Though words are a writer’s bread and butter, if we want to fill our plate with a robust portfolio, expanding our skillset is essential. As co-founder of Viral Ideas Marketing, David Feinman predicts, 80 percent of the world’s traffic will stem through video.
This means brands will over-index budgets to fit this shift and demand, making it essential for freelancers to follow suit. Much like written content, video and animation take a variety of forms, allowing various vehicles to tell a story, sell a product or build an audience.
When we consider the value of customer stories, exploring the benefits of this form of media is a strategic perspective required to remain competitive. “Don’t miss out on communicating your brand effectively,” Feinman share. “Videos are a powerful tool to share your message over and over again with users. Branding, testimonial, and culture videos are only some of the many ways you use videos for your brand.”
Here’s why you should use video and animation in your customer stories:
1. To build trust.
These days, everything is accessible: information, travel, next-day delivery for online shopping, dates for the weekend — and the list goes on. This makes loyalty a trick relationship, especially since a consumer can — quite literally — go anywhere to fill their need. What makes a difference and encourages repeat business is trust.
Once a client or buyer connects in a meaningful way, has an issue that’s quickly resolved, or hears feedback from someone else, they are more likely to focus their attention (and dollars). That’s where video creations are effective, according to motion designer Jason Dettmer:
If you can reach them on their level by showing that you recognize and understand the problems and pain points they deal with every day, then they will be engaged and want to know more about how you can solve them.
2. To add variety to your social accounts.
A click-bait here, a funny meme there, a lengthy blog post to finish it off, and your social strategy is good to go, right? Not so much, marketer. In a digital age where talented content makers are tasked with wearing many different hats, it’s no longer acceptable to merely promote posts through various social accounts.
Regardless if most of a brand’s budget is allocated to Instagram or Facebook, communications and marketing consultant Jennifer Johnson says videos and animation can’t be discounted. “Use eye-catching visuals to stop the scroll, and add subtitles so users can appreciate your content even if they can’t turn up the volume,” she recommends.
Even if, say, you aren’t creating these media components yourself, having the ability to write for these mediums will make you that much more desirable of a hire.
3. To tell the story of your customer, at the right time.
Well, of course: that’s what a customer story is, right? Feinman recommends content marketers to pause and really think about the goal behind the video. Sharing the success and satisfaction of someone who benefited from the company is one part of it — but it also meant to instill credibility. And to do this, a strategy to be at the top of their attention span is a must.
As Feinman recommends, after someone visits the website, they should be retargeted to a testimonial ad. He provides the example of Flixation, who not only show these videos on their website but also share through social media. “By showing them the video after they leave using retargeting, it reinforced that another customer spoke highly of the brand,” he explains.
4. To demonstrate how you do what you do.
Sometimes, companies are easy-peasy to explain. Other times, it takes one too many paragraphs, a handful of long-winded, jagged sentences to somewhat get the point across. Even if most of the time freelancers turn to the page, learning how to give the camera some screen time can improve the quality of customer stories.
As Dettmer shares, reading through a website takes effort and attention, while sitting back and listening to someone explain complexities does not:
Animation with audio is especially great for this, as complex and abstract concepts can be conveyed simply and effectively, in ways viewers can easily digest.
5. To add movement and fun.
You can tell a lot through written content, sure. You can also engage someone’s mind. But if you want to have fun? And make a brand playful? Video could be a smarter solution.
Johnson shares those businesses that create engaging, interesting videos and animations are only the tip of the iceberg. What’s most compelling is taking chances through bold, surprising and sometimes hilarious concepts.
This is where a writer’s genius can truly be capitalized: you’re already schooled at coming up with ideas, so why not use that stamina toward videos?
As Johnson notes:
The visuals you use should be constantly changing. Don’t just feature a talking head. Select visuals to create a compelling visual narrative. Use a mix of video and animation for a playful effect. The more fun you and your team have making the video, the more fun others will have watching it.
6. To connect on a more personal level.
If you can, think back to a customer story that truly resonated with you. Who was the person? What did you like about their tale? What motivated you to learn more or take action? Most of the time, this form of marketing is most effective when we reach people on a personal, intimate and relatable level.
As Dettmer puts it, video and animation illustrate that a brand isn’t just a faceless corporation but a company with values, intention and perspective:
For some brands, it’s a great opportunity to let their guard down a little and have some fun. For others, it’s a great opportunity to make a powerful emotional connection that may not come through from their other branding materials. Any time you can elicit an emotion or even just a laugh from a viewer, you’re making a stronger connection.
7. To provide a behind-the-scenes look.
When you’re working with a brand, it’s your job as a content creator to tell them how to be cooler. While it seems simple, it’s not always easy. And part of building that ‘awesome’ factor is to create some mystique behind the scenes. What is it like to work at this company? Why would someone want to be associated with it? How are they better than the other noise in the industry?
People not only want to see your products and services, but they also want to see what your brand is about. A good culture video can reinforce a brand for recruiting and during the sales process. It gives prospective hires a look into the environment and culture of your company and customers can get an idea of who they are working with.