“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”
These wise words were uttered by the marketing guru Seth Godin to describe how consumers have changed drastically in this digital era.
Brands all over the world have become the new publishers in an age where visual storytelling reigns supreme. Long gone are the days in which traditional ads and direct sales were the most effective means to turn casual viewers into customers.
To quote Godin once again, “content that stands on its own merits” is the only type of commercial message that is being passed along nowadays.
The most effective type of brand storytelling has come in the form of short- and long-form video–some even going to the extent of creating full-length documentaries and films.
In fact, many predict that video–particularly online video–is the future of content marketing. According to a study conducted by Cisco, video will make up 69% of all consumer Internet traffic, while video on-demand traffic will triple by this date.
The reasons for this are not hard to understand. In a relentlessly fast-paced digital world where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day, we need easily digestible forms of content. Video does exactly this. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, as the saying goes, then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to Forrester research.
To inspire you in your mission to elevate your content marketing strategy to new heights of visual storytelling, we’ve handpicked 10 videos that will give you a glimpse into the future of content marketing.
Here they are in no particular order:
#1 – Red Bull
As James O’Brien from Mashable puts it, “Red Bull is a publishing empire that also happens to sell a beverage.” The energy drink company is legendary in the content marketing world for its massive production budgets and high-quality videos. With more than 5,000 videos, 50,000 images, and several high-adrenaline sports events, Red Bull essentially goes beyond selling an energy drink to selling a lifestyle.
Take, for example, the brand’s Miles Above series, a collection of web videos of the death-defying adventures performed by the Red Bull Air Force. In each video, the group performs a skydive, wingsuit jump, or a BASE jump. The takeaway here is that quality and planning pay off big time in the long run. Each video not only gives viewers a taste of what performing these stunts feels like from a first-person point-of-view, it also incorporates editing and filming of the highest quality.
#2. Girl Rising
Full-length films and documentaries are probably one of the highest manifestations of storytelling in the content marketing world as of now (virtual reality experiences will probably become the next supreme storytelling form in a few years).
One prime example of this is the global campaign for girls’ education called Girl Rising. By telling the stories of eight girls in the developing world who overcame tremendous challenges to achieve their dreams in the form of a film, the campaign was able to get thousands of advocates and millions of people to follow them online and contribute to this cause.
Not only was the film fully featured in actual theaters, it was screened on CNN and in multiple events in major cities around the world.
One of the masters of crafting unconventional messages is the clothing retailer Patagonia. Its 27-minute long film Worn Wear breaks all the traditional rules of content marketing–and still gets people to advocate for their brand and buy its products. What’s even more surprising is that while the film is anti-consumerist at its core–encouraging viewers not to buy into all the Black Friday frenzy–it still inspires customers to live more and shop less and, in the process, buy long-lasting Patagonia products that allow you to enjoy life more.
Another brand which has revolutionized video content marketing is Lowe’s. By making good use of Vine, the popular short-form video-sharing platform, this home improvement company publishes 6-second looping DIY videos that provide its audience with clever and creative hacks to improve their homes. The above video, for example, shows how to fix the problem of a stripped screw with a rubber brand.
#5. Rosetta Stone
This global education technology company demonstrates that one of the key aspects of a successful content marketing strategy is to have a regular flow of shareworthy and useful content. Its Learner Stories series, for instance, presents 10 different stories of successful students, while also introducing viewers to Rosetta Stone language instructors. The brand has even launched Rosetta Stone TV, which features interesting video content on culture and travel.
#6 DS SolidWorks
Up to this point, we’ve looked at some B2C content marketing stars, but we haven’t covered any outstanding B2B examples. Although you may be inclined to think that B2B is inherently more challenging–especially in the case of so-called “boring” fields–the truth is that effective content marketing can be done in any industry.
One example of this is DS SolidWorks, which creates 3D software tools used for product design. Its Resource Center has everything an engineer could ever dream of in terms of informational content, such as a tutorials, tips, and short educational videos.
Another brand which strikes the perfect chord with its video content is Allstate Insurance. In one of its online series, for example, the brand features a young couple who is grappling with the complicated process of planning for marriage, children, buying a home, and managing shared finances. With just the right balance between lighthearted content and serious, educational information, the company successfully engages its audience in a typically uninteresting subject matter.
A B2B brand that really kills it when it comes to video content creation is the marketing platform Hubspot. With a YouTube channel full of practical guides, podcasts, case studies, and customer testimonials, the brand creates content of all formats and lengths–from how-to videos that last 30 seconds to case studies that are half an hour long.
The video above, for instance, is a niche-specific case study that is designed to generate conversions rather than receive millions of views. From the outset, it draws potential clients in with a remarkable marketing success story.
The Internet operator took a risk with a campaign that was launched several years ago under the pseudonym Liberty Fillmore. Its hero, the “cart whisperer,” is a humorous play-off of films and shows such as “The Horse Whisperer” and “The Dog Whisperer.” With a total of four million views, its series of videos was successful in communicating its main message of unparalleled expertise in the ecommerce industry.
Although not all companies may have the video marketing budget of the technology company Cisco–which allows them to create 1,000 videos per year–there are plenty of lessons to learn from its prolific video content creation efforts. Its library, for example, boasts more than 3,000 videos that target every stage of the sales funnel. Each one is jam-packed with solutions, problem-solving tips, and actionable advice.