Brands are starting to experiment with different forms and media when it comes to their content marketing strategy. One that is certainly becoming popular is the documentary. Unlike traditional ads, short films that match the brand ideals of a company can resonate strongly with potential customers without actually selling to them directly.

Online Content Marketing

Video online is a powerful marketing tool and more of us are watching this type of content than ever before. It’s more likely to be watched all the way through compared to the written word and it’s also highly likely to be shared, if you get the approach right. Part of the increased value of video as a marketing tool has undoubtedly come about because of mobile devices such as smartphones. There’s also the better connectivity – we can watch content while we’re on the move, at home, at a friend’s house, on holiday, even on the street or on the train.

Companies like Stella Artois and Google are spending a lot of money in creating short documentaries that are being shared thousands, if not millions of times online. They’re putting a lot of resources into it as a marketing strategy, employing well-known directors and actors to portray stories that create an emotional, engaging impact with online customers. Of course, that involves huge budgets for some of the top corporations.

For your Business

But what does it mean for your small to medium size business? If you have a good idea and want to show it through a documentary lens, the good news is that this medium is a lot more accessible than it used to be. Create great content and it not only gets shared a lot but it builds your brand reputation and makes you more visible.

One issue that many businesses worry about when it comes to documentary content is that the brand is almost entirely taken out of the equation. It’s actually about delivering quality storylines rather than trying to push brand recognition or our logo into the forefront of everything. It certainly isn’t about selling a product. The truth is that consumers are more savvy about marketing and getting them to engage with this kind of content is becoming increasingly difficult.

The Documentary Approach

The intention of what you are trying to achieve with the documentary approach matters so you need to find a subject area that works not just for you but for your customers. That may be raising awareness about a local group or event that helps promote a sense of community. It might be larger and broader such as developing green practices or changing the world in some way.

At its heart, however, the documentary needs to reflect your values and goals but not in an overt way. It’s advertising by association and not plugging a product but it has real value to ordinary consumers who are looking for something meaningful.

Key to it’s success as a content marketing strategy is having a story that you believe in. In fact the story itself, for a short while, becomes your brand. And if you can invest the consumer entirely in your story, many marketing experts think it’s a route worth travelling and leads to better brand recognition and engagement.