The Best Video Content Doesn't Try to Sell Anything
It's True. As Soon As Your Video Content Starts Selling, Most People Stop Watching.
I know what you’re probably thinking—of course video content can sell stuff!
Believe me, after 25 years in advertising, I’m well aware.
But when I talk to business owners about video content—as in content marketing— many of them confuse it with advertising. They think it’s just videos and blog posts about their company or their products.
That’s when I tell them, in content marketing, the best way to sell something is to stop trying to sell something.
Video Content Is Not Advertising
Here’s why—when people think about buying, the first thing they do is look online. They read articles, compare brands, maybe look at videos or photos for inspiration.
At that point in the buying cycle, the most effective content doesn’t try to sell anything. It’s almost never a paid advertisement. More often than not, it’s from an unbiased source, like a blogger or online review.
Start With Building Trust
That’s why, to be successful at content marketing, companies need to stop selling.
Focus instead on creating video content that customers will find helpful, informative or just entertaining.
It can be as simple as answering customer questions, giving free advice, or posting design ideas.
Good content isn’t about your company, it’s about your customers.
That’s why it’s important to be honest about products, installation costs, and reliability.
Here’s an example—Yale Appliance is a retail appliance store located in Boston. Years ago, they started a blog featuring educational articles, videos and buyers’ guides.
They service appliances as well, and started writing about product reliability and performance.
“I’ve had brands threaten to sue me over claims I’ve made in articles,” says their CEO, Steve Sheinkopf.
Over time, their blog became a trusted online information source—much more trusted than the manufacturers’ websites.
As a result, the company’s online traffic has doubled every year since 2011, to more than 500,000 visitors a month.
A Different Way to Sell
Here’s a completely different approach to selling appliances.
In 2006, George Wright was Director of Marketing at a small appliance manufacturer in Utah. The company’s CEO had invented a new type of blender that was so advanced, it could pulverize just about anything.
To demonstrate, the R&D team showed how the powerful machine could chop up a wooden board. That gave Wright an idea—they should shoot a video.
They invested about $100 in supplies—a white lab coat, marbles, a rotisserie chicken and a few other items.
They decorated the company break room to look like a game show set. Then they put the company CEO on camera, and the Blendtec® “Will It Blend” series of videos was born.
Within five days of posting on YouTube, they had over 6 million views. And now, 186 videos later, Blendtec retail sales have increased 700 percent.
It was one of the first viral videos ever. Sure things like that happen, but nobody—and I mean nobody—can predict when.
How to Judge Content
So what's the best way to judge the effectiveness of your content? How do you know what will work and what probably won't?
Here's a simple rule of thumb. Just ask yourself, "Will anyone care?"
Most people just aren't interested in reading product specs or catalog copy. People are much more interested in stories about people.
To be effective, video content has to be relevant and have educational or entertainment value. You have to reward readers for spending their valuable time.
So yes, it's true—sometimes the best way to sell something is to stop trying to sell something.
About the Author:
Harry Hayes is the owner and executive producer at Content Puppy Productions, a corporate video production agency based in Charlotte. Before starting Content Puppy, he spent 20+ years as an advertising writer and creative director.