According to YouTube, 13 million hours of video were uploaded in 2010, 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and 3 billion videos are viewed everyday. Looking at comScore’s August U.S. Online Video Rankings, U.S. consumers alone drove a record 6.9 billion views across a variety of online video platforms. And most recently, the Pew Research Center found that 71% of Americans using the internet regularly visit video sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, up from 66% in 2010.
Needless to say, if video content is absent from your marketing program, you’re sorely missing out on a massive audience. One of the essential success factors for video is it’s sharability. Much like photos, videos enjoy the “one click, and enjoy” factor that their still image counterparts soak up on Facebook. And it’s not all just fun and games (although funny videos do have a higher chance of virality), as online video encompasses much more than just the standard YouTube clip.
Got a newsletter signup? Instead of that static “Thanks” page, why not include a message from your company president? Got a product that really needs to be seen and demonstrated to be fully appreciated? Sounds like a video opportunity waiting to happen. Got a company related event coming up? Live streaming could be a huge traffic pull. All of these are prime examples of what video can do beyond YouTube.
The Drawing Room
But before we go into crafting that perfect video, let’s take a minute to decide exactly what type of video you’d like to produce. The way I see it, there are really three main areas that can be addressed:
Yes, there are many, many sub categories to these main three, but let’s keep our eye on the prize and stick with as many general groupings as possible.
Possibly the trickiest of the bunch to master, but when it’s done right…oh baby! Whether you’re B2B or B2C, at the end of the day you’re selling to people, and people like to be entertained. Look no further than the runaway success of the Old Spice Man to reveal the true power of video in your marketing strategy.
Think that entertainment videos are just for big brands with big brand sized budgets? I point you to Will it Blend for all the proof you need. In 5 years, the Orem, Utah based Blendtec, have garnered over 180 million views of these series, and won countless awards. A little creativity and some careful edits can propel your product to an entirely different level if executed properly.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, TMZ.com is arguably the go-to online destination for all celebrity related errr..news(?). There’s plenty of written content on the site, but if you have a glance at the right hand column, you’ll notice nothing but video waiting to be clicked.
Because of the immediacy of video, it’s a great vehicle to drive information. If your organization has some hot news to deliver, or breaking product information, instead of only using the standard outlet channels, try getting your CEO in front of a camera for a few minutes to deliver the message. It’s a heckuva lot faster for a blogger, PR pro, journalist, etc. to copy/paste your video message than sort through the fluff and distill the essential information.
The easiest of the bunch, but not to be treated lightly. As noted above, there are a number of sub categories present here, perhaps most notably under the How-To umbrella. How-To videos can cut down on your customer service department’s headaches, as well as show your customers how to get the very best out of their purchased product.
Do you have customers that have done amazing things with your product? Sure, they could (and should) write about it, but how about collaborating with said customer, and produce a video about how and what they did with your product? If it’s a hit with consumers, clear your calendar, as I foresee a fantastic series of How-To videos coming your way.
The Production Studio
Right. Now that you’ve nailed down how best to serve your community, as well as draw in future potential customers, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and make the best damn video this market has ever seen. But how?
Before any scripts are drafted, any voiceovers thought of, or any big marketing plans start evolving, let’s get one thing straight: Quality Counts. Think about the last awesome video you saw. Chances are there was a professional crew (or at least one superawesomevideodude) that executed this video. If you’ve got the budget, don’t reinvent the wheel, and let experts do what experts do. Now that doesn’t mean that you’ll need a film crew equipped with a few RED Cameras to shoot your video. Both Nikon and Canon are quite proud of their capabilities, and astounding results can be achieved from a number of consumer budget friendly cameras.
If you can’t bring in a professional to shoot and edit your video, here are a few basic tips that can help your creation stand out:
- Lighting – often under appreciated, good lighting can go a long way. If you’re putting your product out there, make sure it can be seen. Conversely, make sure that you’re not over lighting a situation and causing the screen to blow out. If you’re shooting a presenter, a 3 light setup is key to success.
- Editing – Watching a skilled editor at work is akin to watching a ballet. By playing with music, timing, and emotion, a good editor can either incite your viewers to do something right now, or sit back, relax, and engage in some deep thought.
- Dress – the next time the evening news is on, watch the mode of dress carefully. You will never see a news presenter with a striped shirt on. The reason? Without getting too far into technicalities, you’re watching a moiré pattern in action. For optimal video results, presenters should dress in plain, simple colors. Bonus: Avoid sky blue and light green colors, as these are often two key colors that are used for chromakey (green screen) effects.
Deliver for Relevancy
This factor is closely tied to your Drawing Room plans, and will dictate the direction of your production. The key to delivering a successful video is presenting your viewers with valuable or entertaining content, preferably both. What’s the key message you’re trying to get across? How can it be presented in a manner that your grandmother would appreciate?
If you’re a widget maker from Cleveland, OH and have just completed your survey on how your widgets increased factor floor production time by 40%, your standard outlay would be to distribute via your website, publish to major press outlets, etc., but with video you now have an entirely new canvas to work with. Sitting in front of a camera and reading a whitepaper sounds about as exciting as watching the grass grow, but seeing a few infographics, some footage of the factory floor, your widgets in action, and a short, one or two-line sound bites from factor staff employees…ok, now you have my attention. Toss in some awesome music and a call to action (see below), and now you’re really on to something.
Make ‘em act
Just because your video is entertaining doesn’t mean that it has to be all laughs. While your video might not be editable after it’s published (unless of course you’re prepared to lose view counts), the text surrounding the video is.
Since we’re talking marketing department video here, what would an output be without a call to action? Be sure to use a trackable link (I <3 you bit.ly) and send consumers over to a customized landing page tied directly to this video. Based on your video this landing page can be anything from a special promo code that offers 50% of consumers next purchase, a request for more information, have a salesperson get in touch, etc.
Sure, YouTube and Vimeo are the big players on the block, but what about all those other video sites? Just because they don’t have the name recognition that these two do, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have an audience (and potential customers).
Just as with all your messaging, you’ll need to take care as to which platforms you send your video creations to as an information video would probably not suit Funny or Die (or if it does, you might have an award winner in your hands).
While there are a few floating around, when it comes to mass video distribution, it would be quite hard to beat TubeMogul. Their OneLoad service offers free accounts for personal usage, and businesses can step up their game for only $75. TubeMogul offers one-click, multi-site publishing, and their analytics and reporting features are sure to keep marketing professionals and their bosses happy.
Don’t forget the search!
Yes, yes, SEO. I see weren’t not quite done with this relationship yet, are we? If you’re optimizing 99.44% of your content to be discovered, don’t do a half @$$ed job with your video descriptions.
Remember, you might have James Cameron onboard, but if your descriptions, title, and tags aren’t lining up with terms your customers are searching, the chances of having your production found is next to none.
Also ensure that your settings on each individual video sharing platform are optimized to be found. If your video could be cause for discussion, make sure that comments are turned on. Google loves to see an active discussion. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask your views to rate the video. This will not only help you in rankings, but also determine the success rate of your production.
Keep it short
Before a light is even lit, a camera turned on, or action ever called, break out the editing pencil. Think about the last video you watched and enjoyed. While the optimal figures go back and forth at a constant rate, my guess is that it was no longer that approximately 2 minutes.
If you absolutely can not cut your message down to 2 minutes or less (don’t forget the intro/outro timings), consider breaking it out into chapters via multiple videos.
Sounds about right
For all the visual magic that skilled editors, or even presets can deliver, there’s no excuse for horrible audio. Do not think that the $12.99 headset you purchased at OfficeDepot is going to cut it for your video production. With an audio engineer behind it, perhaps, but if you’re going it alone, invest in a few Better Audio for Video techniques to make your production sing. Literally.
Video is a marketing tool that is simply too big to ignore. If you’re not in the game already, it’s time to get started. Sure the initial investment might cost a bit of time, experimentation, and yes, money, but with the growing and sustained consumption of video, it’s an investment in your organizations’ future. By applying the advice above, you’ll be ahead of your competitors, and ready to come out of the gate with a stellar first production that will bring results and spur team members and management into further investment in the medium.