There’s a secret to making video work for a business — and that’s to put them up online little and often. Think of the “Does it Blend” campaign. There are well over 50 videos on YouTube now, that’s more than one a month since the campaign started. It’s also spawned a whole generation of “spoof” videos as well — which actually work for the company just as effectively. Others are planning the same kind of “drip-drip” approach. There’s a consultancy in Edinburgh which is planning to make 60 30-45 second clips to help them promote their unique business methods. In this online video world, quantity matters just as much as quality. You have to give people a reason for coming back either to your own website or to your YouTube Channel. If you put up a stream of useful, helpful videos, they begin to trust you. The older adage that “Givers get!” works in this market just as much as any other. Think of the people who post helpful comments on relevant forums, without trying to sell anything. They actually end up with more work because they’re giving some of their expertise away. If you’re an expert on something, talk about it, vlog about it and share your knowledge with the world. Follow the KISS principle and do it often.
I’m grateful to Eric Fontaine of HeySpread for pointing out that Tubemogul is not the only tool that lets you upload once and deliver to many video aggregation sites. I thought I’d take a look at what his company has to offer. Like Tubemogul, it’s a subscription service but a low cost one. You buy so many “credits” up front (the minimum purchase is 200 credits which costs all of €10/c£9:40) which then allows you to upload your videos and distribute them. At the moment, there aren’t quite as many sites to send the videos to. But HeySpread makes registering to those sites much easier than TubeMogul and all the key ones (YouTube, Metacafe, MySpace, Yahoo…etc) are there. There are even some I’d never heard of. The most important is TwitVid which lets you share videos on Twitter. It also includes some professional-looking video analytics and apparently exclusive features such as YouClone which lets the user copy/paste YouTube videos to any other platform automatically. I have bought credits and will use the system for our next video. I’ll report on how we get on.
Organisations have differing views on how they want to use their videos. Some want to host them on their own web sites and only to display them there. Others, those with smaller bandwidth on their servers, prefer say the production company to host the videos remotely, but still to give the impression that they’re still within their own domain. Yet others want to link a YouTube video to their own pages. There are reasons for all three approaches. Suppose for instance that you’re an organisation with a large membership that wants to offer videos as part of the membership package. In those circumstances, you’ll want to host the video on your own site, secure behind password protection. Legal, accountancy and other professional groups may fall within this category. By contrast, other organisations may want to limit the people who view the video to their own geographical area, a Chamber of Commerce for instance. They also tend to have limited resources and may prefer the production company to arrange the hosting. The largest group is made up of those who want to tell the world but also want to show what they’re doing on their own website. They upload to YouTube and the other aggregation services but then “share” the videos by embedding the link either on their own pages or through a whole raft of social media sites. The choice is yours.
There’s an excellent book for those people who want to make their own online videos. It’s called “YouTube for Business” by the prolific author, Michael Miller. He’s written this very much for the American market — but everything he says applies worldwide. The book is written in a good clear style and contains loads of helpful information and quality case studies. He deals with everything from the kind of equipment needed to editing software, even how to monetise your YouTube videos (though this is a relatively short chapter). The great thing is that he stresses the importance of using the videos to support your online marketing strategy. At over 260 pages, it’s not a book to read over one Sunday afternoon. But it is one to dip into regularly. It’s not readily available in bookshops in the UK but Amazon and other online suppliers can deliver it very quickly.
By the way, he also practices what he preaches. He has a blog and an interesting YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/trapperjohn2000
I use different computers for video editing, distribution etc and for everything else. I back up my editing PC almost on a daily basis — I’m about to buy my THIRD terrabyte external hard drive. But to my shame, I forgot about the other machine. There are lots of housekeeping chores I do with it on a regular basis. I defrag. I run AdAware checks. I use CCleaner to cleanse the internet temp files and keep the Registry in good order. But somehow, I always put off backing up the main drive and exporting the Outlook and Explorer files. This weekend was salutory. I’d done all of the usual tasks on Friday, run out of time and thought “I’ll do the back-up tomorrow” (having just downloaded loads of important, educational files). Saturday morning came and I tried to boot up the PC — and it wouldn’t!!! It wouldn’t even boot up in “safe” mode. I tried just about everything. Nothing worked. So it was down to our local, excellent PC service depot (DATA in Portobello) on Monday. Thankfully, they found that some of the files in Windows had become corrupted; they were very easy to sort. Here I am, back online with the formerly sick PC. The documents files have been backup up. My Outlook files have as well, as have bookmarks. So for good practice, either employ a company do to it automatically for you or schedule a backup into your diary every week. You know it makes sense.
The video news release (VNR) is a growing market. With cost cutting rife throughout the media, it can be hard to get a camera crew and reporter out to a remote location unless it involves crime, a serious road accident or something like that. Business stories very often don’t make the cut. But the idea of course is to offer it in the hope that it gets picked up by the mainstream broadcast media. For this reason, they have to be made to the standards expected from the BBC, ITN, Sky News etc. When they’re sent out to those organisations, they should offer a number of options for their producers. There should be the finished feature, shot, linked and cut professionally. But you also have to give the broadcaster the chance to put their own voice to the piece (it allows on of their own people to add the station sign-off), so you should include the same feature but without a commentary track. You should also offer interview clips which can be run by themselves, and extracts of location shots from the video – the idea here is at least to let the station have what are known as “wallpaper” shots when a brief summary is being read by a news anchor. But even when the story isn’t used, there is still value to be gained. The VNR can be uploaded to YouTube and placed on your own website. This means that the potential audience is global and not just the area covered by (say) your local ITV company. In such cases, it can include your own web address and other contact information the broadcasters wouldn’t use. And you have to make sure to put enough keywords into the boxes around the story so that Google and other search engines can find it.
The problem with online video is that, although YouTube’s by far the market leader, there are lots of other video aggregation sites out there. There’s Metacafe, Yahoo video, Daily Motion, Vimeo and others – over 20 of them. The simplest way of getting your video out to as many as you want (and there are some, Stupid Videos for instance, you should probably avoid) is by using Tube Mogul. This allows you to upload once and deliver many times. It will even convert your video into the most appropriate format for each site. Not only that, it also provides the analytic tools to let the user see where and how often their videos are watched, track what’s working and measure the impact of marketing campaigns. The basic service is free but you get a lot more from by paying a relatively small fee. This includes how much of the video is actually watched. If you simply use YouTube, it tells you how many people have clicked on the individual feature but not for how long. Research suggests that many online viewers have a quite short attention span. Tube Mogul gives you that kind of detail.