most importantly, understand them on a deep level.
“Getting constant feedback from your audience not only supplies you with a laundry list of new ideas, but it also helps you truly serve your audience.”
Ask anyone what the most important stage of the creative process is, and they’ll likely say ideation. The best ideas stem from long brainstorming sessions, right? As counterintuitive as it seems, sparking your creative process by creating, rather than ideating, can actually lead to the breakthrough moments needed to make something worthwhile.
“When we want to create great work, it’s tempting to try and gather up all the answers we think we need to justify creating something, but it’s far more effective to create to find your answers,” Jay Acunzo says. “I call this the quest, which is a term I learned from marketing author and speaker Andrew Davis, who helped me see the importance of focusing the creative process on investigation rather than pontification. Think of it as the relentless pursuit of curiosity through research and creation, which I find leads to better breakthroughs than leaning back in a chair and trying to concoct ’the idea.’”
Placing a heavier emphasis on creation during the creative process also helps Eddie Shleyner, founder of one of the best copywriting blogs around, VeryGoodCopy, find the answers that steer his articles in the right direction. “Once I have the topic, I try to write my article as quickly as possible. I just want to get the story and the ideas on paper,” he says. “This usually takes a few hours and gives me the full picture I need to evaluate where I need more words and where I need fewer words. It also helps visualize where I can weave in a story to hook the reader.”
Acunzo’s and Shleyner’s laser-focus on the act of creation speaks to the fact that creativity is a skill. Just like dancing, the best way to sharpen your creative chops and consistently channel your creativity is through practice — not by obsessing over every little move you’ll make.
When asked how she decides the topics for her wildly popular newsletter, Total ANNARCHY, Ann Handley, the Wall Street Journal best-selling author and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs answered, “What delights me that week. I can’t write about things I don’t care about.”
Passion fuels creativity, generating your best ideas and enabling you to do your best work. And while creating content that specifically appeals to you might not cast the widest net, it’ll resonate with people who have similar interests and help you build a loyal audience.
Just like Handley, Jimmy Daly, a Director of Marketing at Animalz, has relied on his own palate to create a thriving newsletter called Swipe File, which boasts over 4,000 subscribers. “The only real theme in Swipe File are things that I find interesting. I have a bias towards stuff that is really evergreen. If I find something interesting from 2005, it’s going in the newsletter,” he says. “I’m also biased towards marketing, writing, productivity, creativity, etc. Swipe File definitely mirrors my personal tastes.”
With their newsletters, Handley and Daly have the creative freedom to write about whatever interests them — liberties most people won’t have when working for a company (though some of us are luckier than others on that front!). Fortunately, you can still fuse your passion into your work and fuel your creativity even while working on the dullest of projects. For example, by bringing your unique self and personal creativity to work, you can invigorate a bland blog post with a story about one of your passions or enliven a dry how-to video with your graphic design or musical skills.
“You can still fuse your passion into your work and fuel your creativity even while working on the dullest of projects.”
After waging his war on random acts of creativity, Acunzo told the marketing world, “Today, the mandate of marketers is to hold attention, not ‘grab’ it. As a result, all of marketing needs to be consistently great work instead of one-off spikes in the numbers.”
In other words, consistent creativity isn’t a nice-to-have anymore — it’s a must-have. And if we can absorb the lessons that some of the best creatives in content marketing have detailed above, we’ll never stop delighting our audience.
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