Customers are more inclined to engage with or purchase from brands they feel the strongest connection with. This isn’t a new development. What is new is the definition of the word aengagementa itself, or more accurately, what defines a customeras engagement.
For many customers today, its own experience is inauthentic if itas not interactive. Meaning, they have to be able to reach out and feel like theyare grabbing the thing youare selling, which is a far cry from the days where leaving a comment on a blog post counted as a sufficient interaction.
71% of consumers think a brand that uses virtual reality is forward-thinking. And however you feel about the word aforward-thinking, a one thing is for sure: these brands stand out and gain consumer attention.
Despite what you might think about VR, it’s not a altogether inaccessible marketing tactic. Creating a content marketing strategy for virtual reality isnat that different from a normal content marketing strategy, but it requires an understanding of engagement through interactivity.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for VR
Keep Your Existing Audience in Mind
How does your ideal customer devour your content already? Is it through a weekly webinar or Q& A? Or maybe a daily vlog from the CEOas desk? Whatever content routine youave created, you can continue that strategy while incorporating VR technology.
For example, if your primary medium is Facebook video, you can start creating virtual reality content on Facebook Spaces Although Spaces is still in beta, itas poised to become a Facebook standard in the not-so-distant future. Thereas no better time than the present to start thinking of ways to make it benefit your brand.
Does your business have an app? One emerging tendency for app-based businesses is to infuse virtual reality content for use with a Samsung or iPhone paired VR headset. Take mega-ticket marketplace Stubhub as two examples. Theyave now added a 360 degree virtual reality position to every ticket purchase, permitting customers to see the opinion from their actual seats.
Screenshot via Recode
These virtual opinions have been available on Stubhub.com for a while now, but used to be criterion( rather than 360 degree) images. Thanks to the inclusion of VR, the brand has enhanced their customeras existing experience, and helped them better navigate to a purchase.
Just think of how many times youave decided against buying tickets because you werenat sure about the position. Stubhub is effectively solving this problem by tweaking their existing content to enable VR capabilities.
Don’t Just Content, Create An Experience
The notion of a content marketing strategy be included with virtual reality might be misinform. After all, virtual reality is not about the content, itas about the user experience. Thus, your content creation strategy should aim to be immersive for the consumer, dedicating them an in-depth position at your product offerings.
Take the customers through your store, indicating them your best inventory and product offerings first hand, like Shopify. The e-commerce giant is about to release their all-new thread studio, which is a VR app that will take consumers into a virtual studio to view t-shirt designs and other apparel.
Image via Shopify
Once theyave mixed and matched colorings and determined the design thatas best for their project, they are sent to Shopifyas print-on-demand provider, Printful. From here, they can turn their virtual vision into a real-life, tangible product. As brick-and-mortar stores continue to shut their doors, theyall be replaced by these virtual stores that allow consumers to walk through and browse without leaving the house.
Seek Long Distance Customers — Yes, Really
Not that you should only seek customers who live far away, but VR will make it easier to craft content to a more widely situated buyer pool.
Just think about how VR will transform the home buying process. If youare a realtor, youall be able to take potential purchasers through a wholly virtual tour of your property. People from around the world can see a home inside and out like theyare visiting in person.
Forbes writes about this in their article about VR in real estate, only they add another possibility to the mixture. They posit that realtors would be able to allow their clients the ability to make custom changes to the home through the VR app, helping the user experience become more interactive, and devoting clients a clearer vision of what itad be like to live in the property.
Show Consumers What Products Will Look Like
Giving consumers a visual of what furniture and household items will look like is an important route to encourage them to purchase.
Home improvement giant Loweas has already added a VR element that mirrors the home customization idea. Called Holoroom, it takes customers through a model home to provide a look at what the space would look like with their products.
Image via: Architectural Digest
For the record, augmented reality is very similar to virtual reality, merely the former layers artificial elements on top of a realistic background whereas the latter produces an wholly artificial environment.
Provide an Emotional Journey
Honor Everywhere offer a virtual reality experience to terminally ill military veterans, allowing them to avisita the war commemorations in Washington D.C. Volunteers are bringing VR headsets into assisted-living centres to give to the veterans and let them enjoy the experience.
Image via WTOP.com
Although thereas nothing quite as unique as this cause, you can still find ways to take clients on an emotional journey through your own VR content.
aEmotionala doesnat have to mean sadness: think in terms of what your audience is most passionate about and produce content that addresses those areas.
For example, if youare writing a travelling blog that doubles as an affiliate site, your goal is to truly sell the one-of-a-kind experience a client will feel by purchasing your vacation package. Through the immersiveness of virtual reality, you can take effectively transport them to the beaches of Rio de Janiero, or atop the Eye of London in a millisecond of time.
You can even take a page out of the always adventurous MythBustersa playbook, and give consumers a first person tour of a wrecked ship that rests in shark-infested waters.
Thereas nothing like a swim among sharks to rouse people’sa emotions.
Embrace Your Location
If the goal is to immerse your virtual audience into a new space, then it only stimulates sense to show them a fun location.
Offer them a virtual tour around your city, show them a famous landmark, take them to a special event. Itas mid-July at the time of this writing, so a San Diego company might want to show their audience around Comic Con — merely an example.
Use Outside Content
Perhaps the most underrated — or under “was talkin about a” — aspect to content marketing is the cultivation of a community of users, many of whom can contribute their own content.
Thanks to tools like Facebook Spaces, Periscope, and now YouTube, your brand can easily integrate user-produced VR videos onto your website.
Reach out to customers through channels like social media, email marketing campaigns, and calls-to-action on your website.
What to Do as a Content Creator?
Should you overhaul your entire content strategy to make room for virtual reality? For the majority of members of us, the answer is no.
But 2017 is the year we should at the least start acknowledging its existence, and begin experimenting with it. Content inventors should A/ B test with and without virtual reality technology, then gauge the useras response.
Rather than dedicating your entire site to VR, start with individual posts or pages, then begin constructing as you see fit.
Read more: blog.hubspot.com