What comes to mind when you think about “content marketing.” Writing and promoting blog posts? Maybe crafting compelling copy for email or social media?
While content marketing has strong ties to written formats, the entire concept of “content marketing” has evolved to encompass so much more. Video series, podcasts, blogs that incorporate video and/or audio elements — many marketers have started to embrace creativity to deliver a great content experience.
Why the shift? For starters, marketers are challenged with creating compelling content that resonates with audiences across any device. And with shrinking attention spans and mounting distractions, marketers have shifted their focus from written content and embraced a more diverse approach to communicating with their audiences. People simply want to see and hear more from brands and connect on their own terms.
Today’s top brands understand they need to provide more than a blog to stay competitive and relevant as a trusted provider. To futureproof content for years to come, brands must diversify their approach to content marketing. But what does that really mean for marketers? Let’s take a look!
No type of content can deliver a brand message quite like video. It can hold our attention and increase our engagement with a brand. It can move us emotionally and teach us important lessons through storytelling. It’s the closest thing to actual human interaction, and, perhaps, that’s what makes it so impactful.
Believe it or not, videos have become the most frequently used medium by brands, surpassing blogs and infographics. Video is now the number-one form of media used by companies in their content marketing strategies.
“Videos have surpassed blogs and infographics to become the number-one form of media used by companies in their content marketing strategies.”
This trend makes sense when you consider stats around viewership. Video consumption has risen significantly in recent years. We’ve even seen this trend at Wistia. In Q1 of 2020, we saw 2.6 million hours of video watched per week. Not bad, right? In Q2 of 2020, that number increased by 120% to 4.6 million hours of video watched per week.
One reason for the boost in viewership is that younger generations crave video content. In fact, one in two Millenials and Gen Zers have said they “don’t know how they’d get through life without video.” In the eyes of younger generations, video is king, and there’s no substitute for it. And if you consider that these generations will make up the future majority of content consumers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say these video-watching habits are here to stay.
High-profile brands have already taken note of this boom, especially with long-form video content. In the fashion industry, brands like Vans, Refinery29, and Nike are leveraging video to go behind-the-scenes and tell interesting stories. Among travel giants, players including Expedia and Marriott have launched everything from picturesque destination travel guides to action-packed short films. In the food and beverage world, Taco Bell and KFC are among brands experimenting with uber-creative video formats that appeal to their young target demographic.
And the B2B world isn’t far behind. Moz was well ahead of the curve with their innovative Whiteboard Friday series that took the SEO world by storm. Other brands, like Salesforce, InVision, and Shopify have all embraced long-form video content as well.
Putting together video content can seem like a tall task, but start by crawling before walking. If you’ve never done any video content for your brand, check out our beginner’s guide to video production. This guide highlights all the essential foundational steps you need to take before filming a high-quality brand video.
Podcasts are paving the way for an audio renaissance, and listenership is stronger than ever. Monthly podcast consumption in the United States rose from 32% in 2019 to 37% in 2020 for the highest monthly listenership yet, an upward trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
“Podcasts are paving the way for an audio renaissance, and listenership is stronger than ever.”
One reason behind podcasts’ popularity is that the medium is extremely convenient. People can consume a podcast wherever they are and whenever they want — relaxing, cleaning, working out. There’s really no limit to when and where you can listen to a podcast.
And from a brand’s perspective, podcasts are a low-lift form of content. Unlike studio-quality video content, podcasts require a relatively simple setup, with only a microphone and recording software needed to start. If you’re not sure how to get started, we can help you out on the audio storytelling front with our podcasting platform.
If you’re looking to do a branded podcast, start with a core concept and build it out from there. Many of today’s best audio shows weren’t totally polished and perfect when they first launched. Use early episodes as learning opportunities to find out what works and what doesn’t work for your podcast.
And remember, your audio content doesn’t need to be cut-and-dry. Many branded podcasts blur the lines between marketing and entertainment, with popular B2B brands like Buffer and HubSpot delivering podcasts outside of their immediate industry expertise.
As long as you’re delivering a podcast that your audience wants to hear, give yourself time to fully hone in on the finer production details later. Think of it as a TV pilot. It’s an opportunity to hook your audience with great content, but there might be some cast and crew tweaks down the line once the show gets picked up.
68% of marketers experienced budget cuts in 2020 that averaged 19% across the board. With fewer resources, companies are scrambling to find creative ways to reach new customers without relying on paid channels. Brands are starting to see the value in marketing like a media company — creating binge-worthy content across multiple formats and driving audiences to a central, controlled location to consume content.
While you may not be selling ads or subscriptions to your content like a true media company, you still want to move audiences to an environment where you can capture as much engagement as possible rather than constantly battling for attention against the latest viral videos. Brand affinity increases with time spent, not the number of touchpoints, and captivating content is central to this strategy.
“Brand affinity increases with time spent, not the number of touchpoints, and captivating content is central to this strategy.”
This shift to a media mindset is really designed to help brands own their audience. Many companies have relied heavily on third-parties like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and now TikTok to share great content and acquire followers. The problem is — those platforms technically own that audience. Your brand has no way of communicating directly with those followers.
We’re not knocking social media — the platforms can be powerful tools to reach and communicate with new audiences. However, leveraging the platforms to build your own subscriber base is key to building and nurturing long-term affinity, and having great content is the best way to attract and retain your raving fans.
“Leveraging social media to build your own subscriber base is key to building and nurturing long-term affinity, and having great content is the best way to attract and retain your raving fans.”
Let’s explore MailChimp as a shining example of this strategy. The email marketing platform has a robust resource center chock full of valuable written content and interactive assets, but they also supplement that content with a complete network of video series and podcasts.
MailChimp Presents features more than 25 unique shows that cover the spectrum of their unique niche audiences. Popular shows include Going Through It, a podcast hosted by Tracy Clayton that speaks with notable black women on pivotal moments in their life. And, All in a Day’s Work, an animated series that explores the ups, downs, and sometimes-painful truths of life as a small-business entrepreneur.
MailChimp has gone all-in on content to educate, entertain, and ultimately connect with their audiences across multiple formats — videos, podcasts, blogs, and more. They leverage social channels to promote and tease content, but ultimately, interested viewers must consume content on the MailChimp website. This tactic leverages the reach of social media while also engaging audiences directly with their brand to build affinity over time.
“MailChimp has gone all-in on content to educate, entertain, and ultimately connect with their audiences across multiple formats — videos, podcasts, blogs, and more.”
Want to build a stronger connection with your audiences? Start by adopting this media-driven marketing strategy, and invest in new content formats that meet the needs of today’s busy, distracted consumers.
Blogs are still a vital piece of the content marketing puzzle — but you also need a few more formats to complete the full picture. Adding video and audio to your content strategy can help your brand tell better stories and give your audiences the flexibility to engage on their terms. Leverage these assets to start marketing like a media company — we believe in you!