Skift Take

Smart content creators are creating travel videos that go beyond simply highlighting a destinations landscape by utilizing unique local characters to build visual narratives that merge person, place and emotion.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

This post is from Moving Images, a mini-site from Skift and Travel Channel exploring the new era of travel video, from new platforms and technology to best practices from forward-thinking brands and content creators. Learn more video trends here.

Human attention is a scarce commodity. That’s a pretty obvious statement when you consider the rising popularity of platforms like Vine and Snapchat, or the multi-tabbed, channel-flipping nature of the modern consumer.

Smart content creators understand this, and play to the shifting needs of consumers.

Matador Network, a travel media site made up of a global team of editors, photographers and filmmakers, understands the types of travel content that drives engagement on the social web (most notably for the Millennial generation, but really for anyone interested in travel).

The publisher took home the award for Most Effective Brand on Social Media at this year’s Skifties (Skift’s annual social media awards) for their effort in community engagement, use of influencers and awe-inspiring drone content.

Outside of the drone video realm, the brand is focusing on another way to keep video viewer attention: human-driven storytelling.

Every destination has interesting characters, ones who embody a city’s personality or are such intriguing outliers that they help set the tone for the way we perceive a part of the world.

On finding the most authentic characters, Matador trusts its experts, namely local journalists.

“We’ve been doing this for nine years and we’ve built up an incredible network of people from all of the world,” Matador’s CEO Ross Borden tells Skift. “So if we do a project in North Carolina, we know incredible journalists there. Same goes for Turkey, or Chile, or Saskatchewan, wherever. Think about it this way: Anthony Bourdain doesn’t just go to Myanmar and goes to a random restaurant, he’s always meeting a journalist.”

“They know the local characters, the best restaurants, the coolest story, the political landscape. It’s a massive advantage to have those assets on the ground all of the world, and typically, that’s what helped define the stories we end up telling.”

Another factor Matador keeps in mind when creating human-based videos is length.

“Whether it’s shorter attention span or a different mind-set, people don’t want to sit there and see someone talking for extended periods of time,” says Borden.

With that in mind, the rest of the formula is pretty simple.

They interview their subjects for around an hour, and shoot b-roll of them, their passions, and their location to express who they are and what they do in the fewest words possible.

“Establish the character from the very beginning. You’re going to know who is talking and they are going to act as the voice over the entire time. And the whole time, you’re watching beautiful b-roll of them and their lives, doing what they love. It’s more engaging than just sitting there and watching an interview for two minutes.”

The travel videos striking a chord with viewers are the ones that convey authenticity, or, as a recent Skift article found while examining the World Tourism Organization’s travel video competition, establish an emotional connection.

Borden agrees, and pushes partners to approach video creation that way.

“Some brands just read cue cards,” says Borden. “I think that’s detrimental for engagement, especially for millennials. People want to see real stories, they want to see real points of view, they want to see real conversation. They don’t want to watch someone reading cue cards.”

Watch below for some human-based videos produced by Matador. Read the story on the Moving Images mini-site here

Each week, Skift and Travel Channel cover rising trends in travel video. Here’s our latest:

Visit the Moving Images site here to read more:

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Tags: moving images, video

Photo credit: Screenshot from Matador's Explore Fjord Norway: Viking Village video.

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