Content marketing: visual storytelling, videos and live streaming
Visuals are a powerful marketing tool when it comes to audience engagement.
Visual storytelling, videos and live streaming are core techniques that today’s content marketers employ. Typically, they are ways of connecting stories with visual media to engage an audience and bring a concept or message to life. Doing so emphasises visual branding and engages the audience in a more dynamic way. This is particularly important in today’s commercial landscape as competition increases, and attention spans dwindle.
Visual storytelling is a powerful marketing technique. It uses images in the form of a narrative to relay a message, from an informative flow chart to a heart wrenching video. Something as simple as infographics, for example, have been found to increase web traffic by up to 12%. Visual aids help our brains process new ideas. They are especially important when communicating complex concepts because they can hold your audience’s attention and ensure your message and brand connect on a deeper, more emotional level.
Having a story that follows the highs and lows of a character connects the audience to them and gives the product a context that brings it into reality. A classic example of this is the use of an adorable pet to advertise pet food that improves their health, the audience sees the dog in the context of their own animal and want the projected reality for their pet.
A key aspect of storytelling marketing is clever use of visual chronology. An image or video that follows a clear route through a beginning, middle and end contextualises the process for the audience, while giving them the comfort of the well-known story structure to make the product or service seem more familiar. The chronology also enables them to take in the key points of an article or blog quickly and efficiently as it follows an intuitive path.
Video marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, from event coverage and interviews to storyboarded short films and animations. Videos are a compelling marketing tool that gain audience response, for example, having the word ‘video’ in an email subject line can boost clickthrough rates by up to 65%. Consistent user experience is vital, so any video marketing must remain in line with the organisation it is promoting, meaning it should be in keeping with the ‘voice’ of the brand.
The format videos take can vary greatly, but all require storyboarding to plan the shots that will be used, whether filmed or animated. A script for actors, characters or a voiceover are also written alongside. The planning stage must include a focus on branding, maintaining a familiar, overarching tone of voice for the audience, and ensuring physical branding appears regularly in scenes. Once recorded or created the video can be edited for visuals and sound and often includes additional elements that are animated over the original video, such as brand logos, graphs or contact details.
Even if the brand tends towards being more serious, videos should still be entertaining and captivating. The focus should remain on the storytelling, while ensuring that the product is featured as a hero or essential part of the solution within the video story. It is vital that the script supports and enhances the images on screen because quality video will be wasted if accompanying words are not tailored perfectly to what the audience is seeing.
Outside of traditional videos, live streaming can also be used in a more informative way, such as Q&A explainers, webinars, product demonstrations, behind the scenes videos and interviews with experts. These give marketers the opportunity to present their brand, organisation or company as industry leaders, while being optimised to be found by users searching for ‘how to’ videos and more information on a topic.
Live streams have the benefit of being viewed in real time and enabling brands to connect directly with their audience. This empowers the audience to ask questions to people they are able to see and interact with, as well as experiencing product or service demonstrations in real time. This engagement means the audience can discuss the aspects that relate to their personal experiences, challenges and interests. This lends brands great authenticity, a characteristic that is becoming increasingly valued in an age of photoshop and poorly personalised ads.
Preparing content for livestreams is key to success and avoiding any unprofessional pauses or gaps in entertainment. This can include written scripts in full or note form, preparing infographics or other visuals to share and other interactive features for the audience, such as a live questionnaire or poll.
80% of marketers use visuals in their social media marketing because posts accompanied by photos, infographics or videos are more likely to receive likes, engagement and shares. This can be improved even more by having a more intriguing image that itself tells a story. By taking snippets of longer videos, you can capture audience’s attention while keeping the message short and snappy as is expected of most social media. This maximises return on interest by repurposing assets and using collateral in different and creative ways.
It is important that the images chosen are easy to understand, as well as supporting, rather than competing with the message you are trying to emphasise. The evidence of the power of images in social media is clear, as tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. This can be optimised by sharing images across all social media platforms to maintain a consistent user experience.
Finally, all visual marketing, whether images or videos, should be optimised for SEO (search engine optimisation). This means making sure keywords and descriptions, particularly in the ALT tag, reflect the content of both the image, text and audio. Optimisation algorithms change regularly, so it’s important to maintain frequent updates to older content to keep it performing as well as possible and maximise your return on investment.
To learn about another fascinating aspect of visual marketing, read our blog on augmented reality marketing. Or contact us to learn how we can help you with your content marketing.