“Restaurants are content creators,” Sweetgreen co-founder Jonathan Neman said in a 2018 interview with Recode. “[O]ur salads are our hits.”
B2B companies are also starting to view themselves as brands and platforms that provide greater value than just their products or services. Many are creating branded shows like podcasts, video series, and documentaries; others are building interactive experiences; and some are even creating alternate brands and products in order to reach new audiences. But if you want your audience to grow, it’s not enough to just create great content — you need to consistently connect with people over the topics your content touches upon.
Successful B2C brands like Sweetgreen, Casper, and Glossier know a thing or two about getting audiences to talk about their content, whether that’s salads, sleepless nights, or beauty regimens. Why not take a page out of the B2C audience-building book when it comes to expanding your own audience as a small business? It may sound a little daunting at first, but the pay off for your business is worth it in the long run.
Sweetgreen was started from three college students’ desire to get healthy food, fast, and has grown into a tech unicorn with a $1B valuation. There’s a lot Sweetgreen has gotten right, from its online ordering system to the way the company manages supply chains for different regions. Beyond logistics, the brand has started its own music festival and even runs a health education program. But how does Sweetgreen stay top of mind with its diners? Regular menu changes.
Sweetgreen has core salad offerings, but the stores update menus each and every season — plus, menus are adapted to reflect local climates and preferences. If the core salads are Sweetgreen’s hits, the new salads are remixes.
Sweetgreen relies on user data and focus groups to make menu decisions and tries to anticipate when a menu change will make people unhappy. To communicate the change, the company will send out emails to people who regularly order a particular salad that’s being retired. This attention to detail, proactive outreach, and customer TLC pays off in the positive responses the brand gets on social media — and through the growing lines at stores. The constant refreshes and improvements have helped Sweetgreen grow a cultish following over the years.
Just look at the number of searches “sweetgreen menu” has gained over time:
So, how can you keep your B2B content fresh and exciting for your audience, just like Sweetgreen does with their salads?
- Deliver new content regularly. Sweetgreen is able to secure brand loyalists and grow its audience by delivering fresh content on a seasonal schedule. The anticipation is part of the fun for longtime fans, and the new offerings open the brand up to new ones.
- Be local and personal. When dreaming up new content ideas, ground your research in the communities you’re trying to reach. Sweetgreen does over a year of in-person research in new markets to find out what to put on menus. The only way to create a message that resonates is to actually talk to people.
- Overcommunicate changes. If you’re delivering something new or different to people, tell them exactly why you’re doing it and what folks can expect. Send people individual messages and create lots of social, blog, and video content to support the new directions you’re taking.
Tailoring the content you create — whether that’s a blog post, a podcast, or a video series — to your audience based on research, focus groups, and surveys is a sure-fire way to make your content resonate on a personal level. Don’t be afraid to change things up — it may be the fuel your word-of-mouth engine needs to really get going.
A lot of marketers talk about zeroing-in on pain points and trying to alleviate them for their customers. But how far would you be willing to go to connect with your target audience over a pain point? Mattress company Casper has centered its extensive storytelling efforts over the years on sleep health and science, going as far as staying up late to talk to people with insomnia every night.
“Casper has centered its extensive storytelling efforts over the years on sleep health and science, going as far as staying up late to talk to people with insomnia every night.”
Casper’s Twitter feed, with 114K followers, is the brand’s direct line to its audience. One Shorty Award-winning tactic Casper used to build its audience was to tweet bedtime stories, using the hashtag #linksomnia, to people who were complaining of sleeplessness late at night.
The insomnia story continued in 2016 when Casper created a bot and a toll-free hotline to entertain people at night. Neither the bot, Insomnobot-3000, nor the hotline mention Casper, but both got people talking in the press and on social.
The bot had a lot of personality, leading people to post screenshots and send them to the brand:
Casper also publishes helpful and humorous articles about insomnia on its various publishing platforms, including Casper’s wellness site, Woolly, and the mattress-review site Sleepopolis, which Casper doesn’t technically own (it helped finance the site’s acquisition by JAKK Media in 2017). The company also sponsors a podcast, The Insomnia Project, to help people fall asleep. In many ways, Casper is becoming a go-to source for insomnia information online.
So, how can B2B brands keep audiences awake (pun intended) and engaged with their content just like Casper does?
- Join and start conversations directly on social. Chances are you’ve already identified the main problems plaguing your audience (if you haven’t yet, check out this post and learn how to identify what makes your audience tick). Don’t be shy about introducing yourself to the people participating in the conversations happening on social media. Or alternatively, start a new conversation with a branded hashtag that will make responses easy to follow. Be sure to contribute positively with knowledge, helpful tips and tools, or entertaining tidbits, like Casper does.
- Go cross-platform. From tweets to bots to podcasts, Casper has gone deep on the issue of insomnia. They’ve successfully made their brand the center of conversations about sleeplessness all over the web. Think about diversifying your content creation efforts — don’t just share posts on your blog. Think about where else people are consuming content and spread the word there.
- Read the room. While much of Casper’s insomnia content is lighthearted, the issue of insomnia isn’t exactly funny. Casper’s content toes the line between serious and playful, joking around about late-night cravings and TV binges, but also letting people know they’re not alone. If you’re taking on serious issues in your content, be friendly and approachable, but above all else, respectful with your tone.
Engaging with people around a pain point builds intimacy with your audience and that closeness contributes to growth. Opening up a conversation around a particular issue establishes trust and makes people feel more comfortable sharing their concerns with you. Because Casper has made the effort to be a part of these conversations around sleep health, their brand has become part of the greater wellness movement.
“Opening up a conversation around a particular issue establishes trust and makes people feel more comfortable sharing their concerns with you.”
As brands across the B2B world start to act more like media companies, it’s important that we learn from what B2C companies have already done before us. Want to start growing your audience with the content you create? That’s great! Jump into the conversations they’re having in real time, listen to what your audience wants and needs more of, and celebrate them when they show up for your brand.
Whether you invest in a video series, a podcast, or even a documentary, the goal is to build up trust in your brand just like you would with your product. At the end of the day, audience building is all about sharing ideas (and feelings) with the right people and creating a brand relationship that stands the test of time.
4 Ways to Make Your Wistia Channel Shine
If you’ve decided that Wistia Channels is the best place to showcase your videos on your site, then you’ll be pleased to know you’re already on the right track for building an engaging brand. When it comes to setting up your Channel for success, all it takes is a little attention to detail on your part to truly make your content shine in the eyes of your viewers.
In this post, we’ll cover exactly how you can make a beautiful, brag-worthy Wistia Channel for your business. From name-picking and color-matching to thumbnail creation and embedding, there are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your Channel to improve the overall presentation of your content. Keep reading to learn how you can leave your audience impressed and coming back for more!
Whether you’re in the pre-production stages of your business’s first branded series or you’re grouping together related content under one roof, choosing a name for your Channel is a major decision. The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive. When it comes to landing on the perfect name for your Channel, there are three key factors you should consider: branding, discoverability, and shareability.
“The name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you receive.”
Here’s how we break these three factors down:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your Wistia Channel will help you grow your audience and brand over time. Head on over to this post to dig a little deeper into these terms and learn more tips for simplifying the process of picking a Channel name that positions your brand for success!
As we mentioned before, branding is a super important factor for naming, but it also plays a big role in how your business and your content are visually perceived. You want to leave a positive first impression, right? Luckily, with Wistia Channels you have the ability to choose a font and color scheme that aligns with your company’s existing brand, set thumbnails to match, and even upload an eye-catching header.
To customize the look of your Channel to align with your brand:
- Select “Edit” and “Banner” to add a video header (which will loop silently at the top of your Channel) or upload a static banner image
- Click “Text” to add a project title and description, and change the font to match your site. While you’re there, switch up the size to whatever you fancy as well!
- Click “Color” and use the picker to change the overall color scheme.
You can also choose between Light or Dark Mode for your Wistia Channel depending on the look and feel of your brand (and the content you have displayed). When you’re viewing a project, simply go to Edit > Color > Background to modify this setting. It’s as easy as flipping a switch!
For your banner, instead of a static image, you have the option to throw in a looping video background as we mentioned before. Want to see this feature in action? Check out how Nextiny, an inbound marketing and sales agency, uses a snazzy looping video to showcase their content and intrigue visitors on their site.
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can find a few more examples of Channels we love in this post. These aesthetic changes may seem small, but they’ll ultimately lend to a more sleek-looking collection of videos for your site.
Once you’ve got some action on your Wistia Channel, don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the contact information of the folks interested in consuming your videos. While you’re customizing your Channel, you also have the option to add an Email Collector — not just any old Email Collector, but one that comes in a few flavors. Aside from requiring viewers to enter their email in order to view your content, we have two Email Collector options you can start experimenting with today. The first option is called “Overlay on hover.” Here’s an example from Zaius to showcase what this looks like in reality:
In this scenario, an email collection form will overlay when someone hovers over your video with their mouse. Your video will keep playing while displaying several fields, including a place for folks to enter their names as well as text fields you can customize, depending on the Call to Action that makes the most sense in the given context — something like, “Enter your email address to view this video.” The second option is “Conditional,” which means each video will maintain the email collecting pre-sets you’ve already set up in your Wistia account when the content is embedded on your Channel.
Using Email Collectors is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your Wistia Channel. You can bet the people who enter their information are interested in the value you offer and will be more likely to check out future content you create. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with them more often and let them know when you’ve got a new video for them to watch!
A Wistia Channel is only as great as the sum of its parts — names, colors, fonts, banners, email collectors and more all add up to create a beautiful video collection you’re proud to share. Start engaging your audience with the videos you’ve worked so hard to create and build stronger brand affinity in the long-run. We’d love to see your next Channel out in the wild, so be sure to throw a link to it in the comments below!
7 Examples That Show the Best of Long-Form Video
Whether it’s the hottest new web series or an in-depth TED Talk, people love to watch long-form video — and businesses are catching on to the trend.
Unlike shorter, product-centeric videos, long-form content offers companies the opportunity to show their commitment to their mission and connect with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level. Longer content also enables intensive educational experiences for the viewer, whether the video covers exciting industry trends or specific approaches to tackling problems.
What does “long-form” video really mean? To put it simply, long-form videos are a type of video content that are usually longer than 5 minutes in duration.
We put together a list of long-form video series and one-off productions to showcase how companies live and breathe their values through video. Small to medium-sized businesses can use this list of branded content to get inspired when it comes to creating content for their own brands. Let’s get into it!
InVision is swinging for the fences with long-form video. On their blog, Inside Design, InVision shares videos about design trends and tips, many explaining how to use Sketch and get the most out of it. InVision’s site is filled with robust product tutorials, but these pieces focusing on larger, fundamental design principles — between two and seven minutes long — will help anyone strengthen their overall design foundation. The company has even created a full-length documentary about design thinking at IBM called “The Loop.”
InVision’s stated mission is to help users create digital content that people love, so it’s fitting that the company offers viewers new strategies and approaches for designing that go beyond merely using their own tools. The longer format allows viewers to learn the details involved in the execution of new techniques.
- Design Systems Manager Master Class: In this two-hour, 6-episode series, InVision explores how to create a design system for an entire organization, from start to finish. It taps three design experts to walk through the challenges of product design at scale.
- Design Disrupters: In this series, InVision showcases top designers at the world’s smartest companies and dives into how design has become the new language of business in the 21st century.
With the shift to long-form video, InVision shows they are true leaders in the field of design — not just a tool for designers.
On their Price Intelligently blog, ProfitWell conducts video “teardown” case studies, in which they focus on one to three company pricing pages and talk about what works and what needs improvement. Videos usually feature a lighthearted (though occasionally heated!) conversation between executives Patrick Campbell and Peter Zotto and typically are just under 10 minutes long.
ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand. Rather than focusing on their own software, ProfitWell’s teardowns appeal to aspiring entrepreneurs and startup leaders looking to discover best practices from successful companies and competitors.
“ProfitWell’s long-form videos are conversational, appealing to viewers who gravitate toward podcasts or other content that affords hosts the chance to riff on their knowledge and the topic at hand.”
The longer format of these videos enables hosts to slowly walk viewers through the pricing pages in question, ensuring that the pace of the content can fit a wide number of learning styles. There’s a healthy mix of commentary and visual aids made with original data, which shows that the company is committed to making the most of the long-form branded video format.
Mailchimp’s core focus is email marketing, but their target audience is far more broad than just those interested in sending tons of emails. Experienced business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike may find inspiration in the “Mailchimp Presents” video series.
Using high-quality production techniques and clever editing, the videos attach Mailchimp to buzzworthy brands and their founders who, incidentally, use email to communicate with customers. The style of the videos is closer to an independent documentary than to a typical SaaS product video, giving viewers a chance to sit back and enjoy a theatrical glimpse into creative spaces and minds.
- Hamburger Eyes: In this documentary, we get a behind-the-scenes look at a one-man photography project that evolved into a thriving community of artists based in San Francisco. Mailchimp knows its audience and stays true to its brand by focusing on a creative-centric topic that anyone with a pulse and an appreciation for photography could get behind.
- Taking Stock: A fictional video series about a young female photographer navigating the complexities of agency life, Taking Stock delves into the realities of working in the world of tech and design, giving viewers a chance to see inside the life of a creative. We learn much about the subject’s life here — what drives her, what a typical day looks like — helping the viewer associate Mailchimp with the driven professionals who make the world of entrepreneurship thrive.
Mailchimp has been a visionary brand when it comes to creative storytelling. Ever since they sponsored the first season of Serial, the company has attached itself to big ideas, and, through their own example, they’ve proved that every business can affect a wide audience if they tell a powerful story.
Intercom features videos regularly on its blog, with experts speaking on topics like support, growth, product, and design. Many of the videos are talks that the team and others have done at different conferences, which is a great way for people to see talks that they weren’t geographically capable of attending.
Intercom’s videos educate viewers on new ways to approach Intercom’s core competency — customer support and communication — in a format that encourages in-depth exploration and tutorials. Instead of merely chopping up key takeaways from the talks, long-form video enables the brand to include the overall conference context, linking together key concepts and materials.
- 5 lessons learned from growing a support team: In this conference video, Intercom’s customer support lead, Sharon Moorhouse, shares five lessons that the company has learned as it has scaled its support operations. It’s meant to engage growing companies, regardless of the industry, and appeal to audiences that may lie outside of the scope of Intercom’s typical customer profile. Sharon’s talk is engaging and packed with visual examples, making the most of the video format and capturing the energy and excitement that she brought to the conference.
Conferences are affirming experiences, where people in the same field can form new connections, get new ideas, and become excited about trends and developments. Intercom’s focus on opening up their otherwise siloed conference material gives audiences a chance to connect with the brand even if they’re far away from the talks or sessions. It shows the company living out its mission of “keeping business personal” by opening up access to the conference experience.
Patagonia makes documentary-style videos about real people doing the things they love and excel at in the outdoors. The videos are extremely high-quality, featuring breathtaking visuals and rare glimpses of some of nature’s best vistas.
Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet. It’s hard not to fall deeper in love with the earth after watching these pieces, and viewers certainly can see that the brand is about far more than just making outerwear and camping gear.
“Instead of merely focusing on their well-loved products, Patagonia’s longer-form content serves as an inspiring reminder of the brand’s central ethos — saving our planet.”
- Wolfpack: This video follows the training efforts of a group of trail runners living in isolation. Drone shots and ultra-slow-motion close-ups abound, giving the pieces a cinematic quality that is certain to move viewers on an emotional level. The family’s extreme choice to live in the wild is likely outside the desires of most of Patagonia’s customers, but their way of life can inspire viewers to think about how to better connect with planet Earth.
- Takayna: Takayana (Tarkine) is one of the last remaining old-growth rainforests in the world, yet it’s increasingly threatened by mining and other destructive activities. This video highlights the beauty and fragility of the landscape by intercutting meditative shots of flora and fauna with images of devastating excavation and logging. Patagonia is clearly living its mission here — seeking to save the planet by raising awareness about protecting one of our most precious earthly resources.
Patagonia’s mission is one of the most ambitious of any brand out there, and that’s what makes them so successful. By taking a stance on major issues and creating beautiful visual content, they’re proving to an audience why it’s cool to care about more than just clothes and gear. To change the world, Patagonia is leading by example.
Many beauty brands rely on mere testimonials to push their products. But Glossier opts to show how their products weave neatly into the lives of their customers. They have a series called “Get Ready with Me” (based on the popular)YouTube trend that follows the morning routine of influencers and creatives. The hashtag for the campaign — #GRWM — encourages customers to create their own content and further engage with the brand.
The pieces also have a casual instructional approach, giving them an educational component that goes beyond a shorter “how-to” piece. They’re showing you how to create a look rather than telling you how to do it.
- Get Ready With Me: feat. Annahstasia + Glossier: Here, an influencer’s morning routine is shown in real time. In several meditative shots, the camera lingers over Annahstasia going about her morning. It’s easy to imagine someone watching this piece they start their own day to find inspiration and calm from the emotional music and beautiful cinematography.
Glossier, known for its colorful Instagram account and vibrant pop-up stores, creates a calm atmosphere throughout their videos. They create intimacy with the way their videos are shot, and that intimacy will contribute to a long-lasting and better customer relationship than a typical advertisement or commercial.
Over the years, Airbnb has evolved beyond being just a website for booking rooms and homes, becoming a platform for finding community through unique experiences. Recently, Airbnb launched an Adventure series featuring hosts and people from all over the world. By focusing on the curated experiences offered through Airbnb’s “Adventures” programs, the brand helps establish itself as far more than a travel app.
- Six Strangers: In this 12-minute video, six strangers take an unexpected trip together. Like the other pieces in this series, the length of this video enables a more TV-like viewing experience that mirrors popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and Survivor.
Through their long-form videos, Airbnb is expressing one of their most significant brand values: “Belong anywhere.” The Adventure series is all about breaking down barriers to find out what people have in common with each other. When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.
“When people think of Airbnb in this way, the company starts to symbolize connections between people, not just cool destinations.”
More and more brands are reaping the benefits of thinking (and acting!) like media companies. With the wealth of high-quality content vying for their attention, viewers are demanding highly engaging work from companies they encounter. Investing in rich long-form content enables brands to tap into the growing binge-watching habits of their followers while expressing the values that matter most to them and finding deeper ways to connect with customers.
Introducing “Brandwagon”—It’s like a Talk Show, but for Marketers
These days, it’s harder than ever to be successful with your marketing campaigns. From keeping up with ever-changing SEO tactics to shouldering the burden of growing advertising spend to shouting into the void that is social media, it can feel like even your most successful initiative is, well, kind of a flop.
That’s why I’m super excited to introduce you to Brandwagon, Wistia’s newest series from the team that brought you One, Ten, One Hundred. As the host of this talk show for marketers, I’m going to be chatting with business leaders who are doing things differently when it comes to marketing their businesses and building their brands. Find out how they’re seeing such success and learn what tactics they’re using to stand out in a sea of “meh” marketing.
Hop on the Brandwagon and come along for the ride each week as we uncover what’s working in the world of modern marketing. The first episode hits the road this summer, so be sure to enter your email below to stay in the loop and get notified when new episodes come out.
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