Video As an Engaging Content Marketing Tool

If you are an Internet marketer, blogger, webmaster, and online retailer, you must be turning the Web inside out looking for a strategy to keep your website visitors a few seconds longer on your page. There are a million and one advises or suggestions you can try, but you can save yourself from much trouble by grabbing what seems to be a current trend: video content marketing strategy.

What is video content marketing?

Video content marketing makes use of the video as the heart of the content marketing strategy with the social media being used to support and promote the video content. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube and embedding videos in blog posts offer the most engaging way to share video message to the target audience.

A message that informs, entertains or is useful can foster maximized engagement, spread and conversion by using the content as the message. This can best be achieved by seamlessly integrating the message with the look, feel and flavor of the video. You know you have done well when your message is talked about in forums, discussion boards, and even mainstream media channels.

The use of videos may not really be a new idea. What is novel is the recognition that it can be a very effective vehicle of information and a powerful strategy that prompts immediate action. You have heard about YouTube ranking as the second largest search engine in the Internet and passing the 1 billion monthly users mark. This is equivalent to over 4 billion hours of video viewing each month. With these explosive statistics, it is not surprising to see how it is gaining strength as a source of content marketing.

Will online video be just another over hyped and soon-will-fade craze?

Based on current researches and surveys, it seems unlikely. For instance, consider the data from B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey for 2012 entitled Percentage of Marketers Using Each Content or Offer (survey compiled by Eloqua, CMO.com and Software Advice).

What makes video a crown jewel of content marketing?

Video communication is an effective strategy of reaching target market as it pools the pluses of “classic” TV advertising and the Internet’s interactivity. Powerful and compelling videos can more likely motivate viewers to buy on impulse than those who merely read text ads. In a way, it seems like it is irresistible having a “biological” or “human” factor about it. This may be attributed to the fact that videos can simultaneously affect several senses. If you want to understand the science behind web trending towards video, the explanation of Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. in Forbes’ article Why Online Video Is Vital For Your 2013 Content Marketing Objectives says it all.

According to Dr. Weinschek, there are four major reasons why people are drawn to videos: the fusiform facial area or the face easily catches and holds attention; the voice can effectively convey rich information and meaningful content; the emotions and the body language are pleasing to watch and infectious; and movements grab attention due to the human’s innate power of peripheral motion. For online marketers looking for a way to engage their visitors, the question is: How must you leverage this 100% human connection to video? The answer lies in what innovative option you will use to make a simple, but impactful video.

If video is not a passing fancy among content creators, then how will it affect future content marketing?

In Kissmetrics’ article The Future of Content Marketing Revealed, some ways to get ahead of competing pack are emphasized. There are three major points made; the content becoming big (long blog posts, giving away of free eBooks, and offering multiple lead magnets) and two stressed the importance of visual content such as use of infographics and videos.

In ReelSEO’s 2012 Online Video Marketing Survey Report, 81% of the respondents/online marketers said they used online video in their marketing efforts. Over two thirds of them (67%) use these videos to social networking sites, and about half (52%) used video in email marketing.

Moreover, approximately 64% of these marketers indicated they intend to spend more money in the coming years intended for technologies, platforms and services allied to the use of video for business marketing programs.

There are of course other statistics that may say otherwise, but for now it seems that content marketing is going beyond text.

Where is video content now?

“Video gives us the opportunity to wow our customers and this in turn delivers results. We have tested and proven that when someone watches our video reviews they’re 120.5% more likely to buy, spend 157.2% longer on the site and spend 9.1% more per order… ” (Matt Lawson, Head of Conversion at Appliances Online).

With all these stats, YouTube’s sensational rise to fame and the cheap video technologies, how can you not use it as a marketing tool? Many think that video is still an underused marketing tool at the moment, but not so in the coming days. Those into it are starting to enjoy improved SEO rankings, site engagement and customer conversion. Maybe you just found a way for your visitors to stay little bit longer on your site.

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US Education Rankings: 9 Strategies For Raising Education Rankings Thru Increasing Education’s Value

In researching this article, I noticed stats about economics and education. Yes, we know that the higher the education we have, the more money we make. This doesn’t address the VALUE OF EDUCATION TO THE STUDENT.

Education must hold value for students, whether this be getting an education to get a high paying job, ranking first in our class, feeling the satisfaction of learning, enlightening ourselves, pleasing our families. Value is personal, and we all invest in what has value on our own terms.

When we are young, especially, we need the guidance of our mentors, including educators, family, friends, society and media, any of which can lead us well or not. If we are taught that the most important thing is to spend 15 hours a day studying, we may believe it. If we are taught that education doesn’t matter because the salary per hour of slinging crack depends upon how much time we spend out of school, we still have a good chance of realizing that this is a bad lesson. If we are given a creative array of lessons that will affect how we value education, we have a better shot at building a foundation and understanding the positive nature of education for ourselves than if we are taught rote, unrelated facts.

I recall a running debate I had with a friend about responsibility and teaching. Was it the teacher’s job to do whatever it took to impart the lesson to the student who didn’t understand it the first time along with the others, or was it the student’s responsibility to study to the ends of the earth to understand the lesson?

I was raised in a progressive, nurturing household where learning was pleasurable, and I never felt fear in asking questions, in not understanding a lesson. I just said I needed help and got it. My opposing friend in this debate was raised by foreign parents. His father (by U.S. standards) oppressed him and brought fear to his heart that shook him should he not be first in the class. In this case, it looks like environment had a lot to do with our various sides.

I believe teachers should be willing to morph their methods in such a way that the lesson is understood by each student, also creating an atmosphere where the student loves the knowledge, doesn’t fear failure and blossoms because of it. My opposing friend was sure that any student who could not understand the lesson was not trying hard enough and had on her/his shoulders the responsibility of figuring out the lesson alone. He saw this as the only mark of a true student. He also expected to be physically reprimanded.

What I see is that the best learning comes out of cooperative education and out of creative learning environments where the lesson integrates with life lessons, builds social stature and touches upon current trends.

Here are nine sample lessons that could fit into the technological and creative pace of our current world.

1. Have students make individual videos or one group video showing a segment of history. This leaves the subject matter open and stimulates the imagination. An example of this is to film an ant walking up the building, the falling of a leaf in autumn from tree to ground or some group project that is more involved. If no equipment is available, students can act out the material and record it on paper. Or call a local law firm and ask them to donate or let you borrow a video camera.

2. Take students on a photographic field trip. If there is no means for bus transportation, the field trip can be as far as around the building or on the school grounds. The theme can be about measurement, for example, if it is a math lesson. The photos would show the angles of bridges, the slope of a roof, the uprightness of a telephone pole, the angle of twigs in a bird’s nest. The photos would then be exhibited in a photo gallery where each student would get to invite parents or other meaningful adults. Inviting “others” insures there is a support system so that the event is not traumatic for students whose families don’t usually participate or do not exist. The presence of other significant adults, including other teachers, coaches, clergy, social workers, tutors, would allow for each student to be supported and for no one to feel alone. If there are no cameras available, a local camera store might be willing to provide a loan. Or Canon might participate with a loan or a gift to enhance the lives of your students who could pass on the cameras to every class in the school, if necessary.

3. Create a social issue in the classroom that requires a judge and a jury, such as trying a thief who stole to feed her/his family. Have students act out the parts of each role. Have students take turns being “innocent” and “guilty,” judge and jury. Then, take a field trip to the courthouse or local magistrate. Arrange to sit in on a session or, structure prohibiting that, have the magistrate talk about justice and our American way.

4a. Create a mock central market in the classroom where students buy and sell wares and practice their math skills. Have the money they use in this market be based upon tokens that they have earned through a Good Samaritan program in the classroom. Those who help another during the day get a token. The program develops citizenship, planning and math. Then, take the students out on a field trip and give them each a dollar that you get from petty cash or your pocket. No student money should be used. Only the dollar that you give the student. The mission: see who can bring back the most items for one dollar. Thus, we include budgeting as part of the lesson.

4b. Create a mini stock exchange in the classroom. Use large beans to buy and sell shares. Have a professional trader come to explain basic concepts.

5. Have each student write a poem that rhymes. Then call a local rock star or rap star to come in and turn the poem into a song that the whole class learns. Yes, the music teacher could lead this activity, but celebrity sells in business and education and invites the juices of creativity to flow in the classroom, instills confidence and will involve community celebrities in the betterment of education.

6a. Have a drum circle in the classroom. Call a local drummer to come in and lead. Teach three to five messages from old drum communication. Talk about communication through drumming and have each student drum one message that you have taught during this lesson. Have the others interpret the message.

6b. As a follow-up lesson, have a cell phone tech come in and talk about the method of cell tower transmission. Then talk about the differences in social communication between drumming and cell phones.

7. Have each student think up an example of how we use math in the world. Exclude being able to go buy something in a store, online or on the phone. Call a local app maker to donate an app that has the class photo and an individual photo with each student’s idea as part of an app that pulls up. Then have the app maker talk about the skills s/he had to acquire to learn app making.

8a. Pick a theme including success, education, happiness, for example. Have students create an abstract painting that represents this theme and have them present it. In-school project only, since some parents are not at home to help and some parents do the project for the student. Film the presentations as well as the creative process. Post the art on the classroom website. If there is no classroom website, call a local web person and ask if s/he will donate putting up (online) a page with the students’ presentations.

8b. Go to a local museum or research the art at the museum online and find art that represents the particular theme to each individual person.

9. Have a regular tea time once a week. This will develop unity of community. Call a local tea specialist to start you off with how to have tea and some of the history of tea. This quiet time will give the class a spirit of camaraderie while developing value for quiet reflection and experiencing its benefits.

To summarize, these ideas are samples, for different grades, different social climates. The idea is to give school value to the student, to make the lessons relevant to the life of the student, so that we increase the number of students in school and US educational rankings. How many times do we slack off on a task because it is not pleasing to us? And, yet, we slave away at another task because we like it. I remember working hard for my 6th grade teacher because one of the ways he showed he cared was by letting us get the school piano and wheel it into the classroom on Friday afternoons. Everyone sang; I got to play the piano and sing. This added value to education for everyone.

We even discussed the lyrics, which, I learned 12 years later, getting an M.A. in Music Therapy, had extreme importance in molding us. Which brings us to the next point: how do creative modules such as these fit into the present system? That is a discussion for the article titled Education 2.0: 5 Ways To Make Exceptional Lessons Of Yesterday The Educational Normal Of Today, soon to be published.

The most exhilarating part of teaching comes when the student receives the knowledge. Most of us in the profession enjoy the creativity it takes to teach, motivate and inspire. This is the skill set that builds value in the student.

Singing the education blues won’t work. Looking at charts of where we rank in the world education system can motivate but is not the answer: http://xrl.us/guardian2010educrank. We need in-road builders to make these types of lessons the norm, rather than special events. It is one thing to offer an isolated lesson such as the photography trip in number 2. above. It is quite another to build this structure into our current educational infrastructure. Onward, teachers. Now is the time.