Recently, our industry acknowledged the value of content marketing, and how social channels facilitate discovery of that content, whether paid or earned. We understand the near-equal footing that digital video has alongside offline video, due to the increase in video consumption across devices by consumers (for instance: in the U.S., 41 billion online content videos were watched in May alone). The result is that brands now need to produce video content that has high consumer value and is easily discoverable in paid, owned, and earned environments.
This means the challenge is no longer in getting brands to produce video content. Instead, the challenge lies in a brand’s shifting focus from outbound messaging to valuable creation for its current (retention) and future (acquisition) audiences. Maybe an analyst can support this theory with data but, regardless, across social channels, the anecdotal evidence has been that the value of content increases as its relevance increases. And true relevance requires some amount of real-time capability.
As apps like Vine and Snapchat take their place alongside Instagram, real-time video is emerging as a necessary tactic. I’ve written before about the different ways marketers can use it to their advantage. But most brands and agencies aren’t really built to operate at the speed of relevance. Below I’ve outlined five key things that marketers can do to help increase their ability to create real-time relevance in video content. They’re broken up into process and philosophy, because both are required.
Process and Mechanics
Learn in advance what concerns the legal teams will have, and partner with them early in the process to get their buy-in. Talk with them about how to achieve objectives and not just about getting approvals on copy. They can even become a source of ideas for rights management and begin to help you solve problems. Bring them examples of what other brands are doing -- both in-category and out -- to help them reflect on and evaluate the risk and rewards of social.
It’s helpful to try and get some small, dedicated funding that is nimble across both production and distribution to create some freedom for both creative and media teams. This part of the budget can even be tasked with performance indicators that are important, and it can even be fitted within windows against a calendar (such as holidays, summer, back to school, etc.).
Develop relationships with video producers capable of creating real-time content -- either in-house, with individuals, or with some scalable production partners. Build your service agreements early on, have upstream conversations about your process for approvals, and let partners know what times of year are most critical to your business. Companies such as Stringwire, Zazoom, and Poptent, along with many others, all have different models for creating relevant content in new ways, at scale and at reasonable cost.
Brands need to reconfigure the culture that has layers of review for long-lasting content such as television commercials or print ads. Social content is more disposable, based simply on consumer behaviors on these channels -- just look at the half-life for links shared in social. This understanding will help you develop an internal approval process that can deliver answers in hours instead of days or weeks. Help your colleagues think about how they can support the overall messaging without getting too caught up in the minutiae of wardrobe, location, etc., so that they can focus instead on the larger issues of message and relevance.
While most brands understand the shift in consumer behaviors on these channels, many still struggle with the question of how it is relevant to them. And yet, on television, there are fewer questions about the type of content being consumed (zombies, vampires, and werewolves, gory and heathenistic historical fiction, apocalyptic and Armageddon series, etc). Brands need to work with their agency partners to hash out the appropriateness of social channels, and then develop the right ways to use those channels with the right kinds of content. Digital content channels are filled only with hand-raisers that have opted to engage with content -- this filter creates opportunity that is different for each brand.
Ultimately, success in real-time video is always going to come down to how responsive you are in the moment and how you can connect content with the consumer need and your brand purpose. You’ll need to listen to what’s going on in the world, and you’ll need courage and conviction to take advantage of, and create, different opportunities. With advance preparation and some internal buy-in, your team will be able to successfully create content in real time.