Why Your Business Needs To Become A Content Company?

Whilst success tends to be subjective, I’ve long believed that the businesses which excel tend to be those with the most compelling story. In many cases, it is this same story which binds a business to its audience that sets them apart from their competition. It is this essence of ‘brand‘ which keeps customers returning and defines successful content.

Depending on how long you have been in business, the means by which you convey your story may have changed. Where once the Yellow Pages was the go-to destination for reaching your audience; social media and search have all but transformed how content is found.

Whilst TV remains a primary channel, the prescriptive schedules of the traditional broadcasters have been disrupted by both a technological and a social layer. The technology is always-on and constantly connected whilst the social layer attempts to infuse a sense of community into the connected experience.

Collectively, over-the-top platforms (OTT) such as the Chromecast, Amazon Firestick or the AppleTV run many of the channels we find on our mobile devices i.e, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. This means that the sit-back experience of the living room has become an organic extension of our mobile lives and vice-versa.

This represents a tremendous opportunity for today’s businesses. The power has been democratised, we can reach our target audience wherever we choose but first we have to accept that to do so, we must meet the prospect on their terms,  be it on either social media or out there in the wilderness of the open web. For more on what social channels befit your business, check out our blog ‘Choosing The Best Social Channels for your B2B Video

The customer is empowered to opt-in to your brand – or not as the case may be. This is why we must be producing content with a deeper understanding of personalisation, relevance and intimacy. Maybe a good place to start is to ask ourselves, ‘how well do we know our customer?’

So, why is Social, the Open Web and OTT so important? Because the customer is ageing. It should come as no surprise that millennials have arrived in positions of influence within the enterprise and millennials inhabit the social layer like no other demographic in society. Successful content today will entice its audience to participate in its reach.

If you look at how millennials engage with social media, it can be incredibly intimidating. There are multiple channels, speaking to different audiences with those users often rifling through their feeds at a pace which could be best compared to a treadmill for thumbs. Each moment is transitory and absolutely nothing feels permanent.

Daniel Ek – Spotify CEO

Spotify owner Daniel Ek, recently proclaimed in a letter to investors that Spotify wasn’t in the music business, it is in the moments business. I get his logic but by that definition, we’re presumably all in the ‘moments’ business.

The question remains, how do we enrich that moment so that our audience cares enough to be truly engaged. Successful content has to be powerful because online interactions need to stick almost immediately or risk not sticking at all.

As it happens the channels have been giving us a clear indication of the direction of travel for some time and it’s fairly widely accepted now that video is the most effective medium for capturing and retaining attention in social. Even LinkedIn has finally caught on, adding video to both personal profiles as well as company pages.

As business owners, it is our job to shape these conversations. To do that we have to be the creators of content which adds value and capitalises on the zeitgeist. Successful content is relevant, not spam. Not only that but we also have to do it with a certain level of scale because at the top of the funnel, our audience is only tapping into us for moments at a time.

We need lots of moments with our prospect for them to begin to notice us, even more for them to get a sense of our offering. More still to turn them into fans. Is it any wonder that we’ve witnessed a content explosion over the last few years. Further down the funnel, the moments we share tend to be longer because the engaged prospect will want more from us. 

If you haven’t done so already, step back and ask yourself ‘What is the story of your business? Why should your prospect care?’ The successful businesses of tomorrow won’t just have a fantastic story but they will weave their audience into the narrative and make them feel part of it because after all, what is a brand without loyalty?

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Why Your YouTube Channel Needs A Comments Strategy

YouTube comments are a great way to engage with your audience and to demonstrate that you’re interested in what your audience has to say.  As we said in our blog How to choose the best social channel for your video, posting your videos on YouTube is a great way to raise awareness of your goods or services. But that’s only the start of the process. In this blog, we look at why you need a comments strategy for your YouTube videos and how you put one in place.  

YouTube isn’t just a place to watch videos. People also use it to interact and comment on what they watch. This might be with the person who posts the video or with other viewers. Like all social media channels, it is a two-way street. If you want to use YouTube to raise awareness about your brand and what you sell, you need to build a relationship with your audience. The comments section can play a big part in this.

Research by Tubular Insight estimates that with a few exceptions, every video with 5,000 or more comments has at least one million views. True, this is a bit chicken and egg as you need the views to get the comments but the point is that views and comments go hand in hand. YouTube is an excellent place to host videos that are at the awareness stage of your customer journey. This might be a video version of your elevator pitch, for example. This type of video is likely to be more about your brand and values than your specific products or services. At this stage of the journey, you are trying to get your video seen by as many people as possible. The comments you (and other people make) can encourage people to re-watch the video, watch it all the way all the way through or share it with other people.

Click the image above for more information about the Elevator 1

Just gaining views isn’t the only the reason to have a comments strategy, though. Another is that the comments you post give you the chance to amplify the messages in your video, reaffirm your brand values and direct viewers to more of your content. Now you need a strategy. Here are 5 ways to put in place a comments strategy for your YouTube videos.

Post your own comments

YouTube videos without any comments look a little sad and people may be shy to kick off them off. There is nothing wrong with you starting the conversation. It shows that you are open to feedback and encourages viewers to interact with you. It also gives you the chance to direct what people talk about.  The most important thing to remember is to be authentic and add personality. No one will bother to engage in a conversation with a generic, boring brand.

Reply to comments promptly – ideally within an hour or two

We should say here that you will need to look at your comments settings. These let you hold all comments until you have reviewed them or you can allow all comments to be posted immediately. You can also blacklist certain users or specific words and phrases.  It is important to respond promptly while the video is fresh in the commenter’s mind. You want the conversation to gain momentum so don’t hang around.  

Answer constructive criticism

There are no hard and fast rules about what comments you allow but you need to be conscious of how you deal with critics and trolls. Commenters with constructive criticism should be welcomed. By replying to them you show your authenticity and that you take viewers’ comments seriously. This will give a positive view of your brand.

You should probably have a policy of dealing with abusive trolls as they can discourage people from engaging. Having said that, YouTube’s algorithm puts the top comments first so the chances are that unless you have a high troll to comments ratio these won’t be seen anyway (unless someone is determined to read all the comments from top to bottom).

When you respond to comments you have the opportunity to forward links to your website or other videos that may deal with issues raised. This is a chance to send potential buyers further along the customer journey and should be part of your blended approach to video marketing. Even if you don’t respond to each comment, a simple thumbs up shows that you are listening. All these are steps will help build a community around your brand.

Use your videos to fuel the conversation

You should think of your videos as the opening gambit in the conversation. You can use them to ask for comments, likes or for people to subscribe to your channel. You can also get feedback on what types of videos the audience would like to see in future.  Another thing you can do is showcase in your videos specific comments you have received. Shouting out to individuals is a fantastic way to add a personal touch. You could even include your biggest fans in a future video or invite them to submit their own videos.

 

 

Reward your community and build deeper engagement

You can reward your loyal fans’ in a variety of ways. One way is to produce exclusive content that is unlisted or private and only available to subscribers. Jamie Oliver did this to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his daily life. Another is to offer exclusive giveaways or competitions (although be aware that YouTube doesn’t allow you to offer a reward in return for likes or comments).

Produce great videos

It sounds obvious but the better the video, the more likely you are to attract comments. (Actually, that’s not strictly true. Controversial videos are good for gaining attention, too.) As a rule of thumb, though, an outstandingly produced video that tells a good story and grabs people’s emotions is a good place to start.

To discuss how Element 26 can help your business manage its YouTube channel, contact Nathan Haines at nathan@elementtwentysix.com.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

How To Make The Most of YouTube With YouTube Cards

YouTube Cards are a topic video publishers ask us about a lot. For a long time, many of YouTube’s most powerful features were confined to the desktop. If you wanted to annotate any of your videos, you were stuck, all you could do is wait patiently whilst Google developed something comparable for mobile users. In the spring of 2015, with the trend of internet browsing hurtling undeniably towards Mobile, YouTube announced ‘Cards’. YouTube cards are an interactive layer placed over your videos which provide timely information around your video content.
 
screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-23-25-11
(YouTube Card on the right)
 

The Five Types of YouTube Cards

YouTube offers five standard cards and they are for Promoting a 1) Video or 2) a Playlist, 3) Promoting Another Channel (you can’t promote your own channel), 4) Taking a Poll or 5) Linking to an Approved Website. In our experience, whilst you can use up to four cards within one video, we don’t necessarily recommend that you do this. We found four cards on screen at any one time to be a little overwhelming and likely to defeat the object of using Cards in the first place because the user journey starts to become convoluted..

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-22-43-13

The Limitations of YouTube Cards

There are some limitations to the functionality of YouTube Cards. For example, cards are placed by default on the right hand side of the video without any flexibility to position them elsewhere, nor does the channel owner have any say in the size or colour of the card. You can add your logo though.

Implementing YouTube Cards

Getting set up with YouTube cards is extremely straight forward. Simply navigate to the Video Manager, click Edit and locate the tab where it says Cards. 
 
screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-22-46-39
 
Locate and click the blue ‘Add Card’ button to choose the Card type you want to add. Unless you choose to add a poll to your video you will need to add a valid URL. Once you click ‘Create Card’ you can then adjust the start position of your card for the teaser if required
 
If you need any help implementing cards into your YouTube videos then YouTube have published a tremendously helpful how-to on their blog. Failing that we have worked with countless businesses to successfully optimise their YouTube channel including the implementation of YouTube Cards and End Screen CTAs. If you need any assistance with your YouTube Channel get in touch for a helping hand.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

5 Tips For Writing an Effective Video Description

So you have finally finished producing your latest film and now it’s time to publish it. If your video has an awareness goal, then it makes a lot of sense to publish the film on YouTube. Going by Alexa, Amazon’s web ranking service, YouTube is still the second most visited site on the internet and is a great place for building visibility around your offering.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-17-31-52

Most businesses would prefer to have traffic head directly to their website rather than to their YouTube channel, which is why we feel it’s really important to have a blended strategy in place which uses social video channels such as YouTube or Vimeo to drive traffic to your website. You can read more about creating a blended video strategy on our other blog, ‘Why Your Business Needs A Blended Video Strategy’.

To increase the amount of views your videos receive, it usually helps to write an effective video description. Whilst the main aim of the video description is to give your audience some context of what the video is about, the biggest opportunity around the video description, is the potential to drive traffic back to your own website where the user will be close to your calls to action. Here are our five tips for producing an effective video description for your YouTube videos:

Be Succinct

YouTube lets you input up to 5,000 characters into the description field however you don’t necessarily need to enter that much. Our research has shown that people don’t like to read too much off of screens which is why it can often be better to keep the body text succinct.

Indexable

To get as many views as possible, your video should be indexable. To increase your chances of being found, try identifying what the keywords are relative your video and get them into your body copy. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords relevant to your business.

Backlink

As mentioned above, the video description is perfect for inserting links back to your site. Try and get visitors back to pages relevant to the video they have just watched and ideally, as close as possible to one of your sites goals, this might be a form for example. If your video is part of a series it might also be worth linking to the next one.

Time stamps

If your video is lengthy or you would like to draw the user to a specific section of you video then timestamps can be a really handy mechanism to make engaging your content easier.

It is not uncommon for us to hear from businesses who complain that they’re not getting enough views from their videos on YouTube. The main question re receive is ‘how can we improve how are videos are discovered?’ In essence this is a question around their video seo.

Citations and @ mentions

Who doesn’t like receiving a shout-out online?! More often than not, users share content when they are mentioned. Where possible, why not mention those who contributed to the production of your film to increase the reach of your content. This plays into the very concept of what a social player is supposed to do.

If you’re interested in using YouTube as a means of increasing awareness of your brand then we can help. We have a number of guides on using video for business on https://elementtwentys.wpengine.com/category/using-video/. Alternatively, if you would rather someone took care of it for you why not ping us a message on the form on this page HERE.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk