What Content Marketers Can Learn from Publishers

What Content Marketers Can Learn from Publishers

Online video is growing. Forbes estimates that by next year, 80% of all consumer traffic on the internet will come from video and a Hubspot survey in 2017 found that 76% of marketers say video helped them increase sales.

Meanwhile, Social Media Today recently found that 87% of marketers already use video content in their marketing strategies. What’s more, 35% of all online budget is spent on video ads, and video on landing pages can increase conversions by up to 80%.

Many traditional magazine and newspapers now make more money on their digital operations, and as the demand for video grows, marketers are finding they also need to embrace videos in the digital space.

The opportunities to reach audiences with video are plenty, and we see how publishers push the same video to multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, or their own websites.

With all those opportunities to communicate with potential customers, marketers should not just create pure promotional content for their product or service, but rather create content that is engaging and with information that viewers will find interesting regardless of the product.

Think Editorial

One idea is to find an angle related to the brand, but not talking directly about the benefits of the product. For example, a mattress company that prides itself on selling healthy mattresses may choose to create a series of videos around health and sleep.

  • Why you should sleep 8 hours a day?
  • Never bring your phone to bed!
  • Foods that make you sleep well
  • Or perhaps some cheeky romance tips ahead of Valentine’s day.

A financial services comparison site called GoBear, does this well. Understanding that their potential customers care about all issues related to finance, they have a blog with general advice about how to best spend money. Watch it on Facebook here. 

Create a series – not individual clips

With a clear editorial agenda in mind, marketers should now think about the types of videos that will be recurring, just like a newspaper or magazine would have segments.

If you’re making a video for an event, think about if it will play before, during and/or after. Is there a video per session? Per speaker? A Twitter roundup at the end of each day?

Having a regular feed of content will make audiences know to expect more. Further creating recurring formats also helps with efficiency, by not having to reinvent the wheel each time.


When I worked as a news editor at the AP, planning was key to success. It may seem strange to think that a news agency — responding to breaking news wherever they may happen in the world — actually plans the news. Understanding the news agenda — key events — we were able to ensure teams were in the right place at the right time.

A summit where two world leaders who usually have spats were both going to attend would likely result in a strong comment and some breaking news, so having a camera there was crucial. And at the same time, we knew broadcasters needed something light to use for Weekend Newscast, so we’d go and look for something cute or quirky on Fridays.

The planning can also be seasonal. Think about how your product or service relates to Halloween, Christmas, or an anniversary? Social media management platform, Hootsuite recently listed a few good examples and tools for how media and brands are finding success with planning.

Also make sure you post your content at the right time, in order to maximize its impact.

Strong visuals and storytelling

With news feeds crowded with tons of exciting content that auto-plays as the user scrolls down a feed, think of how you can create ‘thumb-stopping’ content.

  • Start with eye-catching content in the first 3 seconds. Having moving images will help grab the attention of readers as they scroll down
  • Make sure to have strong visuals and big, bold text or colors that are aligned with your brand.
  • Write a strong headline on the post
  • Keep it emotional or focused on the personal angle. If people care, they may share. A CBS story about a 99-year-old man who walks six miles every day to visit his wife in hospital clocked up over 6.8 million views on Twitter and another 2.2 million views on Facebook
  • Think of the pace of the video to keep it interesting
  • Don’t over-do it. Images say a lot, and shorts bursts of text can help drive the message.
  • End with a call to action. It can be good to start the video with a strong headline statement, e.g. “More CEO’s are wearing shorts to work” and then end the video with a question. “Tell us about when you wear shorts to work. Comment below!”

Go where your audience is… and make sure your video in the right format

Understanding your customer demographics and where they hang out online is crucial. There are tons of options when it comes to segmenting your audience. For some, LinkedIn would be the ideal platform, while for others, it’s all about Instagram or Snapchat.

Consider also how the video can sit on multiple platforms since your customers are likely to be on multiple channels. Having the video on YouTube or Vimeo makes it easy to embed in newsletters and blogs. Just make sure you put the video in the correct format for each platform.

Wherever your marketing content goes, make sure it involves video.

Happy video making!

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