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Thursday, July 21, 2016

25 of the Very Best Content Marketing Resources in 2016 … So Far

gif动态图出处第60弹Content marketers are always open to consuming more content.

Well … good content. Am I right?

As a content marketer myself, I’m always on the hunt for good content as a way to improve and learn more. I recently went through some pretty hefty content planning activities and shift in approach, so I’ve been consuming a lot of content for content marketers.

Like a lot, a lot.

But I ended up keeping track of the quality resources I wanted to have for easy reference (way more than 25!). While scanning through the list, I figured, why not share this list with others out there, so all our readers can benefit from this wicked compilation of resources, too? Of course, to challenge myself and keep everything fresh, I put restrictions on this list to only be amazing content gif动态图出处第60弹

So here it is! 25 amazing content marketing resources so far in 2016.

How you go about consuming all this content is up to you. Maybe you want to have a content marketing marathon (all the power to you, there’s no way my brain could digest all this info in one go), or maybe you want to pick and choose what you read based on where your business is at today. Whichever approach you choose, I guarantee there’ll be something you can learn from these 25 content marketing resources.

3 … 2 … GO! (Ha, tricked ya!)

Setting the Stage for Content Success

1. Common Goals for Content Marketers

gif动态图出处第60弹– Search Engine Journal

While some may say goal setting is a periodic thing, I say ‘heck no!’ I mean, generally speaking organizations tend to set goals for the year, and for each quarter on this more periodic schedule, but regardless of where you are in your planning cycle, it’s always a great time to set a goal. Particularly if you don’t already have a well-defined plan.

This post is a great idea-generator to provide some fodder for what those goals might look like in content.  

2. The 7 Habits of Successful Content Marketing

– Inc.

If you want to be the best, isn’t it smart to learn from the best? That’s why Michelle Manafy broke down the habits of successful content marketers. While this post doesn’t go too deep into each component (that’s what the other 24 resources are for!), it’s a great inspirational piece to shortlist some key priorities for nailing this content marketing thing!

3. Pinpointing Targets for You and Your Content Team

– Content Marketing Institute

content strategy best resourcesBuilding on Search Engine Journal’s post (#1), this piece from Neil Patel dives deep into the reason many content teams are struggling and why it all relates back to a lack of a documented strategy with proper tactics.

A seriously ‘down and dirty’ post, this one will give you all the step-by-step instructions you ever wanted to start setting those SMART goals and taking action right away!

4. Identifying Content-Specific Personas to Write For

– Crazy Egg

We all know what personas are. And surely we have them created for the organization as a whole. But are you thinking about them when you write each piece of content?

This post highlights why that’s an important exercise and how it will help you to bring out the human element of your writing. In addition, it goes in depth on how to create these content personas and implement them in your day-to-day content creation. This means your content will be more relatable to your target audience and — by default — more effective.  

5. The Content Marketing Team of the Future

– Skyword

As content becomes more of a priority and content teams expand, we all need to give some thought to how our team will progress and scale in the future (whether we’re a leader, a contributor, or some combination of the two).

Skyword explored what content teams might look like in the future and how individual contributors that may not exist or may bog down the system now will molded into beautiful brand storytellers. It’s pretty magnificent and it’s backed in data so … read on!

6. Building a Video Marketing Strategy

– Vidyard

video strategy workbookAt some point along your content journey, you’ve likely heard about this thing called video. If your content strategy is going to be successful, it’ll need to have a video component. Flat out.

I initially came up with the concept of this guide because I knew, as a content marketer, how helpful it would be to have an asset that walked me through the process of setting a video marketing strategy step by step. Almost like a video marketing counsellor.

So that’s what this does. Download it, follow the steps, and fill it out within the PDF. By the end, voila: you’ll have a complete video strategy!

Attracting Hungry Eyeballs (A.K.A. Traffic)

7. Remembering to Save Headspace for Search

– Search Engine Land

Apparently content marketers are guilty of not thinking about search when they’re creating content. Err … I don’t possibly know what they’re talking about. Okay, okay it’s true. I constantly have to remind myself of this, still!

This resource is a wicked summary of all the things we should be doing to keep SEO top of mind and ensure we’re getting that extra boost from the oh-so-powerful wizards at Google. (Oh and Bing, etc. but … well … you know.)

8. A Breakdown of Social Sharing Habits in B2B

– Buzzsumo

This post rules my B2B world. Buzzsumo analyzed over 100,000 posts to determine the secrets to content that gets shared across 100 B2B sites. From benchmark social shares for each platform to the type of posts that outperform their peers, this post has a comprehensive collection of super-relevant data on B2B social sharing.

b2b social sharing

9. Catchy Blog Title Formulas that Boost Traffic by 438%

– CoSchedule

There’s not much to say on this one. Blog titles are such a small thing that non-content marketers think we probably whip up in a matter of seconds. But in reality, they can take much longer and ultimately have a massive impact on blog success.

This post goes through what makes up a successful blog headline (where ‘successful’ is defined by traffic and social shares).

On another note, I’ve also used CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer (yes, I actually have it bookmarked) to help me narrow down blog headlines and get closer to a catchy and shareable title. Obviously it’s not going to present you with a title on a silver platter out of nowhere, but it’ll definitely help point you in the right direction and refine your working titles.

blog title best

Building a Slick Content Workflow and Process

10. Establishing Structure in Your Content Workflows

– Content Marketing Institute

As an organizational nerd, I just love the idea of creating more efficient workflows. Especially coming from an organization that works so collaboratively. In this piece, Raechel from CMI discusses a large handful of opportunities for structured workflows in the content marketing process including producing content, understanding where the dependencies lie, and creating more structure and speed around approvals and reducing re-work. Dreamy.

11. Optimizing the Content You Already Have

– Hubspot and Uberflip

I’ve learned so much from Hubspot’s approaches to repurposing content and optimizing existing blog posts in the last year, it’s really pretty nuts.

Recently, Hubspot and Uberflip came together for a live Google Hangout to chat about some of these approaches and it was such a helpful, info-packed conversation in such a casual style, I just loved it. I guarantee you will, too. 

12. Editorial Calendar and Other Content Marketing Tips, Tools and Templates

– Content Marketing Institute

editorial-calendar-tips-tools-templates-390x199Yes, this is the second post in this section alone from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). They continue to deliver really meaty, actionable posts. What can I say?

I love this one because:

  • It’s full of super-helpful templates
  • It’s a summary/compilation post
  • It links off to a million other great resources

This is a compilation of some of the best tips, tools, and templates from the CMI blog. Feel free to pick and choose which templates will help you in your processes, but be confident that there’ll be something here to simplify your approach and keep you up-to-snuff.

13. Targeting Content Quality Over Quantity, the Great Debate

– Scoop.it

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I had this conversation!

Scoop.it addresses the great debate with grace and about a million and one graphics to visualize the conundrum and how to find a solution, or a balance between quality and quantity of content. There are tons of tangible takeaways in this one.

Crafting Mind-Blowing Content

14. The Best Ways to Come Up with New Content Ideas

– Moz

content ideas bestI’ll admit that after a while, sometimes I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the content idea bin. That’s when I know it’s time to reset, reconsider my goals overall, and sometimes, just hit the drawing board again and look to my team and others for inspiration and new ideas.

That’s what this post is all about: how you can spark the next great campaign idea that’s begging to be released.

15. Getting Team Buy-In and Sourcing Employee Contributions

– GatherContent

The most successful content teams don’t do it on their own. They have significant help from external sources, influencers, and … you guessed it: employees.

This post will help you identify who might be a top contributor in your organization, how to bring them on board with a plan, and offer tips to keep them motivated.

16. Inspiration for Different Types of Engaging Content

– Marketing Land

I know, there are so many different types of content, you don’t need another list. But so often we fall back on what’s comfortable: blog post, ebook, or infographic. Today’s buyers want more and more visual content, but there are so many more options than infographics and Slideshares!

Check out this post for five visual content ideas that aren’t infographics.

17. 32 Freakin’ Awesome Examples of Content Marketing

– Hubspot

32 examples content marketingWho doesn’t love to learn from other great examples, right? Here’s a sweet compilation of 32 of them, from social campaigns to blogs to videos and even emails and microsites.

Order the pizza, pop a bag of popcorn and dig in.  

18. 15 Expert Tips for B2B Video Production

15 video production tips– Vidyard

I know you’re creating videos because you know they’re a top-performing content asset. Who isn’t?

These 15 tips will help you brainstorm more creative video ideas, choose better shoot locations, learn how to scale video production on a budget, and more!

19. Using Content to Tell a Consistent Story and Encourage a Journey

– Kapost and Ardath Albee

This webinar is probably the best I’ve ever attended for creating content that actually builds a journey for your customer and ensures you’re keeping them on track and helping them towards their purchase as efficiently as possible.

I’m telling you, I don’t remember the last time I was this engaged in a webinar. I literally went to Amazon and bought Ardath’s new book, Digital Relevance, within the hour. Just ask my team … I jumped up and down about it for weeks.

20. Creating Content That’s 10 Times Better Than Anyone Else’s

– Moz

Everyone loves a good Whiteboard Friday video from Rand Fishkin. This episode gets into the secrets to creating content that’s ten times as good as any of your competitors’ (10x content) so you can beat them on search.

Serious business and serious takeaways.

better content whiteboard friday

Amplifying Efforts with Proper Promotion

21. 11 Ways to Make Your Content Campaign Go Viral (or close to it!)

– Quick Sprout

Neil Patel has another winner here where he breaks down, in great detail, the steps to creating viral content by first crafting kick-ass content that has the potential to go viral and then putting just as much effort (if not more) into marketing and promoting that content.

You could literally copy and paste this post into a word doc and it could become your blog creation and promotion strategy. That’s how detailed it is. Heart.

22. 100+ Ways to Promote Your Content

– ContentMarketer.io

We all know that we should spend more time promoting our content than creating it. But sometimes we get so stuck in the ways we’ve been promoting in the past that it’s a challenge to think of new avenues to push our content through.

That’s why I love this post, with more than 100 ways to promote your content once it’s already created.

100 ways to promote content

23. How to Implement a Killer Influencer Strategy

– Kapost

What better way to get more visibility for your content than through your influencer network? While you continue to build up your audience, theirs is already there. Plus, for the most part, everything your influencers say is gold whereas for you … well, consumers might not say the same. 

Check out this post for an in-depth look at creating an influencer strategy to help promote your content.

Measuring Content Success

24. The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics and Metrics

– Curata

top content marketing metricsBroken down into all the different avenues and mediums you may want to measure, this is a great post for making sure you’re measuring the success of all your initiatives in the weeds.

There’s a handy ebook that goes along with the post, too, which might help if you’re old school like me and like to print those off for repeated reference!

25. 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

– Content Marketing Institute

You may have already seen this one, and yes, it was actually released in 2015. But I figure, since it’s all about 2016 trends, that I can include it. (Hey, I made up the rules here anyway, right?)

This is a great comprehensive look at the state of content marketing in North America right now and serves as a perfect way to benchmark your organization’s performance versus the norm.

How do you stack up?

(You can also take a quick peek through it in the Slideshare version below. How’s that for repurposing content?!)

Woo-eee. You made it through! Have you read them all yet?

There’s a lot to go through. As I was consuming all of these great resources over the last few weeks, I made copious notes in Evernote of the main things I wanted to take away. But most importantly, I started making tasks in Asana so that I could hold myself accountable to putting my new learnings into practice. 

Think this is a great list? Let’s keep the momentum going. Share it with the world so others can learn from this list too!

twitter-128I just read 25 of the Very Best Content Marketing Resources in 2016 … So Far from @Vidyard. You should, too! (Click to Tweet!)

Also, if you have others to add to the list, add them in the comments below! I’m never opposed to more resources to learn from and even writing a follow-up post (or updated version of this one) with additional content from 2016!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

4 Research-Backed Ways to Infuse Online Video in Your Marketing

Video is winning the content race. More often than not, we just can’t help ourselves from clicking play.

But is it all rainbows and butterflies for marketers using video? Maybe not …

Sure, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. And yes, people are spending the majority of their time on social media watching videos. You’re right that video can even help boost campaign conversion rates.

But no, that doesn’t mean that you should be creating videos simply because that’s the medium people crave.

Why?

Because video is just that … it’s a medium. An extremely powerful one, but it’s still a means to an end. And publishing videos here and there, on YouTube sometimes or your website other times, isn’t a strategy.

Video is a critical piece of a larger puzzle.

What you really need, and where video success really comes from, is infusing your video content with your broader marketing efforts in a way that delivers on a bigger scale. And most marketers aren’t doing this, according to Forrester’s latest research report, “Take This Four-Step Approach to Branded Video”.

“We’ve got to win on YouTube” is no way to approach decisions around video. Figuring out who the content is for, what they’re supposed to do or feel, and even when video’s the right choice should precede video planning and production.

Videos take time, effort … and budget. By all means, it can be time, money, and energy well spent. But to be most effective, it needs to be integrated into a stronger, more robust, overarching content strategy.

Customers Aren’t Longing for Your Long-Form Content

There’s a common misconception with video (that actually exists throughout a lot of marketing), that customers look forward to and appreciate long-form video content as something special and unique. But, according to Forrester, they’re wrong. In fact, there are four commonly believed myths about online video that most marketers believe but are actually not true.

Discover the 4 myths of online video in Forrester’s report here.

These four myths have led to bad habits in content marketing, according to Forrester. Many brands know they should be producing video, and so they do, but without any sort of systematic approach. Chris Gorell Barnes of the video agency Adjust Your Set explained that marketers tell him “I spend £300,000 on YouTube videos and I have zero engagement; what do I do?”.

How does it get to this point?

Well probably because there have been about 56,483,598 advancements in marketing technology and consumer behavior in the last ten years or so. So it’s hard to keep up! Not to mention build a cohesive strategy around all the changes as they come. And that’s why Forrester elected to research this topic and provide tangible recommendations.

Forrester’s Four-Step Approach to Branded Online Video

Get the Report

4 Steps to an Integrated Video Approach

Forrester took a deep look at what makes some brands more successful with video and how they approach it from a strategic perspective. They’ve summarized their research into four main objectives that any marketer (including you!) can use to maximize the likelihood of seeing positive ROI from video investment.

Take a look at these four objectives below:

branded online video forrester

Source: “Take This Four-Step Approach to Branded Video”, Forrester Research

Online Video is Different … so Treat it Differently

Throughout their research, Forrester also discovered that many marketers are using the same video production rules and guidelines that have been in place since the time rollerskates were the latest and greatest. (i.e. long before online video became so popular and more when broadcast television was the thing to glue your eyes to).

But 30-second broadcast spots are very different than content your consumers might watch on their mobile devices today, and that means that different approaches are needed. In “Take This Four-Step Approach to Branded Video”, Forrester explains four recommendations for rethinking conventional video best practices including:

  • Incorporating social motivation as a design element from the start and
  • Combining digital marketing and video production skills in your team.

Get the low down on how to whip your video efforts into shape and ensure they do more for you as an integrated component of your marketing and business activities at large. Download Forrester’s tactical guide on approaching online video.

branded online video report

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting to the Heart of Customer Value and Sharing the Right Stories

When was the last time you thought about the difference you’re making in the lives of your customers? Not how you help their business ‘increase efficiency’ or ‘generate more revenue’, I’m talking about the real difference you make in the careers and lives of the individuals who made the painstaking decision to adopt your product or service? What was it, at a personal level, that inspired them to choose you? What pain were they trying to solve, and how have you helped them as individuals be happier, more productive, more confident or more successful?

It’s something we often overlook in our ravenous hunt for case studies and ROI results, but these personal stories can be even more compelling — not only for your marketing and sales teams, but for your entire business. It’s about getting to the heart of the value you bring to the individual customers that depend on you. It’s the human story of progress and triumph — something we can all relate to at a very personal level.

This is something our own team here at Vidyard has put more of a focus on lately, inspired by our friends at Frost and Sullivan who recently awarded us with the Customer Value Leadership Award. Like any good business, we’ve always felt that we were delivering value to our customers. But when we started asking the right questions to learn how our customers felt about us personally, what we learned was pretty amazing, and truly inspiring. We started by asking a few simple questions that I encourage you to add to your own customer interviews:

“What does Vidyard mean to you personally? Why is it important to you? When have you felt a true sense of value from using the product or interacting with our team?”

We started discovering real people that are more confident in their work because of the data and insights they now have access to. Others who have progressed their own careers and defined new roles within their companies because of what they’ve learned from our business or accomplished with the product. Some have established themselves as industry thought leaders and public speakers. And others value the personal relationships they’ve developed with our team, or the way our content makes them pause and laugh every now and again. We even had one customer say that it would “break their heart” if their company ever stopped using our product. Even our engineers welled up with tears when they heard that one — it meant so much more than hearing about another business-level ROI metric.

These are the types of stories that will help you understand the real value that you’re bringing to the community. The stories you’ll want to share not only with your prospects and customers, but with your own employees, partners, friends and family. They expose a greater purpose behind what you do and how you make a real difference in people’s lives. And they can inspire others within your business to be at their best, and to take pride in what you do.

The natural next step once you have these stories is to bring them to life in very tangible ways. Quotes and written stories are a simple starting point, but you’d be crazy not to get these stories on camera in a way that brings that emotion to life! I’m talking get-out-the-box-of-Kleenex kind of content. But don’t stop there! Find other creative outlets to keep these stories top-of-mind for everyone in your company. Put life-size cardboard cutouts of your top advocates with killer quotes all around your office. Produce fun ‘sports cards’ with your customers on them including their ‘stats’ and top quotes, then circulate them around the office — maybe even get them autographed! Or create some fake album covers featuring pictures of your key advocates as rock stars and use their quotes as song titles on the back (note: if you are not familiar with albums, also known as records, they were 12-inch pressed vinyl discs used in the Stone Age to record and play back music).

There are loads of possibilities, and it’s something you can have a lot of fun with. I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments section below! Have you done anything interesting with your customer testimonials to bring them to life in your office or online? How do you think customer advocacy can be ‘brought to life’ in a way that is meaningful for a modern business?

The post Getting to the Heart of Customer Value and Sharing the Right Stories appeared first on Vidyard.



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Monday, July 18, 2016

Frost & Sullivan Honors Vidyard with Customer Value Leadership Award

KITCHENER, Ontario – July 19, 2016 – Vidyard, the video intelligence platform for business, today announced that Frost & Sullivan awarded the company its 2016 North American Customer Value Leadership Award for the video analytics market.

Frost & Sullivan recognized Vidyard for its video marketing and analytics technology strength, its ability to help customers gain insight and intelligence on its videos and viewers, and its innovative approach to customer success and customer experience.

“To achieve leadership in customer value is never an easy task, but it is one made even more difficult due to today’s competitive intensity, customer volatility, and economic uncertainty—not to mention the difficulty of innovating in an environment of escalating challenges to intellectual property,” said David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan. “Within this context, the receipt of this award signifies an even greater accomplishment by the team at Vidyard.”

Check out Frost & Sullivan’s video announcing Vidyard’s award:

Frost & Sullivan credited Vidyard for success in several areas:

  • Transforming viewers into customers: Vidyard goes beyond basic video analytics to generate unique insights on each viewer and help businesses qualify more leads and convert more opportunities. Vidyard’s personalized video solution helps marketers boost engagement and conversion rates through the power of one-to-one content personalization. And through its integrations with marketing automation and CRM, Vidyard helps businesses understand the true ROI of each video asset. “With Vidyard, companies can combine sales and marketing power into their videos for better customer engagement and ROI,” said the report.
  • Valuing privacy: Vidyard works with existing CRM and marketing automation solutions and follows their privacy standards. Vidyard connects viewership back to the identity in the central marketing and sales systems to ensure clients can leverage video engagement data while adhering to existing corporate security standards.
  • Meeting customers’ needs: Vidyard pays close attention to how its customers use its products and how those applications evolve, and the company then uses that knowledge as a source of inspiration for innovation. Vidyard recently recognized the growing trend of live streaming and updated its system to provide analytics for streaming important occasions and events.
  • Customer experience: Vidyard showcases its solution as an investment that generates business value beyond just being a video hosting solution. Vidyard presents analytics to operations teams, sales teams, and marketing experts to show them the value for a variety of functions. It uses customer testimonials and its impressive list of partners to deliver a stronger overall experience for its customers. “Vidyard also has demonstrated analytics knowledge that prove sales and marketing strategies’ ROI.”
  • Financial performance: Vidyard is a B2B expert and stays involved with its partners, customers, and surrounding community. It extends great customer value and remains transparent to them by providing unlimited connection and support. Meanwhile, Vidyard has experienced a 300-percent growth in revenue year over year and maintains two offices in North America with more than 120 employees.

In the award report, Frost & Sullivan noted that online video consumption has exploded over the last few years and predicted the online video analytics market will grow to $427 million in 2020 as content providers and marketers seek greater understanding of their viewers so they can improve marketing and sales strategies. While the online video analytics market is maturing, Frost & Sullivan reported users still struggle to understand the benefits of measurement or rely on surface-level analytics that do not provide real insight.

“Online video is changing the business landscape as much or more than any other technology trend of the last few years,” said Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard. “We are thrilled that Frost & Sullivan recognized Vidyard as the video platform that best helps companies take advantage of video to drive real results for their businesses.”

Having led the video marketing platform industry, Vidyard now focuses on expanding the power of video beyond the walls of marketing departments. Customers now use Vidyard within sales, support, corporate communications, and customer success teams to drive greater audience engagement and track the true impact of each video asset. Vidyard’s customer base includes global leaders such as Honeywell, Lenovo, LinkedIn, Cision, TD Ameritrade, Citibank, MongoDB, Sharp, and 27 of the top 100 global software companies.

About Vidyard
Vidyard (Twitter: @Vidyard) is the video intelligence platform that helps businesses drive more revenue through the use of online video. Going beyond video hosting and management, Vidyard helps businesses drive greater engagement in their video content, track the viewing activities of each individual viewer, and turn those views into action. Global leaders such as Honeywell, McKesson, Lenovo, LinkedIn, Cision, TD Ameritrade, Citibank, MongoDB and Sharp rely on Vidyard to power their video content strategies and turn viewer into customers.

Media Contact:
Brad Hem
Phone: (281) 543-0669
press@vidyard.com

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Video Marketing How-To: Getting the Most From Your Video Production Agency

Hello and welcome to another episode of Video Marketing How-To! This week we want to share a few tips for working with a video production agency, and getting the most value out of both your time and theirs.

First, have a creative brief ready to go. Successful videos only happen when all stakeholders are on the same page, and a creative brief allows you to talk about who your video is targeting, why you’re making it, what the requirements are from a creative standpoint, and how you’re going to measure its effectiveness.

Download Your Free Creative Brief Template

Get the Template

Next, be reasonable about your budget. If you can only spend $10k on a video, don’t expect a Michael Bay explosion-filled masterpiece. But that goes both ways — if you have a large budget, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, and ensure you’re working with an agency that can handle that kind of production. Our friends at Notch Video have a blog series called “How much did that video cost?” which can help you understand budgets for production! Which is a great segue to tip number three…

Always make sure your agency fits your needs. Look at the work they have done in the past, meet with their team and talk about your creative vision, and if something doesn’t feel right, there’s plenty of other agencies out there that would be happy to work with you.

You want to work with an agency that will give you a balance of understanding your ideas, but also pushes you to think a bit differently to produce better video. Also look at their technology — if you want video shot in 4k, and three sweeping drone shots, make sure they have this kind of equipment, and people who know how to use it!

Although we do most of our videos in-house, we’ve worked with some fantastic video agencies to do things that we simply can’t do with our in-house gear. I hope you learned a few tips for having a happy, successful relationship with your video production agency, and stay tuned in another few weeks for another episode of Video Marketing How-To!

The post Video Marketing How-To: Getting the Most From Your Video Production Agency appeared first on Vidyard.



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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Brilliance Behind the Ford Barking Lot

Given that my Instagram feed is pretty much nothing but celebrity dogs, seeing funny dog videos when checking out social networks doesn’t usually come as a surprise. That said, seeing funny dog videos from major brands showing up on Facebook is eye catching, to say the least.

A few weeks back, Ford’s Barking Lot video caught my eye:

As I was scrolling through my feed, I saw this spinning little chihuahua without audio. And that’s all it took to get me to click play, and watch the entire video. And then watch it again, and send it to all my coworkers because I knew they would love it just as much as I did.

15 Experts Spill Their Greatest B2B Video Production Advice

Get the Guide
For now, let’s take a look at what we can all learn from Slack’s stroke of brilliance.

Now, car companies aren’t always on the cutting edge of internet humor. Most car commercials I think of tend to fit the following mold:

  • shots of fast-driving cars in a closed course,
  • a voiceover speaking to why the car is amazing,
  • a shot of the car screeching to a halt in front of a vibrant city or expansive vista,
  • and a voiceover explaining the car’s basic pricing and/or current specials

So seeing this video from Ford was not only a welcome change, but a real shift in my understanding of how car companies market their products on social. It also got me thinking about why this video is so effective. So I reached out to Ford to find out more!

gif动态图出处第60弹

What really struck me about this video was that it wasn’t afraid to be playful with the dogs it cast for the cars. It seems that every car company wants their cars to be seen as powerful, sleek, and fast. The casting choice of dogs in this video speaks to how much Ford understands both the draw of the cars they’re selling and the personality traits of the people that buy them.

Ford Barking Lot - Fiesta

Ford Fiestas, and their owners, are not always the same as F-150 owners. Casting a spunky, energetic chihuahua as the Fiesta, and showing a powerful St. Bernard pulling a wagon full of tinier dogs is a hilarious way of juxtaposing these two cars as being different breeds of the same awesome animal. Ford goes even further with this, showcasing the Mustang’s raw power and unique personality with a boxer, and highlighting the speedy but family-friendly Escape as an adorable Chocolate Lab.

Ford Barking Lot - Race

I asked Ford Canada’s Social Media Manager, Ammar Khan about how they brainstormed this kind of video, and his feedback is a testament to how connected Ford is with their social media fans. “The internet loves dogs. Incidentally, so do we! Our social media team’s mandate is to develop content that supports our pillars of quality, safety, smart technology, and green living.  Our social media team also develops lifestyle content that’s all about building brand love, loyalty, share of voice, and intent to purchase. Strategically, we knew that a video of dogs wearing Ford car costumes would help tick those boxes, and tickle the fancy of our extremely loyal Ford fan base. A piece like the barking lot is also a fun and engaging way to get people who are not part of our customer base to engage with the brand.”

Knowing how big of a company Ford is, I was also curious how Khan and his team went about building a video like this and keeping it within brand guidelines. It turns out, the process was highly collaborative. “It required a huge amount of input from our product teams; the costumes had to accurately reflect the dogs. Even casting the dogs was a thoughtful process, as we needed to select breeds whose bodies matched the proportions of the vehicles.”

Even casting the dogs was a thoughtful process, as we needed to select breeds whose bodies matched the proportions of the vehicles.”

Ford Barking Lot - Truck

gif动态图出处第60弹

A video like this would be funny as a TV commercial, but at a minute and nine seconds, it would be far too long for most network TV stations. Unlike most car commercials, this video also has several models of cars that all attract different buyers, so it wouldn’t have the focus that you need to nail a 30 second spot.

Having this video on Ford’s social channels gives them 3 big benefits over putting this creativity into a standard TV spot:

  1. It’s infinitely shareable. By putting this great dog video on their social channels, they open the door up for easy sharing both on social networks and privately. I copied the link for this video and posted it in our Marketing Slack channel, and instantly got them 10-15 more views in one day.
  2. Length is less of an issue. Facebook videos can be as long as you want, but Ford played the right card and kept this under a minute and thirty seconds. It’s too long for TV, but it’s perfect for social media.
  3. They can break canon. As I mentioned earlier, TV commercials for cars can be a bit programmatic, but social video is fair game. This video breaks the mold for most car companies, and it shines because of it.

I asked Khan about the importance of video for Ford’s social media strategy, and it turns out this is far from their first foray into creating viral content. “Video’s ubiquity across the social web has continued to grow over the past years, and we’ve made it a priority to give our fans more of the content they most like to consume! In addition to video, we also publish blog posts, GIFs, cinemagraphs, interactive infographics, animations, split-depth GIFs, run online chats and  run interactive  quizzes. It’s all about finding innovative, creative ways to tell the Ford Canada story.”

“Video’s ubiquity across the social web has continued to grow over the past years, and we’ve made it a priority to give our fans more of the content they most like to consume!”

He also elaborated on their strategy of producing the right content for the right network, saying “When it comes to video, we try to create cuts of videos that work best for the channels they will be published on. For example our Facebook videos are often shorter than our YouTube videos and we optimize Facebook video for an environment where it will be played without sound.”

One thing I hadn’t considered was how Ford Canada interacts with the content produced by their partner organizations in other countries, and it turns out remixing content plays a big part of their strategy as well. “We produce quite a lot of original video — like The Barking Lot — throughout the year, but also take videos from Ford’s global channels and re-cut and edit them to create something a little different for our Canadian audience.”

Wrapping It All Up

A campaign like this is no accident, and it’s not hard for your company to execute something similar.

The key to Ford’s Barking Lot is brainstorming without limits. Dressing dogs up as cars is the kind of idea that gets added to a whiteboard as a joke, but slowly blossoms into something hilarious enough to be powerful on social media.

If you want to create content that makes people laugh and gets attention on social, don’t disregard ideas just because they sound silly. Ford has plenty of other video content on their Facebook feed, but this video stands out from the first second with four dogs dressed as cars staring back at you and panting at the camera. It’s also sitting at just under a thousand likes, and well over a hundred comments, which are always nice engagement metrics to have. Khan commented on the impact this video has had on their social programs, saying “This video is performing extremely well. It’s irresistibly shareable, which has really helped our organic reach and engagement. With a little paid promotion behind it on Facebook, we’ve seen outstanding pickup.”

And, since no blog post is truly complete without a good pun, Khan summed up this campaign perfectly. “We have a lot of dog lovers in our already-passionate community, so yeah, I guess you could say that reception has been extremely paw-sitive.”

Ruff, right?

Have you come across any videos on Facebook that made you pause, scroll back, and rewatch? Tell us about it in the comments – we’re always looking for great video examples to share!

B2B Video Production Tips

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Create a Video Marketing Strategy You Can Be Proud of

Are you proud of your video marketing strategy? I bet the answer comes pretty quickly.

Nearly every marketer I speak with these days is using video in their web, social media, demand, content marketing, or sales enablement programs. They all think it’s important, and they all plan to increase their investments in video because they believe it works. Yet when I ask the simple question “are you proud of your video content or your video marketing strategy”, the answer is typically a muffled, very humble, “no”.

When I ask the unfair follow-up question “do you know how well your videos are performing or what your ROI is on your video investments?” they typically laugh, or cry, and repeat the same answer.

This got me thinking about why marketers are still having such a hard time with video marketing, given how important and impactful it can be (check this recent post for some meaty stats that reinforce this). And more importantly, what they can do to get on the fast path to video marketing success. Without further ado, here are some quick tips to help you get moving on a video marketing strategy you can be proud of:

1. Place the Emphasis on Impact, Not Quality

I find that many marketers aren’t proud of their video strategy because they feel their content just isn’t that great. But often “isn’t that great” simply means they don’t think it’s high quality or it hasn’t taken off on YouTube with thousands of views.

For most marketers, great content is simply whatever gets the job done. Is your content keeping your target audience engaged? Is it increasing their time-on-page and driving better conversion rates? Is it moving audiences through the funnel and influencing key decision makers? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, you simply don’t know what’s working and what’s not.

Maybe your not-so-great videos are actually driving more pipeline than the other content initiatives that you think are oh-so amazing. Maybe you should be proud after all! Or maybe not. But don’t be subjective and don’t make assumptions. You need to let the data speak itself. And to do that, you need to start by getting the right data!

2. Get Creative in Your Use of Video

In general, I find that marketers are still very conservative in how they use video content. Explainer videos and educational webinars are pretty commonplace now, since marketers know that video is the best way to educate given its high retention rates.

Webinar: How B2B Marketers Use Video to Boost Engagement & Generate Demand

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But don’t forget that video is also the best way to inspire, entertain, and connect with people on a more personal and emotional level. Get creative with using video to deliver fun, approachable, and humanized content campaigns. Inspire your audience with humanized stories of customers using your products or services to achieve better results. Or simply use video blogs, culture videos, and company updates to connect with your audience on a personal level. Try some things out and diversify how you use video content, and you’ll start to discover what you’re good at, and what your audience really cares about.

3. Try Something (Somewhat) Daring

Let’s face it, no one (including your customers) will get excited about your video strategy if you’re publishing another boring, screen capture video with a voice-over to show off your latest feature.

But you know what they might get excited about? If you delivered an interactive video with survey questions to really engage your audience. Or if you added a splash of humor to connect with people in a more emotional way. Or deliver a personalized video campaign that literally brings each viewer into the story in a way that’s relevant, interesting and memorable. ‘

Now that would get people talking — and might even boost your confidence.

And if you follow tip #1, above, you might even see that it generates some stronger conversion rates. But if it doesn’t? Well, like anything in marketing, fail fast and learn from it. At least you’re moving forward.

Now, don’t just say you’re going to do it…DO IT! Think about it RIGHT NOW and challenge your team to come up with something so daring that it just might work. And if you’re afraid it’s too risky for your business, you’re likely on the right path.

4. Use the Right Technology to Bring Confidence to Your Video Game

Our team recently met with Travis Bickham, Demand Generation and Content Marketing Manager at a fast-growing technology company called Tradeshift. Travis has an incredible story around using video content and analytics to differentiate their company, boost conversion rates, better score and qualify prospects, and deliver campaigns that get the attention of their CEO. He’s one of those marketers that is actually doing what I’ve talked about above (and admittedly, a huge inspiration for this entire post — thank you Travis!).

But the one thing that Travis said during our conversation that gave me the most pause (in a good way) was the following:

When I sit down with our executives, our sales team, and my marketing peers, I’m more confident because I have access to the data that let’s me know which video assets are delivering real results.

Travis is one of those few people that is actually proud of his video marketing strategy, and a big part of that is due to the confidence he has in the results. It’s not because they’re producing amazing blockbuster videos that get tons of shares on social media. In fact, his team produces the majority of their content in-house — and most of their videos get a modest number of views. But he knows that the people watching are targeted and qualified prospects, he uses actual engagement data to generate insights and help his sales team convert them faster, and he delivers innovative campaigns like a personalized holiday greeting that generate a lower cost-per-opportunity than their average cost-per-lead for other programs.

This Is All Great, Now How Can I Learn Some More?

Great question.

Travis and I agreed that the best way to share more ideas and to show some of this in action is through a … wait for it … video! So we’ll be hosting a live webinar on July 19th to discuss the latest trends and best practices in B2B video marketing. I’ll expand on how other marketers are being creative with video throughout the buying journey for audience building, lead generation, qualification, and sales enablement. Travis will share real world examples of how they use video content, personalized video, and viewer analytics to drive audience engagement, enhance lead scoring, and create memorable customer experiences. And we’ll wrap it up with a very quick demo of the Vidyard video marketing platform and a lively Q&A. Hope to see you there!

video strategy proud of

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