More viewers watched online video than TV in 2012, according to SundaySky. Nearly 200 million viewers watched 456.6 million content videos for an average of 6.3 minutes, while sitting through 105.4 billion ads. Video attracted 56 percent of consumer web traffic, along with 20 percent of mobile phone users and 50 percent of tablet users. Video’s growth stands poised to continue, as analytics tools create more customized viewer experiences, notes Social Times. For businesses seeking to engage audiences with targeted content, video offers an alternative to TV advertising.
What Kinds of Videos Are Popular?
Last year’s hottest YouTube videos exemplify what attracts audiences. Number one was Korean singer Psy’s hit video, “Gangnam Style.” Along with music videos, the most-watched clips included a satirical Epic Rap Battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney; a parent exposing his daughter’s rebellious Facebook posts; and footage of Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting freefall.
Most chart-toppers were entertaining or newsworthy, illustrating two popular categories. Another staple, besides funny videos, is how-to videos. Last year’s leading how-to video taught how to dance Gangnam-style. Others covered how to make sweets, solve household problems, and draw Angry Birds.
Businesses can offer content in any of these categories. Entertaining or funny videos generate viral traffic. Newsworthy videos piggyback on hot trends. How-to videos provide information that can establish your expertise, and generate consumer interest.
Video ads simulate TV advertising for a more targeted audience at a lower advertising rate. Video ads can be customized for specific demographics, and can even be personalized for individuals.
How Do You Create Videos?
Walt Disney introduced a production process called storyboarding, which involved drawing a comic strip lay-out to plan scenes. This let Disney’s team test visuals before animating them, saving labor. Storyboarding proved so efficient, it was borrowed by live action studios to produce films such as “Gone with the Wind.” Today, it has been adapted by businesses to create ads and other video content.
Storyboarding is standard procedure and saves film producers time. Business video producers can borrow the same steps for videos, or adapt them to formats such as webinars or PowerPoint.
Step one is scripting. Your script’s plot guides your shots. The plot for an ad or business video often revolves around portraying a problem, presenting a solution, and dramatizing the results. Use your script to break your video up into shots or PowerPoint frames. Take notes describing where each begins and ends. You can divide a paper into columns, with the script on one side and shots on the other, along with stage directions and other notes.
After defining shots, analyze what each requires. For live video, you can create a checklist of items such as location, actors and props. For PowerPoint, you might include text, graphics and slide design.
Next, number each shot. Then, identify shots where drawing might help with planning. Simpler shots might require only words or quick stick figure sketches, called “thumbnails.” Others need more details, as with the special effects in “Star Wars.” Then, draw storyboard panels. Leave room outside panel borders for captions and dialogue.
Now, you can film your video, or create your Power Point slides.
After filming, add final touches with an editing program such as iMovie, Windows Movie Maker or Adobe Premiere Pro. Editing programs include a timeline that displays footage or PowerPoint slides as frames in a track. Use this feature to create transitions between frames, and synch the timing up with other tracks representing additional video clips, visual special effects, narration, sound effects, and music.
Where Can You Host Videos?
With more than four billion views per day in 2012, YouTube dominates video hosting, notes Reuters. Its competitors include Asian giant Youku, which recently acquired rival Tudou. For businesses, other popular alternatives include Brightcove, Vimeo, Wistia, Sprout, Vzaar, and Viddler, to name a few.
Sometimes you can host videos on your own server if you have low traffic volume or a generous hosting package. However, if your videos get lots of traffic, you risk crashing your server. To avoid this, you can host videos on another server that displays them on your site, called embedding. YouTube supports embedding. Other embedding services include Amazon Web Services and TechSmith’s Screencast.com. Some services specialize in specific types of hosting, such as webinars or email videos.
When selecting services, check for commercial restrictions. Most services allow you to post free information and link to your site in your profile and comments, but for sales videos, you may need to pay an advertising fee, or find another host.
How Can You Get Your Videos Viewed?
When Hollywood releases a film, publicists launch a multimedia blitz, covering everything from trailers, talk show appearances and press releases, to toy and restaurant tie-ins. You probably don’t have a Hollywood budget to promote your videos, but there are a few cost-effective techniques you can use.
Embedding videos on your website is a fundamental video marketing tactic. This leverages your current traffic, and attracts new traffic. If you have a mailing list, you can promote videos to it. You can also email video links to individuals to connect with a specific prospect. Another technique is using social media to share a short, attention-grabbing invitation to view your video link.
You can leverage these techniques by inviting partners to share your videos with their mailing lists and social media networks. Send partners invitations they can promote to their networks.
For extra distribution, upload to multiple hosts besides YouTube. When doing this, give other versions of your video slightly different names and descriptions to avoid competing with yourself for search engine results, and to target additional keyword combinations.
Finally, you can use a video syndication service. A leading service is OneLoad, a spin-off of TubeMogul. Alternatives include Movvit, Hey!Spread and others. Such services can be worthwhile if your budget allows. On a shoestring, you can get decent distribution by manually submitting to YouTube and other hosts, and applying the other techniques described in this article.
What tips do you have for video marketing for businesses?
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @thebizguy