Attention: You’re reading secondary content. Now, that doesn’t mean that this blog post is less important or less engaging than anything else we create. It simply means that it’s derived from pillar content. In this case – our 2020 Digital Marketing Trends Report.
As a reminder, when we say pillar content, we mean a long-form, in-depth piece of content (usually an ebook, video, or podcast). It is focused on a certain topic that has a high value for the user and is meant to keep your audience on the website for a long time.
Our prediction for 2020 is that video will grow as a foundation of content marketing and will often serve as a campaign’s pillar content. This is reinforced statistically: Recent research shows that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to only 10% when reading it in text (Forbes).
As we move into the new year, we decided to take a deeper dive into the concept of video as pillar content. We turned to Zach Gresham, president of Sparxoo Studios, for his expertise on the topic. Here is that conversation.
Sparxoo: As you go through the creative process, how conscious are you of the platforms where your work will appear?
Zach: Half of project success is based off of the platform you use to advertise your brand and its content. An in-depth research of your target market, demographic info and audience metrics will help you discern which platform will provide the most successful outcomes.
Take a brand such as our partner Fintech. Fintech specializes in end-to-end alcohol ordering solutions for convenience stores, restaurants and liquor stores. Understanding that the buyer of Fintech’s services lives in the B2B space, using a platform such as Snapchat may not be the best avenue for success. LinkedIn, however, hosts a platform that allows business decision-makers to connect with other brands directly. A well-targeted, specialized ad campaign on LinkedIn may provide a better ROI for Fintech’s sales team.
S: And how do you determine whether to shoot your content vertically or horizontally?
Z: Depending on the results of your target market research, some campaigns can be cross-platform versus others that find success in a single-use case. When working to sell or brand a new product, some audiences are available across many different locations. Discerning exactly where your customer spends their time will help you make the decision of which platform should be the main, and which should be the secondary/tertiary means of advertising.
S: What do you see as a number one growth distribution platform: organic and paid?
Z: The number one growth distribution platform, if done well, is organic. If the customer or market believes in your product or service, the ability to reach them should not be hard. Creating content that is engaging, meaning individuals want to share, comment and like, will allow social media algorithms to boost your post without you needing to pay for the content.
A paid campaign is just as effective, but requires a strong understanding of the specific platform’s ad management software. Without that understanding, you may invest hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into something that will provide no return whatsoever…an issue that many brands find a reality.
S: How do you reconcile the different demands of various audiences? Is personalization a factor?
Z: Personalization of content is key to a successful customer campaign. Say you are a video production brand such as our own Sparxoo Studios. Although we create video content across the board for both business-to-business use and business-to-consumer use, our strategies for reaching each silo are different.
Businesses that sell to other businesses are often looking for some sort of a return-on-investment (ROI). In this case, positioning our sales strategy to showcase case studies or ROI-positive video opportunities might be more attractive for our B2B clients.
In the case of our B2C clientele, these brands might be more interested in telling a story of their product or service. Testimonials for product use cases might be a better sell for these types if individuals who are interested in gaining the attention of their audience.
S: Now that we’ve talked about the differences, what is the one thing you always keep in mind for every video you’re working on?
Z: An issue that we run into time and time again is that the target market our client comes to us with is incorrect. For any video production team to do the job well, we need to be confident that the audience our video is being shown to is the right audience. Otherwise, we created a beautifully-crafted piece of content that will generate no success.
Placing a large emphasis on pre-production, Sparxoo Studios digs deep into your target market and target goals for each of our productions. From there, we may decide that two or three different variations of each piece of video content is necessary to best cater to each target goal.
S: The world of video, just like everything else digital, is always changing. In your personal experience, what change was the most drastic and how did you adjust?
Z: The largest change in video has been the attention span of the audience, based on the platform you are using to deliver the content. For some spaces such as Facebook and YouTube, content is moving to a longer, more thought-out strategy and includes videos from 1 to 20 minutes that get a large amount of attention. In the case of Instagram and LinkedIn, however, video viewers are looking for something short and digestible, so they can retain the information and move on.
S: How do you keep up with all the new trends? How much of a challenge is it to come up with new ways of doing things? How do you and the Studios team make sure you stay innovative?
Z: To stay on top of all new trends, we need to be trendsetters. Staying ahead of the curve puts the projects on our shoulders. This allows us to provide value and creative twists to our partners’ content that can change the way stories are told and products are sold.
We constantly invest in the development of our team, dedicating time weekly for innovation and furthering our knowledge of the market and the content viewers are digesting. From there, we take this content and mold it with our creative twist.
S: What’s your rule of thumb when it comes to repurposing content? How do you pick out pieces of micro content that would later make it on social media platforms?
Z: Repurposing content is the best way to create a pillar strategy for video. For example, we might enter a video production deal with the end result of five different pieces of content. We’d come in and produce content for one long-form, all-encompassing brand video that lives on a website, in sales pitches, etc. The rest of these videos might be specific, segmented pieces of content ready for social media advertisements, testimonials, etc.
Breaking down content into micro-format allows you to repurpose across many different formats and platforms, showing viewers different versions of the same brand message, thus creating multiple touchpoints.
The added value is the creation of a long-term video drip strategy that allows your marketing team to re-use the same content in a new, fresh form throughout a quarter or even an entire year. Prolonging the shelf life of our partners’ content is paramount, allowing them to use it across a longer amount of time and driving value for months to come.
S: What is your favorite social media platform for video content and why?
Z: My personal favorite video content platform is LinkedIn. An almost untouched world, LinkedIn viewers are used to job postings, corporate updates and other business mumbo-jumbo. When you introduce a piece of content that changes from the norm (i.e. a dynamic and cinematic video of your brand), viewers jump on that immediately.
S: What are your thoughts on IGTV?
Z: I believe IGTV is a good platform, however it should be used for only specific types of content. Since Instagram has not figured out a good way to embed these long-form videos into the feed, it sends you out to what seems like a different platform. That seems detrimental to the flow and against the norm of content.