Despite the limitations that the pandemic put on our firm’s ability to meet with clients and prospects, there was an unexpected silver lining. The video we’ve been able to capture and share as a result of the switch to virtual has taken on a starring role in our marketing strategy.
At Colin Biggers & Paisley, we realized the potential of video from the moment we all switched to Zoom at the start of the pandemic – and we haven’t slowed down since. While events were cancelled, virtual webinars, meetings and discussions all represented new opportunities to create high-quality marketing materials that have lived well beyond their original purpose and that have inspired us to do even more. Here is what we have learned in order to make the most of this treasure-trove of content.
Talk Like No One Is Watching
Like nearly every other company on Earth, the tool that became most important to the continuation of our meetings was Zoom. Now that everyone is comfortable on Zoom, using the tool for most recorded sessions is a no-brainer. The benefit is that even partners in our firm that were relatively shy about being on stage in the past are quite comfortable on camera for a Zoom call. Because of this, we’re not only recording all of our webinars and other events using Zoom, we’re also using Zoom to record things even when there isn’t anyone else listening.
Of course, the first and easiest step is to simply record a session that is already scheduled. This could be a thought leadership webinar, a talk by a partner, or a Q&A with a client. The technology is easy to use, everyone has it installed, and people behave naturally in front of their own computer screen as compared to a professional camera set-up. That’s the added bonus — marketers should seek out partners and other experts that are not usually the first ones to raise their hands for events and encourage them to record sessions that add depth to the firm’s content.
Recording a short clip generally requires less time commitment from the partner than creating other forms of thought leadership, such as articles. We encourage our partners to be authentic, conversational and not overly scripted in the videos which cuts down the time needed to prepare. We always do a few takes. The presentation is usually more polished after a couple of attempts and the alternate takes come in handy if there are any issues with the video quality.
Partners tend to be more confident talking about something they know very well. And in some cases, it’s possible to take something a partner has done and repurpose it in video form. For example, we had a partner who had developed a useful checklist for his clients. We released a weekly short video clip expanding on each of the points in the checklist. This helped generate interest in downloading the checklist over a longer period of time and also resulted in a number of direct enquiries.
Next, it’s important to edit and share the content broadly both internally and externally. This helps everyone see the real value in using Zoom and will help encourage a greater variety of partners to create content.
Give Your Content Life
For marketing purposes, once an asset is created, it can be sliced and repackaged in a number of ways. Videos can be posted to the website as a series. The audio can be made into a podcast. Assets can be embedded into email newsletters and shared on social media. In particular, partners have become much more active on LinkedIn. That’s where networking is happening when conferences and other events have been limited. With video content at their disposal, they have more interesting posts and generate more responses from prospects.
One of our partners has become particularly successful using video on LinkedIn. Before the pandemic, he was relatively quiet on the channel. However, once he started seeing responses from clients and prospects, he embraced his role as “content creator.” He recently created a series with very short content “snippets” that could be quickly recorded and shared right from his own computer. The marketing team adds some branding, and the content is ready on the same day. This approach has made it much easier for partners to react to newsworthy events and provide timely commentary.
We also have a number of partners with industry-specific expertise and have been able to generate a broad array of industry-specific content much more cheaply and easily by tapping their expertise than if we had used outside resources. And when in-person events rebound, we will have plenty of content to share with producers in order to place more of our partners on stage, and more of our partners will be comfortable in that role.
Video has been so successful for us that we’ve started to up our game. We’ve invested in creating a more professional “TV” approach. In each of our major offices, we have installed a room dedicated to video recording, and we have employees that are trained to be engaging hosts.
In addition to the positive uptick in LinkedIn activity for our partners, we have experienced a 50% increase in our newsletter subscribers base. We’ve gained thousands of new subscribers because of our multi-media approach that was surprisingly budget-friendly. We’ve seen such a positive response, that we’re planning an entire video series to tackle hot topics.
Track Your Progress Across Channels
While each channel – social, email and our site – all matter individually, it’s how they work together that creates the best response. We share all recorded content on our site in a regular email publication, for example. And with each webinar, we share the recording with all registrants to make sure anyone who missed it can still view it. What’s more, we’re starting to notice a new pattern – many people register for a webinar without intending to attend live. They’ve come to expect that they’ll get an email with the recording in their inbox for them to view when they have time. That email also makes it easy for them to forward and share the content to colleagues.
These small but important observations have helped us make the most of our push into video across marketing channels. When we see positive momentum or a change in behavior, we pivot to make the most of it. Our firm is energized to keep evolving our approach and our clients and prospects are along for the ride.