In 1895, John Deere “A company dedicated to those linked to the land”, as they describe themselves, launched The Furrow. The magazine, considered the first example of content marketing, providing information to farmers on how to become more profitable. Today, it still reaches 1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages.
If you are not a farmer and don’t know a rotary cutter from a baler The Furrow may not sound familiar. But what about the Michelin Guide? Michelin developed their renowned guide in 1900, offering drivers information on auto maintenance, accommodation and restaurants. This is another precedent for content marketing.
So what is content marketing about? We know it has to do with a story, delivering value, reflecting the brand and also creating awareness. I found this definition that sums it up well:
Content marketing is the publication of material designed to promote a brand, usually through a more subtle approach than that of traditional push advertising. The essence of good content marketing is that it offers something the viewer wants, such as information or entertainment [and] it should only be identifiable as marketing because the advertiser is identified as the content provider.
Every company can make use of content marketing. We already know John Deere and Michelin were pioneers but hundreds of leading brands such as Kraft, Coca Cola, Colgate and P&G were following close behind.
Like many of you, advertising generally annoys me so I’m a big believer in something that offers some value to the audience; video content marketing does just that. Take the nationwide chain of craft stores in Australia, Riot Art & Craft. Some time ago, we discussed with them the idea of developing branded online entertainment in the form of video content marketing to reach one of the companies core target audiences; young kids and their parents. We knew children nowadays use whatever mobile devices and tablets they can get their hands on to search for entertainment, and parents like finding new, fresh content to keep kids busy, especially if it also adds some educational value. So why not produce this content under the Riot brand?
Working closely with the Riot Art & Craft, we developed a branded, 12 episode series for Youtube, iOS and Android apps as well as DVD. Set in a craft shop, the two characters, Ricky Riot & his best friend Arty Toucan embark on a new project each episode using the brand’s products to create fun and educational art and craft.
The objectives were firstly to engage our primary audience of 4-8 year olds and get buy-in from their parents. We then needed to ensure a strong connection between the show and the Riot Art & Craft brand. Finally and most importantly, the series needed to generate both direct and indirect return on investment at the cash register.
Apps were developed for both Android and iOS, eight thousand DVDs were produced and promoted in store and the episodes were uploaded to a branded YouTube channel and to the Ricky Riot website. We then built a modest YouTube advertising campaign to drive views and to build awareness, using In-Stream, In-Search and In-display ad formats. We had a standard campaign as well as seasonal campaigns for Christmas, school holidays, Easter and Halloween. The engagement was huge and it wasn’t long before we had generated nearly 400,000 views with the average visitor watching 1.5 episodes.
Using video overlays combined with a YouTube Remarketing Display campaign we encouraged the audience to visit the store to purchase their episode specific craft kits. Target groups were setup in Adwords so only those who had watched the episode on making your own crocodile would see the banner on making your own crocodile through the Google Display Network. Using a strong call to action (click to locate your nearest store) we were able to measure potential sales and the conversion was far higher than what was expected. We knew that once we got a customer in store there was also a probably chance they would make additional purchases.
In the mean time while building our audience Riot Art & Craft were busy producing merchandise and craft kits for each episode to be sold in store.
This is only the beginning of the story for Ricky Riot. The second series has already been produced and new episodes are being drip released on YouTube. The new series has a greater focus on YouTube and leveraging online tools such as e-commerce, apps and social media.
Since the launch of Ricky Riot, it has been awarded Best Children’s Show at the Australian Video Producer Awards 2012, sold thousands of craft kits, had many invites from schools for Ricky Riot to become involved in their art program and even a leading cinema chain has asked to screen Ricky Riot episodes before children’s films and combine it with craft kit give-aways!
Our client never expected to see this level of engagement or the value that so far has come out of the series. Through our own experience in video content marketing, we managed to give their audience what they wanted, and in doing so, created greater brand awareness for Riot Art & Craft and driven customers in-store where Ricky Riot has most definitely translated to more sales for the business.