If you’ve ever been challenged to create organizational content, you know it can be a daunting task. Though creating great content (or great anything) is never easy, the first challenge is gathering enough information to get started down the right path.
Companies marketing to the outdoor sports, agriculture, and midwest lifestyle categories have a lot to talk about. Consumers in these markets are passionate about their interests and the brands and products that relate to those interests. They spend significant time seeking out information about how to improve their life with new products and by making the most of those they have today. They also consume significant amounts of entertaining content related to their areas of interest.
It’s our goal to help clients in the outdoor, ag, and midwest lifestyle segments maximize their content marketing efforts by providing helpful, compelling information to customers and prospects at every stage in the buying process. One of the tools we use to accomplish this is our “Content Marketing Matrix”, which is an evolving process to refine.
The Content Marketing Matrix categorizes content based on its appeal to people…
- at various stages in the buying cycle (from awareness through purchase)
- based on their buying motives (from emotional to rational)
Of course, most buyers fall somewhere in the middle of these two spectrums, and the appeal of various forms of content will fall on each of these spectrums as well.
Content placed into our matrix falls primarily into one of four (slightly overlapping) content quadrants, identifying it as:
- Inspirational, or
Today, we’ll start an in-depth look into the Entertainment quadrant, where the content uses emotion to capture interest early on in the buying cycle. We have identified nine types of entertainment content:
- Viral Videos
- Branded Videos
Here’s a look at the first five types. We’ll leave the rest for another day.
Viral Videos – Truth be told, you can’t make a viral video… whether or not it goes viral is completely determined by others. You can, however, build a video with elements that are often found in viral videos, then promote it in ways that increase its chances of having viral success. Here are a few tips:
- Wait until the timing is right. You’ll need plenty of social media followers to give your video a good chance of going viral. Focus on this type of video after you have developed a significant number of followers that regularly interact with your brand.
- Start with emotion. Whether it is humor or tugging on the heartstrings, emotion is what triggers people to click a button and share. Generally, viral videos focus primarily on entertainment, including humor, surprise, or even shock. Ask yourself, “who is my audience, and what will they connect with?”
- Work your plan. Like a good hunt, successful viral videos don’t just happen. You have to plan for them – from the concept to the video production to its promotion.
- Brand minimally, but appropriately. You’ll want to minimize branding across the video, but you must still be sure that the underlying message is consistent with your brand image.
- Keep it focused. To take a video viral, you need to quickly capture your audience’s attention, move them along through the video, and give them the opportunity to share it. While the timeframe for this all to happen will vary depending on how compelling the video is, it’s safe to assume that you’ll only have 2 or 3 minutes (tops) to get it all done.
Facebook regulars will be familiar with the power of quizzes: quick, fun, and made to share, they’re perfect for social media.
Here’s a typical scenario for a branded quiz: the brand shares the quiz via its social media channel, its fans take the quiz, then receive and share the results. Of course, as they share the results, they also open the door for their friends to take the quiz.
Whether the quiz is just lighthearted (“What Country Music Performer Are You?”, “How Many States Have you Visited?”, or “Connect the Presidents to Key Historical Events”) or it delivers more valuable info, (“What’s the Perfect Tent for Your Next Camping Trip?” or “What Is Your Perfect Vacation Spot?”), our brains are wired to want to answer questions, so quizzes are ideal ways to involve people with your brand message.
Content-based competitions or contests create a unique type of buzz. Well thought-out competitions can allow brand-level participation, generate strong (though indirect) testimonial pools, and encourage viral-type content sharing.
A content-based competition turns to your audience to create the content. The promise of free products, service or cash (plus recognition!), will bring out not only your strongest brand advocates, but also other fans of your brand who are often less vocal. Contests that involve creativity or some type of achievement give fans a sense of ownership.
In this “Entertainment” section of the Content Marketing Matrix, we’re still generating content for people in the early stages of brand awareness. The goal is to just move them one more step along in the purchase cycle. Don’t expect this type of content to drive site visits that include sales. Sales might happen, but they shouldn’t be your goal for this content, or you’ll be disappointed with the results.
Still, the results of contests can be very measurable: you can track the number of entries (photo, essay or video submissions, for example), site visitors, email addresses captured, in addition to social media shares and likes.
Fan voting can quickly build an audience… but be careful what you wish for. When the British government recently asked social media fans to help decide the name of a $287 million polar research ship, they expected formidable names such as the R.R.S. (Royal Research Ship) Endeavor. But a single funny submission captured public attention, and the R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface quickly jumped out to a large lead. Citing “technical issues”, the website was yanked down, and it’s doubtful that the ship will actually be christened the R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface.
Consumers across every product category have shown a willingness to view tremendous amounts of online branded video content.
YouTube is at the center of things. No, it’s not the only place videos live online, but with a billion users viewing billions of videos daily, it’s the hotspot. And with YouTube’s total video views up 40% year-over-year for each of the past two years, it’s only getting hotter.
During the buying process, consumers turn to videos about product selection, viewing both branded videos and third-party independent reviews and product comparisons. The branded videos are important because they can act as a vehicle for information that reviews might overlook, such as unique features of the product or a company’s customer service.
Whatever type of branded video content you create, be sure to properly fit it to your audience. The right content for the right audience at the right time in the purchasing cycle is the key. If it is a product overview, describe it that way. Likewise, if it’s an in-depth look at the product (or a specific feature), say it up front. Clicking to watch a video that doesn’t meet your expectations can be frustrating.
But while viewing the video alone can help build branding or loyalty, think in terms of how to convert that viewer. They’re watching for a reason. Speak to their need.
- Point shoppers to a product page (or a dealer locator) on your website, a newsletter signup, or installation tips
- Point current users (such as those watching installation tips) to the newsletter signup, a brand shop, referral programs, and support services
… and always make it easy for them to subscribe to your channel so they’ll find your new content more easily.
Games are for kids, right? You might be surprised to know that the average gamer is in their mid-thirties! These people – your target market – grew up on games, and they like to be entertained. They like having fun.
Think simple. Games don’t have to be elaborate to be entertaining. HTML5 offers the flexibility to code simple games that translate well from a desktop to a mobile device. Spot-the-difference games (where users identify the differences between two pictures) can be addictive and generate multiple plays. Catch-the-product-type games can be imagined in hundreds of different ways to align with a brand’s product and image.
In Breaking Down the Content Marketing Matrix: Entertaining Content (Part 2), we’ll take a look at other pieces of content that live in the “entertainment” space on our content matrix: widgets, articles, eBooks, and eNews. Then we will move on to other quadrants of the content marketing matrix.