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The Importance of Balancing Function and Form in Video Production

  
  
  

Function versus formAs Steve Hall says in, Why Function Trumps Forms in inbound Marketing Creative, advertising is a blend of art and commerce. It's art because it needs to make a compelling, emotional connection with an audience. It's commerce because, at the end of the day, it needs to sell product.

However, in advertising and marketing the obsession with being creative can often mean ignoring the most important objective of all - to sell.  Advertising agencies will win coveted prizes for having the most creative and beautifully produced ads, but the ads absolutely bomb when it comes to selling.  I don't know about you, but as a business owner, I really don't care if I make an ad that wins a prestigious advertising award, all I care is that it makes me some money (covering the cost of the ad is a start, but I'd want a lot more than that to deem the ad successful).

Being able to design something that is both beautiful and functional is a very difficult task.  This is because most people are either left or right brain centric.

In the book, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, he compared both the left and right hemispheres of the brain and discussed that you need to include both hemispheres when creating anything new, as this is where magic happens.  

Look to the Left

The left hemisphere is rational, linear, logical and analytical.  It likes to analyses details.  Those who are more L-directed thinkers are accountants, lawyers and engineers.

Look to the Right

While the right hemisphere is instinctive, empathetic, understands context (the left brain handles what is said, while the right focuses on how it's said), non verbal and emotional cues. It sees the big picture.  Those who are more R-directed in their thinking are entertainers, artists, designers and counsellors.

Get it all together

Both sides work together - but they have different specialties.

The left hemisphere knows how to handle logic and the right hemisphere knows about the world.  Put them together and you have a powerful thinking machine.  Get them to work separately and life becomes, well one-sided and a little strange.

Steve Jobs - A Master in Merging Left and Right

Steve Jobs, one of the original founders of Apple was an extraordinary man, responsible for some of the most innovative technology over the last 30 years.

In a 1996 interview with Wired magazine he said "Design is a funny word.  Some people think design means how it looks.  But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works.  The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it.  Primarily, it was how it worked.  To design something really well, you have to get it.  You have to really get what it's about.  It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it.  Most people don't take the time to do that".

What Steve Jobs understood is that while design is all about aesthetics and that a computer or iPod has to look good (which most electronic companies struggle with), it also has to work exceptionally well and improve the customer experience.

This is why so many creative industries get it wrong when they need to merge the need for commerce with design.  Website agencies, graphic designers and video production agencies are all guilty in this respect.

Referring back to book, A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink, he mentions that design is a whole-minded approach that is a combination of utility (function, left brained) and significance (form, right brained).  For example, a graphic designer needs to create a brochure that people find easy to read (left directed thinking as it's utility).  But at it's most effective the brochure must also transmit ideas or emotions that the words themselves cannot convey (or right brained thinking).

The Perils with Lower Cost Video Production

The function versus form is  a major issue with video production agencies.  Too often, companies will chose the lower priced production agency, not realising that they have just chosen technical ability over the ability to communicate the information in a powerful way (and often technical ability is particularly poor because there is still a remarkable difference in camera and editing quality).  Or they have selected on creative ability, not realising that a heavy emphasis on creativity means you've just said goodbye to clear communication.  Just because you have a video, doesn't mean it will work.

In this day and age of home video cameras and low priced editing software, a lot of people can film and edit (left-brained skills).  Of course, even if they have mastered both these skills, being able to convey an emotionally engaging story is an entire different skill all together (right-brained skill).

As the owner of a video production house, I've worked with a lot of camera operators and editors.  Just because someone says they're an editor, doesn't mean they are particularly good at it.  More often than not, even if they have the technical skills (left-brained), they usually aren't very good at putting a story together (right-brained).  In these cases, they have to be fully directed by a right-brained centric director.

Consider training videos.  At its most basic level, a training video is made by filming and editing relevant content for training.  But at it's most effective, a great training video uses great filming and editing techniques that are centred on how to improve the learning experience of the viewer.  Content is created that focuses on improving understanding.  As Steve Jobs would say, it's about really getting what it's about.  This means the video production company works really hard on ensuring that viewers will be able to learn.  It's a real balance between function and form.  Get it wrong and you've just wasted your money by producing a boring training video that doesn't teach.

Truly great videos are a combination of both left brained technical ability and right brained emotional communication.  The majority of video production companies focus on one or the other.

At Digicast, we focus on both.  By combining professionally filmed camera vision, with expert editing and a script that focuses on right brained style communication, we manage to balance function and form.  Read more about how we improve training and marketing outcomes, on our case study page.



How to use Video in Your Customer Buying Cycle

  
  
  

As a marketer, you are hopefully aware that offering lots of different educational content to your prospects makes them feel that you’re not just trying to sell them stuff.

This elevates you into the importance space of being recognised as a trusted advisor. It’s all about giving, rather than just getting.

It's important to understand your audience, so that you can create highly relevant and specific content, which they perceive as high quality.

So how do you work out what types of content to provide for your prospects?

Companies that are best in class when it comes to engaging and connecting with their target audience produce video (and other relevant content) matched to their customer buying cycle.

Essentially, a customer buying or purchase process is a fairly standard progression that organisations follow when they are purchasing a product or service.

The difference is that prospects require different types of content, as they go through the cycle.

buying cycle model

Let's take a look at each stage in the buying cycle and what video content is suitable:

Awareness - This is when the prospect becomes aware that they have a problem.  At this stage, they start investigating what they can do to solve it.  It's important to get get found through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) with keywords that your prospect will use to solve their problems.  Video can be used effectively here as it's so powerful for SEO.

Research - This is when the client delves into research trying to work out what to do.  This is when they watch how-to videos and industry expert video interviews.  They also download whitepapers and read articles that given them information on how to solve their issue.

Comparison -Now, that they have all the information they need the prospect undertakes detailed analysis between your solution and your competitor's.  They also look to find how credible you are in the marketplace (to decrease their risk).  This is when they watch video testimonials from your customers, product demonstration videos and are interested in reading your case studies, brochures, price estimates and ROI Calculator.  This is when they will check you out on social media and request a free trial.

Purchase- Hooray - the prospect has made the final decision and is now your customer.  Time to onboard them.  Provide them with videos on implementation of best practices and training videos (on how to best use your product/service).

Retention  - The hard work is not over.  It's important to keep reaching out to your customer and help them better understand your product or software.  Hopefully, after experiencing your product or service, they come back & order more.  Provide post sales support videos, Q&A, newsletters and encourage them to spread the word on social media.

By creating video that matches your customer buying cycle, you help customers easily understand how you can help them and hopefully, create a strong bond so that they stay with you for a long time.

What video content can you create for your customer buying cycle?

 

How to measure the success of your online video

  
  
  

measuring online videosAs an ex-market researcher who has been making marketing and training videos for the last 12 years, I'm very excited that finally, we can measure the success of a video online. 

Whereas 10 years ago, we'd make a VHS and hand it over to the client, our clients would judge the video success based on how they looked in the video or how staff felt about it.  Very few judged it on how it increased sales or improved training outcomes (which were all a bit too hard for them to measure).

The beauty with online videos is that there are now a tonne of ways to measure whether it has met your objectives.  Here is the range of ways you can measure the return on investment of your marketing video:

Content & Context

How long are people watching it for (are most viewers passing the half way mark?)

How are the results compared to previous videos?  Can you work out why there is an improvement or a decline?

What social channels are sharing the most?

What types of comments is it generatng?

How many people are sharing/forwarding the video?

Demand Generation

Are people signing up to be a member, newsletter subscriber or joining social media channels?

Have the keywords in the video improved SEO?

How many purchases/enquiries have occurred (pre v. post)?

Has it decreased questions to the sales team?

Has there been an increase in direct traffic to your website?

Has it increased the number of inbound links?

Has it increased the number of potential employees wanting to work with you?

Has it increased search brand awareness?

And while I find it kind of exciting that there are now so many wonderful ways to measure whether a marketing video has actually made a difference to our client, there's now an even bigger problem than no measurement tools being available.

That is because there are so many measurements, it's easy to think they are all important or to focus on metrics that really have very little influence on improving your business.  Metrics such as pageviews, unique visitors, conversion rates, number of Twitter or Facebook followers and email newsletter open rates might pass as an interesting touchstone of how you are perfoming, but they are not important by themselves.  These are the most common false idols of analytics.  They're what Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, calls "vanity metrics." 

Vanity metrics might make you feel good when they're rising, but they flunk the "So what?" test.  Before rushing to your CEO that you have over a million Facebook fans, hold yourself back and ask "So what?".  The truth is that the number of products that have been purchased by your Facebook fans is a more impressive metric.  The same is with the number of people who have opened your latest email newsletter.  How many of them contacted your company for new information or purchased your product?

Remember that content helps achieve business objectives, not content objectives.  It's boils down to what actions your market took, rather than how much content you're producing.

The most important metrics are your "core metrics". Essentially, these are the most valuable metrics that measure the success of your core business.

These are:

  1. Relevant revenue - is it working towards increasing sales in the area it is promoting.
  2. Sales volume - is it increasing the number of units sold or active subscriptions?  It needs to provide proof that enough people want to buy what you're selling.
  3. Customer retention - is it increasing the amount of new customers? Make sure it is not hiding large old customer losses. 
  4. Relevant growth - can you find a traceable pattern that show the actions of your existing customers creates new customers? That's what Ries calls an "engine of growth."  When your online actions create a self-sustaining business model that continues to pull in new customers.

These metrics are valuable because they measure success at your core business. 

The second type of metrics to note are "actionable metrics".  By following these, you know where you need to take action.  They don't mean success by themselves, rather they alert you to where you need to improve. They demonstrate cause and effect, giving you a good idea of what to do next. This all depends upon your business and your goals. 

As Ivory Madison says in the article Why your Social Media Metrics are a Waste of Time, figuring out whether a number is a vanity metric requires analysis of your particular business.  Social media is a big-picture, interdisciplinary concept that covers an evolving set of digital methods through which stakeholders interact. These methods can become major marketing channels, customer-service delivery channels, and new ways of gathering intelligence.  Internally, your team can use social technologies to share information, build relationships, and get work done. Much of this is profoundly important, yet intangible.  Intangibles are the enemy of actionable metrics.

So the next time somebody asks to look at the success of your company video, make sure you give them numbers that pass the "so what?" test.

 

 


 

    How to Develop Video Stories for your Company

      
      
      

    Video_storiesSavvy content marketers know that to engage their prospective audience they need to create emotionally engaging information.  Story-telling is an increasingly becoming an important skill for marketers (and if you want to tell stories to better engage your staff refer to How to find the right stories for your company).

    If you are like most business people, you most probably believe that to promote your product or service, you need to talk about all the benefits/features.  With this mindset, it is hard to come up with any interesting stories behind industrial sifting equipment, spray tan machines or even accounting services for that matter.

    Yet, there are stories behind everything.  It's just a matter of learning to see them.

    As the saying goes "facts tell, stories sell". So instead of pelting your potential customers with facts, it's time to start gently enveloping them with a fine mist of how your product relates to the world and them.

    Stories help people accept information in a non-judgmental way.  They are ideal to use if nobody seems to care (sounds harsh, doesn't it?).  But done well they will create buy-in and springboard people to act.

    To find the right company stories, you need to put on your story-finding hat.  Be open to them and you'll be surprised by what you might find.

    The Hero Quest - Your Customer's Hero Journey

    Starting with your customer's problem is a great way for viewers to focus on issues that they can relate to, while setting up a context for how your solution can help them.  It's also an ideal way to show that you understand the customer experience.

    In fact, research has found that by starting with the problem, then offering the solution, is a highly effective sales process.

    In terms of creating a video, begin by introducing the 'hero' or your customer.  The story can be broken down into a typical hero plot:

    1. The customer experiencing a problem (the hero's challenge)
    2. The customer finds a solution (introduce your product and service and demonstrate how the problem is solved)
    3. The customer is rewarded for their search (cue benefits, statistics on how many people the product or service has helped etc).

    The storyboard format forces you to tell the story from the customer's perspective and it explains the emotional or actual physical payoff they will receive.

    It is a very flexible story format that can show a "hero/customer" or just be explained with a voiceover.  Either way it's a winning formula that we have been using to create our client's videos for over 10 years.

    2. A Tale of Romance

    We all know this typical story plot of boy meets girl, boy or girl faces a challenge, boy nearly loses girl (cue rival) to end with boy and girl living happily ever after.

    In a marketing sense, this story can be told by:

    1. Customer finds your product or service online
    2. A rival comes along with what they think is a better offer
    3. Customer is confused, but your product or service saves the day.

    A tricky one to convince senior management that this is the video style for them, but a great one to use for adventurous people who want to create a remarkable angle for their video story.

    3. Include a real-life story 

    Make your content meaningful for your audience by including the story of a real person who is affected by your product or service. 

    Having video content of your customers talking about their experience with your offering is far more credible than if you were just to talk about how great you are. 

    Your story can be told by:

    • The issue they were facing
    • Why they decided to go with you
    • How the process went
    • The results (interspersed with who they recommend it to and why).
    Telling stories doesn't have to be difficult.  What meaningful stories can your company tell?

    Why Creating Engaging Video Content is more Important than "Going Viral"'

      
      
      

    Viral_VideoViral videos are everywhere.

    All a marketer has to do is visit YouTube and see a whole lot of videos that are racking up the views and increasing sales for companies.

    The truth of the matter is that having a viral video hit is such a difficult thing to do. In fact, of all of the videos that YouTube play only a tiny, tiny percentage ever go viral.

    When you consider that a staggering 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, every minute, then you can appreciate that YouTube looks for videos that attract a lot of “eyeballs” within the first 24-48 hours of being uploaded.

    Due to the sheer quantity of videos YouTube receives there are a lot of, well, not so great videos.  YouTube is on the lookout for great quality videos that they can showcase to visitors by placing them on their “Recommended” list.  They judge this by looking out for new videos that generate a big spike in viewership.  These lucky videos get preferential VIP list placement.  If your goal is to get a lot of people to view your video, then this is the list you want to be on. 

    The popularity of your video (which is the number of views) is a crucial factor in how well your video will rank in search results.

    A lot of marketers put down having a "viral video" as one of their marketing tactics.  It's almost like saying that you're going to have a number one music hit by Easter.  It's remarkably hard to do, even harder, if you've never tried making a viral video before.

    In the book, The Long Tail by Chris Anderson he points out that hits are almost like freaks of nature.  Yet,  music or movies that aren't very popular make up the long tail and they can still be profitable over the long term (for companies who can conglomerate everything together - think Amazon).

    And it's the long term that is important here.

    According to Pixability, when it comes to using website videos effectively top marketers publish 11 x more videos on YouTube.

    Essentially, to be successful with online video, you need to create videos and lots of it.

    As Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen wrote in Great by Choice, excellent companies try a lot of things to see what sticks.  They fire lots of “bullets” using a low risk strategy that involves minimal expense.

    They then analyse the results of all the bullets to see what has worked.  The winner is then granted more resources resulting in the firing of one great big "cannonball" in an area that has been proven to work.

    It’s the same when you start creating videos.  Don’t create one video and hope that it will be the one (using up all your marketing video budget).  Get out there and create a range of videos, then analyse the results to see what types of videos works for you.  Then, you can put more budget into what you know is working.

    As Tom Fishburne wrote in the Content Marketing Institute Blog, he learnt the power of publishing multiple cartoons as opposed to just one.  Twelve years ago. he began publishing a weekly marketing cartoon on the web.   While he now has an audience of 100,000 marketers, he's realised that it's the power that comes from the full collection and the viewers who tune in weekly for the next cartoon.

    And it's the same for one of the greatest viral marketing success stories on YouTube.  Orabrush is the maker of a tongue scraper.  Definitely not what you would call a sexy product, yet their YouTube channel has been seen 48 million times.  This isn't because of one viral hit, rather their success is credited to their weekly webisodes - "Diary of a Dirty Tongue".

    If you're a B2B marketer, or even B2C, be careful about thinking that you have to go viral with your video to get success.  The reality is that YouTube is a great resource to get a lot of video views if that is how your business model works.  It's ideal at creating instant revenue for music artists (such as the Gangnam Style video where PSY makes money through ads shown on his Youtube channel, ad rates vary depending on what country it is played in), any ad revenue from songs that parody his tune on YouTube and directing people to iTunes (to get download revenue).  Likewise, it's ads on YouTube that bring in the money for YouTube celebrities that have their own channel for educating about make up etc.

    So if you're business model is to sell your product or service (as opposed to making revenue from YouTube ads), then it's not so much about the number of views, but engagement.  Rather than focusing on producing one viral hit think of producing a series of videos related to your product or service.

     

    How to Improve your Website by Optimising Online Videos

      
      
      

    online_video_strategyIf you've ever uploaded a video online and it didn't give you the results you wanted or you are new to publishing online video content and want to know the right way to go about it, then this article outlines the important steps involved.

    Using Video to Improve SEO

    The fact that you are reading this information means that you know how important the internet is for getting prospects to find your company.  You probably also know that website designers like to talk about a mystical voodoo science called “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO” that helps you get to the first page on Google search results.

    In general, the higher and more frequently your website ranks on the search results page, the more traffic you will receive from the search engines.  Therefore, the more opportunities to convert prospects into customers.

    One of the secrets behind achieving high search engine rankings, is to optimise and promote high quality video content on your website.  Mainly because there is less video content out there to compete with (unlike web pages which massively outnumber video assets), it can be relatively easier to achieve a high position on Google than just by optimising web pages.

    After all:

    • Websites that contain video hold a viewer’s attention for more than two minutes longer than sites without video content. This is very valuable, as visitor time on your website is one factor that can boost search rankings (Source: ComScore).
    • More than half of senior executives share videos with colleagues at least weekly and receive work-related videos just as often (Source: Forbes Insight Study).
    • Videos are 53 times more likely to receive an organic first page ranking than traditional text pages (Source: Forrester Research).
    • Videos produce a 41% higher click through rate than plain text results (Source: Aimclear).

    The Importance of Buyer-Centric Video Content

    Creating content is now one of the most important aspects of a marketer’s job.  Valuable content is what search engines and people are looking for.

    Whether you’re creating a whitepaper, blog article or a video, it’s critical that you provide helpful, educational information to your prospects.

    It’s no longer about creating product-centric content, but buyer-centric content that will encourage viewers to share. 

    When creating engaging video content, it’s important to leverage video’s unique power to tell stories.  Tell narratives that demonstrate that you understand the customer experience enabling them to emotionally connect to your company.  Remember, “facts tell, stories sell”.

    The Importance of a Video Promotion Strategy

    Once your video is made, it’s now more important than ever to have your video promotional strategy all ready to go, before you even upload your video to the Internet.

    When you consider that a staggering 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, every minute, then you can appreciate that YouTube looks for videos that attract a lot of “eyeballs” within the first 24-48 hours of being uploaded.

    If your video goal is to get it ranking highly on YouTube, then you need to have your video promotional strategy all set to go, once your video is live, so that YouTube is more likely to notice you from all the lovely views that your video is receiving.  But even if you’re not interested on being easily found on YouTube, you will still need to spend time promoting your video.

    Ensure that you:

    • Research - what keywords your customers use to find solutions for their problems and make sure that you create your video around these search terms. 
    • Optimise – Think of video optimisation as a way to help Google and your prospective customers, easily find your video and understand why it is suitable for them.  Optimising your video is all about correctly filling out metadata with the keywords that you want to rank on. This is the information that surrounds your video such as title, tags, description and thumbnail. YouTube and Google read this information to help index the video for search, features, related videos and ad-serving.  Basically, the best optimised videos get the highest search engine rankings.
    • Promote – Share your online video with as many people as you can.  Suggestions include relevant industry blogs, the media and any appropriate stakeholders.  Make sure all of your followers on social media are aware of your video.  Promote your video link to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Stumbleupon etc.  Create an email marketing campaign and promote your new video to your database.  As soon as your video is uploaded, reach out to everyone with your video link.
    • Analyse - Creating video content is about achieving business goals, rather than content objectives. It’s all about getting prospects to take action whether that’s to download a report or sign up as a new customer. Before you even start your video, work out what goals you want the video to achieve.  After all, you don’t want to be good at creating video content, you want to be great at marketing your business through creating video content.  Measure your video success to help your improve your next video creation.

    Video content is no longer aspirational for companies, but part of a well thought out marketing plan.  But just creating a video is not enough.  Neither is creating one video and hoping that it will be a hit.  It’s now increasingly important to spend a lot of time planning how to create a range of website video content for your audience as well as correctly optimising and promoting your video.

    Getting this right will elevate you to the coveted thought leader position within your industry and also drive lots of traffic to your website for many, many years.

     

     

     

    Announcing Free Report: 5 Steps to Creating a Successful Online Marketing Video

      
      
      

    online_marketing_video_reportWhether you're just getting started with video marketing or you just want to brush up on the basics, this free report can serve as your essential guide for implementing an online marketing video strategy, step by step.

    Melbourne, Australia (30 November, 2012) – Digicast Productions, a video production agency, today launched a free 12 page report titled ‘5 Steps to Creating a Successful Online Marketing Video’, that provides information on how to create and promote your video for internet success.  It’s designed specifically for marketing professionals, business development managers and business owners, who want to take their online video to the next level.

     “This extensive report provides marketers with the information they need to best work out how to use video effectively for their company,” explained Marie-Claire Ross, Digicast’s Principal Consultant.  She continued, “It’s no longer about just creating an online marketing video, it’s also about how to promote your marketing video correctly.  This report is chock full of tips and tricks, as well as providing enough evidence to supply to a critical board about the need for an online video”.

    In this report, you will learn:

    • The importance of video SEO and why video is so powerful at getting you to the top of the search engine rankings.
    • How top marketers use online video to increase prospect engagement.
    • Why creating educational, valuable video content is the key to your strategy.
    • 3 types of video concepts to consider.
    • A 5 step online marketing video strategy.

    Being an expert video marketer is not about being good at creating video content, it’s about being great at marketing your business through creating video content.

    This comprehensive report will teach you how to create the right video, but more importantly how to promote it.  After all, it’s not just making a video that’s important, it’s also about how you support it that ensures it gets viewed and shared by a large audience.

    For those interested in getting their free report, visit: http://www.digicast.com.au/online-marketing-video-report

    About Digicast Productions

    Established in 1991, Digicast is a video production agency that specialises in both internal and external communication.  Our video communication programs work to improve your marketing video and video promotional efforts, change behavior from aligning staff with your culture, launching new initiatives and training staff to keep them safe and productive.  For more information, visit Digicast at www.digicast.com.au/online_video_marketing or The Marketing Video blog for weekly marketing video tips.

    Contact Marie-Claire Ross
    Digicast Productions
    + 61 3 9696-4400
    mc@digicast.com.au

    ###

    How to create a Video Promotional Strategy for YouTube

      
      
      

    YouTube_promotional_strategyIf getting a lot of views on YouTube is your goal, then you need to promote your YouTube link, in as many places as possible, as quickly as possible.

    When you consider that a staggering 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, every minute, then you can appreciate that YouTube looks for videos that attract a lot of “eyeballs” within the first 24-48 hours of being uploaded.

    Due to the sheer quantity of videos YouTube receives there are a lot of, well, not so great videos.  YouTube is always on the lookout for great quality videos that they can showcase to visitors by placing them on their “Recommended” list.  They judge this by looking out for new videos that generate a big spike in viewership.  These lucky videos get preferential VIP list placement.  If your goal is to get a lot of people to view your video, then this is the list you want to be on. 

    It's critical to plan how you will undertake your YouTube video marketing, in order to get your video watched, by as many people as possible.  This is simply because the popularity of your video (which is the number of views) is a crucial factor in how well your video will rank in search results.

    This reinforces the importance of having your whole video promotional strategy ready to go, before uploading your video on YouTube.

    YouTube Video Marketing Strategies

    Before you launch you video, start preparing the following:

    • Getting other industry blogs and online directories to promote the YouTube link or embed the video into their sites (let them know what it's about and why they'd be interested).
    • Promoting the link to your own social media followers such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Slideshare, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.  And encouraging them to share or “like”.
    • Producing a press release and distributing online (eg: PRWeb). 
    • Making sure you put your video on the home page of you website to increase views and rankings in Google (but avoid having it on your website too many times, as Google will penalize you, unless you change the title and keywords).
    • Promoting your new video to your database/customers through an email campaign.
    • Embedding the video on your blog.
    • Using images from the video on your website, with keywords that mention your video, so that Google Images will index them.
    • Making sure your comments are enabled to encourage user engagement, hopefully the comments will include variations of your keywords to help lift your ranking.
    • Enabling social sharing icons on your website to encourage sharing of your video.
    • Allow viewers to access embed code easily, so that they can embed your video on their Facebook page, blog etc.
    • Encouraging your staff to send out the video link to their clients and friends through social media.

    Too often, companies spend money to produce the video, forgetting (or not even realising) how much time and effort is required to promote your video.

    By making sure your utilise some of these tactics, as soon as you've got your video uploaded, you will ensure that you increase the flow of traffic to your YouTube channel.  Thereby, maximising the exposure of your company video.

    Image Credit: Flickr, Jeffrey Beall

    3 Key Questions to Ask for Online Video Success

      
      
      

    online_video_questionsConsidering that video is so powerful at driving traffic to your website and can be shared around, it’s important to do some initial preparation work before you even start writing your online video script. 

    According to research undertaken by Pixability:

    • 30-40% of video views are from search queries,
    • 30% are social sharing (eg: blogs, Twitter),
    • while the remaining video views are from those who stumbled over your video on your website.

    With that in mind, important areas to spend some time researching and developing include:

    1. Customer Problems

    Creating content is now one of the most important aspects of a marketer’s job.  Valuable content is what search engines and people are looking for. 

    Engaging, original video content increases your search engine ranking, drives visitors to your website, and then turns prospects into leads.

    According to the Forbes Insight Study, more than half of senior executives share videos with colleagues at least weekly and receive work-related videos just as often.

    Of course, getting people to share your video isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Sharing occurs when you produce content that helps customers.  They then pass the video onto others.  After all, would you bother sharing a “We’re a wonderful company video” to your boss?  Of course, you wouldn’t!  She would think you’re insane and your high hopes of promotion would be irrevocably dashed.  However, if it was a “Here’s how to solve your incredibly difficult business problem video”, then showing her that video makes you look good and in need of urgent promotion.

    To encourage sharing, think about:

    1. What is the biggest problem our customers have that we can provide information?
    2. What keywords will give us the most traction?  What related keywords are people using in YouTube?
    3. What trends are influencing their business success?
    4. How can we solve their problems and get them to connect with us?
    5. What are our customer buying triggers?

    2. Highlighting Problems

    1. Where in the buying cycle can this video be used?  What information are our customers looking for at this stage of the cycle?
    2. What sort of video content would our audience watch?  What has worked before?
    3. What would make our customers share our content?

    3. Promotional Strategy

    1. Who else would be willing to promote the video?
    2. What publishing platforms work well for our audience? (eg: YouTube, Slideshare)
    3. What social media channels can we leverage?
    4. What other offer can we give people who watch the video, in order to collect leads?  Or, is the content valuable enough to ask for lead information?
    5. How can we encourage people to create an inbound link to our video?
    6. How can we develop a plan, so that we promote our video as timely as possible in a short time period?

    In this day and age, creating a video for the sake of creating a video is not enough.  By planning and researching, before you even begin creating your video will ensure that it gets promoted the right way to increase its reach.

    Image Credit: Flickr, Horia Varlan

    6 Steps to Creating popular online videos

      
      
      

    It was only a few years ago that companies would come to us wanting to produce a corporate video that highlighted all of their impressive corporate credentials.

    Information such as how many premises they had, number of staff, the cost for certain infrastructure they had installed and how many units they were shipping were cheerfully boasted on their video.  It was a proud day for them when they received their final DVD or VHS.

    The thing is these videos weren't very good at selling the company. Sure they were good at lifting staff morale and helping staff feel that they were with a fantastic company.  But they were seller centric with very little effort put into what information buyers wanted to know.  In fact, it was really hard to convince these companies to provide information that was of real interest to their clients.

    Thankfully, with the advent of video sites such as YouTube most organisations now realise they have to provide valuable video information, in order to increase views and shares.

    Given that YouTube receives 60 hours of video content each minute, it is more important than ever that companies create remarkable, original content that helps people.  No longer can companies create ego-stroking video content that's all about them.  Now, it's all about what the buyer wants.  This means showing them that you understand their problems and how to solve them.

    So to get your video shared and liked more, here are six steps:

    1. Know your audience - Work out what there problems are and uncover up-to-date topics that would interest them.  For example, if you are in safety, you would want to address any concerns your prospects have with upcoming changes to workplace laws. Using the German word "zeitgeist" meaning "spirit of the time", how can you sync your ideas to the zeitgeist?

    2. Use buyer-centric language - When talking specifically about your product, speak directly to your audience.   Use words like "you", rather than "we".  Avoid using words that are about your company.   For example: "having the touchpad here will allow you to easily make calls at your desk" rather than "we designed the touchpad here so that it can be easily accesible".  Instead of talking about how great you are and why your rock, use language that refers to "this is how we help you".

    3. Provide value - Work out what information you can "give away" that actually signals to prospects your amazing knowledge and that you're not just trying to sell.  Sure you competition will check out what you're doing and might even copy, but the most important thing is that you give away valuable information consistently.

    4. Show your brand at the end- In the opening sequence of a video, the first things viewers focus on, are the actors' mouths and eyes.  And logos.  But not in a good way.  The more prominent the logo, the more likely viewers are to stop watching (even if they recognise the brand and like it). 

    The first 15 seconds of an ad or video is crucial in getting attention and commitment to watch.  People have an unconscious aversion to being sold to, so if they see a logo, they resist being persuaded and tune out.  Read more at: 5 Steps to Creating Viral Videos.

    5. Tell a story - Stories provide a way to get prospects to emotionally engage with your information.  However, this is a totally different mindset for businesses.  Often, business people believe that they need to be left-brained about how they convey information by supplying lots of facts and figures.  But the truth is humans are more open to information that is talked about in a story format.  It enables people to see how information relates to them (see How to find the right stories for your company).  It's also really important for charities.  After all, studies show that showing victims talking about their issues receives more donations than a voiceover talking about the plight of a group of people.  This is why in the video we created below for Sporting Chance, had a cancer survivor talking rather than capitalising on the popularity of sports stars asking for donations.

    Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation Awareness from Digicast Productions

     6. Interview Experts - Humans are endlessly fascinated with other humans.  We like to people watch.  Include an expert or customer talking about how your product helped them or how they use it.

     By incorporating these six factors into your online video, you will increase the likelihood that people will find the content interesting meaning that they will watch it and (fingers crossed!), share it around.

     

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