3 Content Experiences to Integrate Into the “Virtual” Life

As everyone has confined their physical movement, they have been working from home in their pajamas. Businesses have adapted to this completely virtual life, but with limitations.

For instance, all major business conferences and physical events went online last year and will probably remain for 2021. While that pivot made sense, most consumers carried expectations from their in-person experiences.

An International Data Corporation report found that the shift to virtual events has been a modest success — and that the engagement, audio quality, and other aspects of such events could have been better.

Don’t you worry! Besides launching virtual events, you can create other memorable content experiences for your audience. And given 78% of marketers expected their budgets to increase for online content, here are three formats you can try this year:

1. Create a Branded Show

Most content marketing advice revolves around shallow tactics such as post freelance writing jobs to scale content creation, write 2000+ word articles, or repurpose your content and be on every social media platform.

Look, if you’re simply trying to make more consumers aware of your business without caring about building a relationship with them — you’re missing out.

Move beyond simply crafting “attention-grabbing” headlines and try to form a genuine connection with your audience. Shows are a great way to do it by getting your audience to tune in week-after-week.

For example, “Onboarding Joei” is a 13-episode docu-series by 360Learning (a collaborative learning platform). It shows Joei Chan filling the shoes in her new role as the Director of Content at the tech company.

Such a show provides ample space for you to inject personality, emotion, and humor into your content. You get to entertain your audience while being useful. And hey, they can also be scripted. Mailchimp runs a few of them on their network “Mailchimp Presents”, but I recommend you check out Jay Acunzo’s list of branded shows.

2. Launch a Podcast

If the video format intimidates you, then a podcast series could be the way forward for you. Indeed the IAB Podcast Advertising Revenue Report found that “brands are now embracing podcasts as a part of their annual planning.”

Here’s what Zoe Soon (VP of Consumer Experience at the Center of Excellence, IAB) said: “Brands increasingly see the value of ‘owning’ a podcast series — podcast hosts are becoming trusted influencers with loyal communities. That translates to more consumer engagement and, ultimately, stronger ROI.”

So choose a suitable podcast hosting platform and launch an audio-only show. The audio content landscape isn’t as crowded as blog posts yet — and even 5-minute episodes could get your audience hooked.

Software such as Descript makes the podcasting life much easier by generating transcripts with your recording. This generated text could then be edited like a doc file to make changes in your audio. How cool is that?

3. Offering Interactive, Educational Help

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 Report reaffirms why it’s important for brands to act compassionately right now.

  • If you get creative and offer meaningful solutions to your audience —- you can earn new customers.
  • On the flip side, if you put profits before people, it could lead you to lose a consumer’s trust and business forever.

If you’re a SaaS, then it’s straightforward to become compassionate — offer a free version of your software. Cisco Webex, for instance, extended its webinar software’s features for a certain period.

You can also create grants for small businesses and offer relief on payments of your products. Tailwind, for example, launched a $1M relief program. Under it, they were awarded free access to their premium product for up to three months.

In another instance, Shreya Dalela, a content marketer, shares how one of her clients (Kama Ayurveda, a skincare brand) has started offering free virtual consultations. “Such consultations may include Kama product recommendations, but the consumer can choose not to buy. It’s a great lead generation tactic and adds value to website visitors as well, so it’s a win-win. ”

You can extend this idea of educating your customers further and run it on autopilot by packaging it into an online course.

See, people are right now interested in “trying new things” and learning new skills. So your brand can survey your audience on the subject they want to learn more about and create a learning path around it.

Focus when executing a course should be helping your audience with the new problems they are facing — it’s the right thing to do and will increase the likelihood of buying from you in the future.

Don’t forget that such courses have the potential to generate leads for you besides goodwill as well. HubSpot Academy shared that it offered over 350 online courses and grew 115% Y/Y in Q1 2020 alone as per this Ebook they released. Thereby, it significantly increased their leads.

“All of These Content Projects are Too Much for Me!”

If none of the above content experiences seem doable, Ryan Robinson shares an easier way to increase your brand’s presence on YouTube and Google simultaneously.

“One strategy working well for both my blog and the clients I work with is pairing top-notch written content (in the form of long-form articles) with a well-produced YouTube video on the same topic (to be embedded within that long-form article) and high-quality graphics throughout the content to keep readers engaged.

I’ve seen positive rewards both in organic Google and YouTube rankings as a result of pairing these two content mediums together.”

To me, repurposing blog content in this manner sounds enticing. And given that YouTube is a great platform for consumers to find new brands as per its report — I’ll gladly take the opportunity.

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