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5 Reasons Why 2020 Is the Year to Invest in Binge-Worthy Content

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In 2019, we watched TikTok explode with popularity among today’s youth. We also grappled with the fact that the athleisure trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (which is arguably more impressive). But here at Wistia, we were only focused on one big trend as we closed out the decade, and that was all the hype around binge-worthy content.

Brands like Mailchimp, Shopify, and ProfitWell all launched their very own show networks last year. And given their success, we’ll likely see even more brands follow suit in 2020.

Binge-worthy content is here to stay, but staving off the competition is only one reason why the trend won’t fade away like the once-beloved fidget spinner. Here are five other reasons why 2020 is the year to start creating video series and podcasts.

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Digital advertising and inbound marketing were once innovative ways to promote your brand — now they’re simply part of the status quo. For instance, due to a 113% increase in ad spend from 2014–2019, more than 25% of U.S. internet users in 2019 have ad-blockers enabled on their devices. Similarly, content marketing, the foundation of any successful inbound marketing strategy, has also experienced a similar uptick in adoption and decline in impact. While more than 4 million blog posts are published every day, only 5% of all the content created by businesses generates the majority of the engagement for brands. In other words, 19 out of 20 blog posts get little to no engagement.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of traditional digital advertising and content marketing will continue to wane as marketers cement these methods into the mainstream. That’s one of the reasons why investing in the creation of binge-worthy content like an episodic video series or a podcast can help brands stand out from the crowd.

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Marketers often assume the only competition they face is the rest of their industry. But with most people consuming work-related content before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m., almost every brand is in direct competition with an ensemble of media companies that, frankly, they don’t stand a chance against right now.

The sheer amount of high-quality entertainment that people can access with a click of a button is staggering. And the only way brands can compete in this battle for attention is by crafting content that their audience would actually consume on their own time — and not just because it’s for work.

“The only way brands can compete in this battle for attention is by crafting content that their audience would actually consume on their own time — and not just because it’s for work.”

Nowadays, people crave entertainment and media companies are more than happy to satisfy their appetite. With 23% of U.S. adults listening to podcasts daily or a few times per week and the average U.S. adult subscribing to 3.4 streaming services, it makes complete sense why Spotify plans to spend upwards of $500 million acquiring podcast companies and why Disney invested $2.6 billion to launch Disney+. They’re giving people what they want and now it’s time other B2B and B2C companies do the same.

Obviously it’s a bit unrealistic to expect brands to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, but we don’t necessarily have to. The demand for binge-worthy content bleeds over to the branded content space, so any content that’s more entertaining, creative, and unique than the standard blog post or social video will help to pique your audience’s interest.

As a business, creating content that’s so good people can’t help but want to watch or listen to more of it is still a pretty novel concept — which means there’s an opportunity to become an early adopter. As we’ve learned from Mailchimp and their early advertisement on the mega-popular podcast Serial, being one of the first businesses to take a risk on a new marketing tactic can be a real competitive advantage.

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Image by: FLICKR User TOMOSWYN

Staking a claim in this space now will enable you to cut through the noise faster and, in turn, grow a bigger, more loyal following than your competitor’s. But remember, it’s not about the volume or how fast you can churn out this type of content. The value truly comes from creating something entertaining that resonates with the right members of your audience. So, don’t rush out to launch your show without doing your homework first. Clearly defining your niche audience, your show’s concept, and how you’ll create your show is just as important (if not more!) than simply releasing it to the masses.

Effective storytelling is a difficult skill to master, but if you can hone your creative chops now, you’ll be able to future-proof your podcasts and video series. From coming up with a great idea to streamlining the creative process itself, it takes time to grow your storytelling skills. Making a commitment to pushing yourself creatively in 2020 is the first step to seeing success with binge-worthy content in the long run, so why wait to get started?

For Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, it took years of practice to consider himself a good content creator. “I always believed I didn’t start creating good content until after 1,000 blog posts. Creating great content is a process. You generally don’t catch lightning in a bottle,” he says in a Marketing Showrunners’ blog post. The importance of finding your voice and your audience as a content creator can’t be understated, and that process doesn’t happen overnight.

“The importance of finding your voice and your audience as a content creator can’t be understated, and that process doesn’t happen overnight.”

Great work takes time, and refining it takes even more time. So, start working on finding the best stories you can possibly tell right now. Otherwise, your video series may end up turning out more like Cats than Parasite.

Building a dedicated audience of fans for your brand is definitely a long-term game. However, the people who have invested early in the creation of binge-worthy content are already seeing a return on their investment. For example, the folks at ProfitWell have found that creating just one season of their show Pricing Page Teardown is actually cheaper than producing an eBook. Because they’re able to shoot several episodes of one season in a day, they’re able to create this high-value content, faster than an eBook, giving them ample content to share for the months to come.

More broadly, according to Patrick Campbell, CEO and co-founder of ProfitWell, “We’ve discovered that the life of an eBook had basically lost 80% of its velocity. Very similar to a blog post, you’d have one eBook do really well, and another do really well, and then one kind of do terribly.” Some businesses responded to this decline by simply creating more eBooks, but Campbell argues that doesn’t they’re necessarily maintaining the value that content brings.

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On the revenue side of things, Mailchimp has noticed that the people who have engaged with their shows actually buy their products faster and spend more money with them. Mark DiCristina, Head of Brand and Mailchimp, said, “We wanted that to happen. And we were expecting that to happen at some point, but from the minute we launched this content we noticed people were behaving differently.” Boasting low costs, a high revenue potential, and, in turn, healthy margins, binge-worthy content is one of the most effective — and fun — ways to grow your business.

The binge-worthy content space is still in its early days, but there are some clear indicators that prove it’s going to be one of the best ways to build a brand in 2020 and beyond. Getting started early by experimenting with different shows and formats can help you stay ahead of the curve, so don’t wait to get started with your very first video series or podcast!

If you’re looking for a place to start, be sure to check out some of our resources for creating binge-worthy content. To get the lay of the land, we recommend checking out our Brand Affinity Marketing playbook, and once you understand the principles of this strategy, be sure to check out our post about the types of video series your brand can make today. We can’t wait to see what types of shows you create, so be sure to share your progress with us along the way! Remember, the first thing you make probably won’t be your magnum opus, so there’s no time to waste. Get started today and learn how you can make the best binge-worthy content out there!

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Video Marketing

Get Inspired by These 4 Outdoor Brands Making Video Series

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When we say all industries are capable of getting into the game of producing engaging binge-worthy content, we’re not joking around! Take these four outdoor brands for example and see for yourself — Nordica, Salomon, Burton, and Eddie Baur have all started making entertaining video series that align with their values and attract niche audiences in the outdoor space. In this post, we’ll highlight the incredible work they’re doing and give you some insight into what you can learn about making a video series for your business after watching their show. Let’s go!

For skiers at every level looking for performance and comfort, look no further than Nordica for skis and boots. The Italian winter sports manufacturing company specializes in skiing and has a heritage dating back 75 years!

Recently, they created a series called It’s Family Time, which captures skiing as the common thread that brings families together. As described on their website, “It’s a lens into the ups, downs, and inspiring moments families create in the mountains. From first days on skis to unforgettable powder turns, skiing transcends generations and ties families together in an extraordinary way.”

After watching Nordica’s series, we thought their use of voiceovers was powerful for storytelling. If you’re working with non-actors, being on camera can be intimidating. That’s why we recommend voiceovers because you can capture someone’s story in a more authentic way. Paired with footage of action shots and people spending time with one another, we think Nordica successfully conveys how skiing is much more than just a winter pastime.

With a passion for outdoor sports, new technologies, and craftsmanship, Salomon creates progressive gear that enables folks to freely enjoy and challenge themselves in the great outdoors.

The brand creates gear for a breadth of sports, and they’ve created a library of video content for each activity. On their website, they have their own Salomon TV network with six different channels: Freeski & Touring, Running, Snowboard, Hiking & Mountaineering, Racing, and Nordic. And, each channel features short-form and long-form video series and movies.

If you explore the Running channel, you’ll find a movie about the Manitou Incline in Colorado, one of the state’s most famous hiking trails. Interested in the Hiking & Mountaineering channel? There, you can get wrapped up in the story of Megan Kimmel who traveled to Afghanistan to work with a group of Afghan women training to climb the tallest mountain in the country. Pretty neat stuff if we say so ourselves! And these are only two pieces of content among a sea of interesting stories you can watch on Salomon TV.

What we love about their video strategy is how they’ve segmented their content for several niche audiences. With multiple channels, they’re able to cast a wider net around people who are interested in a variety of outdoor activities. By highlighting all of their areas of expertise, they’ve opened the doors for more possibilities when it comes to show creation and building their brand.

For lovers of snowboarding, Burton is a brand you ought to know. Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards in 1977 and served a pivotal role in growing snowboarding into the world-class sport it is today. With the help of ambassadors who are world champions, innovators, and leaders in the sport, the brand has built a community and culture of its own.

To showcase some of the ambassadors who are part of the Burton Team, the company created a video series called Built On Boards. From a 13-year-old like Neko Reimer who’s one of Burton’s youngest team riders to the Olympic Snowboarder, Ben Ferguson, each episode highlights the journey of a different rider and how they’re shaping the future of snowboarding.

If you’re a viewer who’s passionate about snowboarding, this series could influence you to research Burton’s brand further based on the endorsements of these inspiring riders. In a way, these videos are unconventional case studies that don’t necessarily talk about how Burton’s products are being used, but show how they enable snowboarders to reach new heights.

Last but not least, Eddie Bauer is an active outdoor brand whose founder was an outdoor guide himself. For almost 100 years, they’ve continued to work with outdoor guides like Eddie as well as athletes to make gear that meets their rigorous needs. Their world-class team is in the field 365 days a year helping build and test the latest innovations in gear.

Mustang Mystery: Remote Climbing in Nepal is one of their series that follows Eddie Bauer mountain guide Melissa Arnot as she travels to the Upper Mustang region of Nepal to climb three newly permitted 20,000-foot peaks. Joined by fellow guide Ben Jones and filmer Jon Mancuso, they pioneer a new route in previously unexplored Himalayan terrain.

By showing guides like Melissa living out their adventures, people see how Eddie Bauer gear is really being tested out in the field to the extreme, which proves their dedication to innovation. For more content from the Eddie Bauer team, you can hear them discuss motivation, inspiration, partnerships, mentoring, and guiding in more series on their website.

Now that you know about four outdoor brands with binge-worthy content, we hope you’ll start imagining what a video series could look like for your business. Whether you’re another outdoor brand or in a completely different industry, video series can help you target a niche audience, show off your brand values, and make you stand out amongst the competition.

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The Bite-Sized Edition of the Brand Affinity Marketing Playbook

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If you’re keeping tabs on what we’ve been up to lately here at Wistia, then chances are the words brand affinity should sound pretty familiar to you by now. But, on the off-chance you’ve been able to maintain that New Year’s resolution of yours to spend less time online and need to get caught up to speed, here’s how we define the term:

  • Brand affinity is the most enduring and valuable level of a relationship between a business and consumer based on the mutual belief that they share common values.

In 2020 and beyond, we think it’s more important than ever for brands to focus on building brand affinity, not just awareness, in order to be successful in the long term. Some of the biggest brands across B2B and B2C are already doing this by creating binge-worthy content like podcasts and video series. So, how can small or medium-sized businesses like yours get in on the action? Luckily, our co-founders Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz discussed how brand affinity can be earned at our live-streamed event Change the Channel and introduced our four-step Brand Affinity Marketing Playbook that’ll help you start executing this strategy today!

Marketing is changing and brands have to change with it. Watch Change the Channel and hear from Wistia’s co-founders and expert guests about what every marketer must do to connect with their audience and build better brands.

In this post, we’ll give you a high-level overview of the key topics we cover throughout the Brand Affinity Marketing Playbook so you can get a sense of what you’ll learn. We’ll get into why current brand-building strategies aren’t as effective as they once were, why binge-worthy content is the key to getting people to spend more time with your brand, and much more. Let’s get started, shall we?

The problem many marketers don’t see when it comes to digital advertising is that ads alone don’t make people like you. As marketers, we need to collectively face the hard truth that it’s impossible to make potential customers fall in love with us at first sight.

Interrupting people with messages and short videos they didn’t ask to see is not behavior conducive to making them like us more — in fact, it makes them like us less. Sure, running an awareness campaign might ensure that people recognize or know of your brand, but brand awareness does not inherently lead to the creation of brand advocates.

“The problem many marketers don’t see when it comes to digital advertising is that ads alone don’t make people like you.”

These days, most customer-facing teams like product, sales, and support are often left to carry a lot of weight on their shoulders when it comes to building affinity for their brands with customers and prospects. These teams are foundational in building brand affinity, but they’re not scalable in terms of time. To paint a picture, on the sales side, we’re usually trying to decrease the time it takes to close deals. On the support side, although we love chatting with everyone and understanding their problems, we are also trying to be as efficient as possible.

That’s why we believe investing in a Brand Affinity Marketing strategy is the best way for businesses across an array of industries to create true fans of their brands, and ultimately scale that affinity that other teams across the business work so hard to build.

The first step to any effective Brand Affinity Affinity Marketing strategy is to identify your business’s niche audience. What does your brand stand for beyond your products and services? What values do you care about promoting to the world? When it comes to practicing a successful Brand Affinity Marketing strategy, identifying and understanding your business’s values on a core level is key to determining which audience is best for your binge-worthy content.

To determine the right niche audiences for your video series or podcast, you need to define who you’re speaking to, what you’re saying, and why they should care. It’s also important to note that the audience you choose for your binge-worthy show should extend beyond those who are in your potential customer base. In other words, you should aim to create buzz amongst a niche group of people that care about more than just your products or services.
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Once you have your positioning statement in order, the next step is to come up with the creative execution of your show. Now, as we mentioned before, it’s possible to execute this strategy with podcasts, short videos, books, blog content, and the like. Think through the type of show you want to make — interview-style, a gear review, docu-series? The world’s your oyster. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on the production of your series if the content isn’t grounded in a solid idea from the start, so make sure you get this part right!

When it comes to creating this type of content, you can trust that the right people will stick around to engage with your content because it resonates with them on an identity-based level. Some of these people might not be customers or even know about your brand before watching or listening to your show, which is the beauty of it all in the first place! With binge-worthy content, you can cast a wider (yet more niche) net and tap into new audiences while garnering more fans for your brand.

The next step in the Brand Affinity Marketing strategy is to distribute and promote your content like a media company would. Companies like Netflix and Disney are already in the business of aggregating, creating, and distributing content to the masses that helps them build audiences, so you’re going to want to take a page out of their book.

Your content doesn’t need to be available in full on social media in order for it to be discovered. In fact, the best approach to promoting your show on social media is to replicate the approach taken by broadcasters and media companies. Promoting trailers and snippets from your shows works well for driving folks back to your show’s home-base on your own site. Doing so ensures that users can find your content through search and recommendations, but that if they’re intrigued and engaged enough by your offering, they’ll move from a social channel to an owned channel.

“The best approach to promoting your show on social media is to replicate the approach taken by broadcasters and media companies.”

The fourth and final step in any Brand Affinity Marketing strategy is measuring the impact your binge-worthy content has had on your business. The more of your series people watch, chances are, the more connected they feel to your brand and your values. And the more connected they feel to your brand, the more likely they are to spread the word about your business, in turn creating the opportunity to build more brand affinity.

In order to be successful with your Brand Affinity Marketing strategy, you have to change the way you think about ROI to account for advocacy, rather than just awareness or conversion. To that end, there are three core metrics you should use to measure the success of your shows over time: Brand Search Impressions, Time Watched, and Subscribers. Based on these metrics, you can get a better sense of how your audience is behaving and engaging with your content over time.

People’s affinity for your brand relies on their relationship with you. Just like relationships between two people, relationships take time to build and become stronger. They don’t usually happen overnight, which is why investing in finding ways to increase the amount of time people spend with your business is the key to growing relationships.

With a long-term Brand Affinity Marketing strategy in place, businesses are able to create stronger, more personal connections with their niche audience — and their niche audience’s friends. In the end, chances are these loyal fans will be happy to talk about and recommend your business — and your content — with the people they already know and trust. And thus, the positive word of mouth cycle continues ad infinitum.

Now, this was just an overview of what the playbook has in store for you. So, what are you waiting for? Jump into the Brand Affinity Marketing Playbook today.

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Video Marketing

4 Creative Promotion Strategies to Borrow From the Media Industry

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Last year, we witnessed what some may call a revolution in content creation. Rather than adhering to the status quo and continuing to produce stand-alone articles to educate our audiences, we started emulating the media industry by crafting long-form, episodic video series and podcasts to entertain them.

However, while this is certainly one giant step in the right direction, it’s not enough to just create this content. If we want to create content like media companies, we have to market it like them, too! From leveraging social media trends to creating behind-the-scenes video content, here are four creative marketing examples that the media industry has used to promote some of its most popular shows and films. We’ve also extracted relevant takeaways from these examples so you can apply them to your own marketing strategy. Let’s get right to it!

To promote the first season of their hit show You, Lifetime crafted a video of one of the most suspenseful scenes from its first season — Joe casually starting a relationship with Beck by scooping her out of the way of an oncoming train. I don’t know about you, but I was practically screaming at the screen when I saw this (“Beck, grab his hand … no, for real, grab it now!”). Have a look for yourself:

Even though this video is already captivating and terrifying on its own, You’s social team took this opportunity to start a conversation with their viewers and drum up some engagement. In the post’s description, they ask their audience to share their craziest stories about how they met a significant other, a relatable and intriguing question that You’s audience couldn’t help but answer. The post itself generated over 3,400 reactions and 1,500 comments on Facebook alone — pretty impressive!

Key takeaway:

If you want to take this page out of You’s social media marketing playbook, identify one of your video series’ most interesting, insightful, and relatable themes. You can pinpoint these themes by examining your brand values and defining your audience’s problems. Then, find a snippet of your video series that covers this theme and ask your audience to share their own experiences relating to it!

Asking people to talk about themselves is a surefire way to garner engagement and, in turn, boost your post’s organic reach. In fact, talking about yourself activates the parts of the brain that also light up when you eat delicious food, so this is an effective way to make people feel good when they interact with your brand and build a loyal, passionate audience.

One of The Good Place’s most beloved and hilarious running gags is its characters’ inability to curse when they’re in heaven. Naturally, the show’s marketing team crafted a highlight reel of The Good Place’s characters saying fake curse words (spliced in with some commentary from the actors themselves) and shared it on their Facebook page. You’re going to enjoy the fork out of this one:

Showcasing the actors’ love for these fake curse words is an effective way to make their audience feel like they have something in common with these top celebs. As we always say here at Wistia, being human and showing building a true connection with your audience is your best bet for gaining loyal fans for your brand. With this video, The Good Place was able to forge an even stronger connection between the talent and the audience, racking up over 2,200 reactions and 100 comments.

Key Takeaway:

When focusing on highlighting one of your video series’ running gags or common topics, create a video that peels back the curtain and reveals its true origin or why your actors or hosts admire it in the first place. It’ll make for an insightful video about a topic that your audience is already interested in and passionate about. If you need some additional inspiration, check out our documentary-style video about how we built the Brandwagon for our talk show for marketers: Brandwagon.

Now, this one might sound a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how often marketers overlook this — don’t be shy about your successes! While it might feel like giving yourself a pat on the back, you should always share the wins your series has accrued overtime online as social proof.

Take Marriage Story, for example. One huge reason the film skyrocketed in popularity was that it kept earning nominations and winning awards. And while that might sound like circular reasoning, if they hadn’t shared all that acclaim with the world, we never would’ve known about it in the first place. Posting a photo to social media that shows all of the Golden Globe nominations the movie received provides even more proof that it’s a film worth watching.

Key takeaway:

If your video series has earned awards, critical acclaim, or even just positive audience feedback, promote it on social media and on your blog. With countless pieces of content screaming for your audience’s attention every single day, social proof is one of the most effective ways to cut through the noise.

Humans evolved in tribes, so we naturally believe the “group” knows better than the individual. Thanks to that psychological phenomenon, the more social proof backing up the quality of your video series, the more likely people will give it a shot.

The typical marketing distribution playbook — publish a blog post, send an email, and post to social media — is a bit outdated and stale, especially when promoting binge-worthy content. Fortunately, arming yourself with these creative marketing strategies will allow you to cut through all the content clutter and build more hype for your video series than Baby Yoda did for The Mandalorian.

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