EMC adapts TV news magazine format for corporate videos

B2B brands seeking to expand their content marketing to include video need not get hung up on budget if they follow the model of television news magazine shows, says a former CBS News correspondent now running EMC TV.

Maggie Burke, who oversees a 10-person team at the Hopkinton, Mass-based technology firm, adopted a non-fiction, documentary-style to her company’s storytelling and is sharing her model with other wannabe brand journalists.

“This is cheaper to produce than anything you’d do with actors or advertising,” said Burke, senior director of corporate marketing for the 65,000-employee organization best known for its data storage solutions.

With 60 Minutes leading ratings for most of its 46-year run on CBS, and shows like ABC’s 20/20 and NBC’s Dateline on the air for decades, Burke advises brands to craft open-ended questions and weave together answers from multiple interview subjects to tell the story, rather than relying on voiceovers.

Performance on EMC-produced videos improves when exotic locations are featured, such as the Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s almost impossible to get a camera into a port or airport nowadays,” she said, adding that viewers are given VIP, behind-the-scenes access.

To appeal to an target audience comprised largely of men ages 32 to 35, EMC has mimicked reality TV, shooting a massive mining truck nimbly power-sliding around various priceless and fragile objects, and blasting to bits a server rack with C4 explosives.

“When in doubt, blow things up,” she said of her ongoing effort to keep the brand in front of CIOs and data scientists.

Burke periodically auditions employees from across the organization for potential on-camera roles, believing it’s easier to teach presentation skills to someone who knows the company’s products and culture than to teach an actor how to credibly discuss EMC.

While many companies may hesitate to invest in an in-house video production department, Burke insists it is more expensive to use an outside agency.

“The cost and barrier to entry for creating in-house television has gone way down,” she said, adding that her 500-square-foot studio is in a former closet and former TV news pros figure prominently on her team.

Among technology investments EMC has made to power the team is a $15,000  Tricaster for switching, recording and streaming of video, a green screen, good cameras, and downloadable sets from VirtualSet.com.

Burke spoke at Content Marketing World in Cleveland on Wednesday.

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