Marketing itself is a dynamic and decentralized domain that horizons beyond data, logic, and calculations. Marketing through online media is even more versatile and requires lots of reading, understanding and continuous expedition. If you have got the right eyes to foresee changes in user expectations and the right grey matter to analyze the who, why, what, when and how of even a minor observation in consumer behavior, you will succeed in taking the right marketing steps.
Otherwise, marketing to us is just a combination of routine steps and follow-ups with no outcome in real measure. A proper geographical segmentation, behavioral segmentation and psychological analysis of web audience, therefore are of paramount importance.
Just consider a few examples. How many marketing emails do you actually open and read carefully in day provided 50% of them are of your interest? When was the last time you opened your browser only to read something in a relaxing mode or navigated to 5th page of Google search results? In the midst of work emails, social networking updates, blogs and other regular web searches, busy professionals do not have a time or an intention to stress their mind anymore. So how do you process your information to their mind passively that they sure will enjoy?
I don’t see any reason to spend hours browsing company pages to understand its bandwidth, rather than watching a 10 minute corporate video on YouTube. Do you prefer reading a blog full of text, long paragraphs and mundane stories? If you're like most readers, that kind of content will not hold your attention consistently.
Take another live example. Most of the professionals (our targeted audience for purposes of this post) encounter at least 100 offer or discount-related promotional emails in a week, if not more. How many do they actually open, read or even offer full attention to? The numbers are pathetic.
According to 2011 Comscore’s report published in TechCrunch, the average web video viewer watched 18 hours of content over the course of a month, with YouTube and Hulu unsurprisingly attracting the highest engagement at 5.7 hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. Around 85.8 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video. Moreover, video ads accounted for 13.4 percent of all videos viewed and 1.3 percent of all minutes spent viewing videos online.
Here are the statistics of top U.S. online video content properties and their viewership details.
If you go by the YouTube video facts and figures, the results are quite impressive. In 2011, YouTube alone received 2 million views per day and over 35 hours of video were uploaded in a minute. A Yahoo survey also claimed in a poll that over 57 percent users enjoyed watching videos placed next to articles. The popularity of podcasts and audio media is also worth mentioning.
Edison Research, in their 2010 edition of the Current State of Podcasting - a study of the behaviors, attitudes and consumption habits of the podcast audience in America, indicated that there were 45 percent podcast listeners which equated to around 70 million Americans. With an easy availability of audio devices and mobile phone usage, the consumption of audio content is surging at a rapid rate. There are several such instances of rich media content taking a lion’s share of all marketing feeds.
Text based content marketing, therefore, takes a back seat when compared to the power of marketing through audio-visual media. However, it does not imply that text-based content has lost all its importance. It is just indicative of a change in preferences given the prevalence of new types of content.
In online marketing, you cannot think of persuading others with anything less than they demand and requirements. Even if you want to consistently sell a product to your web audience, it has to be done in an informative and logical fashion. We will take a deep dive into the ‘how’ part of it later in this article.
Introduction to Infotainment
So, what it boils down to online marketers is the need to build an ‘infotainment’ strategy. If you can deliver the right information to your audience and keep them entertained throughout, your infotainment strategy can do wonders.
That is where rich media helps you adopt an infotainment strategy. Online marketers are constantly exploring ways to differentiate their content marketing strategies. It is all about producing dynamic content with rich user experience and delivering it properly through the most suitable media.
What is Rich Media?
Rich media is any form of content that involves better user interaction and engagement as opposed to traditional text-oriented presentation.
Rich media includes podcasts, audio clips, videos, music, eBooks, whitepapers, virtual reality, webinars, flash animations and any multimedia content that engages better with the end customer. It may also include webinars, infographics, scrolling parallax elements and anything that demands a call-to-action from users.
What Rich Media Signifies to You and Your Web Marketing Effort
- A set of most interactive tools that explain even a complex process or a service to your prospects.
- Ample opportunities to show creativity and thus enhancing user experience.
- A marketing buzz that makes your audience stay longer at your site, increase page views and conversions.
- A unique capability to create and play with your own multimedia contents the way you want to entertain your web visitors.
- The power and enthusiasm to create compelling content that expresses thousands of words in seconds.
- More favorable responses from your social media followers, friends and active participation in any discussion you start.
How to Make the Best Use of Rich Media: Important Considerations
When you have realized the importance of rich media, you should consider a few factors before you take the final call:
- Does your target audience have the tools, know-how, accessibility and access speed to consume rich media content?
- Do you have the budget and correct resources to produce quality multimedia content? If you cannot do it right because of budget or quality manpower, it is better to avoid it.
- Do you have good multimedia professionals, videographers and animators at your disposal who have a good track record? It is ideal that you review their portfolios well, get as many bids as you can and check their references.
- Does your current website complement rich media implementation? Make sure that you are able to display flash, video and other rich media content on a page other than a splash page. Since rich media content is complex in nature and time-consuming to create, you should not compromise on the basic functionalities and operations of your site in order to prioritize the former one.
- Make sure that your web audience has an option to view both flash as well as non-flash versions of your website.
- Can you actually track the ROI of your rich media implementation? Do the number of visits, downloads, time spent and similar statistics justify your expenditure? Can you see a direct correlation between rich media implementation and business outcome?
Before you spend money on any rich media, ensure that you have enough reasons to do so and that there is a definite way to measure its impact on your business.
If you consider using a free website builder like IM Creator or Wix to create a new site, all the basic rich media plug-ins come built-in. Just browse a list of amazing ready-to-use templates, identify the features and elements you want to incorporate and start building it in a fully self-branded editing environment. It is faster, easier and cost-effective. However, using design professionals is necessary if you want more customization. How-to videos, easy tutorials and self-explanatory visuals may also aid you in understanding the execution process better.
Hence, plan your content and content placement strategies accordingly so that you get maximum yields and minimal redundancy.
How to Market Your Rich Media Content
Once you have successfully implemented your rich media content strategy, the next step is to promote it. Here are some ways to do so:
- Channelize your content based on the media you use. For example, a YouTube video of 15 minutes may not be a good fit for Facebook or Google+. You may consider other video sharing sites like Metacafe or Vimeo for that.
- Run video conferences and webinars through popular services like ClickWebinar or Google Hangouts on Air and encourage audience to take part in live discussions.
- Share your piece of content as links embedded in newsletters or direct emails.
- Join appropriate communities and forums online and market your content through other members.
- Link your audio and video content to related videos on YouTube. YouTube's search algorithm prefers internal referrals and that pays you off as well in terms of ranking on YouTube searches.
- Categorize your videos and place the selected ones as ‘featured’ on the home page to draw in more viewers.
- Make the best use of YouTube tags. This increases the chance of your videos coming up in search results.
- Inculcate the habit of building quality links for your videos and presentations. Get a list of bloggers, journalists and PR professionals and start engaging them online. Exchange relevant video links and place them on your blog and social media pages. You can make them happy by sending informative and useful content and they will reward you for that.
- Make the best use of your company’s personality and brand image. Highlight your staff, your company culture and how do you do fun in the office. Create a group video inside the office and share it on the official company pages on Facebook and Google+. Be creative at how you showcase your corporate culture to customers and prospects.
Content marketing itself is a science and it also needs you to deep dive into the world of creativity and presentation. The more you experiment and align your content with user expectations, the better your audience will respond to your efforts. An interactive media campaign is all about how good and simple you are at explaining your business solutions. Once you are very much into it, the results will keep coming.
What interactive, infotainment and rich media strategies have worked best for you when it comes to content marketing? Please let us know in the comments.