Putting the ‘Multi’ in Multimedia: How To Incorporate Audio and Video Into Your Content Strategy
The written word is timeless, but content marketing has come a long way since John Deere’s 1895 advertorials. Brands are now competing with cat memes and a constant stream of disappearing Snapchat stories for the attention of their audiences. To stay relevant, a comprehensive content strategy must include diverse types of media, stretching well beyond the traditional article format.
Branded content takes many shapes and forms these days, from short videos to long-form documentaries, podcasts and even branded hip hop tracks. Here are some inspiring ways to get creative with your medium and take your content one step further.
Entertain and Engage with Video
Stunning visuals are always guaranteed to make an impact. In 2018, Hubspot published an audience survey that found: when asked what type of content they want to see from brands, 54% of respondents preferred video.
A unique angle paired with high quality videography and cinematography are a winning combination — literally. Four years running, the Brand Film Festival has honoured the best films produced by brands, agencies and creators.
This year, one creation featured in the festival’s “Best of the Best” category was a mash-up of astronomy, hip hop and meat-alternative sliders. White Castle and Impossible Foods sponsored a multi-episode interstellar adventure where Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and GZA answer philosophical fan questions… and eat plant-based sliders. The production taps into an audience of hip hop fans and connects their product to popular culture with creativity and whimsy.
When it comes to incorporating video into your content marketing plan, your brand might take center stage — and that’s okay, as long as the narrative you craft around it is interesting and useful to viewers. Video really gives brands an edge when they have something visually interesting to show off, like a quality product or a high-profile influencer.
With a consumer-focused approach, Pressboard worked with Vancouver Is Awesome to create a video for Toyota that puts the efficiency of the Toyota Prius to the test. The project had a local couple drive the loop around Vancouver’s Stanley Park until the hybrid vehicle ran out of gas or they ran out of patience — whichever came first.
This collaboration has a few key elements worth noting. Yes, the brand was heavily featured, but the story was all about the people driving. The human interest aspect provides a counterbalance to the focus on the product. Additionally, including real life users in the content creation adds authenticity and personality to the brand.
Innovate with Audio Storytelling
Advertisers have been quick to catch on to the fact that listeners have turned their attention to audio stories. You might have heard your favourite podcast hosts thank their sponsors and plug their advertiser’s products mid-episode. Some brands have taken it a step further and endeavoured to produce their own branded audio content.
John Deere’s nineteenth century branded publication is hailed as the earliest example of content marketing, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they have been quick to adopt more modern forms of storytelling. On Life and Land is a branded podcast produced by John Deere that focuses on providing value to their customer-base, rather than showcasing their products. The show covers topics of interest to the agricultural crowd, including country music, dairy farming and irrigation.
Podcasts are able to use a more personable and conversational tone when addressing their audience. It’s almost like hearing brand messaging from a friend. Comedian Chris Gethard is a longtime podcaster that has never been one to shy away from getting personal with his listeners. He hosts a show called In Your Dreams, presented by the mattress brand, Casper. Gethard takes listener calls to chat with people about their most memorable dreams and, of course, offers listeners a discount on Casper mattresses.
To dive further into all the innovative ways that media-makers and brands work together, Pressboard produced The Science of Storytelling, a thought-leadership podcast hosted by Pressboard CEO Jerrid Grimm. The show features interviews with publishers who share their experiences of creating branded content in today’s shifting media landscape.
Creating engaging audio content doesn’t have to mean recording a full season of a podcast. Bite-size audio content can complement written or visual pieces for a more interesting multimedia experience.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka has always had four-legged pals hanging out at the distillery. They partnered with WP Brand Studio to profile and celebrate dogs with jobs in “Workin’ Like a Dog.” These hardworking fluffy friends have made their careers at the distillery, on the baseball diamond and even in local government. One segment of the piece features short audio tidbits, telling stories of history’s most notable employed canines. These clips break up the scroll. They offer a change in pace to the reader — and they’re adorable to boot.
Podcasting and spoken narrative are not the only domains for brands in audio production. In 2016, Hamburger Helper sponsored this surprising parody of a Kanye West album, titled Watch the Stove. The mixtape consists of original hip hop tracks, rapping about stirring, whisking and serving up Hamburger Helper.
One thing becomes clear when it comes to crafting content for a brand: there’s really no limit to how creative you can be.
Find a Publisher to Get Started
If you want to create high quality content that experiments with form, partner with a publisher that can bring your brand to life through unique storytelling methods. Pressboard has developed tools and resources to connect brands with publishers through an online marketplace.
See publisher examples from Pressboard’s top 50 sponsored content campaigns of 2018, or peruse the winners from the first-ever Pressboard Awards. Additionally, the National Magazine Awards acknowledge the top Canadian publishers annually, with special designations for content creators who excel at different types of media, from long-form journalism to photography and videography.