The News Chair
  1. Blending Viral Video into Your Marketing Outreach

    July 16, 2014 by Christopher Lloyd

    Viral_video

    It seems like every other day some video surfaces as the new viral hit, racking up millions of views in a short span of time. Often it’s serendipitous footage someone has managed to capture, such as a cute puppy breaking up a fight between two other dogs, or the world’s worst parking attempt.

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

     

    More and more, however, viral videos are not just camcorder highlights but the carefully-thought-out efforts of a company marketing their products or services. Think of the ad craze for “The Big Game,” in which the sharing of and commenting on the commercials has become a cultural event unto itself.

     

    Viral ≠ Expensive

    But it’s not only video produced for broadcast on network television. Some of the most impactful ads are ones that were never even aired. Indeed, brands will produce something they know will never make it past network censors, such as this clever one starring Anna Kendrick for Newcastle Brown Ale. The entire piece is her lamenting that their commercial never got made.

     

    Many videos are made for a fraction of the cost of a TV spot, and they are never intended to play anywhere except for YouTube, social media and the company’s website.

     

    Some of these are one-offs that become a viral hit and then go away. But really smart brands are using humorous multimedia as a central plank of their outreach strategy, producing entire campaigns of videos.

     

    Blended efforts produce results

    One of my favorites is the “Will It Blend?” series from Blendtec, a company that manufactures high-end blenders.

     

    Founder Tom Dickson wanted a way to demonstrate exactly how powerful their blenders are, and he began making videos of himself stuffing all sorts of crazy objects into their blenders and chewing them up — credit cards, a whole chicken and children’s action figures among them.

     

    Dickson soon began fielding requests from people who wanted to suggest other things to be pulverized in a Blendtec blender. Thus, the name of the viral video campaign was born. The campaign really took off when Dickson put a first-generation iPhone into the blender and turned it into dust.

     

    “Will It Blend?” is awesome because it memorably shows off the features of the product they’re selling while being hysterically funny. (Dickson’s dry “science guy” wit is a big bonus.) To date, the viral series has seen dozens of episodes with more than 300 million views on YouTube — and boosting Blendtec’s sales tremendously.

     

    Challenges with online video

    Of course, there are dangers in this sort of “rogue” marketing. Humor is challenging, because not everybody is funny, and not everyone will react the same way to the humor. One person’s killer joke is horribly offensive to someone else.

     

    You also have to consider who your base of customers is and if you can reach them through YouTube and social media.

     

    The best online videos are short — preferably 90 seconds or less, according to Shawn Sorrells. He should know: in addition to being Coles Marketing’s in-house videographer/photographer, he was also a TV news videographer and editor for many years.

     

    “Nothing has the emotional impact of video,” Sorrells said. “If you can hit an emotional chord with someone, you’re well on your way to converting them into a customer.”

     

    Looking to convert potential customers or clients with videography services and an integrated marketing campaign? Contact us about our Creative Shop Services today!

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  2. Have You Newsjacked Lately?

    by Tiffany Whisner

    BreakingNews

    When was the last time you flipped through a newspaper, turned on TV news or scrolled through Twitter and found breaking news? It’s happening every day — a crime, an accident, severe weather, a political battle.

     

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    But how can you turn breaking news into a marketing opportunity for your organization? It’s called newsjacking.

     

    Ride the popularity news wave

    HubSpot’s Corey Eridon said, “Newsjacking refers to the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.”

     

    Newsjacking was made popular by David Meerman Scott with his book, “Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.” He offers tips on how to take advantage of breaking news and use it to generate media attention for your business.

     

    But you have to take action at the right time. There’s a point in the life of the news story between the news breaking and the scramble of journalists for additional information. This is the time to newsjack.

     

    In most cases, breaking news becomes old news pretty quick, and the interest in that story dies down. To take advantage of newsjacking, don’t get wrapped up in the details of the marketing campaign or ruminate on the exact angle of a blog post. Just go for it.

     

    Not-so-new concept breaks ground

    Newsjacking isn’t a completely cutting-edge concept. Public relations professionals have been using it for years. However, it’s getting more attention as brand and content marketing is advancing to the forefront of the industry.

     

    Why should you newsjack? Mark Sherbin of the Content Marketing Institute said benefits include:

    • Boosting SEO
    • Drawing in readers with ultra-timely commentary
    • Sharing a new angle for branded content ideas
    • Leading your market in thought leadership

     

    Newsjacking also “improves your brand’s reputation and drives highly-targeted traffic that can turn into leads and even sales,” Eridon said. But it’s a very delicate practice as well.

     

    Countless brands that tried to make the best of Hurricane Sandy is one prime example, as are Kenneth Cole’s infamous Egyptian revolution and Syrian conflict tweets, which exploited a massive social movement and a source of considerable human suffering as opportunities to push products,” said Content Marketing Institute’s Britt Klontz in her article.

     

    It’s a fine line between brilliance and breakdown.

     

    Get newsjacking right

    The key to newsjacking is thinking and acting fast. HubSpot’s Eridon shared some steps to move through the process:

    1. Set up alerts. Constantly monitor the news. Set up alerts for both natural and out-of-the-box opportunities.
    2. Check keyword search volume. Once you find a story to newsjack, create content around it. Also, research the search volume around variations of the keyword phrase you’d like to target.
    3. Read about your topic. Find the primary source of the news story and what others have written. It allows you to maintain originality and credibility.
    4. Write quickly but accurately. Get to writing, and do it fast! You want to be the first to respond to the news story … but make sure your content is accurate.
    5. Differentiate yourself. Ask yourself — what makes this story interesting to my audience? Give a reason for people to reference your content above the rest!

     

    And Ragan’s Elizabeth Breese offered some additional technical tips about taking newsjacking success to the next level:

    1. Maintain targeted media lists. Build a dedicated list of journalists who will welcome your organization’s angle on a breaking news story.
    2. Pitch, don’t spam. Don’t spam every journalist covering the breaking news story. Reach out with a personalized message.
    3. Offer substance. Let media contacts know what additional information your business or client can provide.
    4. Don’t forget to share. When the story has been published or aired, treat it like your own. Share and promote it over your company’s social channels.

     

    Newsjacking can be risky, but when done right, it can be very rewarding for your business.

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  3. Take Action for Your Health

    by Tiffany Whisner

    Brandy

    “I decided to have bariatric surgery because my quality of life was not what I wanted it to be. I couldn’t play with my kids the way I wanted to. I couldn’t be the mom to them I wanted to be.”

     

    That’s how Brandy Walters felt, a patient at the Bariatric Center at Columbus Regional Health. So she took action to improve her health. Brandy had gastric bypass surgery on September 22, 2009. Since then, she has lost 135 pounds.

     

    “I chose the Bariatric Center at Columbus Regional Health for my surgery because I really appreciated the staff they had working there. They care about their patients, and they really care about the success of their patients,” Brandy said.

     

    Coles worked with the Bariatric Center to find local patients in the community who are now able to participate in a physical activity that was difficult to do before bariatric surgery.

     

    The “Now, I Can” campaign helps communicate to potential patients that quality-of-life issues are the best reasons to have bariatric surgery. The Bariatric Center identified Brandy as a patient who was compliant and had success with the bariatric surgery program, using the surgery as a tool to get healthy but also continuing with exercise and a healthy diet after the surgery.

     

    Once Brandy was chosen to be featured in the marketing campaign, the Coles team contacted her and wrote a testimonial about her journey. Along with before and after photos, Coles integrated the campaign with video, print ads, online banner ads and billboards.

     

    From Hope, Ind., Brandy chose a local park to do the video and photo shoot, where she could be active with her kids and show off what she had accomplished after the surgery.

     

    “The Bariatric Center picked Brandy because of her personality and dedication to staying healthy, conveying all the great aspects of the bariatric program,” said Coles’ Vice President Public Relations Chris Mercier. “Not only has she kept the weight off, but she’s volunteered her time with the Bariatric Center Advisory Council and is even heading up an exercise program focused on bariatric patients who may be training for a 5K, half marathon or marathon.”

     

    Now — after bariatric surgery — Brandy herself competes in races and also coaches her sons’ little league and soccer teams.

     

    “But more importantly, now I have energy, joy, dreams coming true and memories being made,” Brandy said. “I am more active and involved in the lives of my children, husband, family and friends than I’ve ever been before.”

     

    Click here to see Brandy’s video testimonial, produced by the Coles team. The “Now, I Can” campaign has also grown organically, with many successful bariatric patients posting what they “now can” do on the Center’s Facebook page.

    Bariatric Center_standard

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