Meta content can build hype for upcoming releases, underscore quality claims, and provide a narrative to products and brands.
Why it's a good idea
Meta content can benefit brands with or without audiences. For those with established, active audiences, meta content can attach context and build hype for upcoming releases. For new brands or products, it can shore up product claims and build trust with future customers.
Brands and products of any size can successfully employ meta content. Practical examples include:
- Movies: behind the scenes, cast interviews, set images
- Products: Kickstarter promotional videos, “the making of” YouTube features, announcement trailers, interviews
- Services: Demo reels, “how we made” content, client testimonials, aggregate meta-analyses, award/recognition announcements
Underscoring Quality Claims
Leathercraft company Equus Leather produces videos that show an artisan craftsman creating each of their products. These videos are well done, highly polished, and earn millions of views on YouTube.
Many viewers will see the laborious, detail-oriented process, and trust the company’s quality claims.
Below is an example:
Building Hype for Upcoming Releases
LouLou and Company is a children’s boutique that operates with a limited release (aka drops) model. Each Thursday, the founders go live on Instagram to preview upcoming product colors with sneak peeks and answer questions from highly engaged Facebook group members.
Field Notes is a boutique notebook manufacturer who does seasonal releases. For each release, they execute a pipeline of marketing tasks, which includes making a feature video.
Here’s an example:
Kickstarter is an excellent example of this. The typical format is to explain who the founders are, why they’re building this product, what the product does, and why they need the money.
Here’s the trailer video for the Coolest Cooler, a Kickstarter project that went on to earn over $13,000,000.
Spotify produces a yearly meta analysis for each of its users. This interactive feature earns extensive coverage, and one can assume millions of shares between friends comparing listening habits.
You can imagine inactive users receiving this report and coming back to listen to forgotten favorites from earlier in the year.
Behind the Scenes
Many bands will document the process of recording an album. This content plays very well on YouTube and across social media and helps hype up and build awareness of the upcoming release.
Behind the scenes content serves to attach a narrative to a finished product. Additionally, eager fans can watch and listen carefully for sneak peeks and clips from the upcoming release. This type of content illustrates the amplification principle: you’ll see fans dissecting and discussing this type of content on Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and more, amplifying the reach and awareness of the upcoming release among fans.
Similarly, major movie studios have a predefined pipeline of marketing assets that are generated through the creation of a new movie:
- Cast announcements
- Images of the cast in character outfits
- Scenes from the set
These are all “meta” assets that serve to promote the target product.
To illustrate how versatile some of these formats are, let’s use the example of an actor’s “first look in character.”
It’s easy to imagine this content as an Instagram post, a tweet, a feature with commentary in a YouTube video, a headline article on entertainment news sites, several posts on various subreddits, etc.
The brand behind the project won’t create all of this content in-house (much of it will be “leaked” and posted by numerous industry news sites), but it’ll be made nonetheless, which speaks to the promotional value of excellent meta content.
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I'm a developer, marketer, and writer based in Appleton, Wisconsin.