What can we learn from a 130-year old magazine? Apparently, A LOT.

More than ever, content generation that retrieves exposure for your business is reliant on new storytelling technologies, including Facebook Live Streaming and Virtual Reality (VR).

At the 2017 NewsCred ThinkContent Summit, Jill Cress, National Geographic’s Chief Marketing Officer offered some valuable content creating advice. “Don’t just use video to educate, use it to astound your audience.”

Though the magazine has 130 years of exploration and content generation experience, they never stop their conversation about what is relevant to their audience. Today, National Geographic is the most followed brand on social media. They reach 760M people worldwide with their content and have pushed the boundaries of technology since the beginning, for example, when there was talk of adding photos to the journalistic publication in the 30s, there was much push back, controversy and resignation of some top executives that followed. Can you imagine National Geographic mag without photos?!

Here is how the magazine recently used 360-degree Facebook Live video.

We may not all achieve the status of National Geographic in creating fascinating content—let’s face it, they have an advantage in covering universally interesting material— but your business’ audience and the National Geographic audience do have something in common —they are both curious. Here are some ways to invite your audience to your round table and let the authentic voice of your company speak through words, videos and photos.

When using new media, such as 360-degree Facebook Live video or photo, Cress’ advice in pursuing the right content includes:

  1. Always strive for relevance: It may be hard to beat the story of a dinosaur tail preserved in amber, but every story can be made relevant to its target audience. “It’s all about being able to connect with audiences in authentic ways,” says Cress. What is your data, and how can you make it relevant and useful to your audience?
  2. Let your mission drive you: How can the information you share help your clients, your audience, know something more about themselves?
  3. Explore the world from new angles: What does your work look like when you see it from a different angle, for example, from a drone? Slow-motion video? Time-lapse video?
  4. Involve your audience: Find out what matters to your audience and capture it in a way that allows them to interact with it. National Geographic involves their audience with Wild Safari Live, a two-hour, daily live filming of safari guides and their adventures in Africa.
  5. Venture into new territories: Test your boundaries. Just because wealth management or fixing cars or tailoring suits is your expertise, doesn’t mean you can’t become a film maker or an innovator.

HSBC is another business in pursuit of sharing content in a different way with the world. As little as six years ago, printed brochures and fact sheets were how HSBC was marketing themselves. Today, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are part of their strategy. They are digital first, using social media, and specifically LinkIn’s Elevate tool so their staff can post pre-curated content for their individual clients to access. “We have seen engagement rates increase threefold,” says Andrea de Vincentiis, Global Head of Integrated Marketing Communications, Commercial Banking.

HSBC developed an interactive experience on the Gatwick Airport sky bridge that involves an experiential walk along a section of the China’s Yangze River. They also created a three-minute interactive virtual reality film around the Belt and Road initiative in China.

But you don’t need HSBC’s marketing budget to make a difference. Facebook’s 360-degree Live video, which is easy to share with your followers, is a great option. In 2016, The Guardian published a top 20 list of video making apps on the market today, some of which include:

iMovie (iOS)
Vine (Android/iOS)
FxGuru: Movie FX Director (Android/iOS)
PowerDirector Mobile (Android)
Splash (iOS)

What are you passionate about? What resonates with your community? Whether you are a manufacturer sharing the marvel of a new prototype, or a demolition company identifying second life cycles for materials destined for the landfill, open up to what is extraordinary about your business. And don’t doubt how interesting and useful your content can be to your fans or audience if it is well executed.




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