This story first appeared on the Content Marketing Institute, an online magazine for content marketing education and best practice. You can read the original article here.
As video content becomes a more regular feature of content marketing strategies, we need to ensure that the same attention that goes into preserving the purity of the written content — without tainting it of promotion — goes into producing short films. All too often videos that were originally intended for content marketing end up focusing on the companies themselves, or on the products they’re trying to sell, rather than on the audience and the type of content it
Like its written counterpart, the best video content
marketing campaign is not about you. Instead, it’s “brought to us by
you.” So actually, it’s all about your audience members and addressing their deepest aspirations in order to educate, inspire, and even entertain them.
If you are looking to stay top-of-mind with your audience in order to increase your influence with its members, here are some keys for getting yourself out of the way and, in doing so, leaving a memorable impression. That’s just what Cisco did in its series of short films, “My Networked Life
“I’m going home now.”
— Felix Baumgartner as he jumped out of a capsule 24 miles above the planet
In my twenties I loved to paraglide. Running off cliffs in Caracas and San Francisco was a way to experience the unparalleled sensation of flying without a motor, in gentle and exhilarating oneness with nature. So a few days ago, I naturally watched in awe as a man dressed in a pressure suit got into a helium balloon and floated 24 miles up into the Earth’s stratosphere to jump into the abyss. Ten minutes later, Felix Baumgartner smoothly returned to Earth, having set the record for highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and fastest free fall velocity in the process.
What impressed me almost as much as Baumgartner’s bravery was the marketing campaign that Red Bull so cleverly built around it. They sponsored the event in the typical way you would expect: the capsule that Baumgartner jumped from was branded with Red Bull’s logo. So too was his helmet, his suit, his parachute. However, what really took off was Red Bull’s YouTube livestream of the event that broke the record for concurrent livestreams: more than 8,000,000 people watching at once. The company’s Facebook page garnered a quarter million likes and 10,000 comments within 40 minutes, while the event dominated Twitter’s worldwide trending topics. The event was picked up live on more than 40 TV stations, all trumpeting Red Bull’s message of extreme energy.
This was marketing, sponsorship, and social media woven together in one of the boldest event ever. As the Huffington Post
declared the next day: “One small jump for Red Bull, one giant leap for business marketing.” The question I found myself pondering in the aftermath was not whether I wanted to run out and buy a Red Bull, but rather what can social and environmental innovators working on some of the most exciting solutions on the planet learn from this? Here are my five takeaways:
“There was no staging or choreographing. It was an innocent interaction
with wild gorillas, and it was absolutely thrilling.”
— Amateur videographer, Touched by a Wild Mountain Gorilla
This amateur video of an extraordinary encounter with wild gorillas in the Bwindi Park in Uganda has garnered more than 4.7 million views. It's heartwarming and breathtaking. I'm not sure how much money the video has helped raise so far, but each of its viewers is encouraged to ensure that this critically endangered species survives by contributing to the African Wildlife Foundation
Although we can't plan on this sort of exceptional convergence of events, there is something to be learned here in terms of how nonprofits, foundations, purposeful businesses, and CSR and sustainability departments of large corporations can leverage relevant, user-generated content to make their case:Request inbound submissions:
Encourage your audience to share content they generate that is relevant to your area of practice. In this case, we don't know if the travelers were previously connected with AWF
, but regardless the idea to link this video to the organization could have been prompted through the nonprofit's regular communication channels.
"Foundations have the freedom to be bold; to take risks; to foster creativity, imagination and unorthodox thinking..."
—Steve McCormick, President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
In a recent letter
from the President's Corner, our friend Steve McCormick, President of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
, argues that given the times we live in, large foundations are uniquely positioned to make “transformational change.” By that phrase, he means change that ushers in a new and improved era complete with “new norms, conventions, behaviors, understandings, and practices.” At a time when governments and other public institutions are retracting from global social issues, large foundations have the ability to dig in, take a risk, and push the pendulum forward for all of us in the process.
Posted by Natasha Deganello Giraudie, CEO
Waiting for my flight this morning at Paris CDG airport, I noticed a large advertising monitor. A track and field athlete was crouched at the center of it, ready to surge off the starting block. What caught my attention wasn’t the athlete herself; after all, we’re days away from the start of the Olympics, and all of Europe is abuzz with heroic stories and imagery of athletes. No, what grabbed my eye was the fact that the athlete actually sprung into motion on the screen, and I was treated to a short clip of her rifling down the track.
Turns out this was a trailer for Believe in Yourself
, a series of micro-documentaries featuring paralympic athletes. Passengers waiting for their flights could aim their smartphones at the monitor and pull up the full micro-documentaries on their screens thanks to QR technology. The films are from Allianz
, the German insurance provider and the primary sponsor of the Paralympic Games
, which take place in London after the Olympic Games conclude. Clever, I thought, to integrate these dynamic micro-documentary trailers into a venue that typically shows standard perfume print ads and items from the duty-free shop.
The Allianz micro-documentaries
succeeded on 3 fronts: good placement, good timing, and good content. The placement is creative and effective, as passengers can easily watch the films while waiting at their gates. The timing makes sense, too, since most people are aware that the Olympics are just around the corner, even if they don’t plan to watch. And the content is strong. Allianz may have produced the films, but they’re not promotional pieces all about the company and how great it is. Indeed, the company doesn’t mention itself until the very end of the film as a publisher of the Believe in Yourself
series. The bulk of each piece is original editorial content about athletes, which is more appealing to watch and a more powerful way to connect with the audience.