When we set up BITWeb.tv six years ago, it was with the aim of making video for business – that’s what the initials stand for ‘Business Internet Television’.
However, the recession meant that a lot of companies simply withdrew from a lot of the activity they’d done before. The purse strings were really tightly drawn. The didn’t want to know about video marketing or anything that would cost them extra. They stuck with what they knew.
Today, there are signs that things might just be improving in the economy. We’ve seen employment and real incomes rising. We’ve seen construction work get under way again. And we’ve seen a plethora of new starts – many encouraged by the universities.
That doesn’t mean that businesses are queueing up to get videos made – but they are starting to show an interest. They’re looking for impartial help and advice about what they need to do. The questions are quite straightforward.
- Can I use my SmartPhone to make video clips? Yes, but get a tripod and clamp to make it stable.
- Can I use a webcam? Only if you use external light to stop the screen making you look like a ghost!
- Do I need an external microphone? Always!
- Should I DIY or buy in the services of a production company? It’s all a question of ‘horses for courses’.
To answer these questions in more detail, we’ve started an online course using webinars. The first free session aimed specifically at accountants (‘Video for Accountants’) has just been held. The next starts on the 1st of May with a paid-for six-part course starting a week later.
It’s all very exciting. Please spread the word.
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?