Video: Content (Alone) Has No Value

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt, CEO of Truly, has over 20 years experience in market research and strategy on both client and agency side. She wrote one of the first books on how the social web is changing business, was named one of 2013's Entrepreneurial Women to Watch by Entrepreneur Magazine and one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in Fast Company. She has built an engaged and enthusiastic business audience online of over 345,000 followers, including a significant number of thought leaders. Tara combines a data-centric with a human-centric approach to building an audience, leaning heavily on insights into consumer patterns and behaviors while keeping an eye on online trends and changing expectations.

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Here’s the scenario (details and names changed): I was sitting in a meeting with a client a while back, showing them a series of popular Viners (it was a while back!) and YouTubers who their audience absolutely adored and, one-by-one, they were rejecting everything I was saying.

“Their numbers have to be gamed. This content is poor quality,” the client remarked, then asked me to look at a filmmaker (on Vimeo, which should have been my first hint) that they wanted to work with on a video.

I watched the video. It was definitely beautiful. Lots of production hours went into it and they obviously spent quite a lot of money and time to make it. There was drone footage, special slow-motion footage that could only be created by the Phantom, and the editing was painstakingly done to the beat of the custom music. But after 30 seconds, I lost attention. It felt like a vanity project.

Obviously, they hit their target market, though: corporate communications. The client was convinced that they should spend 10x the budget to hire these guys for 5 videos rather than invest in creating their own simple and sustainable series.

They hired this crew and produced the videos. Nobody cared. Then they proclaimed that content didn’t work for their needs.

It’s not about the content

We’re still clinging onto the “rules” of the TV-Industrial era, where distribution was largely limited and brands controlled their presence. I don’t think the audience was incredibly crazy about that era, either, but the choices were limited, so they watched the ads and programs they were dealt. But distribution is not only unlimited, but it’s been democratized. This gives the audience a plethora of choice where they will direct their attention. And interruptions to their viewing pleasure are more and more annoying. Oh…and brand? Well, it matters, but in a very different way.

Content in and of itself is completely worthless. Don’t fool yourself, quality is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder rarely cares about drones or 4K cameras, they care about what your content is giving them.

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