The one mistake companies make with content marketing

It is amazing to me that with all the information online about what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing that companies continue to create videos that are ineffective and have little impact on the bottom line.  I seriously could not have resonated with BRUCE MCDUFFEE any more when he wrote this article. (Content Marketing Institute)

The one mistake companies continue to make when they decide on the creation of content marketing videos is the fact that they focus solely on their company and their product or service.  There is nothing wrong with having a few of those videos out there and in fact you should have a feature/benefit video created to give the information to people who are looking for it, but 60-70% of the content you create should include content about your customers, the success stories of others and the impact they have had for their communities.  Be that brand ambassador for your customers and see just how much further your content reaches. Just in summary…

  • Stop pitching your products.
  • Stop trying to be clever by masquerading a product promotion as a helpful piece of content.
  • Start giving away your expertise in the form of free education or interesting information — without promoting your product.
  • Start making a clear distinction between content that is meant to clearly define your offering and content that is meant to engage your audience by providing them with useful education or entertainment

 

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Giving storytelling a pulse

Story telling is innate in our DNA. It allows us to share moments that matter to us, give relevance to our experience and ultimately share knowledge to improve how we connect with each other. Story telling is truly a three-dimensional communication.

Promo videos are created to be one way – you talk to a group of people. Recent marketing or content marketing dives into two-dimensional marketing as you create a compelling video and post it on social platforms you begin a conversation. This is powerful alone, but there is a third place where story telling should take you. This third dimension I reference includes the story teller, the audience, but both now are transported to a third place, a shared experience. In fact, there’s brain science to support this premise. When you experience a story, the neurons in your brain fire the same way they would if you were engaged in story yourself. Stories not only spark attention, they inspire empathy.

Storytelling packs such power that every other form of communication is flat and feeble by comparison. It isn’t until you have told a story that you understand just how impactful it can be.

Good story telling is hard to come by, but as I like to say “You can’t make this sh-t up”. It’s as genuine as the people telling it.  Sometimes the most unscripted interview becomes to most compelling content you never expected.

  • What cause or pain point is your audience feeling that your product or service solves? This is the pulse that you want your audience to feel once they watch this video. Good stories have a protagonist. That means they are about living beings, not features and benefits. The most compelling stories have a real person, animal or other form of life. Look for the person who personifies a broader truth. That will pique people’s interest. You have to awake the heart before you can engage the mind. Storytelling does this well.
  • Have your audience feel as if they could be in the middle of the story. The best stories not only transport someone, they make that person want to do something about what they are hearing. If you are trying to get someone to see a new perspective or act on a problem, choose a story that conveys the stakes and the sense of urgency — and the path to making things better. Don’t overwhelm people with the all that is wrong with the world. Share with them just how they can personally impact the world with their involvement.  If they can imagine themselves the hero of your story, they will want to get involved.
  • You have a complicated concept, but keep it simple. Your product or service may have 20 or more points of improvement, but don’t confuse your audience with details as more information doesn’t make you more convincing. You want a succinct narrative that people can repeat easily. Bring the story, make the point and leave them wanting more.

Here are some examples of my own. Two very close to my heart campaigns that I am working on #CodeSTEMI and #CPR360. Yes these are hashtags that can be found on all social media sites, but type them in and see what you find. Both of these concepts are driven by the notion that there are amazing healthcare systems out there that have a story to tell, whether its a complete system of care that has saved the lives of thousands of people or one Dr. that has improved the science of what CPR can do for survival rates they are both genuine to all people and we all will face cardiac arrest sometimes in our lives, but how we respond to it and how our first responders are trained make all the difference in the world.

You can visit: http://CodeSTEMI.tv

or http://CPR360.org for more information on these storytelling campaigns.

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What have we learned about content marketing?

Content marketing is becoming increasingly important marketing tool for companies, but it is clear that the approach to content marketing varies widely among companies attempting to dive in and assuming they will get the same results as their competitors. Content created is but one aspect to the exposure ecosystem that needs to be considered when exploring content marketing solutions.

 

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Telling your customer’s story

How many times has your company put together a marketing concept, email blast, industry conference or other variable effort in exchange for a few leads just to justify to your sales team that the decision makers weren’t there or better yet the response was dismal?  While you may spend tens of thousands to obtain sales leads, nothing will replace the knowledge of how your customers work in their environment or the relationship you have with them, but how do you get to know them on such a personal level?

For marketers, this means investing quality time talking to customers about their day-to-day activities, goals, and challenges, either by phone or face-to-face. This is not a sales call, nor is it a cleverly masked opportunity to plant seeds of brand promotion. Talk to your customers like you would a friend. Listen and ask pointed questions to learn more about their daily challenges and goals. This will help you establish a clearer vision of the intricate details that compete for their attention and influence their decision making. These conversations will serve as igniter fluid as you brainstorm content ideas.

The next step is going beyond customer interviews get out of the office and spend time with customers on their turf, in their environment.  Witnessing your audience manage challenges and solve problems firsthand is a immersive way to understand who your customer is and idea generating machine for relevant content planning.

For example, I traveled with a film crew to visit Wake County EMS in November 2013.  My crew consisting of Matt Price (DP/ Editor), Tom Bouthillet (Capt. Paramedic & Cardiology Blogger) and myself and our goal was to learn what they were doing to improve cardiac arrest and heart attack survivals rates.  After a few months of planning we knew the main people we wanted to talk to, but we wanted to experience the system from the boots on the ground all the way up to the key opinion leaders.   We had unprecedented access to their system and in the end our customer Physio Control was the one that gained the valuable insight into their customer Wake County EMS.  In an interview with the EMS Medical Director Dr. Brent Myers he made the comment “We just did this day after day and we have never had a chance to reflect on why it was effective medicine”.  For those interested in seeing episodes of this ground breaking web series #CodeSTEMI you can view it here CodeSTEMI Documentary Web Series.

I realized for Physio Control multiple versions of content both short, medium and some long format content would be an effective way to share the content we were able to acquire would  be a much wiser investment in terms of content marketing.

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Corporate Storytelling at its best

In just over three minutes Google delivers a beautiful corporate video that tells the story of two men divided by the partition and how their grandchildren use Google to help reunite them. The editing is wonderful, the cinematography simply stunning and the story itself packs a powerful emotional punch as the two men reunite in the last few frames of the video.

Why is this important to know? As a company you have a choice in how your customers understand and use your products and service. This is a brilliant way to share your company’s impact in the community around you!

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The importance of b-roll

The story begins with a client I have that knew they wanted to do a series of videos.  They wanted to highlight a few of their customers and tell their story.  So like most projects I did some research on their customer and began developing the proposal.  Most of my clients do in fact like the producer role in these shoots and I appreciate them taking a bit of the logistics position when it comes to coordinating interviews.  What I didn’t expect was the 6 day shoot and 5-8 interviews a day with absolutely no time for b-roll (Don’t laugh, you have been there).  This became a teaching moment for the client.Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 9.21.27 AM

Most videos benefit from the addition of footage that supplements what is being said on screen. Show me, don’t tell me and also helps to keep the attention of the impatient viewer.

 

Costs: The length of time and equipment used to capture the b-roll will increase production costs. You can add anywhere from 10% to 50% of the total shooting costs if you need to supplement interview footage with b-roll footage, but remember this is a MUST, give the crew the time to get the footage after the interviews.

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The importance of having a media partner that knows you #CPR360

CPR360  When ZOLL Medical came to me about coming up with an idea about a campaign for one of their customers that was all I needed to hear.  Within 24 hours I had submitted an idea that was more than just video production, it was more than a single video, it was #CPR360.  Let’s begin with the fact that I have known ZOLL Medical for over 6 years and have been putting many different videos together for them, but nothing that included all the resources I had built over the years including social media branding and exposure.

It was simple… develop a campaign that ZOLL Medical can use to help to give exposure to one of their customers.  Dr. Ben Bobrow of the Arizona State Public Health Department and his program F.I.E.R.C.E. was the catalyst.  I dove into their website to learn more and #CPR360 was born.  You will start seeing content come out on the #CPR360 website that entails both science and personal stories that Dr. Bobrow and his team have been working on since 2004.  This campaign has just launched at the time of this post, but we have seen an explosion of interest already in the program with many more videos to come.

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The Viewer Experience

Much of what I am concerned with in terms of video production comes from my experience as a paramedic and experiencing videos online myself. I have been molded by amazing role models like Den Lennie and Shane Hurlbut who share so much of what they know with the world and continue to improve my skills. With so much time devoted to production and the creation of content I must say that taking a Steve Jobs approach on how people experience my videos is important to me.  What I mean is it is important to own the full viewer experience and not just leave it up to someone else. It is just as important the as the production and content itself. Here is an article I wrote for Zacuto that explains it in more detail.

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Why should you tell your customer’s story?

I sit here contemplating the future of documentary filmmaking and how impactful it can be.  When you see a story you can relate to it moves you, it changes you and the emotions you feel help change or reaffirm your opinions of things.  Documentary filmmaking at its core is an emotional journey for those involved and sometimes it even builds relationships in a way you never imagined.  So, when you combine the idea of documentary filmmaking with your customer’s story it opens a whole new bond between the two of you in a way that sales reps and dinner outings could never do.

So how important is telling your customer’s story?

From an organizational standpoint  your company exists to provide a product or service to a group or industry.  Those who use your products or services ultimately become your brand ambassadors, increasing the chance of your company being talked about through their own network of people. That relationship doesn’t end once they own your product, it has just begun.  How likely are your customers going to talk about you and your products if you just spent the time and energy to highlight the work they do in a documentary film?

CodeSTEMI

If you are looking for an example I have one for you.  Physio Control (Medical Device Company that makes products for the Emergency Services and Hospital Industry) set out to highlight the wonderful work their customers are doing.  They realized that their products naturally saved lives, but more importantly it was about the people that used their products and the survivors that mattered.  They set out to tell their customer’s story in a documentary series called #CodeSTEMI.  Let me remind you this wasn’t about their products or some propaganda piece.  This was a chance to dig deeper into an organization and allow for the story to speak for itself.  18 months later the series continues as they found the tens of thousands of views and millions of impressions on twitter have proved without a doubt that their customers matter to them and the relationship between the agencies they have profiled have a new strengthened loyalty.

 

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Documentary filmmaking on the rise for companies

Telling a story is an amazing way to identify and connect with people.  I remember as a paramedic after a call we would site in the back of an ambulance and share stories of a crazy call or how we wouldn’t believe it if we didn’t see it.  More and more companies are realizing the importance of these stories and taking part of that process.  As a Paramedic I have a unique skill set of knowing what it is like to work the streets and that view point has afforded me the opportunity to help craft messages that companies in this space need.  Most of the people in the marketing departments of healthcare or EMS based organizations don’t come from the field rather they use skills and techniques taught to them through their education and/or experience from other companies.  In the social age of collaboration and connectiveness there is a transparency that we (meaning EMS or healthcare professionals) understand about our jobs and when an organization doesn’t identify with that through their efforts in media we as an industry don’t support it.

If your next marketing solution is to identify with the healthcare audience and you are seeking ways to do that with authenticity and credibility give me a call – 510.8598.3456

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