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Content marketers need to use rich media like baseball players need bats and gloves. It’s an essential part of any campaign, and here’s why everyone should be taking advantage.
Image via Flickr by hankenstein
Thanks to the Internet, the “build it and they will come” philosophy of engaging content no longer applies. You need to find where your audience congregates online — particularly their favorite social platforms — and develop rich media solutions to target users on those channels. If you don’t come to them first, they’ll have little to no reason to engage with your brand later.
Rich media — including infrographics, interactives, and white papers — allows you to build marketing campaigns with highly targeted visuals that cater to what users want to see on a given social media outlet. Have you noticed that your target audience is mostly outside the United States and spends a lot of time on YouTube? Since 80 percent of YouTube’s views come from outside the country, according to the website’s own performance metrics, you should probably include compelling videos as part of your overall strategy.
Giving in-depth analysis of niche industry news or trends isn’t possible with mere blog posts. White papers are your rich media solution for serving complex information in a way that still engages your audience. These authoritative documents get shared around offices and posted on community websites, and they generate the authoritative buzz that your campaign needs to sustain itself to completion. More importantly, white papers are a powerful driver for conversions. They allow you to show ROI to C-levels display clear value when it comes time to check tally and challenges at quarter’s end.
Search engines like keeping their users happy, which demands that they serve the best possible results billions of times every day. Content, and the engagement signals generated by searchers interacting with that content, can be compelling factors in deciding what pages land on the first page of SERPs (search engine results pages). Rich media, even if you’re just employing a parallax scroll on your campaign landing pages, gives searchers more to interact with as they browse your content.
This strategy layers their experience, giving them more than simply flat words on the page, which can increase time on site, pages per visit, and overall dwell time. As Google and other search engines view user engagement with increasing importance, it’s vital that you build rich content that’s not disposable. You want real people spending time, at least three to four minutes, with your website interactives before they head to their next online destination.
Companies that have successful social accounts, including Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter feeds, have more than viewers — they have followers. These dedicated people are your early adopters, your brand cheerleaders when it comes to gauging the initial successes of your strategy. They also serve as the springboard for amplification, enabling your content to achieve a reach that it would never be able to otherwise. One million followers on Twitter might mean your 30-second teaser trailer could potentially reach three million more.
Rich media takes time and effort to make, so don’t sell followers short by failing to develop a strategy for effective content deployment. Give them compelling animations, hilarious videos, and a provocative narrative that shows your social channels aren’t random memes someone slapped together in a dark room.
Want to know what people think of your brand or latest products? Ask them through interactive media like a digital survey or quiz. Think up almost any question, within reason, with the caveat that you need to value the information they provide and have a plan in place to make it actionable. Feedback from your target audience is an important part of any campaign planning effort or post-mortem wrap up. The tactic also helps give you keen insight into the percentage of your social followers, readers, or email list actively connect with your company and want to give you the opportunity to serve them better.
Rich media gives your strategy the ability to take single ideas and morph them suit multiple creative channels. The process works like this: Turn a blog post or e-book into the script for a YouTube video. Take that YouTube video and condense it down to its essential components for SnapChat and Instagram. Use still shots from those videos as the basis for infographics and banner advertisements on Facebook. This repurposing of content forms a lead ecosystem where visitors can interact with your content all the way down the funnel to conversion.
Writing great, unique content is no longer an admirable goal for online marketers — it’s the bare minimum expectation. To get viral attention and notoriety, you need 10x content, the kind that’s 10 times better than anything else talking about the same subject online. How do you do that? Start by elevating your work to include multiple forms of rich media at once. Adding interactive graphics and video to build narrative and stimulate engagement alongside written content, like this article from The New York Times, elevates promotional efforts to a level that the competition cannot reach without duplicating your original efforts.
As an amplifier of your greater public-facing message, rich media plays a key role in building your brand message both offline and online. Leverage as many channels as possible to deliver a consistent message in imaginative ways, and you’ll continue to see positive results.