Good content marketing should raise awareness, increase conversion, or boost customer loyalty. Great content marketing can do all three at once.
Enter the video documentary, a unique form of content marketing that has recently seen a surge in popularity. Its focus is on valuable, affecting, storytelling-driven video content that piques the target audience's interest by giving them an in-depth look at a topic they may never have considered before (just like any good documentary).
Except these documentaries are paid for and produced by companies as part of their content marketing strategy. And the best of them work remarkably well, because they follow 4 key rules.
Here's our pick of 4 amazing video documentaries, plus the rules they stick to that make them such effective pieces of content marketing.
1. Stella Artois — Tell a simple story, and believe in it
When the iconic beer brand decided to paint an intricate series of wall murals in New York representing each stage of a 9-step Stella Artois "Pouring Ritual", they saw the opportunity to tell an affecting story about the wall-painters themselves.
It might not sound like the most exciting or revolutionary of topics. But Stella Artois believed in the skill and passion of their subjects, and the end result is a poignant look at a unique and dying art.
Because the company understood the value and interest of their video documentary, they knew their target audience would engage with and appreciate it. The video also embodies their core values of craftsmanship and attention to detail, as well as reinforcing how the brand cooperates with and supports local communities.
All this goes to show that you don't need a thrilling life-or-death topic to create an engaging, emotional piece of video content marketing. With a video documentary you can take simple everyday stories that you believe in, tell them well, and in the process create a valuable piece of video content that will help you achieve your content marketing aims.
2. Patagonia — Be honest
All great documentaries, although essentially an artistic representation of the world around us, also express truths. They are honest. Patagonia's epic, gorgeous documentary begins with its founder explaining his love of mountaineering and how he turned that passion into an outdoor clothing business.
From there, the video tells eight more stories about various other Patagonia customers and how they have used their clothing, often for years on end.
The documentary never tries to be something it's not; it just gives an honest portrayal of ordinary lives. And in doing so, it highlights both the values of the company - wholesome enjoyments, environmental accountability, dedication to the best clothes possible - and the quality and durability of their products.
Rather than creating a video documentary that encourages viewers to purchase, Patagonia's message is: "Don't buy more than you need. Celebrate the stuff you already own." They remain faithful to their brand by telling a true story that embraces their values and provides a valuable experience to its target audience. That's what makes a successful piece of content marketing.
3. Intel — Understand your audience
We've mentioned target audiences enough already. It's not just empty talk. To create an effective video documentary as part of your content marketing, you must first consider your audience - just as Intel did in their short video about Scott Schuman, the man behind fashion blog The Sartorialist.
The documentary focuses on Schuman's day-to-day life, as he wanders city streets looking for fashion inspiration and subjects to photograph. Although the link to Intel is gentle, there is a theme of technology bringing people's passion to life present throughout the video.
Not only is Schuman a popular figure well-known and well-liked by Intel's target audience for this piece of video content (bloggers, photographers, and others who use computers creatively), but his is a story of how modern technology can transform lives and allow for great personal expression, purpose and creativity.
As part of Intel's broader "Visual Life" content marketing campaign, the video documentary explores how Intel processors have become an essential component of our lives. It succeeds on that front, by understanding its audience and how they interact with its products each and every day.
4. Fixodent — Be creative and different
Finally, successful content marketing shouldn't mean producing the same thing as everybody else. To create valuable content that people want to watch, you have to provide something different - a new story or a creative spin that your audience hasn't seen before. Fixodent did this brilliantly.
As a brand behind denture adhesives, you might think Fixodent has nothing particularly exciting to add to the video content marketing sphere. But they embraced a creative approach and filmed a video documentary about Aslan, a rare white lion in a wildlife sanctuary who required dental surgery after losing several teeth (whose procedure they also sponsored).
It's a great piece of lateral thinking. Not only is the story compelling because it deals with wild beasts, but it also perfectly illustrates the massive impact dental health can have on a life, whether animal or human.
Everybody has seen adverts about the difference good dentures can make. But by focusing on the restlessness and depression Aslan felt with broken teeth, Fixodent shone a new light on the importance of our teeth for all of us. This video documentary reinforces the purpose behind the brand while telling a creative, engaging story tailored to their audience.
Impressed yet? Those were 4 effective video documentaries expertly used as pieces of content marketing.
If you're considering using a video documentary in your own content marketing strategy, remember those 4 key rules for success and you'll produce a valuable piece of video content that can raise awareness, increase conversion, and boost customer loyalty.