Why you should incorporate cat videos into your marketing

How cat videos might help your content marketing efforts
From Morris to Grumpy Cat, there is a bit of, shall we say, feline attraction, when it comes to marketing efforts. While there are some experts who say using cute cats will cut your credibility, you have to look at the data: more than 2 million online cat videos have attracted an impressive 24.6 billion views. And with those types of numbers, companies have to wonder how the can get a piece of that pie.
Note that using cuddly kitty or creative cat video is not right for every business everywhere, but here are some examples to get you thinking that maybe a good meow could be magical for your marketing efforts.
The audience is out there
If you need verification and want some faces behind the numbers, one only has to investigate the Internet Cat Video Festival. In 2015, organizers celebrated their fourth year and set an attendance record of 13,000 enthusiasts. Young and old alike filled the CHS Field baseball park in downtown Saint Paul, MN for the event. Approximately 40,000 votes were cast for the Golden Kitty award.
Online, statics also show great a great audience for cat videos: an average of 12,000 views per video on YouTube with 25 billion (yes, with a B) views. The most popular cat video on YouTube is Nyan Cat, with 114M views.
That said, research conducted by Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s trends manager, reports that searches for “dog” on YouTube result in roughly 2 million results – half a million more results than the same search for “cat.” Here, however, it’s not simply the number of views that matter. Buzzfeed notes that the average cat posts getting approximately 9,000 shares, and the average dog post only 5,000.
Thus, when decided whether or not to create the videos, be clear about what your success rate will be, for example: views or shares. Additionally, Buzzfeed data show if you add up the numbers for the top 5-performing cat posts since 2011 vs. the top 5-performing dog posts, Cats are at 2,655,412 – almost 2 million more than the top dogs, who could only muster a measly 700,729 views between them.
Videos help your overall marketing efforts
If you are looking to new ways to increase your search engine optimization, videos help in the effort. Writing for Kissmetrics, Josh Hardwick, founder of ShortyMedia states, “One type of content that still is underutilized in the world of SEO is online video. Although a lot of brands are incorporating video content into their overall online marketing strategies, most SEOs don’t place a high priority on it.”
According to Cisco’s 2014 Visual Networking Index, video makes up to 64 percent of all Internet traffic and it is forecast to grow to 80 percent of traffic by 2019.
Rob Toledo , a user engagement and bounce rate specialist at Shutterstock, says, “No longer just an interesting add-on, video has become an important feature for anyone concerned with SEO, conversion rates, or brand recognition.”
But does it work?
Again, cat videos may not work in every instance. However, there have been some success stories.
For example, Kia, in 2011 rolled out a “new marketing campaign to target ‘progressive, modern, mainstream’ consumers” and introduced Henry the cat to promote Picanto. Not only did they create videos, the campaign included a Facebook app called the “Fight4Picanto” app for game-orientated users.
Skittles candy created the Skittles Touch Cat ad that currently has more than 7.3 million views and more than 15 million Facebook fans.
When General Mills looked to reach a younger, more connected generation, they turned to Grumpy Cat to star in their Honey Nut Cheerios commercials. While the video was made for television and YouTube postings are unofficial, collectively the ad received more than 15,000 views.
One of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials, debuting during Super Bowl XXXIV, is “Cat Herders.” The ad, according to Christian Science Monitor, is arguably the most memorable of the past 15 years. However, they also point out, “The commercial has even outlasted the company it advertises. EDS, a digital management firm, was absorbed by Hewlett-Packard in 2008.”
Other companies that decided to feature a feline in their campaigns: California Pistachios, Ameriquest Mortgage, France’s Bouygues Telecom and the United Kingdom’s biggest milk brand, Cravendale (British Internet users share more than 3.8 million photos and videos of cats each day).
Will it work for me?
Cathey Armillas, author of “The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing” suggests marketers “go big or go home.” She states, “if you’re going to grow your business, or further your cause. . . you have to think past where you are now. And you have to go all out with everything you do.”
Could a cat video be risky? Yes. However, as with every other marketing step, you need to explore how it will fit into your overall marketing strategy. Do your homework. Kia Motors did market research on the existing market where they wanted to operate. They looked at the needs and the target audience they wanted to focus on.
Once you gather that information, be strategic and precise in your approach.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Incorporate video into your content marketing

Ask just about any consumer these days whether they’d rather read something or watch a video, and the latter is almost always the choice. Research and statistics back up this common understanding. For example, Diode Digital found that video promotion is 600 percent more effective than print and direct mail combined. They also found that, before reading any text, 60 percent of site visitors will watch a video if available.
A white paper released by Cisco in May 2015 states that by 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic. They also predict that globally, consumer Internet video traffic will be 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019.
In October 2015, researched showed that 96 percent of B2B organizations are engaged with video content marketing. Wayne Wall, the Web Video Marketing Council, the organization that conducted the survey says, “Clearly, online video has become an important part of content marketing for B2B companies.”
Additionally, these statistics indicate that companies not yet using video are in the minority. In fact, 63 percent of the companies surveyed started using it five years ago.
If you’re wondering how you can incorporate video into your content marketing, here are some insights to consider:

Start with a plan

As with any other aspect of your content marketing, you must take the time to understand your audience and identify where it will make sense in your overall strategy. Remember, you don’t want to invest time, money and resources to create and post videos if they are not going to help you reach your overall goals.
Some videos that are successful in informing as well as entertaining customers include:

  • Product demonstrations
  • Customer testimonials
  • Expert interviews
  • Case studies
  • How-to and step-by-step instructions
  • Live presentations
  • Announcements of company news
  • Videos that convey company expertise

Behind each video should be a concept that:

  • Helps the viewer
  • Solves a customer’s problem
  • Inspires the customer
  • Engages the customer’s passion
  • Educates and helps extend the value of all your written content
  • Humanizes your company

The more evergreen the material, the better. This will provide you with a library you can return to and promote in more than one way on more than one occasion. One thing that many experts suggest not doing is creating videos that are straight-forward ads for the company. This visual content, like all other content marketing, should be relevant and engaging to the user. Such content will have an impact on the bottom line. In fact, 73 percent of the respondents to the Web Video Marketing Council’s survey indicate that not only is online video having a positive impact on their marketing results, 56 percent indicate that sales results have been positively impacted.

Starting the process

Videos don’t need to be a costly or extensive. The Content Marketing Institute says videos over 10 minutes average a 50 percent viewed threshold (compared with over 80 percent for videos less than 30 seconds). Thus, long, complicated and highly produced scripts aren’t necessary. Nor are high-quality cameras and production teams. Many well-done business videos today were shot using mobile phones.
If you’re already using text in your content marketing, leverage the information you gain through your statistics and create video content that targets those customer interests. Consider boiling down successful items into keywords you can focus on. With some research, you can determine if these keywords have high monthly search results. Having the right keywords in your script can greatly impact an organic search in a positive way. (When you post your video, you may want to add a transcript of text to further help with searches.)
Then, before creating, remember that preparation is everything in regards to making the video shoot go well. Plan place, times and participants. Iron out issues such as executive schedules and/or supervisor permission to participate. Determine who will shoot the video, the equipment that will be used and whether the crew needs training on camera or audio. (Especially keep in mind that audio is also vital. If a viewer can see but can’t hear, the video isn’t much use.) Will the video need editing? If so, who will do it and how?
Before beginning, be sure everyone involved is clear on his or her role and your expectations. Unless you are using professional actors, understand that not every business executive or employee has an outstanding on-camera presence. Be flexible and provide enough time for numerous retakes. Always have a Plan B: schedules change and equipment breaks. Knowing what steps you’ll take when something goes astray helps the process go smoothly.

Show and go

If this is your initial foray into using video in your content marketing, before launching your material on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Vine or other social media, consider what many refer to as a “beta test.” Bring employees together for an in-house preview, share the link with colleagues and friends. Get feedback from stakeholders. Have discussions about how the video should be rolled out and encourage sharing by those in the company.
Monitoring the success of your first videos will provide you with vital information as you move forward with steps to enhance your content marketing.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Video marketing – 8 tips to set your video apart

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, you know that video marketing is becoming essential in your overall marketing strategy. Research by Diode Digital found that video promotion is 600 percent more effective than print and direct mail combined. The study also found that, before reading any text, 60 percent of site visitors will watch a video if available. Video also reaches executives. Consider these findings about senior executives from Forbes:

  • More than 80 percent said they are watching more online video today than they were a year ago.
  • 65 percent have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video.
  • More than half share videos with colleagues at least weekly.

Hiring a production company to create some high profile videos for your company is a good investment. However, to get the best traffic to your content, you want to have a video library. Using a production crew to create hundreds of video marketing materials can become extremely expensive.
Many companies create videos on their own. This can be done successfully without much of an investment. If you decide to create a DIY video marketing campaign, following these 8 tips can set you apart from the competition.
Keep it short
While customers are interested in video, the abandonment rate increases with runtime. Additionally, if a viewer sees that the video will be too long, 59.9 percent of people say it would strongly deter them from watching. So, keep videos as short as possible.
A study by Animoto, a cloud-based video creation service, found these to be ideal runtimes:

  • Customer testimonial: 30 seconds or less.
  • How a product is made: 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Product overview: 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Product demonstration: 1 to 3 minutes.
  • “About” the company: 30 to 60 seconds.

The Next Web, Inc. offers additional insight on optimal times:

  • Tutorials: 45 to 90 seconds.
  • Promotional videos/commercials: 15 to 59 seconds.

They do note that “commercials” should be creative and based on a funny story or intriguing situation. Those should be less than 45 seconds.
Remember, you do not want to say everything. These videos should be considered teasers or eye candy that engage your viewer. Think of it as your own personal movie trailer for your brand.
Shoot in landscape
Mobile phones are ideal for DIY videos. However, you do not want to shoot holding the phone vertically. Instead, turn the phone horizontal and shoot. This is the way viewers are accustomed to seeing everything from films on screen to television programs.
Stability
This tip will immediately set you apart from the amateurs. No matter how hard you try, no one is successful as a human tripod. It is impossible to keep a camera steady for long by simply holding it in your hand; viewers do not react kindly to shaky video.
Purchase a tripod that can easily attach to your phone. They are relatively inexpensive, but will make your video look so much more professional. A quick search on the Internet for mobile phone tripods reveals a number of different models that range in price from $9 to $50. The GorillaPod by JOBY has flexible arms, making for quick set-up and stability.
Another great accessory is a hand grip, which can be attached to a mobile phone, DSLR or a sport camera, such as a GoPro. This helps with stability if you are gathering b-roll or action shots.
Lighting
Don’t make the mistake of putting your subject in front of a window, hoping the natural light will make your video look great. This back lighting will instead cause your subject will look like a shadow figure.
Use natural light, but to the side. If you shoot outside, avoid mixed lighting. Either shoot in all shade or all sun. Do not put you subject in a setting where a tree or other object might shade part of his or her face.
If you will be shooting a lot of videos, consider investing in a small light kit and reflectors. Reflectors or fill cards help bounce lighting and fill in the light. This is especially good for getting shadows out from underneath eyes. LED lights in a light kit can be as inexpensive as $20. Having one is essential if you are going to be doing interviews.
Sound
If you’ve ever used your mobile phone for a conference call, you know how much sound the microphone picks up. This extra room noise will be extremely distracting in a video. To isolate the audio, get a microphone. There are a variety of good microphones on the market for $30 or less. If you are doing an interview, voice over or “talking head” video, invest in a lavalier microphone. It’s small and clips to clothing. The wire can be hidden under a shirt or jacket. Before purchasing the microphone, make sure it works with your phone. Otherwise, you may also need to purchase an adapter.
Even with a microphone, make sure to shoot your video in a quiet room. Be aware of the noise from ceiling fans, traffic and even the company refrigerator or nearby elevator. Apart from bad visuals, nothing makes a video less appealing that being able to see someone talking, but not being able to here him or her.
Makeup and wardrobe
No, it’s not a Hollywood production, but putting on a little bit of face powder decreases the shine on your subject’s face (and bald head). Women should consider a sheer foundation to help even out skin tone, but not make them look “made up.” Accentuate the eyes by using eyeliner and mascara. While you need a little more than you might wear in an office setting, make sure you look professional.
When it comes to clothing, stay away from plaids, stripes and patterns. You want viewers to focus on what the subject is saying, not what he or she is wearing.
Don’t wear red. It tends to “bleed” in video and often makes the subject look flushed. Stay away from white. It makes the camera use it as a base. White as a base makes everything else look underexposed. Try not to wear black. When the camera picks up black as the base, more light is needed to compensate and there will be an overexposure of other colors. Neutral colors — tan, blue, gray, soft greens — look best on screen. They are also most helpful in keeping a video evergreen, meaning that you to will be able to use the video for a great deal longer because it doesn’t appear dated.
Additionally, “the latest fashion” will look dated very quickly. Be sure to wear something that is more classic in design.
Composition
When you look in the phone or camera, what do you see? Is there clutter behind or to the side of your subject? Is there a plant or artwork that is distracting? Make sure your viewers will keep their eyes on what is important. If you are at an event where someone is speaking, be sure to zoom in as closely as possible. Do not shoot from across the room where a viewer might be distracted by the audience in the foreground.
In an interview setting, put a solid background behind your subject. If your subject is seated, use a chair that does not rotate. Have the person sit up straight and avoid tilting to the back. You don’t want your interviewee to have the ability to move around in any way.
Use b-roll
The term b-roll stems from the days of 16mm filmmaking when extra footage was shot on a secondary — “B” — roll of film. Today, it means that you want to capture additional footage that enriches the story you are conveying in your video.
Taking time to have more than a talking head in your business video helps set you apart because it adds another dimension to what you are showing. For example, having video of your production line over the audio about it serves as a much better viewing experience than if your noted expert sat and talked to the camera about how the production line functions.
Note that using b-roll will require some editing be done to the video. There are a variety of easy-to-use editing systems that can be added to your computer. Computer stores will often have training for these programs. Many are free of charge when you purchase the software.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

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