I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my personal life, I like to keep things simple. When I think about my hobbies and interests, the first things that usually come to mind are things I already do: I watch TV, I read books, and occasionally, I play video games. Aside from those three things, I don’t really feel the need to complicate things. I like to keep things unadorned and basic. That’s why I was so overwhelmed when I discovered there was a whole world of YouTube content outside of my comfort zone; beyond makeup tutorials and food videos, there were interesting, insightful, and funny videos about all sorts of subjects.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that all of this content was masterpieces. There were definitely some bad content creators out there who abused the format, but for the most part, the content was good.
Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out how to apply what I’ve learned from exploring YouTube to my day-to-day life in marketing. One of the biggest differences between my previous self and my current self is that I’m a lot more picky about the products I use and the content I consume. After all, if you’re going to put yourself out there for the world to see, you might as well do it in a way that interests you or helps you learn something new.
Product Marketing and Promotion vs. Storytelling
Now, before I get started, I have to define a few terms. First, let’s talk about product marketing and promotion. As the name implies, product marketing is all about marketing a particular product. It can include everything from advertising to sampling to affiliate marketing. For the most part, product marketing is about getting the word out about your product.
On the other hand, promotional products are those products that you market or promote to encourage people to purchase your product. A fairly common example is a product that gives you a discount or some kind of special offer if you purchase a certain amount of the product. Think of those cardboard boxes of wine that you get in the mail after making a purchase at a retail store. Those are promotional products.
Now, here’s the catch: although product marketing is often associated with selling a physical product, that’s not strictly necessary. For the most part, product marketing can be applied to any type of product, whether it’s a digital or physical product.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into how to tell an engaging story in online gaming versus product marketing and promotion.
Less Is More
One of the biggest differences between YouTube and other platforms like Reddit or Twitter is that the latter two are largely text-based. This means there’s a lot of open space for people to spam your timeline with promotional messages, ads, or useless information.
On the other hand, the ideal YouTube video will consist of only a few short clips. In fact, the ideal video will only have a single clip that takes up the entire screen. A good rule of thumb is that the more you have in the way of content, the less likely you are to engage and entertain your audience. Make it a point to cut out all the excess fluff and to keep things simple and direct. This will make your content easy to consume and more likely to be shared.
One thing you don’t want to do is over-exaggerate the importance of your product. Even if your product is amazing, you don’t need to remind your audience of it every five seconds. Your video’s length should reflect the importance of your product. For example, if you’re pitching a software solution for business owners, your two-minute video introducing the product might only need to cover the basics, sans hype.
At the very least, your video’s description should make it clear how the viewer gains value from the video. Even for videos that are more upbeat and entertaining in tone, you still want to give the viewer a clear idea of what the product is and how it can help them. Otherwise, you’re just wasting perfectly good marketing dollars and someone else’s time.
Keep It Short
Nowadays, more and more people are hopping on the YouTube bandwagon. According to research conducted by HubSpot, users are spending an average of seven hours per day on the platform (that’s more than Instagram or TikTok, according to HubSpot’s estimates).
If you want to engage and entertain your audience, keep your videos short and snappy. You don’t need to keep your video under three minutes or even three seconds. The best-case scenario is that you have a single short-ish video to pitch a product or service, and it entertains and informs your audience. That’s what you want to focus on. The shorter the video, the more engaged your audience will be. If your video is too long, the viewer will lose interest, and that’s all the more likely if it’s a promotional video.
Be Selective Of The Content You Share
A wise business owner I once interviewed told me she avoids sharing all the same kinds of content. In other words, if you’ve got a video of yourself covering a fashion topic, don’t expect your viewers to automatically know what product you’re promoting without putting in the effort to find out.
In the same way, if you’re promoting a travel package, don’t waste your time sharing a video of you standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Instead, pick a more unique spot or do something new with the product you’re promoting. If you want to be credible and interesting, you’ll need to create content that is as unique as the product you’re promoting. In addition to that, make sure the content you include is tied in some way to your product or service. Otherwise, it’s just another piece of “content.”
Make It Fresh
As the owner of a marketing agency, I get requests for content a lot. Most of the time, the content creators want to promote a mobile game they developed or a weight loss product they created. Even when I agree to work with them, the end product is always the same: unengaging content that doesn’t spark any interest or action from the audience.
If you want to engage and entertain your audience, make sure your content is fresh and isn’t copied and pasted from elsewhere. In particular, make sure you aren’t re-posting content from another platform without permission or giving proper attribution. In the age of content thieves, it’s essential to stay original and provide credit where credit is due.
Avoid Tricky Social Engineering
A lot of times, companies will give you a hard sell, trying to get you to buy their product just because they think you’ll like it. The problem with this is that the majority of the time, you didn’t actually want the product in the first place. Unfortunately, in order to make the sale, you’ll sometimes need to politely decline the offer. However, in most cases, it’s preferable to just walk away. There’s no ethical way to participate in social engineering, and you don’t need to give in to it. Even if you feel like you have no other choice but to make the sale, that’s still not an acceptable reason to participate in such an unethical practice.
Be Careful With The Language You Choose
Now, I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to avoid using keywords or certain phrases when writing your content. What I am saying is that you should be careful about the words you choose, especially when writing your video’s description. One wrong move and you’ll be accused of using keyword stuffing, which is a no-no in and of itself. For the most part, the content you create should be easy to understand, and it should reflect well in regards to the subject matter. In addition to that, you want to keep the language clean and uncluttered. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to write your description, and as we’ve established, that’s a key part of getting views and gaining interest. In the same way, you want to choose your words carefully, you also want to write concise sentences. That way, when your video content is shared, it’ll make sense to those who view it. After all, if your video content doesn’t make sense, neither will anyone else’s if they have to try and figure it out along with you. Too many words and too many sentences turn into a jumble, making it difficult for anyone to follow along. Even if you think your video content is perfectly structured and concise, let a few other people have a go at writing summary for your video. See how it turns out then.