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More companies are using online video to boost their marketing outreach, and with good reason. Customers are now using video to educate themselves on products and services before they buy, and that extends across both the consumer and business-to-business markets.

One survey by Eccolo Media in 2011 found that buyers of technology products ranked video third behind only brochures/data sheets and whitepapers as the type of content they consume most frequently when evaluating a purchase. Video, in fact, got a higher response rate than case studies, which suggests just how valuable the medium has become.

The more companies pick up on the video marketing trend, the more information becomes available on which video tactics produce the best results and which technologies drive the greatest efficiencies.

Here are tech tips and tricks from five companies that are making online video work for them. By learning from the experiences of these first movers, the marketing industry as a whole can increase the effectiveness of its video use and improve online video marketing results.

1. Use search-within technology

According to search engine optimization (SEO) experts, a video is 50 times more likely to get a first-page Google ranking than a text page. There's more to search than SEO, however.

Using search-within technology, the Kansas City Chiefs let users search inside team videos based on their spoken contents. For recorded press conferences, that means football fans and team staff can skip to specific topics at will, reviewing and promoting statements made by players and coaches.

The Kansas City Chiefs use this feature to highlight key quotes and insights into team play, but the semantic search function has plenty of other applications as well. Marketers can use search-inside technology to promote individual products, engage audiences with interactive capabilities, and support sales recommendation engines.

2. Use an RSS feed for distribution

Video marketing works best when you can take advantage of multiple distribution channels. In addition to streaming its content, the horse auction company Fasig-Tipton uses a really simple syndication (RSS) feed to publish racing videos to iTunes for download.

Potential horse buyers can download and store videos locally on computers and mobile devices. That helps them assess whether a horse is well-balanced when it moves, whether it has any flaws that could hinder its success on the track, and even whether it's predisposed to injury. Offering video of a horse—running on a track or even walking in the stable area—provides a vital piece of visual data for buyers.

Meanwhile, the RSS feed also allows racing partners to embed groups of videos on their own sites to share with their members. By making video easy to share, Fasig-Tipton gains greater exposure for its horses and keeps audiences educated ahead of the latest auctions.

3. Make the most of your metadata

The sports equipment manufacturer SKLZ publishes videos on its site to help teach prospective customers how to become better athletes.

To organize these videos effectively, the company has added custom metadata tags to each clip highlighting the associated sport and the product number of the training equipment featured. Visitors can browse the entire SKLZ library or use a simple keyword search to pull up playlists of instructional videos. These metadata keywords help with search engine optimization as well, adding information about videos that can be picked up when search engines crawl the Web.

Metadata tags also allow SKLZ to suggest content that is relevant to a particular video segment. SKLZ includes information about any product featured with each clip, but it also offers recommendations for further exploration through topic-specific tags. For example, a visitor can click on "defense" or "fielding" to access more how-to videos and related product demos. With such recommendations, SKLZ encourages user engagement and longer browsing times.

4. Enable CMS integration

Video isn't the only type of content that publishers host online, but many content management systems (CMSs) don't support video natively. Media, research, and event company e.Republic, which focuses on state and local government markets as well as the education market and publishes GOVERNING and Government Technology magazines, found a solution to that problem in selecting an online video platform (OVP) that would integrate with its backend CMS.

Although e.Republic keeps separate databases for different content types, it can still sync content online via integration of its OVP and CMS. The backend solution helps e.Republic maintain control of its multiple content libraries without sacrificing the quality or quantity of that content for its many audiences.

In fact, by combining systems, e.Republic has created an integrated workflow for online publishing. The combined service platform enables more frequent content updates, better content targeting and re-use, and a higher-quality, more engaging Web experience for e.Republic site visitors.

5. Ensure high-quality performance

The popular South by Southwest (SXSW) show held every year in Austin, Texas, is well known for its focus on interactive media. Desiring to reach a larger audience, the SXSW team decided in 2011 to stream content live from the conference to fans globally.

The team was concerned about online traffic spikes, however, and the potentially negative impact of heavy usage on the quality of its video streams. To ensure a high-quality experience, the SXSW crew bundled content delivery network services with its selection of an online video platform. Content delivery services help accelerate video delivery and ensure that as many fans as possible can enjoy the show from afar.

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Tech Video Handshake)

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Edgardo Nazario is vice-president and general manager for Limelight Video Platform at Limelight Networks Inc., which provides tools for managing, publishing, and syndicating videos online and is part of a suite of Limelight's integrated cloud-based services that also include Web content management, website acceleration, mobile distribution, and content delivery.