|“If you’re thinking about video, stop thinking of it as an advertising piece. Look at it as a value-add tool.”
|— Joe Pulizzi (by way of @Content2Convert)
Ask Yourself, “Why Am I Creating Video Content?”
At the recent B2B Content2Conversion conference (C2C), content marketing “godfather” Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute asked a challenging question: “From the reader’s point of view, why are you publishing content?”
Great question when you consider the first part of that question — “from the reader’s point of view.” So much marketing is still focused on the company’s perspective that you could almost hear an operatic tenor’s voice singing, “Me, Me, Me, Me.”
During the “Power Panel”, Pulizzi brought up the popularity of video in content marketing. He stressed the need make videos that serve as valuable tools for the customer, rather than blatant company advertising. Many financial technology companies crank out video after video that extol the virtues of their product and why they’re such hot stuff. Buyers are tired of these overly promotional advertorials. They simply don’t have the time or patience to watch, and they’re not going to trust the content. So in this context, the question at the outset should be, “Why am I creating video content?”
We’ve seen huge marketing budgets wasted on promotional videos that are essentially talking heads spewing boastful claims. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against talking head videos, they’re extremely useful when they tell customer-centric stories that speak to the needs of the viewer. My point is simply that B2B buyers are sick of commercials and expect more from video content. This is where good storytelling can be of great utility.
Tell Stories Customers Want to Hear
Your company has a unique story to tell about how you bring value to your customers. So your videos need to be about more than product features, speeds and feeds. You need to demonstrate to your customers that you understand their business problem and can help them find the solution. They need to know that you “get them,” that you understand their business problems, and that you can help.
Technology buyers constantly complain that it’s hard to find trusted content to help them make important technology decisions. A well-crafted video series focused on telling stories and educating buyers through each stage in their buying process is a great way to create a connection with a prospective customer, facilitate the customer buying process, and improve sales effectiveness. It will also go a LONG way toward differentiating your company from competitors.
Videos that tell customer stories can go a long way toward demonstrating your understanding of customers’ needs. This helps build confidence in your target audience that your company is able to help them solve some of their most challenging problems. Adopting the voice of your customer and telling stories from their point of view helps earn that trust.
Your Script Needs to Engage the Audience
While it’s relatively easy to make a video these days, it’s not so easy to make one that will resonate with prospects and help drive revenue. Your script needs to tell an interesting story that engages the emotions of your audience and can serve as a tool to help inform the customer buying process. Good videos share a number of important qualities that make them effective:
- Compelling business issues – Videos that help drive revenue address real business issues that are important to your target audience. This may make the video uninteresting to people outside your target market, but that’s fine. The goal is influencing your sales.
- An educational and entertaining story – If the viewers enjoy your video and find its story relevant and informative, they’re more likely to share it with colleagues. A powerful script is critical to an effective video.
- Expert visual design – The same way that quality clothing helps you to “dress for success,” great cinematography, graphic design and high quality animation can help to make video successful.
- Quality audio production – The quality of the audio soundtrack heavily influences the audience’s perception of the overall video. Poor quality voice-over, background noise, and/or amateur mixing distract the audience from the video’s core message.
Tell Stories That Sales Can Use
On the second day of the C2C conference, Jill Rowley of Oracle spoke about the urgent need for marketing to get great stories into the hands of salespeople. She told the story of a contest that Eloqua ran where customers sent in their stories. She ended up with around 170 customer stories that she could use in her sales process. As the salesperson in our organization, Candyce often tells customer stories at sales meetings. These stories often create sparks of thinking within her listeners. To quote Candyce, “customers find themselves in the stories.”
Effectively Using Talking Head Video
As I mentioned earlier, there’s great value in talking head video. It’s an effective way to get customers to tell their stories to other customers — and people in your organization to tell compelling customer stories. You can also craft great (and sometimes more affordable) video content with the use of animation. The bottom line is the video should serve the needs of prospects and customers.
Video as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy
In a previous blog post on promo video, I made mention of utilizing video content as part of a complete marketing strategy. Promotional videos can be used to drive awareness, build credibility, and tell customer stories. They can also be very valuable tools for your sales team. More on that another time.
So, in addition to asking yourself, “Why am I creating video content?”, ask, “Who is this promo video for and what do they need to learn?”
How to Use Video Content to Drive Awareness, Leads and Sales: A Guide (Content Marketing Institute)
Video Content Planning for Events: 5 Hard-Won Lessons (Content Marketing Institute)
Poor Marketing-Sales Alignment Is Costly (Demand Gen Report)