Content marketing is an area that’s been rapidly evolving, but one medium that often gets overlooked is online video — perhaps because of a misconception about how hard it is to produce video content. Recently, certain industry sectors have discovered the power of online video, particularly the role that instructional videos can play in enhancing their online presence — and any organization can steal (and benefit from) their strategies and best practices.
For many companies looking to provide customers with instructions or information about their products or expertise, text and pictures just aren’t enough. In fact, use of video as a marketing tactic has risen from 52 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2012 — and 58 percent of B2B marketers believe online video is the best content marketing tactic.
Companies looking to enhance reputation, customer engagement, and SEO are benefitting from online video in a major way. There are a few key reasons for this:
Good instructional video is evergreen. Online video is in demand all the time for a long time. Many consumers throw out the instruction manuals that come with a product, only to find themselves needing that information later (“Arrr… does the blue wire connect to the green plug, or the red one?”). Instructional product videos show your company anticipates customer needs and is willing to provide easy access to information that can help them when they need it. A combination of an instructional video with a QR code can offer even further acceleration.
Video is empowering to the consumer. Instructional videos help customers skirt what can be frustrating customer service phone calls or lengthy and confusing readings. It puts the power of ‘owning’ a product back in their hands, offering an engaging way to avoid product mishaps and other handling errors while reducing customer support costs. Not to mention how helpful it can be for consumers before they buy, while debating if and which product to purchase.
Video is the new lingua franca. In a global world where any product can be used anywhere around the world in one of hundreds of languages, the task of creating support material in many languages is close to impossible. Video (with or without multilingual captions) offers a shortcut to better communication with global audiences.
So which industries are being transformed by online video’s ability to connect with consumers? Here are four sectors that use video to transform their customer interactions – plus quick tips for using their strategies for your own efforts:
1. Companies with “Some Assembly Required”
An old joke describes a job interview at IKEA, where candidates are asked by their interviewer to ‘build a chair and have a seat’. Anyone who has ever bought a product that requires assembly (at IKEA or elsewhere) knows how frustrating it is when some parts don’t fit, or when at the end of the job there are leftover parts that seem not to belong.
But IKEA is a great example of a company using video to alleviate the frustration of assembling product parts. IKEA’s instructional videos allow customers to ditch the impossible paper instructions in favor of animations, an engaging soundtrack, and helpful tips to alleviate building frustration. Here’s their video of how to assemble a corner kitchen cabinet.
Quick Tip: You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make an engaging product video. An HD camera or webcam will do – just be sure to shoot in a clutter-free, well-lit area, and search a site like Jamendo for royalty-free music to spice up the experience. Multilingual captions, or audio tracks in several languages, can take the video to the next level still.
2. Educational Institutions
The rise of personalized learning, MOOCs, remote learning, and the flipped classroom rely on online video to deliver a more effective learning experience for students. Take Khan Academy for example: the nonprofit delivers more than 4,200 lectures in its virtual classroom. They even feature quirky videos, like Q&A with LeBron James.
Quick Tip: Pack your headline, description, and tags with keywords to boost SEO and help customers find you. Even if you can’t feature a celebrity in your product videos, the right keywords will ensure your video is recognizable in search results. Engagement and reach will follow if the video is entertaining, short, and makes clear points.
3. Sporting Industries
One surprising sport that’s being majorly impacted by online video: golf. People who normally wouldn’t learn to play golf because of how costly lessons are can now take their game up a notch using a few short videos – and eventually, buy gear from companies that help them to rev up their game.
Quick Tip: Write out a script beforehand to eliminate any distracting speech patterns, like “um’s” and “ah’s,” and to ensure your video is no longer than three minutes. Viewers are less likely to view a long video, so keep it succinct. If you need more than three minutes, create a playlist of related videos.
4. Pharmaceutical Companies
In the U.S. and Europe, regulatory authorities like the FDA require pharmaceutical companies to provide training for patients and healthcare professionals. Many companies have been turning their instructions into online video content to ensure patients and doctors have all the information they need to correctly prescribe and use new medications.
Quick Tip: Even if your company’s products don’t warrant how-to videos, there are plenty of areas where you can offer expertise. Consider interviewing employees, company leaders, customers, or community members who can share insights or knowledge about the product, as well as advantages and pitfalls. Beyond specific product advice, consumers are always interested in the state of the industry and the personal stories of customers who have used your product or service to solve unique problems.
In summary, the opportunities for using online video to help customers and boost your company’s brand and presence are endless. Consider the ways online video can be used to instruct or inform your audience, and you’ll be on your way to content marketing success.