You have probably seen the spooky coffee shop prank designed to promote the new Carrie remake. The video obtained over 25 million likes in just a couple of days. While the prank itself scared most patrons, the video was well-received and successfully hyped up the blockbuster movie. The viral video even received coverage on headline news stations throughout the country, increasing its reach and audience to non-social-media-savvy audiences.
Producing content like that may seem unreal for marketing professionals who have less entertaining messages and freakishly-low budgets. Perhaps it is, but you don’t need millions of viewers; you just need to reach beyond your existing contacts to grab hold of others within your particular target market.
Despite its ghoulish resources, the prank certainly offers a few treats that you could incorporate into your marketing strategy, regardless of your budget and in-house talent. You need not be afraid to be shockingly creative, take hair-raising risks and showcase an alarming amount of personality. Providing useful, informative content in an imaginative form is the best way to captivate new audiences and hold prospects spellbound.
If you want to scare up some new business, take these three cues from the Carrie promotion:
1. If you want to maximize your reach, use a hook with a seasonal tie-in
Halloween serves as the obvious hook right now, but there are also year-end holidays coming up. Each season has its own devilishly delightful differentiators. Use them to your advantage. The goal with your content is to create a bond with your email marketing subscribers and social media followers. Seasonal and holiday-themed content helps forge that bond automatically, as it is instantly relatable.
For example, estate planning can be terrifying to some people. Make your content relatable by directly addressing that fear. Consider playing it up in a frightfully funny or direct way so that you not only demonstrate your awareness of the fear, but simultaneously minimize the most fearsome aspects of estate planning by heading them off one at a time. Create a series of short videos that cast the top five estate planning fears aside in a clever, inspired way.
Videos are the most consumed media online. Reach your email subscribers and online followers with videos, and hook them with themed, quality content so good that it will give them goose bumps.
2. Expect the unexpected and capture it on video
You never really know what is going to happen, so be sure to have the camera rolling even when you are rehearsing. Outtakes might end up being the best, most engaging content you capture. Knowing that you don’t have a blockbuster budget or A-list actors, your video project’s ultimate success could end up being attributed to its utter unsuccessfulness. Photos and videos showcasing mistakes (#fails), especially frightfully funny ones, are among the most popular.
Perhaps your goal is to produce a series of 2-minute videos about common estate planning mistakes, rather than the issues that give people the willies as discussed above. You have a story to tell. You have a script. You have a staff member ready to act the part. You have a plan. But the rehearsals aren’t going well – the delivery is stiff, the message bromidic, the scenery uninspired.
Take the rough cuts and adapt them to become truly horrific – desaturate the video, changing it from full color to black and white. Exaggerate the stiffness by having the actor dress in zombie attire. Emphasize the prosaic nature of the content to such an extent that it becomes campy and comedic. Highlight and embellish the elements that make it macabre to transform it from a likely failure into a vehicle that drives a killing in raised awareness and new business.
3. Give your video experiments the Frankenstein treatment
Experimentation and planning are the keys to marketing success. Like most attorneys, you’re probably not highly experienced in the video arts. Don’t let that hinder you. Try something new. Test it. See what kind of response you receive. If it is successful, repeat it. If it doesn’t elicit the reaction you had hoped for, give it the Frankenstein treatment to bring it back to life in a new way and try again.
Consider changing the voice of your content from “third-party prosaic” to “first-person breathtaking”. Tell your story from a unique perspective (continuing the examples above, consider giving your estate planning tips from “beyond the grave” – just remember to be respectful so that you don’t accidentally alienate your audience, but rather grab their attention and demonstrate your understanding of their concerns). Put a twist on the ordinary (such as employing seasonal or holiday-inspired themes).
Whether you’re creating a short video or not, plan out your attack. It’s a no-brainer that videos require advance planning, even if the objective is to make the video appear spontaneous or candid, but even if you’re writing a series of blog posts, email newsletter articles or social media posts, formulize your plan. Employ an editorial calendar to map out your strategy. Get your team on board and brainstorm specific topics to be included in your series. Don’t put yourself in the position to lose your head when the content is due.
The end is nigh: seeing is believing
Videos, whether given a cinematic makeover or not, remain the most preferred media online. If your content is not in video format, it has a ghost of a chance of being seen by more bodies. Give your email and online audiences a real treat with quixotic marketing videos. The more demiurgic your video content, the more reach and visibility it will have. The more people you reach with your marketing, the more awareness you raise. The more awareness you raise, the more leads you can cultivate.
If your goal is to grow your business, inventive video marketing will help you manifest hot prospects from cold strangers.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for BizActions | PDI Global Marketing Solutions, a division of Thomson Reuters. She provides strategic planning and oversight for our online marketing and email marketing initiatives. Becca also works with clients, developing comprehensive marketing and lead generation programs for professional service providers, including attorneys, accountants, banks and credit unions, human resource companies and others, through her role at BizActions | PDI Global, Thomson Reuters. She is a prolific writer when she has time. Read more of Becca’s blog posts here.
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American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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