Web publisher SheKnows.com launched the third season of Shoparatti-sponsored Web video series Style Showdown last week starring Melissa Rivers in a deal that calls for five new episodes. The new season is emblematic of the Web publisher’s strategy when it comes to creating brand-friendly video series. SheKnows is banking on winning marketers by creating, producing, editing and distributing branded videos in-house, rather than having brands hire outside studios.
The strategy is gaining early traction: the previous two seasons of “Style Showdown” were sponsored by Marshall’s and fared well, with more than 700,000 views on the SheKnows.com site. As a result, SheKnows is reaching out to more celebs to create series around topics they are passionate about, including the launch of a Kate Walsh Web series in a few weeks.
I talked to the site’s general manager, Kyle Cox, for his tips on what works best for brands in Web video.
1. Focus on the client and involve the client: Treat video campaigns as partnerships, rather than straight ad deals, Cox said. “We invite clients to shoots, work with them to select talent, and have creative brainstorms to better understand all the various stakeholders’ needs. Not only does this make that first campaign go smoothly, but it also helps gain repeat business, because they are aware of how the process works.”
2. Don’t make commercials: Audiences can tell the difference between ads and actual content. “We create video that is relevant, useful, and entertaining to our audience, with strategic brand mentions and placements,” he said. “In the long run, this strategy builds a more engaged and more receptive user base.”
3. Give the video friends: Surround a branded video series with other written content and interactive tools, for starters. “Because not all people consume content in the same way, it’s important to provide them various touchpoints – written articles, polls, sweepstakes, social integrations, mobile extensions,” Cox said.