I recently sat down with online and blogging expert Gini Dietrich from Arment Dietrich to talk about some different types of content people may not have thought of yet. Everyone is mainly familiar with written blogs (not all that archaic as recently as 7-8 years ago this was not a common practice) and of course videos… But what else is out there?
Gini says her big thing is Virtual Reality content – it’s not accessible to everyone yet, but she heard Shel Israel and Robert Scoble talking about it last year and remembered thinking “Oh My Gosh, another thing we need to learn about, and how are going to do this, and now video has 360 degrees etc….” It just blew her mind and it was hard to wrap her head around a bit, but what changed her mind is Vision sent her a Google Cardboard reader (looks like the old view finder thing we used to stick cards into to view different images as kids). This is what it looks like but it’s a cardboard piece you put together that you put your phone inside. You then just download the Google Cardboard APP and put your phone inside and it’s ready to go. You then have an interactive experience such as walking on the bottom of the ocean and you look up and see a shark, look down and see seaweed and look left and see dory and Nemo …. So you kinda have this 360 feel of what is around you. It’s really awesome but Gini did mention that the technology is not quite ready, as you can still get a little car sick.
I asked Gini if this is the only way to use this technology or if it can somehow be incorporated on a desktop. She said right now you do have to have a view finder and there are some 360 views on your desktop but it’s not the same feel.
How Can Virtual Reality Be Used?
From an application level, I asked Gini how this can be used right now. She mentioned that marketers and businesses are still trying to figure this out but did offer up a couple of ideas. First off, say you are at a trade show and give people an experience they would not necessarily get. For example, she has a client that makes oxidizers that is not a sexy business, but people who are in the business, are really intrigued by how oxidizers are put together (about the size of 3 football fields & come in with 7-8 semis and then they put it all together so it’s larger enough where people can walk thru it). So that audience, being able to walk thru it, and show how this works and how this connects and how this sucks this out etc…, it’s not sexy but it gives people a way to see something they would not necessarily ever get to see. You can do this from an un-sexy B2B perspective or a very sexy consumer way.
I asked Gini what she thought about how a sales team can us this for bigger ticket items and she loved these ideas and mentioned how a sales team can send a google cardboard to their top prospects (you can buy these for $20). So if you buy these for your top 20-50 prospects, you can brand these, and then send as a gift and you just give them instructions (download the app, put your phone up, and check it out etc…). Of course, this will be a tactic for companies that are selling something that makes it worth this investment but it could have you stand out from the crowd and bring a big return on your investment if done right.
How Do You Get Started?
You either need to buy a 360 camera or hire an outsourced developer who will build something for you. And you will need a developer involved because they will need to build the back-end. You’ll then need to purchase the Google cardboards for your views/prospects or buy an Oculus Rift if you want a professional viewer. It’s expensive but would be good for a trade-show. And then just write out the steps so people know how to use and off you go!
So after discussing the shiny new VR content we also talked about some other ideas to consider. And finding ways to re-purpose your content was at the top of Gini’s list. And she said she’s not talking about taking a series of blog posts and turning them into and e-book, although this for sure should happen. But what she is talking about is using media outlets and blogs to extend and amplify what you are doing. For example, one big focus for her is to write blog posts on measuring your PR efforts since there are lots of PR companies who do not measure this success. Over time, she’s written a series of blog posts on this topic and now she goes to other forums and writes about this and links back to her blog posts which help a lot with traffic.
The takeaway is to take your blog posts and slice them up and write about specific parts and put these up all over the place. Your new ideas have already happened, just take bits and sound bites and turn these into smaller videos and amplify them. She also mentioned that Facebook loves the 30-second videos and you can’t ignore what Facebook likes. And breaking these posts up also will possible result as potential solutions for coming up with other blog topics and ideas.
Offer Content Based on Audience
She has also been testing Zoom.us on her podcast “Inside PR” which records high-quality video and audio separately. All she has been doing is taking the audio track and been embedding them onto the blog and people are eating it up since so many people are visual or audio learners. Again, the takeaway is to offer your content in the various methods since some people like to read, some people like to watch and some like to listen.
Gini loves interactive content but admits to not doing a ton of it just yet. But she is testing some things out such as creating a game during her Spin Sucks Inquisition. In the middle of this blab she breaks into the “The Five-Second Rule” that Ellen Degeneres does which is name 3 things in 5 seconds like “name 3 love songs in 5 seconds” and people seem to like it. Another idea we talked about is creating really helpful and cool interactive calculators. For her it would be creating something to measure companies PR efforts. Another example of this would be a perfect bound spine width calculator where graphic designers can plug in the paper type and page count to help with obtaining the correct spine width of a magazine. She does point out that you will need a good developer to create these types of content but they are super powerful.
A bigger idea Gini mentioned for companies are interactive apps. She’s a big cyclist but cant’ ride outside in Chicago for most of the year, so she discovered this Pelton app she started to use with her winter training. She is fascinated with how people are interacting with this app. This studio in NYC lives streams their spin classes and also brings in pro cyclists to do training. They also created a contest with their 1000s of users, to see how is doing the most miles etc… So if you can afford to go this big, go for it, just make sure you think through the audience/user engagement since this is what really makes this so special.
To close, Gini asked me one more question un-related to our podcast but important to her and I, “'Making a Murderer', guilty or not?". I said without a doubt NOT guilty and to my disbelief, Gini said TOTALLY guilty. We disagreed and although as much as I love everything about Gini and agree with most everything she says, I do see a potential crack in our relationship (ツ).
Gini is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro, and co-author of Marketing In the Round.
Gini is the author of the PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, which is a 2012 Cision Top 100 Blog, the 2010 and 2011 Readers Choice Blog of the Year, a Top 42 Content Marketing Blog from Junta42, a top 10 social media blog from Social Media Examiner, and an AdAge Power 150 blog. And she is co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about communications, social media, and where they all meet and intersect.
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