The digital revolution has had a huge impact on the process of content creation. From necessitating changes to the format and style of what’s produced, to increasing the need for speed and direct audience targeting, there are a huge number of distinct challenges involved in creating digital content that works. With the next instalment of ...
Raph Goldberg: The Hero’s Journey: Using Archetypes in Video Marketing
Raph is senior editor and creative director at Tanglewood and took a look at how archetypes can make video marketing more impactful and effective by investigating how to harness this with video marketing. The power of stories for marketing lies in the human history of storytelling.
Raph told of his personal journey as a film maker which started as a child when he fell in love with film. Taking this into his adult life Raph worked as a freelance camera man with the BBC but wanted to make video accessible to all companies and businesses. But businesses were struggling to understand the value of video to their business. When high speed internet access began to proliferate, video content started to boom and the value was finally seen.
The next problem that businesses faced was how to get these videos to spread and this is the main problem of video marketing. The answer to this could be compelling story, and one of the most effective ways of storytelling online is through archetypes.
Joseph Campbell coined the phrase ‘The Hero’s Journey’ and this refers to a storytelling structure that starts with the hero. A regular person who is called to a journey. This calling forward can often be supernatural or through a herald character. The hero then crosses the threshold to face challenges and temptations but with the aid of mentors and helpers. This will then lead to the abyss, which is a terrible event that causes trouble. There will be a revelation, atonement and an eventual return.
This story connects with its audience on a basic level as these archetypes are based in the history of oral story telling, which dates back to the dawn of time. Film making, in particular, is a very efficient form for tapping into the subconscious mind because of the dream like qualities of the screen, and it is this subconscious mind that instantly connects with the archetype.
Archetypes are not specific characters but an underlying set of shared characteristics and they are types of people or stories that can help us recognise a story instantly, characters like the rebel, jester, fool, carer, sage and ruler among many others.
With marketing moving online a lot of content is being produced and it is predicted that by 2018 79% of this will be video, but with video a viewer will often only spend about 60 seconds of time before they switch off. Therefore, archetypes can be the key to connecting and engaging this audience.
Raph went on to say that any video can use an archetype to great effect. But you can also subvert these, often for comic effect, to have instant reaction from your audience and most importantly engagement. But to use these archetypes effectively in your campaign you need to understand the archetype that will speak loudest to your target market.
It is clear that content needs stories to connect with the audience but you also need the right tools to do this and archetypes are the tools for the job.
Wes West on Animation
The next speaker was Wes West who is the Senior Designer at Torchbox. West talked about Making Animation for the Web and the effect and reasons for using animation on a website. Animation has a specific role as it allows the makers to tell stories but it is in a controlled way and has less boundaries than film making. The only limit is really that of your imagination and it is this freedom that allows you to make something truly original. Not only this, there is a non-threatening element to animation that can allow for more complex or intimidating subject matter to appear more palatable and you can maintain complete control over the production as you are not at the mercy of weather or location etc.
Two of the main types of function for animation are:
Explainers – they show and tell what is happening
Viral – risky as you have to be confident that you have tapped into the wider mind-set to share
West went on to explain the process of finding and producing animations and told how a 1 minute animation would on average take about 6 weeks to produce. Of course with this in mind you want to make it successful. Consider the audience and motivation for sharing. Keep it short. Most people get bored at about a minute so aim for 45-60 seconds if selling is an objective. This constraint forces you to focus on your message and cut down the waffle.
West then explained how you should make it part of the marketing strategy, tell your director what the purpose of your animation is so that it can be produced with the end goal in mind.
Nichola Stott- Solving Buying Objections through Content Marketing
Next up was our very own Nichola Stott from theMediaFlow who told us about the practical side of content marketing with Getting Past the Buying Objection with Problem-Solving Content. Nichola explained that here at theMediaFlow we use a combination of technical expertise and creativity to produce content that effects three channels; search, social media and content marketing (for its own sake.) Operating across technical, analytical and creative disciplines means that we have a range of experiences and tactics that inform our approach.
To set the background Nichola explained the phases of the customer purchase journey (applied online) and where content touches the customer:
Discover phase – this "first touch" occurs when a customer happens upon your content via social media or general browsing the web
Gather phase – this is when a customer has some form of need related to your product and is educating themselves around it
Refine phase – this is ready-to-buy time, when a potential customer will look at your reputation content, USPs and such
Decide phase – when a product is bought and customers may expect after-care content such as user guides and after sales
It is proven that good content makes people feel better about businesses and this makes them more likely to buy and this is often down to content. So how do we create content to sell? Using a consultative selling approach which requires research and probing questions to solve a problem and present a solution.
As an example, if you are a runner you can have your gait analysed to ensure that you are fitted with the correct type of running shoe for you. But how can you apply this online when you can’t converse with your client?
Data, research and analysis can help here. Social media is the usual go-to but it is often self-censored or behind login therefore less useful conversations (the one's we can see.) Search query data is less often subject to self-censorship however since Google stopped passing keyword query data this route is more closed; leaving us with only historical questions or our own website search logs. Instead, Forums and Q and A sites are a goldmine of less censored genuine human interactions from people with genuine questions, doubts and buying objections about your product or brand.
Researching this kind of data requires the use of connectivity query types and advanced query operators. Nichola used the example of imagining we're marketing a company that sells Kayaks. A typical research query would be:
"site:mumsnet.com -local.mumsnet.com kayak"
This refines the results to a manageable and meaningful set of data or you can repeat and refine with different query clarifications. You can then use the DataMiner Chrome Extension to extract this data and create a database.
You can then analyse this further in XLS to group query types, synonyms, common questions and such, which when analysed and considered against the available mechanics, can inform a strong thread of your content strategy.