Creating the Right Type of Video for your B2B SaaS or Fintech Startup

George Aliferis
Feb 1, 2020 · 7 min read

Just making “a video” is no longer an option for marketers. It is particularly challenging in industries that are not visual and where expertise — not entertainment — is what customers value.

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Creators are reaching huge audiences on technical topics such as finance, economy, computer science.

The answer lies in the Format, the structure of the content. It is a crucial but often neglected question to ask before producing any branded video. Defining what formats work for you will help the creative process. It will also transform the impact of your content. Ultimately this is about ROI.

With the help of a few examples from different media, we will see how Format can matter more than the content itself.

With that in mind, using a “YouTube taxonomy” will help to define the right formats for corporate (and in particular B2B fintech) video content.

You will find at the end examples of ready-to-use formats that you can tap into if you are considering what to publish in 2020.

Why format matters

When thinking about classifying a single video or series, we typically start at the “Vertical” — the general area of interest, followed by Format, Style, Content.

If you are an expert in your field, finding Content shouldn’t be hard. The Style should reflect your brand. The Format, however, is a lesser-known territory for corporates.

“Turn your ideas into animals and they will achieve immortality.” — John Lewis Gaddis

This quote refers to the Fox and Hedgehog, by Isiah Berlin. An essay that went viral in the mid-twentieth century, using a format established by Aesop’s fables twenty-seven centuries earlier: animal narratives.

Closer to us, a finance book is breaking sales records in France: Largo Winch — Introduction à la Finance. According to the author, Professor Olivier Bossard (who we interviewed about the Blockchain) it owes its success mainly to its Format: a mix of text and frames from a popular comic book hero “Largo Winch”, a billionaire adventurer.

Business-related video examples

Finally, here are just two examples of YouTube videos gathering millions of views on a business topic, by delivering relatively ordinary content in new formats (and good storytelling).

Why Apple needs Samsung

How Rockefeller made his trillions

The Format will make the difference between content that’s performing well organically and videos that will add to the glut of corporate content that’s rarely watched and not engaging.

What formats to use for B2B/Fintech

Let’s start from a handy (unofficial) taxonomy of YouTube videos by YouTube consultancy Little Monster Media.

All the YouTube formats

For Creators, it pays to think “inside the box”. Every piece of video content should fit in one box or many. Stay out of it, and you risk being in limbo and of missing out an opportunity to connect with your audience.

Now, this taxonomy is for media or creators. Building a list that is useful for corporate content requires a more focused approach. In particular for industries where the assets are expertise, reliability, robustness, i.e. not fun stuff.

B2B video taxonomy

We can reduce it to a list of 4 core formats that are the most useful for B2B fintech (and across B2B verticals).

  1. Explainer
  2. Commentary
  3. Narrative
  4. List

Let’s examine first what is missing. Three don’t require music explanation: Music videos, Challenges, Reactions (I mean, you can use them if you think they fit your brand). An interview is about celebrities where the subject is the person, his/her life, a marginal type of content in the fintech space. You are most likely to interview an expert for his insights, and that falls under Explainer.

Here is an overview of each of them applied to B2B companies in software or knowledge industries.

  • Explainer: Includes insights, tutorials, any content that provides valuable information to the viewer (and showcases your expertise).
  • Commentary: Providing an opinion or an analysis on a timely topic.
  • Narrative: is traditionally fiction or fictionalized, but it can be delivering the content using storytelling, like in the examples above (Rockfeller, Apple and Samsung).
  • List: Ranking and providing comments as to why. The Format is as old as the Ten Commandments and every January we are bound to see itis customary to use it for yearly predictions.

How to make it work for your brand

Let’s see how fintech marketing can use the formats with four common business cases:

  • Educate & Inform: showcase your expertise / provide useful content, serving multiple purposes. It is likely to be the core of your video strategy.
  • Pitch: a product, a service, a company
  • Testimonials: a client is willing to say the most excellent things about you
  • Recruit: make yourself attractive to external talent
A taxonomy of B2B marketing videos

Below you will find examples that can work in the Fintech space, although some come from other B2B industries.

Educate & Inform: Mix it up

A good base for your video strategy is to use an Explainer format. The production can be simple, even using do-it-yourself methods for walk-throughs. We use a differentiated approach for thought leadership pieces and tutorials (plainer).

But you don’t have to stick to Explainers or a single format. Mixing formats is a great way to stand out:

  • Commentary x List: Winners & Losers

A dynamic way of reviewing the key events of the week and placing it in a strategy framework

  • Commentary x Interview: What are your thoughts

By merely interviewing each other, the team at Ritholtz offers a dynamic perspective on current events that looks very different than the traditional financial market commentary.

Pitch: add Narrative

The opportunity to pitch with video is to convince the prospects that you have identified with something more engaging but also potentially attract others. On the web, nobody is actively seeking to know why “you are the best”. Adding narrative elements will significantly help to make your pitch palatable. When working on video “pitches”, we start by transforming the pitch deck (bullet point, PowerPoint, or variants) to find and add narrative elements.

A couple of client examples below:

Alpima’s Brand Video

GMEX’s Pitch for its new Digital Investment Fund

Both remain a pitch but one that also brings the viewer to a journey.

Testimonial: is not a format

Just like for a pitch, it is tempting to go straight into what you want to say, but that would be missing the opportunity to make your content shareable.

  • Narrative: Google goes to great efforts to find personal, relatable stories of businesses that have “Gone Google.”
  • Educational: How to get more traffic to your website, from Ahrefs. You may ask “where is the testimonial?”. Well, Ahrefs use their achievements as case studies for their set of SEO tools (= a testimonial). They also use a variety of hybrid formats across their channel.

Recruit: have fun with it

Here you can explore more personal ways of talking shop. A couple of examples about CTO recruitment from the French recruitment/media platform Welcome To The Jungle:

Make video work for you in 2020

  • Use Formats: as you are preparing to roll out your content plan think about formats that correspond
  • Mix them up: if you want to publish a weekly or monthly Commentary can you make it a List? If it’s a list of predictions, can you add Narrative elements to it?
  • Experiment: if you start with a few formats you will soon be able to find out what your audience prefers

If you want to see examples of formats, I am putting theory into practice on my Fintech YouTube channel. So far, it’s been Explainers and Narratives. I have started using lists as a way to produce regular content quickly and efficiently.

Thank you for reading this! I am George Aliferis, a fintech marketer and filmmaker in the UK, who used to be a front office derivatives sales. I write a monthly newsletter on B2B Fintech marketing. You can subscribe here:

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George Aliferis

Written by

Fintech Marketer & Filmmaker, ex-derivatives & ETF. I write a newsletter about fintech marketing & education:

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

George Aliferis

Written by

Fintech Marketer & Filmmaker, ex-derivatives & ETF. I write a newsletter about fintech marketing & education:

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +794K followers.

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