Content marketing is a marketing technique focused on creating and distributing valuable content [...]
Many people want to know the big secret to make a video go viral, but the truth is, there is no magic trick.
There is a clear formula and plenty of tips and tricks to make videos, gifs, Tumblr accounts, or pretty much anything go viral.
Viral videos may appear to be up to chance at times, or to have big budgets behind, celebrity-packed clips sweeping the web seem to be fluke videos that grab people’s attention and swarm like wildfire, but as the Guardian explores in its seven golden rules of viral videos, simple tricks such as building an emotional roller-coaster, or kicking off with a bang, are essential ingredients in most viral videos.
But besides the actual content of your video, marketing is probably the most important ingredient to make a video go viral. Here are some basic tips to make a video go viral:
Make it share-able
Regardless of the content of the video, what matters most is how it travels.
This is the single most important tip in virality. The internet matters because word travels fast. Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have become one of the most valuable websites because of how share-able the content is.
Virality is built through shares, and if your viewers have to struggle to spread the word, you are seriously hampering your video’s viral chances. Make it as easy as possible for them to spread your video across the web by inserting social media sharing links in intuitive spots under the video and encouraging shares immediately after the video finishes. Often, a viewer will click away within seconds, but a quick encouragement to share could make the difference between virality and internet nothingness.
Look at the prominent sharing options around Upworthy’s videos.
Make it like-able
In order for people to want to share your video, it must be something people want to share. In other words, make it like-able! We don’t just mean making it easy to like on Facebook (if you are following our first tip, you should already be doing this!). We mean making a video people enjoy and want to show to their friends.
What is like-able? An eye-catching video about a topic your viewers and their social networks care about. Not a boring, dragged out video on an irrelevant topic. This means you need to target and identify what your specific audience is going to want to share.
Do you want it to go viral with teenagers interested in pop culture? Make a video with their favorite singer to catch their eye. Are you trying to get your video to spread like wildfire with home decorators? Justin Beiber isn’t going to do much here – use high-value graphics of beautiful homes to get them interested.
Remember, to go viral your video needs to appeal to the people you want it to go viral with… and it needs to do it fast.
The “People Are Awesome” videos are nothing but a big compilation of other videos, but it’s simple irresistible.
Shorter is sweeter
If you want your video to go viral on the web, you need to make it internet appropriate, which means paying attention to timing and attention spans.
If your viewers have four or five other tabs open and they are checking their email in between watching, what are you going to do to grab and sustain their attention?
Within the first five seconds you need to put something awesome in your video that will make your viewers not want to click away. After that, keep up the momentum with a clear, concise message. Don’t drag your video on unnecessarily – given the same content and message, today’s internet viewers tend to favor brief videos over videos that linger on for more than a few minutes.
Cut the fluff and only include what is most important to keep in your video.
Reel your viewers in with a story
People are attracted to stories. We like to follow plot arcs – whether in comics, the news, or a documentary. We want to know who the main characters are, what’s at stake, and what the resolution is.
Videos are powerful mediums of communication because they are flexible, but no matter what, telling a story helps your viewers gain understanding and a sense of conclusion by the end of your video. Furthermore, videos and animated slides have a unique ability to tell stories because you can add music and text to help viewers understand your message.
Stories can be used in many different types of videos. Even if it’s only a short clip – a video asking viewers to help sick dogs in your hometown – framing it as a story helps make it digestible. Don’t just spit out facts and reasons why they should help – show sick Fido getting better as a result of caring donations from community members. Or, if you are an HR rep and want to encourage your company to join in on more social activities, spread a video around through email that shows people having fun on the most recent weekend trip with a call to action asking them to join, and telling them about the next event.
Clearly, videos have the power to communicate – it’s just about finding the right balance and communicating the message in an appropriate form.
This video from Google India is the perfect example of storytelling, and the proof that it works is in the more than 12 million views.
Last but not least… make it easy to be publicized
If we didn’t drill it in enough, make your video easy for viewers who like it to share with others. This is hands down the most powerful way to increase virality: and it’s easy! After you have made a concise, compelling video with a great story, share it with people who would care about what you have to say. Encourage them to share it with others (and make it easy for them), and you have started the ripples of virality!
Videos are quickly becoming the new currency of online content.
According to Insivia, videos were the fastest growing form of ad format in 2012. Almost half of all web users watch at least one video online each month, and about 100 million users watch online videos every day, comScore says.
Clearly, videos are a part of our personal daily online lives; however, businesses are learning that videos can be a profitable marketing tool.
Adding a New Ingredient to Your Marketing Mix
As a marketer, your primary goal is to get your audience to cross the finish line with you and convey your message. Even if you are advertising the best product in the world, if no one is listening, no one is buying. So how do you get people to listen? You make it as easy for them to hear as possible, and this means speaking to them via multiple channels.
Websites and marketing campaigns often rely on text and graphics; however, relying on too much of any one ingredient is a recipe for disaster. While graphics convey information succinctly, and text explains and elaborates, adding video to the mix is a way to reach customers who absorb information visually and tune out when they see too much text. According to Insivia, on average, viewers retain 95 percent of information if they watch it it, but only 10 percent of the when they read it.
If a customer doesn’t hear or understand your message, your chances of converting them are slim. For many companies, conversion rates increased after adding videos to their campaigns. PowToon found start-ups and small businesses that used videos saw a conversion rate increase an average of 40 percent. Additionally, start-ups saw email sign-ups increase 67 percent.
Customers want to speak to a face, not a bot
Marketing isn’t just a one-way dialogue. Truly successful businesses create conversations with their customers, and videos allow you to talk to your customers personally, making them useful for connecting in a more personal way than an email or graphic allows.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, customers are about 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than other posts.
Additionally, PowToon found small businesses and start-ups both saw their social media activity increase between 60 and 70 percent after adding videos to their online content. Start-ups also saw a 50 percent increase in user time on site and user comments after they added videos to their online content.
Simply making a video and sending it to your customers will not get these results. Companies succeed when they understand how to use and apply videos to improve their existing marketing campaigns to build a conversation with their customers. Larger corporate companies and Fortune 500 companies reported that user engagement increased almost 75 percent on average when they used videos to speak to their existing customer bases.
Don’t let your videos fall flat
When you think of videos, think outside of the box. There’s more to online content videos than product tutorials and advertisements. The companies that experience the most success with videos are those that aren’t afraid to try something new. Incredible commercials and video campaigns stick in a customer’s memory for years, but videos that lack creativity bore your audience and can hurt brand loyalty.
Remember, videos aren’t only for the consumer. You can integrate videos in company presentations and communications to stimulate discussion across colleagues and liven up meetings. Don’t forget that videos are versatile. Use them not just for advertising, but as a tool for building internal communications, increasing brand loyalty, showing a more human side to your company, or creating open, personal dialogue with your existing customer base.
Content marketing can help grow your business in many different ways. We all know that because it has been repeated about a million times on the marketing blogosphere in the last 5 years.
But really, I’m always impressed with these two most common scenarios when it comes to companies adopting (or not) content marketing:Many companies jump on the wagon to just go through the motions of writing posts, without really knowing why, or having clear goals Or companies that fail to see the benefits of a content-rich website rather than a virtual static brochure
And this is why I loved this infographic from Neil Patel (QuickSprout), because it focuses on one clear benefit: Content marketing can help improve your search engine rankings. So I wanted to share it with you.
Here are the key takeaways:Companies with blogs generate 97% more leads 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company with a blog Interesting content is one of the main reasons consumers follow brands online
But, can content marketing directly improve search rankings?Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages The average top page on Google contains between 2032 and 2494 words Content rich websites generate 97% more links
Infographic courtesy of QuickSprout.
Trust. It’s tough to earn but easy to lose – especially in business.
Never has that become more true. Every time a bank changes its fee structure or a cable company bundles its services and makes it less than simple to understand, a cry rings out across social media. Someone will be complaining.
Like it or not, customers have higher expectations of the businesses they deal with these days. A 2012 global study from the Edelman Trust Barometer found that of the 11,000 people in 8 countries polled, 90% claimed that they want companies to be as transparent as possible. The reason: there’s more information that’s easier to access than ever before.
If you’re a company that’s being less than honest or simply appear to be, chances are good that the word will get out. All you have to do is read a few nasty Yelp reviews. True or false, they affect people’s perceptions and sometimes the bottom line.
Take care of your home base
Because transparency has become all but inevitable, building and keeping the trust of customers is vital. One of the best places to do that is a website.
Unlike profiles on any of the social networks, a self hosted website doesn’t live on rented land. You and your business control who sees the messaging and what that messaging will be.
How to build trust on your website
You don’t have to go to elaborate ends to develop a website that gives visitors a reason to trust using it and ultimately your business. You just need to start with an honest approach and implement good copy and design practices.
Here are just a few to get you started:
1) Storytelling with boundaries
According to Brené Brown, the acclaimed researcher in social work, “vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust and disengagement.” How many times have you met someone who seemed great until he decided to hit the “Too much information” button while crying in his soup?
Developing an engaging storyline on a website, i.e. details about who works at the company, how it came into being, the values behind it, help visitors and customers better understand who they are dealing with while giving them a sense of belonging.
The challenge is being evocative without turning your audience off. Think tone. Is the tone of your copy in keeping with who your business serves along with your own values? It won’t be the same for every business. Take into account what your customers say about your business.
2) Respect customer confidentiality and give them a sense of security
When people feel safe, they’re more at ease. Giving people a sense of security while on your website is a sure way of keeping them motivated to stay.
Several different A/B tests of pages on websites in which security icons were added or verbiage to let people know that their email addresses would not be shared, increased conversion rates at checkouts and list sign ups.
A UK retailer of watches increased sales of one of its Seiko watches by 107% just by replacing it’s price guarantee with an authenticity badge. Clearly, customers had more anxiety about purchasing an imitation watch than paying more than necessary.
3) Only over promise if you can over deliver
It’s tempting to tell your customers you’ll provide next day delivery or respond to requests for information within the hour. By all means, if you can follow through, make those promises.
Giving people additional reasons to believe in your business or product can make the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.
Zappos has built its business on first rate customer service. And, it’s not afraid to tell it’s customers on the top of its website. The thing about Zappos is that if something goes wrong, it’s prepared to make it right (even if the customer is the one to blame.) They’ve got the infrastructure and the culture to back up their claims.
The result: customers who trust buying from them will continue to do so loyally.
4) Add real testimonials
Testimonials are extremely effective in providing social proof on a website. Few people like to be the first one to try something. Think about every time you go to a party with a buffet table. It’s not until the host pushes someone over to be the first to fill his plate that others will follow.
Not surprisingly, websites work in a similar way. Adding testimonials shows new visitors that your business is trustworthy.
Here’s the thing. Only add them if they are real, relevant and you can attach a name to them. Bidsketch, the proposal software company, does a good job of highlighting testimonials on their home page that give us a sense of why people are happy with their product. Plus, there are names of real people with links to where you can find them online.
Testimonials from “Anonymous” or “Suzie Q.” are less than inspiring in giving people a reason to believe that “real” people have engaged in business with you.
Think about embedding tweets from others directly on your site. They include a picture and are clickable. They provide a quick and easy way of adding testimonials to a site.
What types of things have you done on your website to add that trust factor?
Infographics are all the rage these days. Attractive and pinnable, they communicate a great deal of information in a quick, eye-catching way.
But what if you’re not a designer with great graphics skills? Are there still ways for you to work infographics into your content marketing plan?
The good news is yes. Just because you’re not a designer doesn’t mean infographics are out of the picture. Here’s why.
User-Friendly Paid Software or Service Options
The Internet is filled with easy-to-use, convenient photo-editing software that makes it possible to create infographics, even as an amateur. Designed to be user-friendly, these tools equip you to custom-create the infographics of your choice. Here are a few:
PiktoChart is a service that allows you to input data into your choice of templates and create a professional-looking graphic. While it is a paid service, PiktoChart offers a limited free service to give you a chance to test it out.
If you’re willing to invest at least $1000 in your infographic, Visual.ly is the paid service to try. Visual.ly works with brands to tell compelling stories via custom infographics as well as video, presentations, and more.
Creately gives you the ability to create custom diagrams. It has various pricing packages available, including a limited, free public package.
Conveniently Free Software Options
Don’t want to shell out a lot of money on your infographic? No problem. If you’re on a tight budget, there are still ways to design your own infographic. Beyond the paid options listed above, here are a few free ideas to consider:
Simple and intuitive, Easl.ly gives you total access to features at no cost to you. It offers 15 professionally designed themes, various objects, and over 24 backgrounds. You’re also able to upload your own images to customize the infographic further.
With Infogr.am, you can display Excel data in a more sophisticated format. Take your pick of more than 30 chart types, ranging in style from bubble charts to treemaps.
If you’re willing to put in a little research and effort, Picmonkey can be a helpful infographic tool. Check out this blog post and this YouTube video instructing how to make an infographic with this free online photo-editing software!
General Design Principles
Finding the equipment to make an infographic is only half the battle. As every good designer would tell you, you also need to know what goes into quality design. Here are a few principles to remember:
1) Data Drives Design
Never design an infographic without knowing what data it will include. The design should cater to the type of info—whether that means pool illustrations for a “winter pool safety” infographic or one giant image for a “definitive steak” infographic. When you know what you want to showcase, you can brainstorm the best ways to do so.
2) Clarity, Clarity, Clarity
As with any communication tool, clarity is key. Focus on making your infographic easy to read and easy to understand.
3) White Space
White space frames your content and simplifies your layout, creating a simpler, more attractive design.
4) Showing (Not Telling)
Remember the point of an infographic is to communicate information through images, clip art, shapes, colors, etc. Remind yourself to use the design to communicate.
There’s nothing wrong with a basic pie chart, but to stand out you’ll need to think outside the box. Looking at the data you’re presenting, what are some unusual ways you could showcase stats and facts? Consider the below examples of innovative infographic design:
Check out the way a Russian company has worked infographics into packaging:
It’s easy to find inspiration over at Daily Infographic, as demonstrated in this posted image that showcases the many varieties of beer:
Intrepid Design uses hourglasses, not line graphs, to show how much time was devoted to different tasks here:
One more tip—though it’s not design related—that you ought to keep in mind is this: Check your facts. There’s nothing worse in the world of infographics than going through the work of designing an image, watching it spread, and then finding out your information is wrong—nothing except when someone else figures it out and posts about it for you. Even the prettiest infographic design can’t cover false facts, so do your homework.
Are your wheels turning with ideas for infographics for your brand? What will you create? And which tools will you use to build your image?