Content marketing is still one of the most effective and cost efficient online marketing strategies around—but it’s changing fast. What worked just a year ago is becoming less relevant, and the most successful brands are the ones who are adapting to the times.
The Rise of Video
Recently, video has been getting renewed attention as a new primary form of content marketing—and for good reason. YouTube alone has over a billion users, with accelerated growth in terms of both users and total videos watched over the past few years. But video is becoming more than just a peripheral add-on—more than just icing on the cake—it’s becoming central to the development of any new content marketing campaign.
- Written content is becoming oversaturated. Written content has long dominated the content marketing industry. It’s relatively inexpensive to produce, easy to syndicate, easy to optimize for SEO, and you can start writing without any formal training. The problem is, most companies have realized this and adopted a written content marketing strategy of their own. The market has become oversaturated with written content, leading to lower consumer interest and a lower ROI overall (though exceptional written strategies can still stand out). Video content is a way of getting out of that oversaturated area in favor of something more open.
- Mobile devices are ever-more popular. Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic, and it just keeps increasing. Why is this important for the rise of video marketing? Written articles are inherently hard to read on small screens, making it more difficult for mobile users to access their content. Plus, many mobile users are on-the-go, and don’t have time to sift through an entire written article. Accordingly, videos are the perfect alternative—fast, digestible, and easy to view.
- Wi-Fi is everywhere—and it’s fast. Data plans are no longer a hurdle for mobile devices (at least not as much as they used to be), since Wi-Fi keeps getting faster and more available. With more ubiquitous, faster access to Wi-Fi, users are more likely and more interested in streaming videos than ever before, resulting in a surge in popularity.
- Video platforms like Vine and Periscope are rising stars. Possibly stemming from the factors above, there are several new platforms emerging dedicated exclusively (or semi-exclusively) to user creation, sharing, and syndication of videos. Take Vine, for instance, which despite a recent dip in usage, was the subject of an extreme surge of popularity shortly after it emerged. Competing platforms, Periscope and Meerkat, both give users the opportunity to live-stream their lives, and many other video platforms are being developed and released to warm reception.
- Established platforms are incorporating more video features. Recently, even well-established technology and social platforms have been evolving to incorporate more video-friendly features. For example, both Twitter and Facebook have recently adopted a function that allows videos to automatically play for users scrolling through their news feeds. Twitter has also partnered closely with Vine and Periscope, two independent video-capture platforms, to make its own platform more video-friendly. This tells you two things about the video trend: it’s important enough for the major players to move on it, and most technologies are making it even easier to produce and syndicate videos.
- Video can work for anyone. You’ve probably already thought of brands who can make good use of video—some of the most successful channels are ones with a natural predisposition for visual displays, like the GoPro channel making use of its signature camera, or Park West Gallery showing off its latest art displays. But any business, from any industry and of any size, can make use of videos in creative ways, from interviews and FAQ sessions to sneak previews and tutorials. Take unlikely candidates like Best Buy or Cisco—they have thriving channels and a wide audience despite not having much in the way of innate visuals.
- It’s not that hard to get started. Don’t be intimidated by video. It’s easy to think of a successful video marketing campaign as taking place in a movie studio, with a talented director and team of actors producing the material—but modern video is much more practical. You probably own a smartphone with a decent camera already, and you’re probably capable of speaking into it. So what’s stopping you? You don’t need video editing skills or cinematographic experience (though those can help). All you need is a decent plan, valuable information to provide, and a way to get your videos to the public.
Video has exploded in popularity in recent years, and you can no longer afford to ignore it as a core part of your content marketing strategy. As you’ve seen, you can get started with no expertise and no professional equipment—so why wait any longer? Take advantage of the trend while competition rates are still relatively low, and start reaping the rewards for your business.