Original digital: Succeeding with exclusive content on the open Web

February 28, 2013

Netflix debuted exclusive episodes of  “House of Cards,” a political drama starring Kevin Spacey, in February. This is the online video service’s second original programming offering, designed to compete more aggressively with cable networks like HBO.

Creating compelling content that attracts and nurtures large audiences isn’t anything new within brand journalism and content marketing spheres, but the episodic production value of television is still unfamiliar to most practitioners. PR pros should pay attention to the communicators already channeling their broadcast instincts.

Critical Mention, a media intelligence platform provider for analyzing broadcast, online and social media coverage, began producing its daily “Critical Minute” video series last December. Host Nina Ramadan discusses business communication trends and strategies. Episodes stay true to the series’ one-minute promise and cover everything from the World Economic Forum, to a Super Bowl chicken wing shortage, to brand journalism best practices.

Ramadan says Critical Mention has published thought leadership blog posts and hosted webinars for years and, being a video-centric business, decided that 2013 would be the year that it leads with video.

“Our goal is to inform while connecting with professionals and customers,” she explains.  “We hope to demonstrate it doesn’t take a big budget, extra staff or lots of  lead time to create a steady stream of quality videos.”

The series is helping Critical Mention build an audience and draw more attention to its monitoring services. “Critical Minute” also generated a speaking opportunity for the company’s director of digital marketing and syndication.

Hanging out, live

There are plenty of free tools to support online video, whatever your approach.

Our Sage North America social media team used Google+ Hangouts On Air for a fresh take on webinars. We hired Forbes blogger Gene Marks to present “How the Fiscal Cliff Will Affect Your Profits” for our audience of small and midsize businesses.

The program addressed a topic of concern to our customers, aired live to the public and was automatically archived on the Sage YouTube channel for replay. It continues contributing to the channel’s 152,000 views and counting, and Marks also documented his experience in Forbes.

Greg Tirico, Sage North America senior social media manager, finds the Hangout’s mobile viewership most encouraging.

“Thirteen percent of views have come from mobile devices.  We know people watch one-minute videos on their phones, but hour-long events? Webinars don’t have to be webinars anymore,” he said. “With YouTube as our broadcast and archive mechanism, we can distribute our content to people who would have never been on the event’s registration list.”

Owning your story

Of course, we can apply exclusive or series-based concepts to mediums other than video as well. Many of us manage blogs and social networks, and incorporating a producer’s or publisher’s perspective offers an opportunity to reenergize the conversation on these platforms.

Last year, Coke redesigned its website as an online magazine called “Coca-Cola Journey,” emphasizing subjects including health, entertainment and sports along with longer cover stories. PR and marketing employees produce content for what is potentially a content game changer. The site attracts 1.2 million monthly visitors.

Regardless of your goal, Ramadan’s advice for practitioners strikes the right tone.

“You are in a great position to tell your own story, and owned media is becoming more and more respected,” she says. “Just get out there and do it.”

Ryan Zuk, APR

Ryan Zuk, APR, is a media and analyst relations professional, Phoenix PRSA Chapter member and Sage North America representative. Zuk can be reached @ryanzuk on Twitter. He also blogs at criticalmasspr.com.

Email: ryanzuk at gmail dot com


Dave Armon says:

Ryan - It's gratifying to be grouped with Coca-Cola, Netflix and Sage North America as effective publishers of original digital content. Thanks for noticing our efforts and for calling out Nina and the Critical Minute video series. -- Dave

March 5, 2013

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