There are other reasons why you should consider online video as part of your PR strategy. You could for instance be wanting to drive traffic to your website. A growing number of online marketing specialists is already doing just that. They make a point of telling you “face to face” how good their new product is before directing you to their landing page. But it’s also good to get other people to say how good the product is so that it’s not just YOUR opinion – after all, you’re biased! This leads to another good reason for making a video – increasing your sales. The two are closely linked but you need to use different measures to work out how effective they’ve been. If you’re after increased traffic, you have to use analytical tools to work out where the traffic’s come from, especially from YouTube. Google’s own analytic tools can help here. Sales are much easier to measure. Just keep an eye on your bank account.
Businesses should never make videos just for the sake of making one or seeing it as a “me too” thing to have. Just because your competitors have videos on their websites or on YouTube does not mean that you have to follow. You must have a reason for doing so. However, there are lots of reasons open to you. For example, all companies need to build their brand image. That’s why they should have a public relations strategy, especially an online one. Third party endorsement is much more powerful than any advertisement. The videos need to support this. The production of video case studies is one way of doing this but there are others. The video news release is an option, not as an alternative to the traditional form but in addition to it. It doesn’t have to be broadcast on the BBC, ITN or Sky to have an impact. The fact that it’s on the web, both on your own website and on YouTube and the other aggregation sites can help boost your profile and your rankings on Google. But, just like PR, you also need to find some way of measuring the impact. The number of views actually doesn’t mean very much since that doesn’t tell you whether you’re meeting your PR targets or not. It probably means doing some market research and finding out from customers where they say the information and the impact it had on them. But then, you’re doing that anyway, aren’t you?
I’ve been using Pinnacle Studio (part of Avid) as my video editing software for about three years now. I originally bought it becase I had to transfer material in a hurry from old VHS tapes (remember them???) and that was the simplest solution. I got used to the layout etc and, although I tried other solutions, none of them seemed to work so easily. However, I downloaded the latest version yesterday morning. The layout was different but nothing too complex. There were aspects which were actually easier to use. But when I started to edit video shot for a client the day, I discovered that certain features had changed dramatically. The facility for adding captions for instance wasn’t anything like the previous versions. And of course I’d downloaded the software so the manual was online rather than in my hand (sometimes a book is so much simpler to use than a screen). So the lesson is — don’t use a new version of a program when you’ve a project to complete in a hurry. It’s not good for the blood pressure!
Final thought for this week. IT’S OFFICIAL!!! The McKinsey Quarterly’s “Global Survey”, a universally trusted organ I would hope, reports that, when it comes to the the benefits of using a range of the new “Web 2.0” tools, video comes close to the top. Having surveyed a host of companies, it found blogs to be the most useful – 51% of responding companies worldwide said they produced measurable benefits, followed by video-sharing and social networking, at 48%. More details can be found here Article on the McKinsey Report
Is there a difference between a traditional corporate video and one made with online in mind? The answer is almost certainly “yes” but how many organisations appreciate it? The traditional model is expensive; you probably need a minimum budget of £20,000+! It’s also much longer than anything anyone would tolerate watching online – some are over 10 minutes long. With “made for online”, you are talking about having to spend hundreds rather than thousands of pounds. And the videos have to be short – no more than 3 minutes long at most. But how many organisations still think they can have a “one size fits all” video made for them. Should they really be thinking about using the same feature-length piece for the AGM, for a presentation to staff and for YouTube? Or should they be looking at buying “horses for courses” and tailoring their video to the audience they have in mind?
This morning’s session at 4Networking was really interesting. For those who haven’t come across it, it’s a business network with a difference. For a start, everyone gets the chance to make an “elevator pitch” to the room and, after breakfast, there are 10 minute one-to-one sessions with other members who want to find out more about you…or vice versa. What was fascinating was the number of smaller firms who are wanting to get a video presence on the Web, either for their own websites or through YouTube. Financial services, training, personal coaching – they’re all moving rapidly to the decision that they need to adopt this new form of marketing. Why? Because they recognise that, if potential clients can see and hear them before a first meeting, they’ve a better chance of turning them into actual clients.
What’s the value in making an online video? Making one for its own sake seems a pretty pointless exercise. Simply putting it up on a company’s own website also seems fairly ineffective. Can you get real commercial value from a video? Some companies have proved it can be done. The latest figures suggest that the Does It Blend? YouTube campaign has received something like 32m views and is claimed to have increased Blendtec sales by 500%.
So where does video fit in the corporate promotional mix in the UK? Does it sit as part of a firm’s online PR strategy? Should it lie with marketing… or advertising? As mentioned before, the straight advertising approach doesn’t really work as the online viewer doesn’t seem to like the hard sell in any form. That tends to suggest that video should be seen as part of the PR or marketing budget and the producers should therefore be sitting alongside those teams, delivering the strategy. Do you agree?
Sticking with the property market, how well are property developers marketing, not necessarily the actual buildings, but the innovative technology they’re now adopting? A company like Mactaggart & Mickel has some excellent videos – but at the moment, they’re on DVD rather than online. That company is one of several now building most of a new house – or even block of flats – in their factory and then taking hours rather than days to put them up on site (Deeside Timberframe and Scotframe come to mind as well). Shouldn’t they have videos up showing what they’re doing, rather than have (as happened at a recent housing conference) the Housing Minister say we needed to import the technology from Scandinavia? Shouldn’t the architects be telling the world about the novel ideas they’re coming up with, knowing what local firms can do? The Scots companies are just as innovative, just as efficient – but almost invisible it seems. How can we change that?
The property market should be an obvious one when it comes to using video. But why do so many firms in the market still use static photographs when they can walk potential clients through a house, an office or warehouse? Are any (many) of the Solicitors’ Property Centres or estate agents using it? The housing market’s been depressed for months, so what’s the best way of encouraging potential bidders to view? Might the same be true of the home rental market? A lot of people rent when moving to a new area or when they’re moved by their employer into a new city for a fixed time. Wouldn’t it help them to make up their minds from a distance – at least in selecting the ones they want to view when they arrive? There’s also a growing number of “workspaces” for small firms – one thinks of the Waterfront at Telford College or the Strathmore Business Centres (both in Edinburgh). Shouldn’t they promote their services through a combination of video walk-through and case studies with satisfied customers?
How many professionals in Scotland are using online video? Research from the US (OK, it’s a different market but what they do today, we may do tomorrow) suggests that having video on a website greatly speeds up the consumers’ decision when choosing a lawyer. Has anyone on this side of the Atlantic found the same? Have they even tried yet? Very often, the American attorneys are not making a direct pitch – they’re using video to educate people about their area of expertise. Have many (any) solicitors or advocates (or even solicitor-advocates) thought about doing the same? One US legal marketing expert (Larry Bodine) claimed video was “…a great opportunity to present how you look, how you talk, what you’re like, and make yourself more attractive to clients. It’s a great business-getting technique.” Is this a universal truth – or just one for the US legal market?