SM: All marketers need to turn into media companies.
DK: That is a good point.
SM: In the B2B world, the same thing is happening. It is not just consumer brands and consumer retailers. It is all the way. If you are running a software company in whatever domain you are talking about, you have to also churn out blogs and content in whatever domain you are working in. None of them are very good at that.
DK: That is correct. One client said to me, “I can’t have my marketers being experts on how to generate very persuasive and authentic video content from our consumers. They can’t become experts on that. But if you can I can have them work with you to integrate that content into our content marketing plan.” It is impossible for brand managers who hire us to be experts in what we do. We need to let them know about what we do.
SM: The reason you have my buy-in is because we practice content marketing very effectively. If you follow the 1M/1M brand, it is built on content marketing. We came into the 1M/1M project with a huge presence in technology and entrepreneurship media and we leverage that into social. We run a very active social media channel that floats through all of our channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. We pass our content through those channels on an hourly basis every day. There is a continuous set of content that feeds into our channels. On YouTube we actually have our weekly mentoring roundtables every week and that gets shared over social media as well. So, we have an extensive content marketing channel. I think the broader story of what you are pointing toward is that people need to understand content marketing and every marketer needs to have some understanding of how to turn into a content producer, which is very difficult to do.
DK: Thinking of your brand – I know you are very big in video. You only have one product. But imagine if you are a shampoo company and you have a line for 40 different shampoos and you have a million different buyers for each of those, you should be thinking about getting that content and how persuasive it is. We could do that for you. While there is a lot of user-generated content going on, there is not a lot of useful user-generated content going on.
SM: That is where I think the issue is. If you want to use user-generated content as a serious component of your content marketing strategy, you need to curate and manage it properly.
DK: That is exactly right, and it is why we get hired over and over again. If you were to go to your entrepreneurs and ask them to upload a video, and 40% of them do it, how much quality do you think you are going to get?
SM: I have no idea. Part of the problem is it depends on what kind of lights they use, what kind of background they use, etc. Don’t forget, we have technology entrepreneurs all over the world. A lot of these people may have no sense of how to script a storyboard. The quality of what is going to come out of this exercise I am not terribly confident about.
DK: I have faith in your entrepreneurs. You would be surprised how well people are shooting things and how much they want to please you. They want to be useful. They don’t want to put up garbage and embarrass themselves. That happens on YouTube. It doesn’t happen when you outreach, when you properly thank them, when you develop the desire to help others, etc.
It is not about training. We were so nervous when they put these videos through. People are naturally persuasive. You are right about some quality issues, but with the technology that is out there now and with the deep desire people have to be helpful and valuable, as long as you are recognizing them and giving them an example of what you are looking for, they will perform.
SM: Your thesis is interesting. You are saying that getting people to record video – video testimonials or infomercial kinds of messages – can be very persuasive. I have some skepticism about how much good quality will come out of it, but you are telling me there is enough. But I am willing to listen. Thank you for sharing your story.
DK: Thank you, Sramana.