GUEST ARTICLE: Five short format content marketing strategies that OTT platforms use to promote their properties

Mumbai: It’s almost the end of 2022, and the sentence I have said almost every day this year is that short-form video content is the key to marketing. At By The Gram (BTG), we work with numerous OTT platforms and are responsible for marketing all of the many great movies/shows. Here are five short-form content marketing strategies we live by:

1.  Keep it short: We say this to everyone. Gone are the days where viewers had the time, patience, and energy to sit through really long pieces of content. While the viewership is increasing, the attention span is decreasing. We have reels and Tik-Tok to thank for that. Keep in mind that the average user decides whether to continue watching or scroll to the next video within the first five to 10 seconds. So you should ensure your video is engaging and short. You have to squeeze as much information and brand awareness into the shortest amount of time as possible. This past year, we analysed the different pieces of content that we produced, ranging from six minutes right down to 30/15 seconds, and found out that length really does matter for videos/content. The very fact that your video is long may explain why it's not doing so well.

2.  Engage, engage, engage: Because your content is usually going to be short, you have to ensure your content is engaging. It has to grab the attention of your target audience, give them the information they need. Ensure you're getting your ROI because creating content is an expensive task, so you need to get the most bang for your buck as a platform. Engaging content for platforms is a little more difficult due to the bulk of content already out there and the numerous titles they are marketing on a daily basis. So when we start conceptualising a campaign for an OTT platform, we ensure it's different from the other titles they are actively marketing at the same time. Sometimes, as an agency, we are working on multiple titles for the platform. In that case, we ensure that we have different creative teams working on the titles to ensure each campaign is unique and engages the audience.

3.  Authenticity is important: Let's face it, there are so many OTT platforms out there today, all competing to be the best and most unique. All of them want their content to trend, and it's so easy to go down this wormhole as a creative agency. So it's imperative, while ideating and strategising, to be authentic to the brand you’re representing. You can't reuse and recycle the same strategies, you can't even do that for the way the content is shot/edited. In my opinion, everything you create has to be in tune with the brand identity; only then will it resonate with the audience.

4.  Behind-the-scenes content: Social media platforms allow you to connect with your audience on a one-on-one basis. For mammoth OTT platforms, it's almost impossible to avoid BTS content for their films and shows. We curate campaigns around the BTS we capture on set. It's an all-access pass to your favourite shows and movies. You don't want to miss the chance for the audience to connect with your characters and take a deep dive into the world that you have created. Give them a chance to be emotionally connected with your cast/crew before your movie even releases. It is also extremely cost-effective, saving you a lot of money on creating specific, costly marketing concepts after shooting your film or website.

5.  User generated content: As a marketer, you may think your main goal is to create content that reaches users, but a true winning moment is when the user engages with your content to the point of using it as a basis to create their own content. You want to create a campaign that’s 360. Plan your content drops in such a way that user generated content can be the last leg of your campaign. I.e., you want those trending songs, you want those parody dialogue videos, and you want those memes to go viral. You want your film or television show to be the talk of the town. Whether you do this by hiring the correct influencers to kick off these trends or not, you want your key cast to promote, promote, promote. All of it has to align with the larger campaign and feel like a cohesive whole.

I’ll leave you with one extra tip as the cherry on top of a great marketing strategy. Whether you're a marketer or an OTT platform, you must invest in quality. The quality of your content matters, even when it is super short. Don’t rush, and don’t skimp on production quality. As an agency, we invest in high-quality equipment, experienced videographers and photographers, and editors who are well-versed in various software programs. As a platform, you need an agency/studio that understands you and has a vested interest in the success of your titles. That is not a place you want to cut costs. If this year has taught us anything, it is that content is more important than ever before.

The author of this article is By The Gram (BTG) co-founder Eman Batliwalla.

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