I came across a titbit of information this week that really piqued my interest: we upload more video content each month than every major U.S television network has in the last 30 years. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it until we’re blue in the face: video is not just here to stay, it’s here to change everything. It’s no wonder then that 87% of online marketers already use it.
But as with all great changes, there too comes debate, the nature of which is not dissimilar to the discussions marketers have had about editorial content for years. Indeed, the question of the moment isn’t whether you should include video marketing in your strategy (that’s now easy to answer), but rather what format of video you should choose.
A recent article published by Social Media Week suggested that contrary to popular opinion, shorter videos aren’t always better. In fact, the writer of the piece, Erika Barth, argues that long-form content is what really packs a punch. And, she’s not wrong; long-form content does have its strengths: Google bumps it up in rankings, it keeps the audience around for longer, it can establish enterprises as thought-leaders and it offers undeniable, educational value to consumers. But this is only a piece of the marketing puzzle.
Know your onions
Whether it be whitepapers, e-books, videos or webinars, long-form offers a slow-burning kind of content that retains its relevancy while addressing customer pain points. But before you embark on crafting the content, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. Namely, how will this content adhere to your wider strategy? What platforms will it be consumed on? And, importantly, do your customers even want it?
You need to earn it
I’ll put this another way. Long-form can be an incredibly powerful driver of engagement for an audience that has been around for a while, but for newbies? Not so much. If this is the first interaction a company has with a consumer, catching and keeping their attention will be a tough going.
Time is, after all, the most valuable resource on the planet, so if you want to grab someone’s attention, you need to have earned it. Studies have shown that between six and eight touch-points are needed to really build meaningful engagement. So, if you jump straight in with a 3,000-word piece or a 30-minute video, it’s unlikely that new audience members will stick around until the end.
Consider context and timing
Timing’s also imperative here. If someone is in the midst of research or is in the mood to really get their teeth stuck into some compelling, long-form content, then the format is perfect. However, knowing what we do about the whens and hows of content consumption, if you catch them at the wrong time – on their commute or on the school run, for instance – then it’s improbable that they’ll give the content the attention it deserves. Content creation should also be contingent on the device your audience most commonly converges with you on.
There is a time and place for long-form, and it largely rests on the relationship you have with your audience. One way of converting first-time engagers into life-long audience members is by distributing your message in a variety of formats. For instance, shorter pieces should act as gateway posts; these establish value and whet the appetite of the audience, which ultimately then leads them to standalone, long-form editorial or video content.
Excellent content doesn’t happen by accident. It requires expertise, insight and a deep-rooted knowledge of your audience. Luckily, we have that in abundance here at M2 Bespoke – why not get in touch today?Ben Hollom
November 22, 2017