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3 Ways to Grow Your Small Business with Video in 2019

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Well folks, we’ve closed the chapter on 2018. And you know what that means … another year in the books for your small business. While you were out chasing your company’s quarterly goals, you may have noticed more and more businesses started making and sharing videos online. According to digital marketing agency, Blue Corona, “In the past 30 days, more online video content has been uploaded to the web than the past 30 years of TV content.” If you’re looking for some other video marketing stats that will leave your head spinning, check out this compilation from the folks at Biteable.

So, dare we ask — did you create video content in 2018? If the answer’s yes, kudos to you! We hope you continue incorporating video into your marketing efforts in the new year. And if the answer is no, fret not. There are plenty of other small businesses who are in the same boat. Being short on budget, short on time, or just plain unsure of what types of videos to make are all common challenges that can easily shake your confidence, but rest assured you’re not alone.

Whether you answered yes or no to the question above, you better believe the future of video is bright! That’s why we’re excited to share tips for growing your small business with video this year on social media and on your website. From expanding your reach to driving site visits, don’t let another year pass you by without video. Keep reading to find out how you can help your small business grow!

Nowadays, people are carrying around search engines right inside their pockets, giving them the opportunity to look up things like “Best pet portrait businesses near me” with results forming in just seconds. That’s why presenting your product or service online as the solution to people’s problems is super important.

And your social media presence is a great place to start! Think about all the daily scrolling you do on social media and how many new products, services, or businesses you stumble upon. It happens all the time. With that being said, your small business can expand its reach and keep up with those big brands out there by sharing compelling videos on social media. According to Wordstream, social video alone generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. And it makes sense — videos allow you to share your brand story while entertaining your audience in a more immediate and engaging way than written content alone.

“According to Wordstream, social video alone generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined.”

Moving images attract the eye in a sea of text, and if a user engages with your content and likes it, they may even share it on their own feeds or with a friend. This gives you the opportunity to paint a positive first impression of your brand and potentially reach new customers, especially when your content is being shared by someone whose opinion the viewer trusts. And as a bonus, putting some marketing spend toward promoting your content on social media doesn’t hurt either. Most social media channels have targeting built into their ad platforms, so you can easily reach the right audience with your videos with a little bit of cash!

Easy videos to create and share on social media

Now, you may be wondering what type of content your small business should make for social media if you’re short on budget, time, or both. Say no more — we have some ideas that can help you get started!

  • Promote a local event on LinkedIn with a webcam video: LinkedIn is a space where people are searching for new networking opportunities and focusing on professional development, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some fun flair to people’s news feeds using video content strategically! Promoting an event with video can be an engaging way to show people what your business has to offer and encourage others to learn more about your organization.
  • Recap a popular blog post for Facebook: If you aren’t seeing the engagement you want with your written posts, despite the witty copy you craft, simply recapping a popular blog post in a video can entice Facebook users to consume your content. It’s a low-barrier video anyone can create and share in minutes. And, the script practically writes itself!
  • Show off your company culture on Instagram: There’s no better place to get your feet wet with video than Instagram. Many businesses use Instagram to highlight their culture and feature people who work there and make it so special. In this space, it’s easy to combine both curated and candid content for your audience to get a feel for what your business is all about! The bar is low for super-produced content, so this is a great channel for experimentation.
  • Reply to a support-related question on Twitter: Take your customer support to another level by replying to support-related questions with video on Twitter. Forget the fancy gear, too. Yeah — you heard us! You can shoot any of these videos with only an iPhone and your own creativity.
  • Record a special announcement video: Sometimes the written word just doesn’t do a special announcement justice. Which is why video is the perfect medium for capturing your genuine excitement about any big news. Generate hype in a more human way around your business’ big sale or product reveal. Your authenticity will truly shine through and others will be able to feel it, too.
  • Answer FAQ in a video: Turn the way you normally answer FAQs from drab to fab! Using video to answer questions regarding when your business is open, holiday schedule, and other useful information can be a great way to inform your audience about any important happenings. You can even show off your brand personality at the same time.

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Alternatively, you can aim to shoot a more highly-produced video for your business that can be repurposed for multiple marketing channels in the new year (even on a shoestring budget!). Read our post, “Common Marketing Challenges (And How to Solve Them with Video),” and learn how you can overcome production and budget barriers.

By creating and promoting quality content on social media, you’re giving your content the opportunity to be seen by many. Who knows — your video just might land in front of someone who could turn into a loyal advocate of your brand!

How else can video help grow your small business? Well, hold onto your hats, because videos can be used to collect leads. That’s right, we’re talking about growing that coveted email list!

Creating videos you’re proud to share is the first step, but to add another log to the fire, you should think about how you can engage your viewers further once they’re on your site. Don’t let those leads slip away without a say! Now, you’re probably wondering which videos you should put a lead capture form on — great question, we’re glad you asked.

  • Top-of-funnel videos: These types of videos are intended to grab your viewer’s attention and make people aware that your brand exists. While people are getting to know you at this stage of the funnel, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on interactions by capturing leads. You can reach out to prospects in the future and possibly foster long-lasting relationships with your brand after collecting their email address. After all, consumer interest is fleeting. Keep in mind, this will likely get you the highest quantity of leads, but not necessarily the highest quality.
  • Bottom-of-funnel videos: For people who already have an idea of what your business is about and are located deeper in the buying process, “decision” or “bottom-of-funnel” videos are your best bet for converting those high quality leads. Focusing on answering people’s product or purchase-related questions with explainer videos can help you convert more qualified leads. And, if you place these videos on your product or purchase pages, you can be confident your content will get in front of interested prospects’ eyes.

Hook leads with the right tools

On most social networks or video platforms, you can include a CTA to direct people to your website, encourage them to click a link, or even subscribe to your YouTube channel all about your deep love of Swedish Fish. Quite frankly, the possibilities are endless. However, actually collecting leads from these videos becomes a bit trickier. When you host your videos on your own website, however, you have more control over the overall experience (and your ability to collect those precious email addresses!).

If you’re a Wistia user, you can easily add our nifty Turnstile feature to any video in your library and start collecting leads in no time. When you place your video on a landing page or blog post customized with Turnstile, you have a few options to choose from to get your prospect to complete a form. You can make your Turnstile appear at any point throughout your video, or you can have the overlay display “on hover.” With this new setting, you have the ability to collect leads without interrupting the viewer experience, making the form appear whenever a viewer moves their mouse over the player on desktop, or taps the video on mobile. Pretty neat, right?

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When it comes to social media, however, collecting leads with your video is a different story. When you share videos natively across different social platforms, Wistia features like Turnstile won’t be included in your post. That’s why it’s important to share videos on social media and your website, as they serve different goals and purposes on both channels. If you’re looking to drive more people to a video on your landing page, you can simply share a short clip and then add a link to your page so they can watch it in full!

“That’s why it’s important to share videos on social media and your website, as they serve different goals and purposes on both channels.”

Some small businesses out there experience growing pains when it comes to increasing visits to their site. If this sounds like you, video content can give you just the right SEO boost your site may be missing to start ranking higher in search engines ( … ahhh yes, that’s the stuff).

Ranking in search engines is a mysterious puzzle to wrap your head around — especially if you don’t consider yourself super tech-savvy. In the past, everyone preached that written content was king, but then Google began recognizing pages differently as the popularity of video marketing took off.

Web pages with quality videos are now considered rich with content compared to those with traditional text-only blog posts filled with keywords. But hey, don’t sweat it if this is news to you — it’s hard to keep track of all of these changes! Fortunately, we’ve learned a thing or two from this shift. Creating quality video content that’s valuable to your audience has a handful of positive effects on SEO.

Creating optimal videos for your site

With a little help from our friends over at Marketo, we know how Google ranks as well as tricks and tips for optimizing videos to get found. But remember, the most important thing is to make sure your video is actually valuable to your audience. These optimization tips won’t help you if your content isn’t engaging in and of itself.

As we mentioned before, videos are considered rich content on your web pages (which ranks well with Google). When people visit your site, seeing a video can influence them to linger around a little longer, which decreases your bounce rate, and gets Google to acknowledge people’s interest in the content you have to offer. And, if people love your video content, the likelihood that they’ll share it on social or in their own blog posts is much greater.

“When people visit your site, seeing a video can influence them to linger around a little longer, which decreases your bounce rate, and gets Google to acknowledge people’s interest in the content you have to offer.”

Here are some tips for how you can increase your video’s SEO-power today:

  • Add transcriptions or captions to all of your videos: At Wistia, our Interactive Captions feature can help boost engagement, give viewers more control, and make your videos more discoverable in search engines via keyword strategy. For instance, if you are trying to target people searching for productivity software, you can work relevant key terms into your video’s script such as “job performance,” “time management,” and “social media.” Besides boosting SEO, hear more about all the reasons why your videos should have captions in this post.
  • Make sure your video file has metadata: Like blog post metadata, these are the titles and descriptions that Google pulls to display in search results. According to Marketo, optimizing your titles and descriptions to include keywords that match user intent can encourage click-throughs. Customizing a captivating thumbnail also contributes to whether or not a prospect will perceive your content as valuable (and declare you the chosen one!).
  • Use a speedy video player: If you’re a Wistia user, luckily for you our Standard embed code takes the pressure off when it comes to slowww page load times so you can focus on improving the quality and authority of your website! The Standard embed code works with asynchronous JavaScript, which means the video player and all of the SEO metadata is loaded in the background, without holding up the rest of the elements on the page.

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Worrying about optimization might be the last thing on your small business’s mind. But, with the help of some handy tools and a video player that does all the dirty work for you, your company can focus on creating engaging content that will drive up your site visits in 2019!

We’re giving you and your small business a free pass this time around for not having a video marketing strategy in 2018. But, among your own new year’s resolutions, making videos to help grow your small business should be at the top of your list. There’s no better time to start expanding your reach on social media, collecting leads, and driving site visits with video than the present!

Whether you’re going to create snackable videos with your iPhone for Instagram, or collect leads to start establishing new relationships with consumers. Investing in video can finally help move the needle when it comes to your business’s growth in the new year. 2019 is your year to use video to grow your business. Now, go get your slice of the pie!



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Video Marketing

Why Your Content Strategy Should Target a Niche Audience (Not Potential Customers)

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As Raymond Williams once said, “There are no masses, but only ways of seeing people as masses.” As marketers, we tend to look at the world as three distinct masses:

  1. Existing customers
  2. Potential customers
  3. People who will never be customers

However, outside of our own lens, there’s usually nothing that unites the people within these groups. While, as a business, we tend to think of our potential customer base as a homogenous group of people who we can and should market to, this is rarely an accurate view of the world. In reality, those that are likely to buy our products and services are usually a hodgepodge of individuals from different communities and interest groups.

Marketing best practice engenders this skewed perspective. By doing keyword research, user interviews, and creating buyer personas, we’re building up a picture of the world as viewed by a fictional cohort.

“By doing keyword research, user interviews, and creating buyer personas, we’re building up a picture of the world as viewed by a fictional cohort.”

In the world of content marketing, we’re then tasked with the challenge of creating content that appeals to the interests of these people. But how can you create content that appeals to a group of people who don’t really identify as a group of people?

Let’s take a fairly straightforward example — the equally fictional musical instrument repair shop, “Don’t Fret,” run by our very own creative director.

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The potential customer base for Don’t Fret is people who need instruments repaired in Somerville, MA. There are probably two characteristics that unite this group:

  • They own musical instruments that need repair
  • They spend time in Somerville, MA

Other than that, everything else will be varied. Some of these people will be musicians themselves, some will have children who play, and some will be restoring antiques or family heirlooms. Some will have guitars, some will have cellos, and there might be the occasional oud in the mix. Some will be professionals who need a set-up to withstand regular touring, and others will be hobbyists who mostly play at home.

In short, even for a small local business like this, there’s not a whole lot that unites the entire customer base. If my task is to create content that will appeal to all customers, I’m stuck with a fairly narrow brief: I must create something that will appeal to harpists and lutists, amateurs and professionals, collectors and layman i.e. everyone, and therefore, no-one.

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It’s easy to see how trying to be all things to all people, even for a local business with a clear audience and value proposition, often leads marketers towards creating uninteresting and uninspiring content.

Target customers, so defined, are not a group of people you can create content for. It’s a made-up group of people, an abstraction that can be helpful for you in categorizing users and interactions, but one that typically doesn’t reflect anything tangible in the real world.

While it may be incoherent to think of potential customers as a group of people to create content for, there are invariably plenty of very real interest groups that can meaningfully be served by great content marketing.

What makes them good targets are a clear shared interest that spurs a great deal of conversation, with desires and challenges related to that interest. These groups will tend to coalesce around things that significantly contribute to an individual’s identity — subcultures, passions, culture, vocations, and causes.

“These groups will tend to coalesce around things that significantly contribute to an individual’s identity — subcultures, passions, culture, vocations, and causes.”

Our challenge, as marketers, is to identify these niche audiences by finding extremely active and passionate interest groups that are tangentially related to our customer base i.e. communities that a substantial number of our existing customers are a part of.

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For the “Don’t Fret” guitar shop, we can see how different communities based on professions and hobbies can intersect with the customer base to provide niche audiences that have clear desires, needs, and challenges as communities.

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Now, there are some fairly straightforward ways of discovering these types of niche audiences for your business.

Interview your customers

Rather than just asking for their opinions on your product or service, use this opportunity to find out what makes them tick. Ask them how they spend their free time, what kind of websites they regularly visit, what organizations they’re members of, and what communities they consider themselves a part of.

Mine subreddits

If there’s a subculture, there’s usually a subreddit. Explore the depths of Reddit to discover what kinds of topics your potential customers are regularly talking about.

Explore Twitter data

Use tools like SparkToro and Followerwonk to find out what topics and content your existing customer base are most readily engaging with on Twitter. Discover if there are any trends in how people identify themselves in their bios, and look at the content of tweets to determine the topics that ignite passionate reactions.

Increasingly, effective word of mouth distribution is not only a “nice to have” that can help things go viral, but an essential ingredient in ensuring any successful content marketing campaign. Unless your content is being shared organically, both on private social networks (e.g. Slack, Whatsapp) and public ones (e.g. Twitter, Facebook), then it simply won’t be found. Both search and social are becoming “winner takes all” games, and the winner is the content that secures the most organic interest.

Word of mouth is fuelled by conversation, so the crucial first step in securing word of mouth distribution is picking a niche audience that talks to one another.

talking

Unless you represent a sports team, your customers probably won’t talk to each other on a regular basis, so this necessitates moving as far away from this broad, all-encompassing audience as possible and towards a very focused target group.

The more niche your target audience, the more likely you are to be able to create the best content in the world for that community. There’s a wealth of content that’s created to loosely appeal to broad demographics and industries, but very little that’s made for the communities of a few thousand people who are super-passionate about specific things.

You create word of mouth by finding your nerds. Take again, our creative director’s fictional repair shop, “Don’t Fret.” We could create content about how to restring a guitar‚ which would appeal very loosely to most of our customers. But, there are a million and one tutorials online that explain how to restring a guitar, and ours would be adding nothing new to the pile, meaning very few people would care, and the content likely wouldn’t get found.

“There are a million and one tutorials online that explain how to restring a guitar and ours would be adding nothing new to the pile.”

However, if we decide to create some content about how to reduce humidity fluctuations in a dive bar, aimed at sound technicians, we’ll be creating genuinely unique content that’s extremely interesting just for the small subset of people who manage live sound at neighborhood bars and clubs around the world.

Because it will appeal to those folks specifically, this content will stand a better chance of being shared, and these sound engineers will grow an affinity towards our brand because we created something genuinely useful and interesting for them. They might then recommend us to the people they speak to regularly (musicians), who in turn discover and recommend us to those they influence, and so on.

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This content will then eventually lead to awareness and affinity amongst our target audience, even though the content is far too specific to be of interest to the vast majority of people who need an instrument repaired.

This is why, paradoxically, targeting extremely niche audiences, and making the best content in the world for them is the most scalable way to increase affinity amongst a broad base of potential customers.

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Season 1 is Done: Binge-Watch All of Brandwagon

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Phew, releasing our weekly talk show for marketers, Brandwagon, has been a super exciting ride (car pun intended). And if you’ve been keeping up for the last 10 episodes, you might’ve learned why Mailchimp is investing more in content and less in advertising, gleaned insights about building authentic brands from inspiring leaders like Lauren Fleshman, the Co-Founder of Picky Bars, and Nancy Dussault Smith, CMO of Hydrow, and you might’ve even learned why Rand Fishkin, co-founder of SparkToro, hates Google so much. Not only that, but you saw our team expense a ‘91 Volvo wagon and commission an artist to make it the ultimate — you guessed it — Brandwagon.

Binge-Watch Brandwagon

And if you haven’t been following along, we think it’s safe to say that you have some catching up to do. But, no need to spin those wheels! Now you don’t have to pump the brakes between episodes, because the entire season is out and ready to binge-watch. So, bust out the snacks, tune in at your desk (it’s an educational show, after all), and learn what it takes to build a memorable brand from experts in the marketing industry. Ready to binge-watch Brandwagon? Click below to hop on in to the first season!

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5 Key Takeaways from Season One of “The Brandwagon Interviews” Podcast

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If you’re a marketer and you like podcasts, then the first season of The Brandwagon Interviews might just be the perfect podcast for you. For 10 weeks, we invited 10 special guests from an array of industries onto the set of Brandwagon to talk about all things brand marketing with Wistia’s CEO, Chris Savage. From Mailchimp to UM Worldwide and Harpoon Brewery to ProfitWell, we’ve learned a lot from the masterminds behind these amazing brands.

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In this post, we’re highlighting the most valuable lessons learned from all the conversations that were featured on The Brandwagon Interviews podcast. Be sure to listen to each episode on your favorite streaming platform and read on for our key takeaways!

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

When Dan Kenary, CEO of Harpoon Brewery, and Mark DiCristina, Head of Brand at Mailchimp, dropped by our studio, they both knew what it was like competing in saturated markets. Despite being in different industries, Kenary and DiCristina knew that the best way to stand out amongst the competition was to differentiate their brands.

Harpoon Brewery was one of the first craft breweries on the East Coast. However, it wasn’t long before competition exploded in the craft brewery and microbrewery space. So, how did they differentiate themselves? Kenary explained that the company focused on building a strong brand and connecting with their customers. Even without flashy advertising, this strategy helped the brand cut through the competition. To differentiate themselves further, Harpoon also created a sub-brand called UFO, which helped the business appeal to a new segment and grow in unexpected ways. And today, knowing their brand like the back of their hand, Harpoon manages a house of five distinct brands all under the Harpoon umbrella.

In the early days of Mailchimp, a marketing automation software platform, the company wasn’t the biggest or well-funded fish in the sea by a long shot. DiCristina described how Mailchimp understood they wouldn’t be successful by playing the same game as everyone else. Instead of outspending other companies and competing with them on a dollar for dollar basis, DiCristina said, “ … our approach, which is really a credit to Ben, our CEO and co-founder, was to be as different as we possibly could and use our weakness as a strength.” Ultimately, DiCristina said what ended up helping Mailchimp stand out was their appetite for being weird and playful, and their belief in creating real connections with their customers.

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From the experiences of both Kenary and DiCristina, it’s clear that making your brand a key differentiator can help you stand out in markets where everyone is stuck in a similar mold. Let your brand communicate more about your values and trust that you’ll connect with the right folks.

The second lesson we learned was about consistency and why it’s a crucial part of the recipe for creating a strong brand. Veronica Parker-Hahn, SVP of Growth and Innovation at Effie Worldwide, and Dan Kenary of Harpoon had a few words to say about the importance of strategic rigor and remaining consistent.

Parker-Hahn began her career in the advertising industry, and over the past 15 years, she’s worked with major brands like DirecTV, State Farm Insurance, Reebok, and many more. Over the years, she’s learned that creativity is only a fraction of what builds a strong brand. Building a strong brand and creating an effective campaign starts with a deliberate, well-thought-out strategy. In addition to strategic rigor, you need to identify your values, and she emphasized, “ … what your brand stands for should permeate everything you do.”

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Kenary also shared similar sentiments about remaining consistent with your brand. At Harpoon, they built the brand under the banner, “Love Beer. Love Life.,” and to this day, they ensure every interaction they have with consumers is consistent with what they’re trying to represent. In Kenary’s mind, if you’re not consistent, your brand loses meaning and people stop paying attention. Whether it’s communicating with someone in customer service or hosting a seasonal festival, every touchpoint with the consumer matters.

So, when thinking about building a stronger brand for your business, remember to always start with a solid strategy. Then, when it comes to executing on that strategy, make sure you understand the audience you want to reach and what makes them tick. Stay super consistent with the values you want to convey, both internally and externally, and you’ll be able to create a well-loved brand with a ton of loyal fans.

“Stay super consistent with the values you want to convey, both internally and externally, and you’ll be able to create a well-loved brand with a ton of loyal fans.”

Speaking of knowing the type of audience you want to reach, it really helps to know your niche inside and out when building your brand. Lauren Fleshman, Co-Founder and CMO of Picky Bars, and Patrick Campbell, CEO of ProfitWell, have discovered the many benefits of appealing to a niche audience.

As a former Nike-sponsored athlete, Lauren Fleshman grew to become an exceptional storyteller. In order to renew sponsorship deals, she recognized the importance of marketing her values, and when she started her own business, she marketed Picky Bars in the energy bar industry leading with the brand’s values. Lauren believes brands should lead with their values because it helps you find out why people like you in the first place. Then, you can lean into your niche and trust your brand will build from there.

One of the ways Lauren dove deep into Picky Bars’ niche was by starting a podcast with her husband called Work, Play, Love, where they chat transparently about all the mess-ups and struggles they’ve encountered running the company so far. Not only do they talk about the business, but they also open up about their relationship and balancing all the chaos of regular day-to-day life, giving their audience an opportunity to have a deeper connection with them and the Picky Bars brand.

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At ProfitWell, a subscription software company, Patrick Campbell is appealing to a niche and building an engaged audience for the brand by creating binge-worthy video series. Along with their series Pricing Page Teardown, Subscription 60, The ProfitWell Report and Protect the Hustle, Campbell told Savage that ProfitWell has over 10 distinct shows in the works. Episodic video content has become one of ProfitWell’s primary marketing vehicles because traditional advertising campaigns and written content have become less effective for them over the past few years. Producing shows doesn’t guarantee more conversion, but they’re better at keeping their audience engaged with their brand, rather than aggravating them with intrusive ads.

Trying to reach a niche might sound counter-intuitive, but Campbell encourages people to get comfortable with marketing to niche audiences. You may not see the impact right off the bat, but there’s inherent value in developing an engaged audience over time.

For Picky Bars and ProfitWell, going all-in on their niche audiences has helped their business’ build better brand affinity than if they tried appealing to everyone. After all, the number of impressions you make with a campaign does not equal the number of people impressed.

Want to learn more about Brand Affinity Marketing? Check out our new four-step playbook for all the nitty-gritty details.

Throughout The Brandwagon Interviews, we also noticed that many of our guests were strong believers in taking risks and experimenting with new and innovative marketing tactics. When it comes to building a stronger brand and surviving (and thriving!) in any industry, risk-taking often seemed to be a necessary part of achieving success.

As the CMO of Hydrow, an in-home rowing machine company offering a live outdoor reality experience, Nancy Dussault Smith discussed why it’s important to make space for experimenting with different types of brand marketing tactics. Having worked with innovative products like Hydrow and Roomba in her career, Dussault Smith says she always dedicates a portion of her budget to testing things out, and that’s where she’s seen many wins come in. By using small victories from experimentation as proof, she’s convinced C-suite executives to take bigger swings with their investments when it comes to building a brand.

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Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-Founder of SparkToro, is no stranger to taking risks, either. After all, he ended up building an iconic brand around his “Whiteboard Fridays” video series at Moz simply because he was tired of writing blog posts week after week. In order to convince people at your company to get on board with investing more in brand-building activities, he recommends you show value early on and highlight the fact that your competition is already doing it. To urge higher-ups to invest even more in brand, he recommends putting together research and presenting it along with suggestions for next steps that’ll level the playing field. Similar to Nancy’s approach, Fishkin also said that making one small investment can be used as a proof-point to justify another small investment.

“In order to convince people at your company to get on board with investing more in brand-building activities, he recommends you show value early on and highlight the fact that your competition is already doing it.”

Over at UM Worldwide, a full-service media agency, Brendan Gaul, Global Chief Content Officer and Head of UM Studios, is exercising innovative thinking on a large scale and with a bigger budget. He pointed out that brands need to think of interesting new ways to connect with people because consumers are moving to ad-free platforms. For example, when Johnson & Johnson wanted to elevate the image of nurses around the world from doctor sidekicks to the heroes of healthcare, Gaul pitched a rather out-of-the-box idea for a documentary film called 5B. While this was certainly a risky investment for the brand, the documentary went on to win the Grand Prix for Entertainment at the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity. This big win validated the notion that brand-funded content can be accepted by audiences and that creative risk-taking can pay off for brands.

brendan

“He pointed out that brands need to think of interesting new ways to connect with people because consumers are moving to ad-free platforms.”

No matter what industry you’re in, getting comfortable with risk-taking and knowing how to convince others to get comfortable with it, too, is key. After all, in order to compete in a constantly changing marketing landscape, you have to innovate and take risks to stay relevant and stand out amongst the competition.

The final lesson we took away from the first season of The Brandwagon Interviews, is just how important it is to create content for your audience that offers real value. Mark DiCristina of Mailchimp, Brendan Gaul of UM, and Patrick Campbell of ProfitWell, all have something in common — their teams create engaging video content that helps build better brand affinity.

Recently, Mailchimp has been releasing short-form video series, films, and podcasts out of their own new content studio, Mailchimp Presents. DiCristina said, “Mailchimp’s mission has always been about empowering small businesses and helping them succeed and grow. We’ve always done that with software, but over the last couple of years, we began to feel like there are other ways that we can do that.” With content that inspires, motivates, and makes people feel like they’re not alone, Mailchimp Presents has developed a valuable platform for an audience of entrepreneurs, while increasing the amount of time people spend with their overarching brand.

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As we mentioned before, ProfitWell is also engaging niche audiences through multiple video series of their own. Not only is their content valuable for consumers, but they’ve also found value in repurposing clips for their marketing efforts. What ProfitWell is doing here is treating their video content like a product, which is advice we took to heart when promoting our own four-part docu-series, One, Ten, One Hundred (and spoiler alert, it worked!).

At the end of the day, consumers are able to sniff out content that’s solely based on trying to sell them more stuff, and people are keenly aware when brands are phony with their intentions. That’s why brands need to know when they have — or need to earn — permission to be a part of important conversations. For smaller companies, the need to create powerful content like the biggest brands can be overwhelming. But, approaching content humbly and understanding the value your company can genuinely offer to a niche audience will help you define your brand.

Now that you’ve heard from several masterminds behind amazing brands on The Brandwagon Interviews, get out there and put their wisdom to good use. From one marketer to another, establishing a strong brand in the modern marketing world is more important than ever. So, let these key takeaways guide you toward building a better brand and creating a more engaged audience who will stand by your business for a long time.

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