Harnessing the Power of Digital Media – Sean Graham

Sean Graham Head of CreatorUp in India and the UAE

Sean Graham
Head of CreatorUp in India and the UAE

 

“YouTube and other digital platforms have made it possible for people like me who have something to say, or some burning desire to affect change, to impact audiences on a global scale. One of my notable success stories would be when I produced the music video for the song “I’m an Albatraoz” by AronChupa. It was a shoestring production, but it got over 800 million views. That was a huge lesson for me.You get that equation right and the magic just sort of happens. After that I continued playing with different formats and styles before I joined CreatorUp! Now YouTube isn’t just a distribution channel, it’s a client and partner. I still get to make films and videos but I also get to learn from and collaborate with some of the best creators out there. 

The main takeaway for digital content is that equation – the right content, on the right platform, for the right audience, at the right time. Too often I see clients and creators (I’ve been one of them) putting all their time, money, and energy into creating a piece of content that is doomed from the outset. What I mean by that is before setting out to make something we should go back to the grade-school lesson of “Who-What-When-Where-&-Why” – that generally answers pretty clearly the “How.”

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they forget to ask themselves “why they are making a video in the first place?” Too often it’s just for the sake of making a video – “because that’s what we’re supposed to do…” For example, if a company is launching a new product or service, they typically decide that it’s time to make a commercial – because they want to sell. Then they go about hiring an agency, or try to make a video themselves, that highlights all the great things about the product and how people can buy it, and they expect that video to just “go viral.” Very rarely does this ever work out.

Research shows that there are three standard reasons people want to watch a video – it’s inspirational, it’s entertaining, or it’s educational. YouTube even uses this as its basic classification system. Some videos can hit all three, but again, that’s rare and hard to do. What’s better is to approach content creation from the perspective of creating a relationship with your audience – and as with any relationship, regular, consistent, and genuine communication is best rather than one grand gesture.

THE CONTENT FOR THE RIGHT PLATFORM

The real key is to think about who will be consuming my content, or buying my product, and where they go when they might be willing to engage with a brand. All the social platforms have created new consumption patterns and micro-moments in consumer journeys. When I’m on Facebook, I’m there for a reason, Instagram for another, Snapchat for another, and YouTube for another. The content on each platform is different and so are my expectations. All have the potential to inspire, entertain, educate, or sell to me, but it has to be appropriate. Otherwise we tune out or continue to scroll.   

I think that’s the biggest challenge many industries are facing today – people just don’t understand the platforms and they aren’t investing in training their people to get up to speed. Everyone knows digital is important, and they know they don’t understand, but they don’t know how to get better. That’s where we come in. It’s one of the biggest areas of opportunity for companies and creators here in the region. The UAE has become a hub not only for tourists but also for multinational companies, startups, and influencers of all kinds. Getting smart on digital is the best way to grow quickly and efficiently.

ACHIEVING DIGITAL IMPACT

Despite what could be considered an economic slow, digital campaigns can very effectively increase ROI for brands of all sizes. The analytical tools that are inherent within digital platforms blow away any metrics we can get from traditional advertising. There’s just no way to compete when you can track results down to the individual. It allows people to create live strategy and directly communicate with stakeholders on all fronts. The UAE is particularly interesting because there is plenty of room to innovate and experiment. Giants are continuing to pop up literally out of nowhere.

Beyond just advertising, digital platforms are also paving the way for new forms of content and distribution channels for storytellers all around the world. Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon are just a few of the household names that are investing millions and billions of dollars in original content not to mention the myriad other streaming platforms that are beginning to emerge. It’s a whole new avenue for people to create content locally and distribute globally.

If I had to offer simple advice for people who want to start creating digital content it would be

1) understand your brand or identity,
2) understand your audience and their motivations, and
3) start creating content that aims to bring those two worlds together.

If it’s a genuine match then I can almost guarantee you’ll see success. It might be a bit awkward at first, but what relationship isn’t?

 

 

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