Is video the new content mecca?

“Content is king” is probably the oldest and truest adage in the world of media. Even so, when we think content, many of us still think whitepapers, newsletters and blogs – admittedly, I’m kind of old school! But today, even for the absolute digital virgin, video is fast becoming a primary form of content. From the mother-in-law sharing festive wishes, the mommy sending cute baby videos or the crazy cat lady sharing the latest adventures of Maru! What all of these have in common are that they are shareable and relatable.

Some of the most interesting use cases for video content comes from even more interesting quarters.

Take for instance what WhatsApp has done to video sharing. The Better India, a platform that is committed to telling the smaller yet positive stories from around India  sends out a WhatsApp snapshot every day, and you can get into the broadcast list by sharing your number.

Then there are the larger brands and corporates that do a great job of creating their own video content.

Conversations with Hari – Owned by HolidayIQ this is a series of interviews conducted by its CEO, Hari Nair. Hari meets with prominent travel writers and interesting people whom he has engaging conversations with. While this capsule began last year, the guest profile has become more interesting already – the latest is a 10 minute conversation with William Dalrymple. This went out on March 30 and has racked up 301K views + 537 shares + 90 comments + 1.9K likes.

While the property doesn’t see too much traction just yet, I think it’s a great way to create original content without plugging the brand too obviously. As it picks up steam I believe there is great potential in creating a separate brand for “Conversations with Hari” on social media platforms as a way to amplify it.

Another great example of creating compelling video content is HCL and its decade and a half CSR work promoting Indian classical art forms – HCL Concerts. Beyond organizing concerts and posting videos of them, they’ve started to put together “Candid Conversations” which are short videos asking artistes everyday irreverent questions like “do you like chapathi or paratha” and such. A nice window into a classical musician’s life, who are generally not known to share these insights. The Candid Conversation with Shubha Mudgal was a runaway success in I’m sure in many cases, an eye-opener as to how well-spoken and graceful she is as a person.

But big brands come with big budgets too, which helps, but what of the smaller niche creators? For every content creator that aligns with multi-channel networks such as Culture Machine and the like, there are probably thousands of independents. Take Tushar Burman for instance. A journalist by profession, his chosen passion is automobiles and a little while ago, he went from writing behind a computer screen to creating videos in front of a camera. His unique brand of humour is what has helped him gather an army of loyal fans that refer to him as The Professor and proudly sport #TBArmy tees that he supplies for free! What will be interesting to see however, is how people like Tushar, monetize their platforms.

So from the brands to the niche, from WhatsApp shares to Facebook Lives – video is really the new killer content. Write to us in the comments with YOUR interesting video finds!

Written and curated by Zibi Jamal with inputs from Shahnaz Jain – a couple of old fogies at Text100 that find all things newfangled, fascinating!

 

5 fun things to explore on the interwebs today!

Hello! Today, I’m curating some of my favourite things from the internet/ app world! Utilities, educational resources… whatever I’ve found, fancied and believe is worth a share!

Google Primer

If you’re an aspiring digital marketer but you haven’t a clue, Google Primer would be a great place to start. Offering several lessons across multiple categories such as advertising, content, measurement and strategy. The interface is super easy to use and allows you to flip through lesson cards, ending every lesson with a quick quiz or mini practice session. Once a lesson is completed, the app automatically marks it as such so you don’t have to keep track.

Google Primer

AutoDraw

Another piece of art (quite literally) from the house of Google (I promise they pay me no royalties for this plugging – they’re just THAT good). AutoDraw makes even the worst doodler into something of an artist. You can draw the most unlikely rendition of a cat and Google will use machine learning to make it into something that actually resembles one!

AutoDraw

Creative Criminals

While we’re on the subject of art, Creative Criminals is an incredible little aggregation of the best creative ideas from across the world. The blog is run by three friends who studied marketing together in Belgium and they curate a fantastic selection of creative advertisements collected from around the world. A great source of inspiration for those struggling with writer’s or visualiser’s block!

 

Free Stock Images

What’s a nice curation without calling out another nice curation? Well known marketer Jeff Bullas’ blog has put together this incredible list of sites that offer free, high quality stock images. Now instead of running google image searches for free clipart and photos, you can browse through a pretty wide selection that seem to have something for everything!

What the f*** is my social media strategy

You know how you’re always looking for that EXACT cool sounding sentence to define your PR/ social media strategy? Or then you’re trying to write up a great media statement but end up with something United-esque. Somehow, you end up with a meaningless string of words that convey nothing but confusion. Yes, THAT. This site gives you SO MANY of those, you won’t have to look much further. On a serious note, its true aim is to at call out all the lame b***s**** marketers/ brands put out by way of mission statements and what not. A nice place to visit when you feel like you’re headed down that hellish path of meaninglessness… it will tell you what NOT to write!

If you’ve tried any of these and have something to say about them, tell me in the comments!

You know you’re in PR when…

…yes yes, I know what you’re expecting… the sleepless nights, the living by your Crackberry, the client slavery etc etc. I’ve had some of those myself in the last 10 years at Text 100 (my first and only real job!). But somehow, the things that stayed with me are the more unusual ones… they’re the things that become little comic strips in my head!

So here is my list of…. wait for it… YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN PR WHEN

1.       You’ve made toilet signage for an event: I’ve done this… and subsequently been yelled at by the corporate communications head about why the font size wasn’t big enough or the arrow was pointing in the wrong direction. My sense of direction was always pretty lousy but I didn’t think I’d need it to be able to get ahead in PR. Clearly, I did! My manager at the time momentously stated at that event, “you know, we’re a part of making history”(we were launching one of India’s largest cellular brands). Somehow when you’re busy doing toilet direction signs, it doesn’t feel that momentous!

2.       You’ve been a messenger/ delivery girl/ boy: This has so many facets to it, it isn’t even funny! You’ve probably delivered review products yourself and called it a media round to not make it seem like you were a glorified courier. You’ve probably gone to various media houses on foot delivering hard copies of invites and registration sheets before a major industry event only to be told that the journalist was busy and to leave it at the reception. Hell, you’ve probably sat with the office boy filling out courier counterfoils to mass mail those same hard copy invites!

Anyone else done this? No? Only me then…!

3.       You’ve checked out several venues for a single event: This seems relatively straightforward and we do it today too… but I think it’s only in very few cases when you do a venue recce for a large event only to make sure that there was a secret exit for the CEO who didn’t want to be questioned about his company’s impending sell off!

4.       You’ve been a manual labourer at some point:  At the same ‘historic’ event I spoke of in point 1, I was also part time manual labourer or ‘hamaal’. We were trudging across a massive campus throughout the day carting media, press kits and boxes of sundry press conference paraphernalia from the main hall to media centre. I’ve had one such box collapse in my hands with its contents strewn for about a 3ft radius around me. Luckily my damsel in distress act paid off when an executive in a suit passed by and asked some construction workers to give me a hand. My male colleague was not that lucky when he managed to bust the next carton!

5.       You’ve fixed a spokesperson’s tie before an interview: Ok, so I admit haven’t personally done this but I know colleagues who have! But I have run around to find him a bottle of water, ordered his coffee or then run behind him at an event, press kits and sundry documents in hand.

6.       You’ve gone in for a high profile interview relatively clueless about more things than one: I once did this interview with the India CEO of a major client with a Financial Times journalist. It was at a Chinese restaurant in one of the city’s five star hotels and they ordered appetizers that both gentlemen went on to gingerly eat with chopsticks. I had no idea (and still don’t) how to eat with chopsticks but was faced with the dilemma of looking foolish if I picked up a fork! I inconspicuously messaged my manager at the time telling her how stupid I felt… her reply: “better to look stupid with a fork than look stupid with food all over your clothes”. This should have been the least of my problems given that the men were discussing world economics that I didn’t have a clue about and had no idea what I would put in the debrief document!

I’ve you’ve managed to read through this post and you’ve been around the block a few times, then I bet you’re nodding your head knowingly. Possibly even chuckling quietly at the stranger things you’ve done. But if you’re a newbie, a lot of this might seem alien to you. But the important thing here is that no job was or is ever too small when it was crunch time and I don’t think I’d be the PR person that I am today if I hadn’t done all this myself! To this day, I’m awkward about letting my driver pick up my bags but you should know that there will be times when you’re picking up someone else’s proverbial bags. While it may seem menial at the time, and forgive the cliché, these things really do build character.

So if you’re an account coordinator in the Mumbai office and have been interviewed by me, I probably tried to scare you at some point about the drudgery your life will be initially. If you made it through that first year, then I’d say you made it. Period. If you quit because you hated making media lists or following up on press releases you had no clue about, then you missed all the fun stuff that was yet to come.

Drop me a comment if you have a strange story to share, can relate to this post or generally have questions about why I did what I did, happily.

The author is Jain… Shahnaz K. Jain! Licensed to thrill @ Text 100 (Mumbai).