January 19, 2015
/ by Teresa Dankowski
Digital video is popular, inescapable and here to stay. One-third of all online activity is spent watching video and the average Internet user is exposed to 32.2 videos in a single month. Further, video increases people’s understanding of a product or service by 74 percent—a statistic with huge implications for PR and marketing practitioners.
Audio-visual content connects with our consumers in a deep way, and if modern brands expect to stay close to their mobile audiences, embracing video as part of a marketing strategy is good for business.
Video has the power to find and retain consumers, create brand recognition, boost engagement and convert sales. But what kind of videos, exactly, should your brand be posting on YouTube? Here are four types of videos PR and marketing pros should make:
How-to videos have always made up a significant portion of YouTube’s collection but, since YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, the market for brands to teach and individuals to learn is especially vast. How many times have you typed “how to…” in the YouTube search bar because you suspected other search engines wouldn’t provide the best results for visual instructions for making a paper airplane, folding a fitting sheet or playing a song on guitar?
Tutorial videos are the cornerstone of good audio-visual content marketing for the inherent value they provide to your viewers. Information is power, and video tutorials especially are a great vehicle for creating brand awareness, connecting with new audiences and building loyalty. Best of all, how-to videos can usually be executed easily and cheaply, starring your own employees and in-house experts, by B2C and B2B companies alike.
Home improvement competitors Lowe’s and Home Depot both maintain well-known YouTube channels that provide handy advice and start-to-finish projects, tackling everything from creative décor flourishes to full-scale remodels.
On the B2B side, telecommunications giant Cisco Systems has uploaded thousands of videos, many of them how-to in nature, for their more than 94,000 subscribers.
What’s central to each of these brands is that they keep the emphasis on educating the viewer—not on the product placement or potential sale.
Videos can be a great way to create buzz for a new campaign. A staggering 75 percent of users will visit a marketer’s website after viewing a video, making it a great tactic for getting target audiences to your owned media properties and further down your marketing funnel.
Video can be a useful first point of contact because humans are visual by nature, and it better holds our attention; a full 80 percent of online visitors will watch a video, while only 20 percent will read content in entirety.
Brands would be wise to capitalize on these statistics when kicking off new campaigns in today’s real-time news cycle. Instead of writing a press release and hoping your story trickles down to your audience by way of earned media, try coming up with a creative and content-driven way to announce your campaign and convey information, and leverage the instantaneousness of video and social media.
Video kickoffs could be extra fruitful for nonprofit organizations and cause-based marketers, whose audiences often research, support and give to causes after viewing authentic, personal stories and calls to action with a sense of urgency.
Five years ago, Michelle Obama launched her Let’s Move initiative with a campaign kickoff video. Nine million views for the YouTube channel and counting, the initiative continues to film new kickoff videos, for newer audiences being targeted.
PR and marketing pros, take note: If your brand has been running an ongoing campaign, don’t be afraid to refresh or reboot your campaign based on your changing audience, internal or external developments or even what stories are currently in the news.
Most people who are serious about buying a product will go online to read user reviews, look at product photos or even watch videos that feature the product in use. Perhaps, then, it’s not too surprising that 12 percent of people who view an online video ad go on to purchase the specific product featured in the ad.
PR and marketing professionals should use video to highlight a product or service and its differentiating features—especially when that video is optimized to snare those who are ready and willing to purchase. But not all people who stumble upon your product videos are at the buying stage of the customer journey, which is why creating a product video that is interesting, entertaining or groundbreaking—and gets people talking about your brand or taps new audiences—is sometimes a valuable strategy in itself.
If Blendtec is a household name among millennials, they have YouTube and their long-running series “Will It Blend?” to thank. Since 2006, host Tom Dickson has taken unusual non-food items and pulverized them in a Blendtec blender, to show the audience just how powerful their product is. The premise is absurd, but Dickson himself has said the series has led to top-of-mind awareness of their product and has made a huge impact on sales.
Last year, B2B company Volvo Trucks earned the distinction of having the most watched automotive ad of all time—right now it’s at more than 77 million views on YouTube—when they used Jean-Claude Van Damme’s strength and flexibility as a framework for demonstrating the precision of the trucks’ dynamic steering. The video is awe-striking and creates incredulity in the viewer, which has been crucial in driving buzz and engagement for the brand.
B2C and B2B companies don’t need to put handheld electronics in a blender or hire a martial arts-trained actor to get noticed. They only need an original idea that positions their product in an innovative way and a story that appeals to the viewers’ senses or emotions.
People prefer companies that stand for something. “Those who’ve stated they have a strong relationship with a single brand, over 64 percent said it was because they had ‘shared values’ with the company in question.” If you want to build and maintain customer loyalty, being transparent and staying true to your brand’s values and narrative is paramount.
Video is a great way for companies to showcase what values they embody. The medium lends itself to “show, don’t tell” more so than print, which is vital for many companies in stating the cause, value or charity they support, without coming across as overly righteous.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has long been a practitioner of announcing their values upfront, whether through advertisements or packaging. They want customers to know that they stand for “food with integrity”—sustainable and organic ingredients, naturally raised meat and locally sourced produce when available—and their YouTube presence helps them disseminate that message with farmer interviews and highlights of farm visits.
In 2014, Chipotle launched Farmed and Dangerous, a darkly hilarious video series that aimed to show customers the evils of industrial agriculture, and posted clips and trailers on YouTube. While not all brands have the resources to hire professional actors, all companies can find clever ways to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Now that you have YouTube down. Want to learn about Pinterest, another popular rich-media site? Sign up for Jennifer Cario’s “Pin Down a Winning PR Strategy” webinar now!
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