Content marketing. Many brands do it. Few brands do it well.
That's especially true where video content is concerned. Most videos seem forced: Overt messaging. Carefully-crafted positioning. Scripted, rehearsed dialogue.
Instead of innovative content that attracts and helps an audience connect with a brand, most videos come off as poorly-disguised advertisements.
But not this one.
Like most worthwhile challenges, it started as a joke. Jason Belmonte, the top bowler on the Professional Bowling Association tour, and Aric Almirola, driver of the #10 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), laughingly decided it would be fun to try to bowl the "world's fastest strike."
Then True Speed Communication, the public relations and marketing agency that works with SHR, decided to turn their daydream into a reality: Renting Charlotte Motor Speedway, coordinating Aric and Jason's schedules, sourcing bowling balls made out of ballistic material that wouldn't explode upon impact...
Logistics were one thing; pulling off the stunt another.
Imagine tossing a bowling ball out of a car doing 140 mph with sufficient aim to hit the middle of a 3-foot wide rack of pins. At that distance, missing the drop angle by an inch translates to missing by several feet when the ball reaches the pin area.
Which is why the first attempt looked like this:
But Jason isn't the number one bowler in the world for nothing. The second attempt went straight and only missed by around ten feet.
Each subsequent attempt came closer as Jason worked to keep his drop speed and angle consistent, while Aric subtly adjusted his line.
And on the fifth attempt?
Yep: After just five tries, Jason bowled the world's fastest strike.
Advertising means creating content you (desperately) want people to see; it's push. Content marketing is pull: Creating content people want to see -- and will actively seek out on their own.
Clearly the video works in terms of content; in total, the full video has been viewed over 5 million times and has been picked up by over 50 different media outlets, including cable networks.
But it also works in terms of marketing.
I'm a great example: I watched the video and remembered that bowling is a great group activity: The Type As in the group can compete, the less competitive people can enjoy the social aspect of getting out and doing something fun together... which is why, on a recent extended family trip, one afternoon we ended up at a bowling alley.
After all, everyone can bowl. And everyone can have fun -- together -- bowling.
GoBowling.com serves as a hub for the over 67 million people who go bowling every year (bowling is the top sport in terms of participation) by providing news, tips, and deals at over 1,700 bowling centers across the country.
Nowhere is that mentioned in the full version of the video.
Which is the point of content marketing.
The best content tells a story: An entertaining, engaging story that features the brand... without selling the brand.
Granted, you may not have the top bowler in the world at your disposal. Or a world-class race car driver. Or a race car and racetrack. Or access to high-end video and sound gear.
And that's okay: You can take a simple, straightforward approach to video creation.
More importantly, you can forget overwritten scripts and detailed messaging and carefully crafted positioning... and just try to have some fun.
Do that, and you might just gain attention in a natural and authentic way.
Which is the best way to create loyal customers, and build a genuine and lasting brand.