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11 Content Marketing Questions Answered About Brandscaping

brandscaping-new content marketingI had a wonderful time presenting to the attendees of CMI’s recent webinar, Brandscaping and the New Content Marketers. (For those of you who attended, I’m sorry about my cellular connection… I know it made it difficult in those first five minutes.)

The webinar generated 55 questions from our intrigued, interested, and extremely intelligent audience. We only got to four or five of those questions in the time allotted, so I offered to answer some of the questions that we were not addressed.

Here goes:

Question from Kimberly C:
How do you develop ideas about the content you want to produce? (I have a children’s book that’s about a dog, and the only video I have is the dog running around catching a frisbee.)

Kimberly, I’d imagine you’re working with an illustrator for your kid’s book. The great thing about creating video today is that it doesn’t have to be created in a camera. You can use tools like ScreenFlow or, even better, VideoScribe (from Sparkol) to create an animated video using the characters and even the story from your book. Go give it a shot. It’s awesome. Below is a video my friend Ashley Acker created for her business:

Question from Eileen R:

What can you offer to marketers in higher education who need to produce compelling video with limited resources?

Eileen, video is a “show me, don’t tell me” medium. This means I really believe in creating content that’s designed for the medium itself. There are lots of great online tools that can help you create compelling video at extremely low cost to help illustrate ideas, concepts, or even presentations in compelling ways. (See the question above for an idea or two.) I’d suggest you record some audio from a compelling professor (even on an iPhone) and then animate and illustrate the concept using Sparkol’s video scribe. I’ve even used Skitch (for Evernote) and Screenflow to create my own animations (as you can see in the example below).

Question from Brad H:
Thinking about this in large companies… who should own/quarterback this effort?

Brad, good question. I think it depends on the organization, but generally, I think your head of marketing should own the idea and vision for creating content that drives demand for the products and services you sell.

Question from Nathan M:
For B2B resellers, when you say don’t just focus on getting your company name out there, how do you balance that with efforts to brand yourself? (Like when people search Google for “walmart tv.”)

This is a tough one. Here’s my general rule of thumb: If you want to raise awareness, buy advertising. If you want to drive demand for the products and services you sell, create valuable content. Brands have to get over themselves if they really want to drive sales. Consumers live in a world where they are bombarded by brands hundreds of times a day. Authentic content cuts through that clutter and has the power to inspire consumers to buy things they never considered before. Think about inspiring consumers first. If your product is the best on the market, they’ll buy yours anyway. (If it’s not the best in the marketplace — fix your product first.)

Question from Alex B:
Does it always have to be new content, or can you curate content as we do in other media?

Alex, you can certainly curate content created elsewhere and be successful in building an audience that drives new business. Think about HubSpot TV, or even =3 by Ray William Johnson on YouTube. (Warning — his content is NOT family- or work-friendly.) Curating content and giving it your context can build a powerful audience. (Sign up for Dave Pell’s Next Draft email for an amazing example of curated content.)

Question from David W:
Video sounds great. Any suggestions for affordable video tools, resources, or vendors for a small start-up (in the conference organization business)?

David, there are some wonderful resources for creating great video content. (I suggest you get to know Steve Garfield, who wrote a book called Get Seen. He’s really smart and has great video creation advice.) But, in short, if you’re in the event and conference business, you MUST start streaming your content live from the venue. You’ll drive online interest for your events that will increase attendance and interest in the long term. Look into Livestream and Ustream, and start expanding the reach (and the brand) for the events you’re creating.

Question from John Paul M:
When moving your content in a new direction, do you have any tips as to how to increase traffic without alienating your existing traffic? Or, is there a certain amount of sacrificing that has to go on?

John, you should always focus on driving a valuable opt-in audience. I believe in focusing on high-quality audiences of influencers and “prosumers” instead of having a large audience that’s too broad to make a big impact. Quality over quantity. Imagine that your content is an email that’s distributed every week. Those who unsubscribe are telling you that your content is not valuable. Those who stay on love what you’re doing and will share it with others. If you’re changing gears, you may want to consider segmenting your audience with multiple content concepts designed to reach and inspire each of them in a different way. Remember, quality over quantity. (Say it again with me.)

Question from Steve B:
How do live internet radio broadcasts find their success in a 51 percent video audience?


Steve, I’m not sure what the number refers to (sorry). But I believe in something I call media modality. This means that content can be created and delivered to target the mode the consumer is in. If I’m in my car, I listen to an audio book. If I’m at home I can read it. (That’s media modality.) I believe live internet radio plays into this phenomenon. I listen to live internet radio programming when I’m doing work at my desk — I can’t watch a video because I’m already visually engaged in my work. Target your audience with a specific type of media designed to own a specific part of their day by understanding what else they’re doing. (If you’d like an example of this, listen to the audio intro of my book, Brandscaping.) 

Question from Dan V:

If you have a great “brandscaping” video show for the internet, and you want to reach large advertisers, what is the best way to find the person in these big marketing departments who “care” about content marketing?

Dan, it actually doesn’t matter if they ‘care’ about content marketing (to be honest.) Let’s assume you’re already creating content that will drive demand for the products the brand sells. All you have to do is prove the power of your content to drive even one new sale. If you can, then that’s your sales pitch: “Hey, I’d like to expand my audience, create more content, and drive more business for your company — are you interested?” I can’t think of any brand that won’t take that meeting. Remember, it’s not about what you’re doing; it’s about your ability to create content that drives demand.

Question from Kieran S:
Are there any guides to video budgets? How much should a company set aside?

This is a tough one. Here’s what I start with when we’re talking about a more professional production: $1,000 per minute of final video. (So a 4-minute video should start at $4K.) Here’s the thing: There are so many great, cost effective ways to create great video content, I think you need to get creative about how you produce it. I’ve created video with my iPhone for free that’s really compelling and works. Don’t start with a budget. Instead, start with a great idea and then start creating content — whatever your budget. You’ll be successful if the content is good! (Check out Lauren Luke’s make-up tutorials on YouTube for a great example of this.)

Question from LeCharles L:

How could one “convince” companies that are struggling, due to the critical situation in Spain, to use and/or focus on content marketing to enhance sales? What approach would you recommend?

LeCharles — great question. Content marketing can be much more cost effective than advertising. If you have clients who are spending money advertising on traditional media channels, invite them to divert 20 percent of that budget to creating content they own. Content that will drive demand for the products they sell. Essentially, don’t try and convince them to spend more marketing dollars, convince them to shift their money from advertising to content. You’ll be far more successful, and they’ll be far happier. Hope that helps. For more, here is one eBook that compares the cost of content marketing and PPC.

You can register for upcoming CMI webinars or view the recordings. And for more answers on the best ways to use content marketing in your branding efforts, read Drew Davis’ book, “Brandscaping.”