Let's not forget about how people interact with our content
Content marketing is the thing right now, most marketers will agree. If you’re not familiar, the term refers to the practice of distributing content, which could be a white paper, blog, video, presentation – or any other form of content that can be shared online – normally using social media sites and utilities. Content marketing is a great way to illustrate expertise, drive traffic to your website, raise awareness, build brand loyalty, and so on. But when it comes to content marketing, we tend to focus on the content itself and never give a thought to the viewing experience and how the content is interacted with. This is down to the fact that most social media sites provide us with the means of viewing the content, whether it is video, text or images. We no longer have to think about the way our content is viewed and interacted with – and I think maybe we should be paying more attention to it!
Before social media we thought more about how to present content
Without social media sites content marketing as a marketing concept pretty much doesn’t exist. But before social media, what did we do with all our content? For a long time people had to come to a website looking for specific content, rather than a piece of content coming to them as it now can via social media. Before social media I feel we gave more thought to how people consumed content and the way it was presented, as normally we as publishers had to create the viewing platform as well as the content. We often had to create the means of consumption ourselves or at least use an existing tool and modify it somewhat to fit, i.e. embedding a video player into the website and so on.
In the rush to create content we have forgotten about high value production
As marketers we rightfully celebrate content that can be easily put together and distributed to everyone’s gain. People can now easily and freely create and distribute content without technical knowledge, concentrating just on the content itself. This is mainly a good thing; however I think we have somewhat forgotten that the actual viewing experience (the interactive element) is integral to consuming content online. In the midst of this rush to create and share content quickly, we sometimes forget about the worth of high quality production values – both when it comes to the content itself, and also the method by which we view it.
We should showcase great content in more imaginative ways
Social media has empowered the user and given everyone a chance to be an online publisher; don’t get me wrong, this is a great thing. However, it has to be said that it has moved many brands away from investing in really nice, polished content that is presented slickly, and is also enjoyable to interact with. We must remember that there are times when it is worth spending money on a well researched and useful piece of content that is presented in a glossy and slick interface that wows. People are so used to viewing content on social media websites in ways that they don’t even have to think about, (videos on YouTube, powerpoints on SlideShare, images on Flickr, white papers on PDFs etc) they forget that there are other ways to view content if we let ourselves be more imaginative.
Help people enjoy what they are looking at by thinking about how they interact with it
At Bright Digital this subject cropped up time and time again. Often we enjoyed content but it was let down by the way it was presented. We realised that when you consume content online you cannot separate the content you are viewing from the way it is viewed. Why are there not more options when it came to how you presented content online? In answer to our frustration about frequently low-fi production that let down otherwise sound content, for example shown on tiny screens or using awful page turning software, we created VMO.
Create an event around your content
We wanted a way of bringing great content to the fore in a way that excited the viewer. We wanted both the content itself to be good but also interacting with it had to be fun too. VMO stands for Video Magazine Online and is our way of being a bit more imaginative when it comes to presenting a mixture of words, images and video. We hope that interacting with VMO is intuitive and enjoyable and the feedback we received from clients who have utilised it so far has confirmed this. Of course you can embed sharing facilities into a VMO, and therefore it is another example of content marketing, but first and foremost it stands up for content that is thoughtfully put together, without the interactive experience being secondary.
What do you think? Do you care how content is presented? Does it affect how you consume the content itself?
Rachel Cummins is Marketing and Communications Manager at Bright Digital