Expert insights to create content that gets you noticed.
Video used to be the domain of only the largest companies with the biggest marketing budgets. But the explosion of online video sharing sites has given companies of all sizes the opportunity to create and disseminate videos.
As small businesses assess those PR tactics that will yield the greatest ROI, online video has grown in popularity as a way to generate buzz without breaking the bank. However, simply shooting a video and posting it online will not guarantee results. The key to a successful video campaign is compelling content — if you aren’t distributing something that people will want to watch your campaign will fall flat.
What are some of the ways a small business can benefit from online video?
Video can be used for something straightforward such as introducing a new product or service; to increase traffic to your website via a clever video; to give a product demonstration or tutorial to your customers; to deliver commentary from your CEO to investors; or to convey a message to employees. Never lose sight of the power of telling stories. Stories engage and capture an audience.
Additionally, many small businesses find other uses for videos by utilizing them for online advertising, or by incorporating them into a Multimedia News Release (MNR). An MNR is a great tool that incorporates video, photos, text, links and other information; making it more interactive than standard, text only, press releases.
What types of companies are best suited for video promotion?
Companies of all size and across all industries are suited for video promotion, including most companies with a consumer product or service, and B-to-B and professional services have just as many opportunities to use video to reach their audiences. Companies should ask themselves whether their product or service will translate well into a visual message. But don’t stop there, think about the stories rooted in your people and customers you serve. These stories capture engage audiences resulting in heightened interest in your audience for your business.
What are the do-it-yourself options?
If you have the budget, hire a professional. It will save you the time and effort of figuring out all the details of putting a great video together and it will help you get a result that engages your audience and also has a more eye-catching look and feel. You don’t even have to worry about it looking too manufactured — professional producers can still give your video a viral look while being sure that it tells a story that captures attention and encourages sharing.
If a professional producer is not an option, there are a number of options that let you produce your own videos for lower cost. For example, editing software packages such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro and Media 100 enable you to edit your video like a pro, however these softwares are not inexpensive, and if you do not have experience using them — you’ll likely wish you’d hired a pro.
You’re going to need a video camera to shoot footage. If you can’t borrow a good one, it’s possible to rent quality cameras, or you can even try a low-end solution such as the Flip Video Mino HD. It’s stocked with a light editing package and involves a minimal investment. Do keep in mind that a low-end camera in trained hands produces a respectable result, and likewise a high-end camera in the hands of the untrained can result in a product that lacks the impact you’ll want for your efforts. Practice, practice before you post!
Be sure to incorporate background music right for your story and audience. Remember, you will need to get permission if it is copyrighted (and this will add cost) otherwise, you can get royalty free music from sites like RoyaltyFreeMusic.com. Consider a call to action and provide a viewer feedback mechanism–such as a comments section or direct contact information — to engage your audience.
Once your video has been created, how do you get it out there?
You can always post to your own website, although depending on your websites Content Management System (CMS) this may require added multimedia capabilities and technological savvy on your part. That said, an embedded YouTube player may do the trick in many cases.
Video host sites such as YouTube or Vidler let you load your video and also make it easy for you to embed it to other websites and social media platforms. Be advised with the volume of videos on sites like YouTube you run the risk of never being discovered and shared. Make sure you have a web video marketing plan, and a commitment to working that plan. If you do both, the results can be highly rewarding.
A better way to get it out to the customer, B2B or the media audiences is the MNR. It’s designed for the new media landscape and can be distributed as a news release to television, radio, web or print media. It can also be sent to key contacts as a direct marketing tool.
How long should a video be?
Generally, you want it to be short and to the point, with content ranging from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. However, there are times when longer video is appropriate. For example, if youre posting video of a conference keynote or a surgical procedure. If you do create a long-format video, consider indexing it or breaking it up into smaller segments to post as a series. You may even add teasers for upcoming features to keep your viewers interested.
It’s the rare video that becomes a viral sensation. Rather than go into production of a video thinking about creating a viral hit, focus on creating a quality video, that’s relevant to your audience which will help it gain traction with your target audience. Humor is a great way to attract viewers, and one of the advantages of the internet is that it doesn’t have the same standards as television. This, allows you to take more risks and experiment a little. Just remember that this video will be a representation of your brand, so be sure to never to cross the line.
Thanks to Rachel Meranus