Why Salma Jafri Builds Content Strategy Around Video First

Why Salma Jafri Builds Content Strategy Around Video First

Salma Jafri, Video Content Strategist and Owner of Salma Jafri Media, joins the Content Pros Podcast to discuss why and how she starts her entire content strategy with video first.

In This Episode:

Salma Jafri

Salma Jafri Media

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Full Episode Details

Why Salma Jafri Builds Content Strategy Around Video FirstVideo Above All Else

For Salma, a successful content strategy doesn’t start with blogging or a website. It starts with video.

Forming an entire content strategy around one medium may sound limiting, but she has found it to be anything but restrictive. The rich visual aspect of the medium allows for incorporation of different media such as text, audio, gifs, or even memes. It also more readily lends itself to upcycling into a wide variety of supporting material. This keeps your content fresh and exciting in the era of short attention spans.

Video is also a format that gets rewarded by social platforms. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other content dissemination tools love it if you can get somebody to linger on their site.

If your video-first strategy results in viewers lingering just a few seconds more, you will be rewarded with better ranking. This gets you more views which leads to even better rankings, and suddenly you’re locked in the content bump cycle of your dreams. All thanks to a strategy that puts video above all else.

In This Episode

  • Why a video first content strategy means building your entire content strategy out from and around video
  • How focusing on help, hero, and hub content leads to a stellar content strategy model
  • Why upcycling content means starting with the richest format and letting content spin-off from there
  • The false content myth of “One Video to Rule Them All”

Quotes From This Episode

“It’s essentially is a three-part strategy which hinges on help, hub, and hero content.” —@salmajafri

“As long as you are consistently answering your audience’s questions, then you can develop help content.” —@salmajafri

Every platform deserves respect, and every audience deserves respect. Click To Tweet

“Any social media platform rewards you for bringing an audience onto the platform.” —@salmajafri

“The power of YouTube playlist is that people binge-watch videos.” —@salmajafri

“Stats are showing that a lot of people are watching YouTube in place of TV at prime time.” —@salmajafri


Content Pros Lightning Round

What are you watching on Netflix these days that’s got you hooked? I’m not watching Netflix at all because I’m on YouTube watching fashion content and Jamie Oliver.

What’s your comfort zone when it comes to all the traveling you do? The East is absolutely more laid back. It’s more cultural. It’s more laid back because there’s an ‘anything goes’ mentality. I just have a ton of fun when I travel far east.

What Great Brands Do That Good Brands Don't in Content Marketing

Okay content is easy. Killer content is hard. This nifty eBook shows you the difference, based on our real-world work with dozens of brands. A must-read!

Episode Transcript

Randy:Welcome to the Content Pros Podcast. I am Randy Frisch, one of your cohost, and my other cohost as always is Tyler Lessard, joining my form Uberflip. Today we're going to talk about an area that Tyler loves. We all love these days to be honest. It's video. It's how do we use video, how do we leverage video, but not always those polished videos, but how do we even get video onto YouTube that people can consume and help build our own personal brands on a day to day basis. The person that we have, Tyler, you actually met this person at an event because we're in the middle of event season, and you guys just hit it off, right?  
Tyler:Yes. Salma and I met at the Inbound Conference in Boston and we were both there speaking on the topic of video. We both had very consistent messages for the audience there, which we also heard from HubSpot and others, which was this notion of thinking about a video first content strategy and how do we wrap our heads around that. Why is video such an important and compelling content medium these days? How are brands thinking about using it? How do we need to change our mentality to think like a media company to ensure that we aren't just doing video as a nice to have after the fact, but thinking about how it plays a more prominent role in our strategies.  
 With that, I'm going to quickly introduce Salma Jafri, video content strategist and speaker and owner of Salma Jafri Media. Salma, maybe you can introduce yourself a little bit further and talk about kind of where you've come from and how you've gotten to this point and what you're doing with video.  
Salma:Hey, Tyler. That was a great intro. Hey, Tyler and Randy both. It's really great to be here on the podcast. I'm a YouTube strategist, YouTube video content strategist and I'm also certified by YouTube, but my background is and has always been in content marketing. I've carried over the basic principles of building a content strategy over to how to build a video content strategy. That's where I'm coming from.  
Tyler:A lot of us still today associate being a YouTube certified individual and this notion of really harnessing a video strategy as something that's really for consumer brands and larger brands or individual YouTubers who are trying to build a following as their primary business. I think all of us here know that YouTube, the social networks and beyond that are becoming a core part to how all of us need to think about our marketing strategies whether we're small or big, whether we're B2B or B2C. Assuming you agree with that, Salma, would you mind just kind of talking about what you've seen with respect to the evolution of how people are thinking about video as part of their strategy?  
Salma:Well, yeah. I mean there are two parts that I want to discuss here, right? The first one is that I think in sort of being an afterthought that, "Oh, we'll also have like a video component to our content marketing." Video needs to be the first thought and that's essentially what I mean by a video first content strategy. If you look back maybe six to 10 years from now, every content strategy started basically with a blog, and it was always about ... Always centered with okay, we need fresh updated content, and the number one way to do that is with a consistently updated blog and that is the center stone of our fresh content.  
 Now if you look at it and what my philosophy is as well that if you start with video first, if you start planning out a regular stream, a freshly updated stream of video content or develop a video show that is regularly updated, then your entire content strategy can step from there. Advantages of doing that, I'm sure we're going to get into that further into this show, but the other thing that I wanted to stress is that YouTube actually has a stellar content strategy model, which I think that all other forms of content can borrow from and that strategy essentially is a three part strategy, which hinges on help, hub, and hero content. I think it's so applicable to anything.  
 Help content basically is content that answers questions that your customers, your future clients, your audience might have. As long as you are consistently answering your audience's questions, then you can develop help content. Hub content is regular programming. If people are subscribed to your channel, they keep coming back for that, it's very TV like, it's very TV serial like. You keep coming back the same time, same show, same channel, and you know that it's going to be the same format, but different topics and maybe different characters, but there is an element of familiarity, and you keep coming back to watch your favorite shows. Hero content are basically standout pieces that you do.  
 You could do them maybe just once a year depending on your budget and your resources or you could do them more frequently, but essentially hero content is stuff that has possibly the potential to go viral. It's the kind of stuff that is going to go big, and you push a lot of resources towards it. It could be a big collab with a popular influencer. It could be an ad. I think that this model of help, hub, and hero is a great starting point for a content strategy.  
Randy:I really like that, Salma. To be honest, I think that strategy could be applied as you said to content marketing as a whole beyond just video. I'm going to go a bit on the attack on you, Salma. It's nothing personal. I'm warning you that upfront. It's funny actually. Tyler, I don't know if you've heard this, sometimes I hear from people who listen to this podcast saying like, "You guys all always agree with everything. You guys are all on the same page. Really enjoy listening, but like a little bit of animosity sometimes would be enjoyable." I think it's fair to say the two of you have a ton of experience in video marketing. I've dabbled there, but by no means in my level. I'm going to challenge this lead with video or video first mentality because ...  
 Then we'll get back to video, but I want ... For those who are listening like me and are saying, "Yeah. I think sometimes we should lead with video," but are you taking the position, Salma, that we should always lead with video versus understand our audience and understand what content is going to resonate and what format's going to resonate with them? Again I know the goal is to educate people here, but how do you think about whether people sit down tomorrow and decide they're going to go video first? To your point earlier, forever we've just taken a blog first mentality, which isn't right either.  
Salma:Well, I think generalizations of any kind have the same problems. They're always too narrow minded. Anytime you start with a generalization, you are bound to have these kind of doubts crop up because you're obviously not taking things in context. When I say video first, it's obviously in the context of what are your goals, what are you trying to do, what kind of resources do you have, who is your audience, where are they at. Another interesting aspect to this entire thing is that I'm a huge proponent of a term that I think I invented. It's called content upcycling. Essentially what upcycling is, it takes repurposing to a new level. Okay?  
 It essentially says that develop content based on a couple of criteria, which is based on your audience's preferred learning styles, based on what kind of stuff make sense for your business to make. It takes this concept that if you start with video, which is ... Let's face it. It's technically the most complex form of communication right now and it integrates all other forms of communication inside it. Audio is a part of video. Text can be your entire transcription is the text part of your video. Then stills or thumbnail images or memes or gifs or graphics can come from within your video. It is the richest form to start with.  
 If you do and if does make sense for your company to start with the video first strategy, then all other forms of content can either be derivatives of video or that you could take video as the inspiration to make further types of content. Of course, this is within the framework of what works for your business and not every type of video will work for every type of content and for every type of audience, but if you start to think about upcycled content and you're thinking about, "Okay. We need to be on these platforms and on these formats," and you have decided you want to be on text, you want to be on a podcast, you want to have audio, you want to have video, then start with video and all the rest of it can fall from them.  
Randy:I love that answer. I was giving you a hard time there to get something like that out, which I'm really glad I did now because it's funny when you think about it, a lot of the times when we think about achieving what you just described, which other people have called like the Big Rock Content Strategy like Jason Miller does with his turkey analogy if people have seen that, but it often starts with the idea of building out an eBook and then trying to slice that into webinars and video assets and blog posts.  
 As much as you said some of it that that video asset is so much production and so hard to put together, it's actually debatable whether it's maybe a little easier to get it off the ground than that eBook, which takes so much more design work and so much more grammatical checking versus what we've kind of accepted with the audio formats that we produce on a daily basis. Maybe you're onto something here, which is that this is actually a way to get the ball rolling even faster.  
Salma:There's another aspect to this entire thing, right, and that is that if your eBooks are doing well and that's what your audience wants from you, that's great. What about if you are not reaching another part of your audience that would have preferred learning through video? That's what I mean when I say that you have to respect your audience's learning style and give them information in the format that they want and desire. You also have to respect the platform and the algorithms of all the different platforms that are available to work within. If you're making videos for YouTube, then of course, that's not going to be the same kind of format or the same kind of audience's Facebook or for Instagram.  
 Every platform deserves respect and every audience deserves respect and that is really the center of this strategy.  
Tyler:Let me double down on that, Salma, and talk about the channels a little bit further because I know one thing that you've talked about recently is how to scale your use of content like video on social networks. You nailed the point earlier that you've got channels like YouTube and you've got Facebook and Twitter and a variety of different channels. I think many of us that appreciate that one type of content or one piece of content isn't necessarily going to work or resonate or be optimal on those different channels. One thing I know that you've been thinking about a lot is how do you scale that.  
 With the video lens, how do you create a video strategy or create video content that can be easily repurposed across channels, but repurposing doesn't mean just cutting it down and saying, "Okay. I'll show the first 10 seconds here and the first 30 seconds over here." I'm interested in your perspective on that because it's something we struggle with here as a team of how do we create derivative assets efficiently that's going to work in an optimal way on those different networks.  
Salma:I want you to imagine for a second The Lord of the Rings, right? I hope I got that image your head now.  
Tyler:Yup. It's there.  
Salma:Of course, there's one ring to rule them all, right? That one ring has ultimate power, but that is a myth when it comes to video. It's a very common myth in video. It's like one video to rule them all. We're going to make this video. It's going to be a TV ad. Then it's going to be a YouTube video. Then it's going to be a Facebook video. Then it's going to be an Instagram video and a Pinterest video and a Snapchat video. I want to break down that myth and talk about what you say, how to actually make derivatives that are standalone pieces of content, as well as maybe derivatives or inspiration from your original piece. The way we need to think about it is there are five key criteria essentially.  
 Let me see if I can remember all five in this podcast. The first one is format. YouTube is horizontal. Instagram is square. Then if you're viewing from mobile-only, then it's vertical video. That's the first thing you have to think about, what format is my video going to be on and whether that's adaptable to where I want to be. Another thing that you're going to be thinking about is the audience. On YouTube for example, your audience wants ... They don't really care about you because they don't really know you yet. They haven't developed the relationship with you and because YouTube is search centric, they have typically found you by searching for something they need help with. I don't know, how to install WordPress, or how to do B2B marketing, or whatever, right?  
 They come with a problem. They type that problem in and they want to watch a video, how to do SEO in 2017, right? They're going to type that in and it's going to take you to let's say Whiteboard Friday and you're going to be watching Rand Fishkin's video on how to do SEO in 2017. That makes sense for YouTube, but if you put that same video up on Facebook, the audience wants ... First of all, if the audio is not running immediately on Facebook, which they keep toggling with that, but I think these days it's off, you need to have shorter videos for attention span for ADHD and then you need to have some kind of subtitles if the audio's not running. Again a different length of video, a different kind of style and different kind of content on that as well.  
 Okay. That's two down. Okay. The other kind of video that you can have, the other criteria, sorry, and I'm just going to load up my presentation here to remember all five criteria here is that you have to choose your length. Okay? For example on YouTube, the maximum amount of time you can upload is 12 hours or 128 GB worth of content in one go. On Facebook, it's like 45 minutes worth of ... This is recorded video. 45 minutes worth of recorded video. On Twitter, it's 60 seconds and on Instagram it's 60 seconds. You have to consider how do you fit your story and your message into the time limit of what the algorithm or the platform allows. Then how much time are actually people spending on that video.  
 How much time people spend watching on a YouTube video is about three to five minutes versus Facebook, which is about only one minute. Instagram comes in at about 45 seconds and then Twitter is even less than that, which is about 15 seconds. All of that criteria comes into play. Then another factor is how are you going to add the CTA. What kind of call to actions can you add in a Facebook video versus an Instagram video? For Instagram, you know that you can only add the CTA as a link in the bio. You can't add it in the actual video except if you are a verified account and you're doing an Instagram then you can add the link in the story. There are all of these considerations to keep in mind.  
Tyler:Salma, before you get to the last one, I have to throw our own CTA in here.  
Randy:Right. We're going to also build suspense. It's going to like if you ever watch American Idol or something like that. Right after the commercial break, we'll be back with the fifth of Salma's top five ways to think about video right after this break.  
Tyler:Welcome back to Content Pros with Salma Jafri. We are anxiously awaiting to hear the fifth and final criteria that you need to think about when designing your videos across different social networks. We've got format. We've got audience. We've got length. We've got the CTA. Salma, I'm going to turn it back over to you for what we've all been waiting for. Ladies and gentlemen, number five.  
Salma:Okay. Number five, after the suspense, is how will you actually measure the results. For example, video impressions or will it be engagement or it will be shareability. For example on Facebook, maybe shareability would be your number one metric or on YouTube it could be engagement or watch time or audience retention. On Instagram it could be impressions or clicks leading back to a longer video. Those are all the different ways that you could think about how can you take one video, but then make standalone pieces dependent on these five criteria for different platforms to connect with different audiences.  
Randy:That's a really great I guess framework is probably the best way to put it. It's how I always think of things in terms of those top five. I want to kind of come back now to the beginning of the podcast where you gave us another framework, which was the idea of help, hub and hero. Keeping some of these five keys in mind, maybe you can tell us about one of the clients that you've worked with who has created great help content, hub content, and hero content. Even give us an example, so we can piece this all together. If it helps, maybe even drop in some format, audience, length, CTA and results outcomes there.  
Salma:Sure. One client that I worked with was called Elance, which is now I think called Upwork. When I worked with them, they were called Elance. Elance is a directory that brings together freelancers and companies wanting to outsource work, right? Help content is like a very basic criteria. Training content, Q and A style, figuring out how the platform works, how payments are made, all of this is like video based. Then there's also hub content, which is content which resolves around the freelance economy. Every week tune in. What's happening? What are the stats? Who's up? Who's down? What countries are hiring out the most? What skill levels are working the best? That's like regular hub content programming.  
 Then hero content, which I love what they do, is that they run contests. Those contests are user generated videos whereby you participate as to how the freelance economy changed your life. Because it's user generated, it gets a ton of shares and their prizes. I remember one of the judges in fact was Tim Ferriss on one of the contests. You have star power there as well. That would be a good example.  
Randy:That's really interesting. As I think about that, I suppose that the format or audience or length really varies on those different types of video content that people are going to tune in on a regular basis. Obviously they have to do a little bit of each to keep people hooked, but what did you find with them or what do you find across the board that gets the most interest? Is it the hero content and that's what people come for and then you hope they check out other stuff and maybe that hero stuff's just harder to do, which is why we can't do it everyday?  
Salma:Yeah. I find that if you are just getting started with a strategy and you want to put something together right away, then hero would not be the way to go because it's the most resource intensive and time intensive. Help content is probably the easiest because if you have current customers, then there is like 100% chance that they have questions. As long as you can answer those questions on video and in other different types of format and even pull together eBooks with like an entire FAQ strategy together, then that really works. I think help content is probably the easiest, fastest to get started with. On YouTube and other channels, consistency is rewarded. If you can have a regular kind of show, which is hub content, that is rewarded in terms of ...  
 Any kind of social media platform rewards you for bringing an audience onto the platform. What it's called on YouTube, it's called session time, right? As you as are starting session times on YouTube, then it's going to view you as yeah, these guys are good. I'm going to rank their video a little bit better, right? They want you to come on their platform and spend as much as time as possible. That's where the concept of playlists comes in. I know that Facebook has playlists as well, but the power of YouTube playlist is that people binge watch videos. As long as they're binge watching, which means that they're racking up watch time on your videos, YouTube is happy.  
 When YouTube is happy, they're going to be ranking your video higher, which has a higher watch time than say somebody else's, which might have a lower watch time. I think, yeah, start with help, but definitely do hub as well. When you possibly can, get in on hero.  
Tyler:I also love that framework. The hub content is something that I find a lot, especially with video, that a lot of marketers aren't thinking about today and particularly B2B marketers. I like your notion of that kind of series based content. We had Jay Acunzo on the show a couple months back, and we talked a lot about that notion of series based content in B2B marketing, and the value of being able to create something that's repeatable, something that establishes its own kind of brand value behind it and also establishes an audience who is going to be kind of coming back to engage in that series or to your point, Salma, the opportunity to have people really binge because they know that there's a series of related content.  
 We started doing this recently within our marketing team. We launched our Chalk Talks video series, which was similar to what you mentioned earlier of Rand Fishkin's Whiteboard Fridays. Just doing it as sort of an educational series where we pump down a video every week and it actually doesn't take that much time to do. What we found there is it's built up a really good audience on our own site, right? We also put them out on YouTube, but my big goal is using it for inbound and we've developed kind of a hub on our own site that's branded around the series. It's done a really remarkable job of bringing people in getting them to your point to spend a lot of time there and binge around on that content as educational information.  
 Something that's interesting, and I'm not sure if you're seeing many other brands like that. I know you yourself, you've got to Be The Media Show, which is a great example again I think of series based content, Salma.  
Salma:Yeah. I mean a couple other examples of brands I absolutely love who do this are for example Jamie Oliver for food. I mean it's really, really cool how he's on every medium with video, but it could be the same spaghetti bolognese, but it's the entire recipe with character and it's an entire show just like you're watching TV on YouTube, right? On Facebook, it's like a quick recipe like BuzzFeed's Tasty. That's the kind of content that's up on Facebook.  
 I really like what you said earlier about the fact that it's series based and people can binge watch because the stats are showing that people are treating YouTube content as you would think that they watch it on the go in the daytime, but the stats are showing that a lot of people are watching YouTube in place of TV at prime time. It's so interesting to me because once you start doing that either through Chromecasting or through Smart TVs, when you start watching YouTube on TV and it's serialized content and it's right there, you can binge watch on that, that sort of changes the dynamic of how brands can think about putting together their own shows because people are going to sit back after a day of work and watch your show.  
 That is where the concept of having informative content mixed in with a little bit of entertain value comes in as well.  
Randy:I think you're so right there, Salma. It's impacting every generation, but we're seeing it the most or I'm seeing it the most ... I bet you, Tyler, the same, and my kids would much rather click on Netflix or YouTube. Sometimes I don't think that they see a difference between the two in terms of entertainment value, right? Netflix we say is disrupting, but I would say at the same time YouTube has as much upside opportunity long-term to engage people and recommend that next piece of content in the same way. I think like you said, Tyler, that's what we have to do as brands is we have to find ways to create content channels on our own site. I love the Chalk Talks you guys are doing.  
 I check them out. They're so much fun. They're entertaining. As soon as I'm done one, I want to watch another one. That's what we have to do as a brand. We have to think about that ability to create more of a journey and engaging experience. Salma, lets kind of take a step out of the world of video, but still stay in there and get to know you a little before we wrap this thing up. I just hit a bit on Netflix. One of the things we always like to get to know our guest on is get to know them by Netflix. What are you watching on Netflix these days that's kind of got you hooked? You're on YouTube I guess. What a silly question.  
Salma:I'm not watching Netflix at all because I'm on YouTube.  
Randy:Other than more content per se that's tied to your professional interest, what type of video content other than Jamie Oliver and his cooking has you tuning in?  
Salma:Well, I love watching fashion content. There's a channel I watch called Miss Louie. She does this great round up of ... She tries on all of these outfits and then she tells you that, "Okay. How to put together an entire wardrobe with a minimalist style." You just need like four key pieces and like maybe two accessories and you can have a hundred looks. I'm like, "Okay. Wow," because I'm all about minimalism.  
Randy:Nice. Nice. Okay. The other interesting thing I think about you is a lot of the times we think that everyone on this podcast because in theory we're all in the same room, which in reality we're not, are all in the US or North America. You're actually I believe in Pakistan. Is that correct? Okay. Perfect. You travel a lot.  
Salma:Yes. Asia for the win.  
Randy:We're excited when you head to Australia I think is one of the places you go a lot or North America. I mean like what's your comfort zone?  
Salma:Well, to be honest, the furthest east I think I've traveled is Singapore and Thailand. I haven't actually been to Australia yet, even though I have a few clients there, but it's next on the list. East is absolutely more laid back. It's definitely more cultural. It's more laid back. It's more like okay, everything goes. I just have a ton of fun when I travel far east. To the US and Canada is very fast paced. It's very business. It's very networking. It's everybody is like all the time work, work, work, but then I learned so much more and get so much more inspired from that side of the world.  
Randy:Absolutely. I think it comes back to the way you gave us those top five and the audiences you're dealing with that are number two are so different one place versus the next. I can't help bring in all of your frameworks as we talked now even as we're trying to disconnect from work. I think that's why this has been such a great opportunity to sync with you, Salma. On behalf of Tyler and I, thanks for taking the time to connect with us. For those listening, thanks for taking the time to listen to Content Pros. This is part of the Convince and Convert Network of Podcasts. If you want to check out more of the content we've created, it's not on YouTube unfortunately. We got to figure out how to get it there I guess, but it's on iTunes.  
 It's on Stitcher. Wherever you want to find it.The best place to see all the past episodes is at contentprospodcast.com. Thank you so much for tuning in. Until next time, this is the Content Pros Podcast.  
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