The Content Marketer’s New Best Friend:
While it’s no surprise that social media, website articles and blogs are among the most favored distribution channels content marketers use, the recent appearance of online presentations near the top of that list caught many by surprise.
However, that’s exactly what the “B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends in North America” report revealed when it was released late last year. Right there between white papers and webbinar presentations, online presentations were a tactic employed by 63 percent of the more than 1,200 content marketers surveyed. Well ahead, it should be noted, of more widely known methods like research reports (44 percent), e-Books (34 percent), and pod-casts (26 percent). If the popularity of online presentations surprises you as well, it may be worth your while to spend a few moments learning more about what that term actually means these days, and the boost this tactic could provide for your content marketing efforts. With many marketers pressed for time, challenged to produce enough material and working within tight budgets, a fresh approach may be just what’s needed. Done properly, online presentations address all of these concerns while providing exactly the kind of content audiences crave.
Ask five people what an online presentation is and you’ll likely get five different answers. More than almost any other channel content marketers use, online presentations lack a standard definition. To remedy that, think of online presentations as a type of content that brings the traditional business presentation (typically Microsoft Power Point) to an anytime, anywhere environment online. This content can take a number of forms. In many online presentations, slides are just the start. Marketers can add audio or video, Web pages, links, documents, transcripts and social media feeds into a single interactive presentation experience. In fact, if you refer back to the B2B content marketing report, the most advanced online presentations bring together many of the most popular tactics cited by the survey (articles, videos, webinars and web casts, even important elements of in-person events) in one package. The three types of online presentations in wide use today are: 1 Online slide decks. The most common but least sophisticated medium, online slide decks, such as those found on Slide Share, are simply Power Point presentations uploaded to a website and placed in a viewer – think “You Tube for presentation decks”. 2 Narrated audio presentations. Put simply, these are audio narrations synced with presentation slides. They’re a step up from online slide decks and much more audience-friendly, which is borne out by the fact that they are the principal format for most webinars. 3 Interactive video presentations. With all of the presenter’s communication skills on display, these are online presentations at their highest level. They’re more visually interesting and engaging, and convey authority, expertise and personal connection in a way the first two methods can’t. While each of these presentation styles has its strengths and benefits, the rich media experience that interactive video presentations provide is unparalleled and it’s this medium that offers content marketers the most creative possibilities.
Let’s return to three of the biggest challenges content marketers face each and every day: time, budget and content creation. As it turns out, finding the raw materials for online marketing presentations is easier than you think. It’s been estimated that 30 million Power-Point presentations are given somewhere in the world each day. You've probably put one together yourself. If not, you certainly work with many others who have. In large organizations, hundreds of new presentations are written and delivered daily. In smaller businesses the number is fewer, but still considerable. These presentations share new ideas, propose strategies, brief sales teams, educate customers, train employees and intrigue sales prospects. Most are confidential or not suited to a wider audience – but what about those that are intended for public eyes? Many of these presentations are on exactly the kinds of topics that would make great marketing content for your customers and prospects. Every time an executive speaks at a conference, a tech gives a chalk talk to a user group or a product manager briefs customers, it is potential content for an on-line presentation. Power-point or a similar platform is usually the preferred medium for these presentations. From there, it’s a small step to put that content to work on the Internet. The best marketers are always alert to the presentations being given around them. In fact, fresh marketing content can be created simply by supplementing that information with the enhanced capabilities online presentations now provide.
The most basic approach to turning presentations into marketing content is the PDF format. While this creates a user-friendly file viewable on almost any desktop or mobile device, PDF presentations are lifeless, and lack the context and persuasive energy that a good storyteller provides. A variation of this approach is to use Slide Share, which provides an easy way to upload presentations so they’re discoverable by an audience of 60 million visitors per month. Once again though, Slide Share presentations suffer from lack of narrative and color that a presenter can bring. If you’re interested in moving beyond slides to provide that additional context, the next step is to add audio and even video tracks to the presentation. The most sophisticated tools for doing this come from Knowledge Vision, which has consistently pushed the state of the art in multimedia online presentations. Knowledge Vision’s creation tools range from the simple to the sublime: • Knovio offers free and inexpensive ways to narrate multimedia presentations using a web cam or the microphone on your laptop or tablet computer. • KV Studio is a power tool for professional content creators, and includes the ability to use uploaded video, add search able transcripts and connect the presentations to CRM and marketing automation systems.