What is this ephemeral content stuff? What does it mean to me as a pet blogger? Do I need it? Can I ignore it?
Don’t panic pet bloggers! Ephemeral content has been around for a while. Think of things like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. There is an opportunity for revenue generation in the millennial age group that advertisers are waking up too. Thanks to this, digital video might be something that a cat blogger, or dog ambassador, needs to look at in the coming months.
- You might consider adopting a micro content approach when next reviewing your blog’s online video strategy. Especially if you want to reach the younger pet owning community – the ‘millennials’.
‘Time poor’ millennials probably need your cat health care advice more than anyone. Your sponsored posts and educational outreach could be of real use to their pets. For this reason, ephemeral content could be a useful part of your blogging armoury.
I have been reading a lot about ephemeral content on a host of blogs and websites and I have tried to get a handle on how we bloggers might approach the ‘flavour of the month’ on social media.
WHAT IS EPHEMERAL CONTENT?
Let’s start with a definition of the term ‘ephemeral content’. It’s sometimes called ‘micro moments’ too.
With a clear definition we can understand what this new concept is, and how we can link it to our movie skills and utilise it as part of our online identities, our blogs, or to help rescues and charities.
As bloggers we will not be marketing as aggressively as major companies but it is a field where pet blogs can, I think, make a real and effective contribution.
Ephemeral Content -“Videos, images and text available for a short window of time. Often limited to 24 hours or less.”
Here’s Evan Spiegel, Co-Founder of Snapchat with further clarification:
- “We’re building a photo app that doesn’t confirm to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection, but rather creates a space to be funny, honest or whatever else you might feel like at the moment”
From this you will quickly realise that viewers have a different set of values to those traditional advertisers have come to rely on. People who engage with your ephemeral content are turned off by glamour, sophistication and highly finished work, they want the real you, the real pet, the authentic product.
The Who’s Where’s and What’s of Micro Moment Users
It helps to have an idea of the lifestyle of your fast moving audience,
Users may check their social media while waiting for a bus, or train home, or on their way to meet friends for a welcome evening out. They might check in between one of the two or three jobs they need to pay the rent. These are people on the move who want their content fast in the small moments they have available.
Ephemeral content needs to press three engagement buttons. The relevant points that occurred repeatedly in my research online were:
- Behind the scenes insights & sneak peeks
- A Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) with unmissable content.
Ephemeral Content and the Pet Blogger
What you use as the main building block for your focused ephemeral content is something that is already the core of most blogging and social media strategies. Your content is aimed at your ‘user persona’. These are your fans, the readers who you know and cultivate: or those you want to discover your content.
- Find out who your followers are. Have an image of the people you create for.
- Identify the people you are trying to reach. Or,
- the people you want to expand your focus to reach.
- How? Use Google Analytics find out who visits you and their interests.
When you have an clear image or definition of your user, then you can start thinking about what you want to say and how to say it. You can start creating appealing and relevant content. That appeal starts from the moment your video appears online.
- The platforms are friendly to vertical video, meaning that setups for their use can be informal and inexpensive. They are human, authentic and off-the-cuff. – Digital Marketing Institute.
For an idea of the serious potential of micro content videos can have. Envato published a post about ‘box titles’. These are opening images and graphics used in video (in this case with Adobe After Effects). While the post is essentially a showcase for video openings available for sale on the site it does give valuable insights into the kind of thing you may see online – and how you can do them too.
Here’s how an ephemeral content project might work
You want to reach a market on Snapchat or IG Stories with an announcement about cool new cat food for for a niche market ‘renal food’. Viewers might watch a cute cat video for a while, but the moment it goes ‘professional and staged’ viewers will disengage. So let’s try it the micro moment way.
Micro Moment Movie Concept:
Micro Movie One: Opening with fun, jazzy box titles or similar. Video of you and your cat. Introducing the latest special ‘renal food’ from a top cat brand. You show life/you and the cat at home, maybe show grumpy kitty not liking their current food (sooo boring!) You ask does anyone else have this trouble? (Renal cat food is notoriously difficult to feed to cats) TIME: Under a minute MUSIC Optional but bright and positive.
Micro Movie Two: The following day. Your new food supplier saves the day by sending their irresistible super tasty renal formula. Fun/Informative Sponsors opening graphic. Cheers. Cat looks oh so cute and HUNGRY!! Is this going to work? You beg kitty to try the new sponsored product….. Cliffhanger…. TIME: Under a minute MUSIC Optional but Possibly A touch of Drama for the Cliffhanger ending.
Micro Movie Three: Unbelievable! The world’s fussiest cat loves the sponsored product and your viewers will too. Cue the Call To Action “Order Magic Renal Tasty Food online and get BIG discount’ with a QR or Snapcode at the end of your micro-movie. Customers who by now are rooting for your cat are intrigued and more likely to buy, especially if the special discount only last for 24 hours. TIME: Once Again – under a minute MUSIC Optional but a mini victory parade.
Micro Movie Bonus Reel? This will really engage your audience! The behind the scenes reel. What worked and, even more fun, the outtakes! I suspect your movie will work even better if your ‘model’ turns its nose up at ‘before’ food in a totally visual way Eeewwww!!! Or a puppy howls in dismay at a bowl of (unnamed) food it dislikes and runs away. Presented with the tasty sponsored product it dives in with enthusiasm. TIME: Try to keep it brief and fun MUSIC Comic and wacky fun. In the spirit of your outtakes!
This is just an off the cuff concept example. You will brainstorm something more relevant and fun for your product or adoptathon. It gives you an idea of the rapid immediacy you are aiming for. The approach is the polar opposite to shiny car commercials. This is the ‘raw’ unedited version, the real person the audience want to meet.
- NOTE If you do use ephemeral content as part of a sponsored campaign, specify (to yourself at least) the amount of time you are charging for or prepared to commit to, if there is a set fee. If you charge your own fees state the approximate amount of time. The content may be ephemeral but the work involved is not. Include your micro FTC disclosure too!
Ephemeral Content and the Non Profit
For rescues and non profits the potential for ephemeral content has a different focus. You could be publicising an adoption event, a cat in need, a small dog rescued from a nightmare puppy mill. You are ‘advertising’, but with a different intention.
Your appeal should be fun, focused, and informative. It will include your animal of choice depending on your user profile (rat fan, cat lover etc.,). It should also have a lot of information your viewers need to take action. or be at a location to meet the animals. Bright box titles are a great attention getter.
For pet adoption events you can really focus in on the right district or location with a geofilter. These are available on on SnapChat and Instagram Stories. Apple users can add a general location map in iMovie on an iPhone.
- “Geofilters are a fun way to share where you are, or what you’re up to, by adding a fun overlay to your Snap. If you have location services and Filters enabled, Geofilters appear at thousands of places around the world. After you take a Snap, swipe to see what’s around” – Snapchat
Non Profit Ideas for Short Term Video Content
Want to make a series for an adoption day or rescue? Generate interest with some touching and cute stories. These are stressful times so balance a touching appeal with some optimism and hope.
Start sharing the week before your event to generate interest and ensure the date is remembered. The #RememberMeThursday campaign from Helen Woodward we covered last year is a prime candidate for such a project.
Introduce a cat, or pup, who had a rough start, and leave people wondering ‘what happened next’. The following day you can show tap into the authenticity element – showing live on video how donations help that and similar pets. That pet, now in recovery, shows how the viewer can help sick animal.
So I don’t have to be Perfect?
No. Definitely not! The key word here is authenticity. Being yourself and getting a genuine message across is much more important. As a blogger your aim is to make a strong impact, and with ephemeral content you are doing this in a short space of time.
What matters is your message to the viewers in your user profile. The human, ‘just for me’ approach captures something people can engage with and feel part of. You are there, if only for 24 hours, and speaking to them alone!
Here’s a few tips to help you refine your focus:
- Be coherent and cohesive.
- Show something unique
- Know your message – Carol Bryant of FidoseofReality suggests bullet points on a card. Can someone can hold them? Or just pin them beside your camera.
- Do not repeat yourself
- If you have a series of micro moments planned – have a cliffhanger and promise more. It’s a FOMO moment!
- If your broadcast has an offer attached. Be prepared, have your Snapcode or QR code ready for sharing post. We are still working on how best to do this so if you have done it let us know!)
- NOTE: You can save IG stories so remember to make an offer date sensitive.
The Downside to Micro Moment Content
Are you strong in an area of social media? Then you will be the ones seeing a good return on your investment of time. This may include charities, bloggers with a great traffic or bigger ‘microbloggers’. Anyone or a brand with a high follower count on Instagram or Snapchat has a strong starting base. Those of us with micro followings may not fare so well. We might rely on the goodwill of a bigger supporter or sharer to gather the same kind of attention.
Is Micro Content on Social Media Worth Trying?
It could be. If you strike a chord with your, well researched, audience. Technology isn’t going to go away, making it your ally could be a good move for a blogger.
The upside? You don’t need expensive equipment. A smartphone hits the spot for immediacy and authenticity with your digital video audience. You add humanity to your blog, or to a brand in a new and growing are of the digital video market.
Research pays off. You find out who your audience is and create an engaging presence or brand they can relate to with trial and error. As an Influencer you work out what to say, and how to say it to the people who matter.
A thought for non ephemeral bloggers. Micro content is not the only way to reach your readers. It reaches a specific age group. If they aren’t yours – EC can expand your reach but the world won’t end if you won’t use it.
Maybe I’ll Pass on this Short Stuff?
A micro content strategy is not for everyone. But at least think about how useful it might be if you want to really over deliver on your next campaign for a sponsor.
The challenge is there to reach audiences in a new area. You do not need to spend your blogging life on short term content but you could save a life by promoting your health, science or pet medicine breakthrough to a new audience with no time to read a post this long!
If you don’t want to work alone, brainstorm a project with friends and focus on a local rescue. The rescue gets your attention and you get the experience of running a short ephemeral content project. This has to be a win win for everyone. So, what might your first ephemeral project be?
Marjorie and Silver
Movie Makers at DashKitten.com
References include :
Castleford.com.au – Content Marketing Specialists
Marketing-Partners.com – Digital Marketing
DigitalMarketingInstitute.com – What EC means to Your Brand.
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