4 Video Lessons for Content Marketers from MTV’s VMAs

September 7, 2017

By 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will be people consuming videos, according to networking giant Cisco. If you want to increase brand visibility and engagement (and who doesn’t?), video presents a clear opportunity for your content strategy. Plus, video has the potential to improve brand recall and boost your website’s SEO.

If, like most marketers, you’re wondering how to kickstart killer video content for your brand, the winning videos for MTV’s 2017 Video Music Awards offer plenty of ideas. And even though MTV stopped playing music videos on the air nearly a decade ago, music videos still account for over 21.4 billion views a month on Vevo. There’s a reason why audiences watch them over and over again.

While it might not be “on brand” to make your own music video (or maybe it is), there are still valuable storytelling lessons you can learn from them. To help you create more compelling video content, here are four lessons from some of this year’s biggest VMA award winners.

1. Stand Out with Juxtaposition - HUMBLE. by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s latest hit, “HUMBLE.”, is an ode to authenticity and commands others to be humble and honest. That message alone is valuable to marketers as brands need to be authentic to be believed. To drive home the importance of authenticity, music video director Dave Meyers used several key frames in the video to juxtapose the fake against the real. Their powerful contrast left no doubt in the audience’s mind that being honest and genuine is paramount.

In your own content, juxtaposition has a lot of possibilities. Imagine if you could create a video for your brand that contrasted life with your solution next to life without it? Creating contrast is something we often aspire to do as content marketers, but in visual form, juxtaposition allows you to draw powerful side-by-side comparisons.

2. Disruption Is Memorable - Heavydirtysoul By Twenty One Pilots

For big summer blockbusters a la Michael Bay, it’s normal to have big explosions, things set on fire, and shadowy figures. And while fire may be a common accessory for rock bands, Twenty One Pilots used an explosive angle to deliver a memorable music video for their song “Heavydirtysoul.” The strange, thought-provoking video behind “Heavydirtysoul” drew many questions and theories from Twenty One Pilots fans as they raced to figure out the meaning.

While the fire and explosives helped Twenty One Pilots take home the VMA for Best Rock Video, the takeaway for content marketers is thankfully more flame retardant: Audiences are more likely to remember your content if it’s disruptive and thought-provoking. This means inciting questions from your audience (or posing your own), and leaving them with something to ponder.

3. Inspire Action among Real People - Scars to Your Beautiful By Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara’s music video for her self-love anthem, “Scars to Your Beautiful,” was honored for Best Fight Against the System Video along with the other nominees. Alessia’s video is so captivating because it takes real stories from real people and inserts them into her song as little vignettes. Each one leaves the audience inspired to do exactly what the song wants: love yourself.

“Scars to Your Beautiful” is a great reminder that stories and quotes from actual people are powerful motivators. After all, there’s a reason 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. To inspire sales, demo requests, and more, try creating video content around your customers and their real-life stories, emphasis on the real. 

4. Be Relatable - Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran

Nostalgia instantly resonates with audiences. But why is that? We would argue that it’s relatability. The feeling of nostalgia is something that we all share because we can all look back fondly to certain points of our past. It’s for these reasons that Ed Sheeran’s music video for “Castle on the Hill” resonates with audiences and is emotional to watch.

For your content to resonate with audiences, it needs to be relatable. Your audience needs to be able to see themselves in the story you weave and the emotions you showcase. To do this, try creating a video with your customer as the main character. Rather than simply showcasing the customer experience, ask yourself how viewers should feel during each stage in the video. What emotions do you want to spring forth? We remember certain moments in our past because they made us feel a certain way. Make your audience feel, and you’ll make your brand more memorable.

Video is becoming a bigger part of the content mix for marketers, with 73% planning to increase their usage of video in 2017, according to Social Media Examiner. And now, marketers can also use native video to engage and nurture their audiences on LinkedIn.

For more ways to visually enhance your content marketing strategy, stay tuned to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog

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