With a highly diverse client base and a career that has spanned the entertainment, creative and sports industries, Courtney Carter is perfectly credentialed to impart her wisdom on the world of content and video. Here are seven of her best pieces of strategic advice.
- 1. The consumer is the arbiter of quality content today
It’s important to consider the lens an individual is viewing content through. Today many consumers may only have access to a phone to watch video content -- or they may simply prefer to use this device. That doesn’t mean that what they are seeing is any less important than a $100 million dollar feature film being shown in a theatre.
This is part of an evolution in understanding we are seeing. It’s not the distribution channel that decides whether or not something is good content, it’s the consumer. So we’re in that kind of new age where the individual is driving the content.
- 2. Purpose and authenticity are key when forming content partnerships
When developing content with partners, being yourself, being natural and being true to your beliefs is essential.
Let me use the example of my client Liza Koshy, who has recently become the first ever beauty ambassador for a line called C’est Moi (which means “It’s me” in French).
It’s a very young brand and we decided to align Liza with them because of what they were creating. The product is completely clean, EWG verified and vegan.
Liza wants to be as sustainably conscious as possible in all of her engagements with brands and people. Her approach is, ‘Hey, I’m going to tell somebody to put this on their face, so I want to know that it’s safe’.
This is a very particular partnership and the approach was very intentional. We’re excited about telling stories alongside brands in an authentic way.
- 3. Building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint
We say no a lot. For all my clients, I like to say that success won’t come overnight. We’re building a brand and a career, we’re not just building a bank account. Chasing money is not how I approach business.
Some people might call it crazy, but if you stay true to that narrative and, more importantly, stay authentic, the money will come. The clients I tend to align with have a similar outlook.
- 4. Ensure the content sits in the right spot
If we’re talking short form content, you might lean into Instagram and Instagram TV. If you want to lean into something longer form, then I’d say there’s more of a case for using YouTube. Something like a TikTok, for example, is a great way to generate quick engagement. But mainly, you need to be strategic and look for the spaces where an idea over-indexes.
I also think Netflix, Amazon Prime, as well as networks and the movie houses are a better place for some content. We try and think about the best place to create shifts in culture. Creating content that is right for a specific platform needs to be a key consideration.
- 5. Hit people in the ‘feels’ for a greater effect
With politics, for example, culture really has more influence than policy. Creators in this space need to be thinking about how to tell a story that will influence somebody so that they will vote or think about something in a different way.
Take Carri Twig, one of my clients, who is a former Obama White House staffer. She is now an executive producer creating stories on a Netflix platform documentary series. Her work is an example of the importance of telling stories that really affect people on a more global scale.
She is creating things that make people say, ‘Oh, wow, I never thought about it that way’. They’re things that hit them that are maybe more political or policy oriented than they are used to. It’s a case of sneaking the medicine into a little bit of the content.
- 6. Don’t be afraid to be a video pioneer
Earlier in my career I was involved with something called the Hall of Fans. It was in the early days of YouTube and user generated content, back when using your phone to capture content was all very new. Vine hadn’t even launched, from memory.
But we wanted to celebrate the fans who were so invested in and our programs and their favourite sports. And so we created a user-generated video competition where people nominated others by submitting videos of why they should be in the Hall of Fans.
And it was amazing. People from all over the world sent entries in and we ended up with great little documentaries. This was in a time before you could just do it on your phone really easily. At the end, we flew the winners in and had a whole ceremony with some of the biggest ESPN personalities. It was new and bold, but hugely effective.
- 7. It’s the escapism that video and TV provide that makes them such compelling mediums
I think we are so inundated every day with stress or unhappiness. If through video content I can be part of creating an experience or telling a story that somehow brings someone joy for just five minutes, and they forget about all the challenges life throws at them, then I feel like I’ve done my job and fulfilled my purpose.
Courtney will be speaking at VidCon Asia Summit on 3-4 December 2019 in Singapore about the future of online video, media marketing and how she views the world of video and content in a larger media landscape. See her session details here and book your ticket today.