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Beyond YouTube: Getting Started With Video for Marketing and Sales

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Can you believe Google paid $1.6 billion dollars for YouTube? How could that be?

Well, it's quite simple, really. Video is the most powerful communication medium we have, unless we're actually in a room with someone, and YouTube put the tool of video communication over the Web into the hands of the common folk.

In doing so, the site's popularity soared and marketers everywhere clamored to get in on the action.

But YouTube isn't the only game in town. For marketers truly interested in putting video communication to good use, the key to getting the job done is finding the right tools.

Do you want to record a video message for on-demand access? Do you want to do live video from a large meeting, conference, or other event? Do you want more than just video, such as text chat, polling, Q&A or PowerPoint slides alongside your video? Do you need to secure access to an employee webcast or an online seminar you're charging for?


The array of tools at a communicator's fingertips can accomplish so much: interactive training sessions, video sales presentations, live meetings with prospects, "video voicemails" recorded and sent with just a few clicks, and, of course, live or recorded video played back from your Web site.

Clients from healthcare, technology, finance, advertising, and others are using video to achieve business objectives.

For example, a medical device manufacturer uses video webcasts to market a device used in heart surgeries. Live video webcasts let surgeons around the world—all potential customers for this manufacturer—see the device in action during real-world operations.

It's the old marketing maxim in action: Show, don't tell.

The manufacturer also coupled the power of live video with an automated system for managing viewer registrations, confirmation and follow-up emails, and audience statistics reporting. This lets the company track and convert leads and report the ROI of the video project.

So how do you get started down the road of adding video to your marketing mix?

First, find the right purpose for it. It makes no sense to put a talking head in front of a camera to read your recent whitepaper on enterprise software and inventory control. But if you go to your customer's manufacturing plant, show interesting footage from the plant floor, interview people who can speak to the importance of automated inventory control, and show the smiles on their faces—that's good stuff.

Next, carefully consider what you have to offer and how you can best deliver that:

  • For a live or recorded business presentation with PowerPoint slides and other rich media elements, try Proclaim (from my firm, Netbriefings).
  • If you just need an easy way to get a video on a Web site and share it with others, try YouTube or Blip.tv.
  • If you want to post a video with clickable "chapter" descriptions so people can jump right to a particularly interesting spot in a longer clip, use a service called Veotag.
  • If you envision a series of related video content—say, an occasional video case study highlighting users of your flagship product—get familiar with the video section of the iTunes Music Store.

You should consider publishing your videos as iPod-ready (or "any other video player"-ready) video podcast files. This helps grow the potential audience for your content, plus it gives your audience the flexibility to take your content with them and consume it when, where, and how they please (and that's not a small point).

When it comes time to shoot and edit, you'll find that there's enough to learn to keep Steven Spielberg busy for a lifetime. I recommend enlisting the help of a professional—or at least someone who has done this stuff before.

But if you're on a tight budget or just want to try your hand at some simple video production, keep the following few tips in mind.

Simple Video Production Tips

  • Get good lighting: Too dark, you'll be fuzzy and hard to see. Too light, you'll be washed out and, again, hard to see. Don't put your subject in front of a window with the sun shining in; you'll never see your subject's face.
  • Don't wear stripes: Have you ever seen those black and white optical illusions where the really-close-together lines get blurry and start swirling? That's what a striped shirt looks like on camera.
  • Pace yourself: If you're trying to get people engaged and interested, kick it up. Put some bouncy music in the background and make tight, quick edits. If you're telling a dramatic story, slow things down and let the emotions flow. If you get bored or uninterested watching your own video, imagine what everyone else will think.
  • It can always be shorter: Whether you're recording a "video voicemail"-type message or producing a planned-out feature video, don't let it drag out. Question the purpose and value of every clip, every sound bite, every transition. Respect your audience's time and value their attention.

* * *

No matter what you do with online video, don't forget that the video is part of your marketing mix, not some standalone project.

Think about how the video will encourage people to visit a Web page, call a salesperson, request more information, or take some other action that you can measure and that contributes to your marketing and sales goals.


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Gary Anderson is the CEO of Netbriefings, a webcasting services provider that helps businesses communicate with video. He can be reached at 651-225-1532 or ganderson@netbriefings.com.

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  • by Jenn O'Meara Tue Jul 15, 2008 via web

    In studies authored by DoubleClick, Google and AOL, audiovisual content was found to drive an engagement rate 4 to 7 times higher than static image and text. Web video marketing is an easy way to engage with an audience, especially if the audiovisual content is integrated with direct calls to action.

    Along with the products mentioned the FLIMP platform is another tool marketers can use to create, distribute and track web video marketing campaigns. The FLIMP platform is extremely effective for direct marketing and communications.

  • by Shana Diana Tue Jul 15, 2008 via web

    I went to the Proclaim site and tried the demo but it didn't work. I am interested in seeing it.

  • by TimFrick Tue Jul 15, 2008 via web

    One other quick production technique to note: a lot of video editing software packages offer simple and easy-to-use titling tools that can really give your video project a slick finish. Make sure to use large, thick (preferably sans serif) fonts when adding titles or type to your video, as compression techniques that make video clips Web-friendly can often also have the added side effect of causing type to break up and become illegible.

    Also, TubeMogul is another great online video distribution resource that can really help with SEO. At Mightybytes, we used Tubemogul (www.tubemogul.com) to distribute our 2008 video and animation demo reel to great success.

  • by Dan Soschin Tue Jul 15, 2008 via web

    A couple other pointers... if you want to show screen captures of things on your monitor, a great tool I use is camtasia studio... it lets you edit video and add voiceover/audio tracks.

    Audio is a big part of the equation, so don't forget about it. For great background music, search for 'royalty free' music on the 'net and you'll find 1000's of tracks you can use for under 50 bucks a pop. You can also find professional voiceover talent that is affordable on sites like dice.com.

    Don't skimp on the bandwidth either... compression kills the quality of audio. If your target demo has broadband, take advantage of it!

  • by Matthew Gonnering Thu Jul 17, 2008 via web

    Great article - video has made the single largest impact in our marketing strategies. We have been able to communicate more clearly with the marketplace while managing customer expectations.

    Once you create the video, however, you create exponentially larger problems with managing and distributing these massive files. We have turned to our digital asset management (DAM) system to manage our newly created video library. We use the embed links functionality to distribute video without copying it into multiple locations. Every time the video is played online, it references the DAM system and plays from there. It is like the YouTube embed links except we don't put everything on YouTube and we can control the quality of the video previews (and don't need to have the YouTube watermark on everything)..

    We use software-as-a-service so it doesn't need internal I.T. resources which has allowed us to scale significantly with a lower total cost of ownership.

  • by Christine Durkin Thu Jul 17, 2008 via web

    We publish solutions-based content for financial clients on behalf of banks. Video is the content vehicle getting the best response, by four to one over print. We combine the video, in link form, with an email containing links to our website, etc. and using eROI, we know exactly who watch what and behaviors they displayed as a result. Great for relevant follow ups to hot prospects.

  • by J Geibel Wed Jul 23, 2008 via web

    Much of this looks like promotions for products - but that's OK - I'm always on the look out for video-related tools.

    That being said, and having produced (primarily broadcast) video for many years - there is a lot more than meets the eye to producing video that is optimized for the web or for marketing purposes - both from technical and creative viewpoints.

    I have to agree with a poster above who suggested getting a video professional involved who has done it before. That will take care of the creative and technical aspects. But then, you also need a marketing video roadmap of sorts: where it is you want to go - how you plan to get there - how much gas is in the tank (budget.)

    Understanding how video will interact with the rest of your marketing program and some basic do's and don'ts will go a long way in the successful implementation of video for marketing. Remember - YouTube is for entertainment - marketing video is for selling.

  • by Marty Martin Wed Jul 23, 2008 via web

    Video is the future of the internet, but as some of these comments have suggested the use of video has already gone far beyond YouTube. I tell our clients that that every website which carries their product should be thought of as a private television station which makes engaging, interative videos about their product or service available in an ON-Demand manner....whether it is one website or thousands of independenet dealers. We are already making that a reality with fast loading, Hi Definition video.
    Remember McCluhan -- the medium is the message. The internet is now a "hot", fast medium. Users want information NOW, in an easy to find and easy to absorb medium, and none is better than video if it is done properly...content is still king, but having better, faster, higher quality video than YouTube and using it to directly engage your website visitors is already available...and its growth is undeniable. Websites that "just sit there are already "old news", and who doesn't imemdately click on the "Skip Intro" button when they encounter a flash intro to a website that was all the rage just a few years ago?

  • by SBL Video Tagging Mon Nov 17, 2008 via web

    Excellent post!
    Thanks for posting this very useful information.
    Regards,
    SBL – Video tagging http://www.saibposervices.com/Video-audio-tagging.aspx

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