The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

This is a guest post by Mat Fidge of Nexus.

Video Marketing

Is video the future of content marketing?

It’s not an idle question: by 2017, Cisco predicts that video will account for more than two-thirds of all consumer internet traffic. Back in 2015 more than half of all companies are already making use of video and Nielsen research suggests that 64% of marketers can easily see video dominating their online strategies in the very near future.

It is the reach of video that makes it so compelling as a favoured content marketing medium. And what a reach it is: one in three in the UK watch a video online at least once a week, and YouTube famously commands over a billion unique visits each month.

But it’s not just reach that video offers. It is also highly sharable content, and, should your video go viral, you could be receiving 155 million views just like Volkswagen recently achieved.

People love to share videos. But how are videos being shared? Who is sharing them? And on what platforms?

It’s time to introduce the 80/20 rule of viral video marketing.

The team at Unruly have recently published new research that delves into what they call the “geography of sharing video ads”. The report itself makes fascinating reading but let’s just extrapolate some of its key findings.

  • Almost one in five online users share videos with their social networks more than once a week.
  • These ‘super sharers’, however, account for over 80% of all total shares.
  • Facebook is the preferred way to share videos (59%) with other platforms dividing the remainder amongst themselves: Twitter (13.8%), Google+ (9.3%), Tumblr (5.7%) and Pinterest (3.9%).
  • The speed of sharing has nearly doubled over the past year: 42% of shares occur in the first three days of online publication.
  • More than three-quarters of video views actually take place outside of YouTube.

What can you take away from this?

Firstly, you can tip your hat to YouTube’s importance but don’t let it blind your eyes to the fact that most video views are taking place on the wider web outside it.

Secondly, you need to know who the super sharers are in your niche, because once you have their attention you have a much better chance of receiving a high rate of shares.

Thirdly, you need to act fast to get your content trending because your window of opportunity is getting tighter and tighter.

And finally, if you are not engaging in video marketing you are missing a trick. Production costs have fallen significantly and platforms such as Twitter’s Vine, with its six-second maximum clip length, have opened the door wide to invite you in.

So, where’s that short, snappy storyboard treatment?

 

Mat Fidge watches and shares way too many videos when he should be working for Nexus Design and Print in Brighton (but it’s all part of the job).

Fired on Twitter

Back in 2013, a British teenager was appointed as the Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for her county’s police department. Seventeen year old Paris Brown’s job was to advise the police on policing teenagers.

It was a brand new role. Nothing had ever been done like it before, anywhere in the UK.

Paris beat over 160 applicants to the job. But when her appointment was announced, British tabloids started digging for dirt.

They didn’t have to look far. In the words of the tabloids, during her younger teenage years Paris had posted “foul-mouthed” tweets.

Within a week of being given the job, Paris resigned.

When she announced her resignation, Paris said:

I have fallen into the trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites. I hope that this stands as a learning experience for many other young people.

All too many young people – and even adults – are unaware of the online footprint they leave behind when they post a tweet. Some even fail to realize that their tweets are public. (Several racists have discovered this to their peril).

This month, a teenager in Texas made a similar mistake.

Cella became a Twitter celebrity when she posted:

Ew, I start this f*** a** job tomorrow”

Her new job was at a pizza joint, working the cash register and taking phone orders. Unfortunately for Cella, her new boss at the pizzaria found out about the tweet after a staff member passed it on to him.

He logged into Twitter and posted a reply:

@Cellla_ And….no you don’t start that FA job today! I just fired you! Good luck with your no money, no job life!

Ouch!

Moral of the story: If you wouldn’t want your boss (or a future boss) to read it, don’t post it to Twitter. It’s not worth the risk.

Tweets are public – anyone can see them. That includes your momma. So if you wouldn’t say it on a stage, in public, don’t say it on Twitter.

Easy, right?

Have you ever said something on social media that you later regretted? What happened, and how did you fix the mistake?

Standout Content

New blogs are created every day. Thousands and thousands of them.

By some estimates, a new blog is set up every half a second.

In total, there are over 150 million blogs. And only 400 million blog readers.

If each blog reader only read one blog, that works out at three readers per blog.

With only a limited pool of readers, how can you make your blog stand out from the crowd?

One way of doing so is to improve your writing skills. Chances are, there are thousands (if not millions) of blogs on the same topic as yours.

What will make your blog – and your business – stand out is the way you write.

Here’s how to write in a way that grabs the attention of your readers.

1. Know Your Audience

Find out everything you can about them. Talk to them. Listen. Have coffee with some of them, if you can.

Why? Because when you know your audience, you can craft content that’s just for them. More than anything else, this is what will make your blog engaging to readers.

2. Write for Skim Readers

The internet has changed the way we read. In a big way.

When we’re reading online, we skim read. We scroll through articles faster than we can take in words.

Why is this?

The problem is TMI. Too much information. There’s so much information out there that we have to filter. Skim reading is a way of filtering.

When you skim read, you’re looking for a headline or subheading that hooks you in. It’s new or relevant to you. When this happens, you pay more attention.

Then you go back to skim reading.

So, how do you write for skimmers?

First, you must write freaking awesome headlines. If your title fails to grab attention, then your article will be ignored.

Second, divide up your article into sections. Give each section a subheading. And don’t make your subheadings cute or coy. Your subheadings must point to your exact destination. Skim readers want this simple, to the point guidance.

Finally, make your important points stand out. Bold text is a handy tool for doing this.

3. Don’t be a Show-Off

No one likes a bragger, especially not online. When it comes to creating content, you need to avoid showing off in two important ways.

1. Don’t show off your products. Yes, creating content is a way of marketing your business. Ultimately, it can help you sell more stuff. But it’s not a sales tool. I’ll say that again: Content marketing is not a sales tool.

Content marketing is about being useful to your audience and engaging them in conversation. First, you provide value. Then, people think “this is great, I’d like more”, and they check out your products.

In simple terms, content marketing isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. Put them first in everything you create.

2. Don’t show off your flowery writing style. You might believe that you deserve to win the Nobel Prize for literature. But your content is not the place to show off your literary talents.

When readers are engaged with your content, they shouldn’t feel like they’re “reading”.

Let’s take a look at why that is…

4. KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)

When you’re writing content, use short words, sentences and paragraphs. How short? Shorter than you think.

With everything you write, ask yourself:

  • Is there a shorter word I can use that means the same thing?
  • Can I make this sentence any shorter?

People don’t have time to “interpret” your writing. It’s got to slide into their minds, smooth as silk.

Short words and sentences help people to skim read.

Remember, many of your readers will be visiting your blog or website after a hard day’s work. Fail to make life easy for them, and there’s plenty of other places they can go.

That’s not to say that writing in short sentence is easy. In fact, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

To get a feel for really short sentences, read a Jack Reacher novel. Or sign up to an email list from Andre Chaperon.

5. Do the Heavy Lifting for Your Readers

Pretty much anyone can write a sentence these days. We all learned to read and write at school. What’s hard is writing clean, simple and engaging prose.

Why is this hard?

As a rule, writers resort to long, complicated words when they’re not really sure what they’re talking about. You have to understand something inside-out before you can explain it in everyday language.

So, do the heavy lifting for your readers. Write about subjects you’re expert in, or do the research before you write.

6. Inject Voice into Your Writing

Voice is what makes you stand out from the competition. Anyone can share information. No one has your voice.

How can you find your voice?

In some ways, this is a nonsense question. Do singers “find their voice”?

No, and yes.

No, singers don’t find their voice. Every singer is born with a unique voice. No one else will ever sound exactly like them.

The same is true in writing. When you write, you can’t help but write in your voice.

On the other hand, singers spend years training their voice. They practice and practice for hours a day. They seek advice from professionals. They play around with the many different ways they could use their voice.

So, to “find your voice” you need two things.

Number one, yourself. That’s easy. You’ve already got that.

Number two, discipline. The discipline to practice. The discipline to try different approaches to writing. The discipline to learn about writing from professionals.

A really simple way to practice is to write out articles written by other people, especially if they’re in a style you like. This allows you to “try on” other voices. You’ll pick up tricks and techniques to add to your own voice.

Over to You

What writing techniques do you use to make your blog stand out from the crowd? Let us know in the comments section, below.