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by, Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media

Last week we looked at Viral Videos and how they work.  This week we will focus on Brand-Focused videos.

While the Viral Videos we looked at last week might be too time-consuming or difficult for what you need to accomplish, you can create brand-focused videos that have the potential to drive business for your company.  A good example of the potential of a more straightforward, brand-focus video is seen in the recent Old Spice campaign featuring the Old Spice Man.

These videos, that were also used as commercials, are wildly popular and it was a huge success for the company.  Immediately after the campaign ended, the Old Spice YouTube Channel became the most viewed channel on YouTube.  Here are some pointers when trying to replicate the success of this or any other brand-focused video:
  1. Make the video engaging.  The Old Spice Man commercials don't have flashy effects but they are strongly written and well-acted by Isaiah Mustafa.  The jokes are so rapid-fire they encourage viewers to re-watch the videos to catch all of them.  The lesson here is to keep videos short, dense and when you can funny.
  2. Make sure your video has important content.  If comedy is not your favorite or your product or service is not something that lends itself to comedy, informative how-to videos can be just as effective. 
  3. Make your video interactive.  Another factor that lead to the success of the Old Spice Man videos is that he is responding to viewers.  You can engage customers' concerns in video form to show that you care. 
  4. Work across platforms.  The Old Spice Man answers questions from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and more.  By encouraging viewers to use different platforms, you encourage consumers to get more involved with your brand and company.  Make sure to respond to those posts and consumers will appreciate that you put a human face behind the response.
  5. Make it professional.  Don't sink a lot of money into it, but since these videos are seen as messages from your company, you want to make sure they look and sound good.  Hire a professional videographer if you have to.  You don't want a consumer's first thought when they think of your company to be "cheap" or "shoddy."
Next week we will look at the nuts and bolts of online videos.
by, Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media

In the first installment of this series, we looked at how to choose a video format.  This week we are going to look at Viral Videos and how they work.

Sunglasses-maker Ray Ban has created a site on YouTube called Never Hide Films, where they post videos including sensations like "Cow Gives Birth to Dude" and "Guy Has Glasses Tattooed to Face".   The most popular one so far is "Sunglass Catch", has hit 5 million view.  By watching these videos, you will see what many viral videos have in common:
  1. Viral videos show something new or never seen before.  This means that exactly replicating a viral video is impossible.  The person or people shown in the video have to be doing something so unexpected that the viewer will be caught off guard and feel compelled to pass the video along.
  2. The video can imitate the types of videos that go viral.  For instance, the "Sunglass Catch" video is similar to other homemade videos where basketball players or skateboarders do more and more outrageous stunts as the video progresses.  Look at several different viral videos and see if you can imitate teh types of things that are shown, if not the exact actions.
  3. A good firal video lies on the border between real and unbelievable.  The more gullible will be shocked and will pass it on.  But even more discerning viewers will pass it along because they think other people have been fooled by it, and want to correct them.  The sunglasses tattoo video left many people, including news outlets, questioning its accuracy.  Even though it is clearly on Ray Ban's site, commenters on YouTube still wonder if it is real.
  4. The video should look authentically homemade.  There are many high-budget ads that get passed around as viral videos, but with enormous budgets like some have, the benefit of going viral is minimal.  A good viral video will use its low budget as an asset.  The lack of visual richness will help to blur the boundary between real and unreal.
  5. Having a place where viewers can easily connect the video back to other parts of your marketing plan is crucial.  Ray Ban's "Never Hide" tagline helps in this regard, but the fact that Ray Ban curates these videos on a single site is also important.  Ray Ban also takes down copies of their advertisement from other posters so the connection to their home site is not diluted.
  6. Most viral videos fail.  Of the twenty videos on the Never Hide site, only four have reached one million viewers.  You must be prepared to try a lot of things before you will find something that works.
Next week we will look at brand-focused videos and their use.
by, Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media

Are you ready for videos?  A 2010 study conducted by the Pew Research Project determined that 69 percent of U.S. adults connected to the Web are currently watching videos online.  At its present rate of growth, online video could have close to 100-percent penetration within the next five years.

Given the widespread popularity of video, the marketing and SEO possibilities for website businesses in 2011 are really limitless.  The Interactive Advertising Bureau reports that online video revenues increased by 65 percent year-to-year by mid-2010, and 2011 will produce an even more dramatic increase. 

Google is now testing new video ad formats on YouTube that it is planning to roll out before the end of 2011.  Labeled TrueView, the ads will give users the option to select from multiple choices, and advertisers pay only for those ads chosen.  Whether creating paid ads that users choose to watch, or other content that will be shared on social networks, web marketers are going to be challenged to produce engaging videos in 2011.

So if you are thinking about doing video for your business, whether it is to promote your business, provide how to instruction, showcase customer testimonials, etc., now is the time to do it.  Get on board before your competition does.
by, Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media, LLC

So you have videos but how do you get the most out of them online?  One thing to consider is YouTube.  A couple of facts about YouTube - they are the fifth largest brand and the second largest search engine on the Internet.  Having a video on YouTube can give it MUCH more visibility and findability than just posting it directly on your website.  Instead, set up a YouTube channel for your business and put your videos there.  Then embed those YouTube videos on your website.  Now, instead of your videos only being accessible to those people who visit your website, they are now available to anyone on YouTube and much more visible in Internet search.

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to look at two different types of videos - Viral and Brand-Focused and the differences in each.

Viral videos are ones that are passed by users through the Internet.  Brand-focused videos are videos that are tied to a highly visible site and are clearly branded and are meant to be seen as commercials or sources of information.  That's not to say that brand-focused videos can't go viral, they can.  Think about the Vikings and the singing goat.  Another difference is that viral videos appear as spontaneous encounters between consumers and your brand or product where brand-focused messages are meant to be seen as messages from the brand to the consumer.

Before you make a decision on which type of video to make, you must decide what the message is that you want to deliver and what fits your branding strategy.  For example, a viral video may be great for a new brand of whiskey or beer, but not so good for a mutual fund company.

Next week we will look at viral videos and what makes them work.
by, Lesa Seibert, President, Xstreme Media

Every day you see another story or blog post about the benefits of online video.  We also see new statistics that support the increasing effect video has on website traffic, e-commerce sales and search rankings.  Yet, many business owners are reluctant to try this proven business strategy.

There is no time better than now to add video to your marketing mix.  Google's YouTube is by far the best known video-sharing site, and the launch of YouTube's new video editor this summer, was an added plus.  For editing video, there are dozens of online video editors, that are as simple as YouTube's but have many more useful features.  I have defined five editors that will help you implement online video for your business.

  1. Adobe Premiere Express - This free tool is specifically designed for newcomers to online video editing.  It allows users to create videos in minutes without investing in Adobe's high-end video products, that can cost thousands of dollars.  All you need is a Web browser and Adobe Flash Player to reorder, split and trim video clips, add music, do transitions, add titles and mix in photos, graphics and animations.  The drag-and-drop controls are perfect for a beginner in video editing and you can edit videos from any Internet connection.
  2. JayCut - Business users can create marketing videos or product slideshows quickly and easily with JayCut's online video editor, which is browser based.  The editing functionality includes the ability to remix and trim videos, add music, transitions effects, captions and subtitles, automated transcoding and one-click export to YouTube and Facebook.  JayCut's video editor is a free tool.
  3. Movie Masher - Users can go to this site and download free video editing tools that will enable them to trim, composite and timeshift video, mix and fade multiple audio tracks, and add effects, transitions and titles. 
  4. Kaltura - More than 60,000 web professionals use Kaltura's flexible open-source online video platform to enhance their websites and market their businesses.  Among the many offerings are two free online video editor tools, the standard and advanced versions.  Both include a robust set of editing features, but highlights of the advanced editor not found in the others mentioned above include video and audio layers, timeline-based editing and a library of effects, overlays and transitions.
  5. Pixorial - Another free, browser-based tool, Pixorial's simple online video editor allows you to assemble the footage in a storyboard and merge clips together with transitions and titles.  This gives you 10GB of storage space for your video files and the capability to upload 800MB of files at a time including AVI, FLV, MP4, MPEG, DV and WMV.  Users can download the edited videos onto their own sites, post them across social networking sites and order DVD copies form Pixorial for about $10 each.

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