Sep 1, 2014

Posts Tagged ‘inbound marketing’

Is video production value still relevant? Glad you asked!

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Yesterday I was perusing one of my thrice daily emails from HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which lists all kinds of queries from reporters looking for sources for stories they’re working on. One that I found particularly intriguing was a reporter asking for opinions on what is acceptable when it comes to the production value of online video.

Here was my response:

I’ve been in the advertising/marketing industry for nearly 30 years. For the last 15 of those, I’ve owned a video production and web site design firm that services a wide variety of corporate clients.

Don’t let my resume fool you though — I actually DON’T think all online video has to meet the same levels of production value. For instance, some of the best viral videos have worked partly because their production values were so low. Often low production value adds a level of credibility to a video that purports to be “bystander video” of an actual event caught in the moment. For spoofs, low-brow comedy and even promotional videos and web-ads where it’s hip to be grungy — low production value can be cool.

However, audiences today are more sophisticated than ever about the quality of what they see on screen — regardless of whether that screen is attached to a computer, mobile phone or their home entertainment system. Even kids know good lighting, editing and acting when they see it — or more to the point — when they DON’T see it. They may not have the vocabulary to express it — but they definitely notice and make a judgment call.

To me, the best way to decide how much production value is required for your video is to start by thinking about who your desired audience is. If it’s hipsters and 20-somethings looking for something fun — that requires one kind of approach. If, on the other hand, you’re hoping to sell thousands of dollars of software to medium-size businesses — that’s a completely different message that needs to be presented in a very different way.

Gary Vaynerchuk is a great example of someone who successfully used low production value video. His goal? Grow business for his parents’ wine store. His target (and this is what made his approach make sense) was younger audiences who knew nothing about wine — and maybe even felt a little intimidated by snobby “wine culture.” Gary’s personal style is irreverent, fun, and “in your face”. Yet, he really does know wine. He’s just not afraid to be enthusiastic, profane, rough edged, etc., in his wine reviews. I’ve heard him tell his audience that a particular wine is so bad its aroma reminds him of the smell of a county fair men’s room. His Wine Library videos were massively popular with exactly the crowd he was aiming for. His parents’ business sky rocketed.

But Gary will also tell you that he knows his style of presentation is a complete turn-off to older, more conservative audiences who have money to spend and are interested in wine. That bothers him, but not enough to compromise his focus on the young, hip market that connects with him.

What plagues me is all the discussion going on in chat rooms and on blog postings about how no business should ever have to worry about production value. Don’t hire that expensive production company — just set up your camera and go for it. Really? It’s one thing for hipsters to be drawn to a hand-held Flip video production about a new brand of jeans. It’s a completely different story for the CIO of a corporation to watch your cheaply produced, rambling video and decide to spend $10,000 on a software license with your company.

The point is, the audience makes the decision. There are just some things that I want to buy from a professional, solid-looking company. No passes for being on-line. On-line is your business’ number one way of connecting with me. That’s where you get to make your first, best and in many cases, ONLY impression. If your video looks amateurish — guess what? That’s now the impression I have of your company.

Think about it. Haven’t you ever seen one of those awful, locally produced TV spots for say, a tire company or furniture store and thought — “I will NEVER shop there. That Mom and Pop operation can’t even make a good commercial.”

The same thing applies to web sites. You know you’ve landed on a site that was so poorly designed that you thought “these people have to be working out of their basement”.

I could go on and on — and maybe I already have. Thanks for exploring this topic — it’s important.

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How Important Is Video On Your Web Site?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

This is a question that is currently in vogue and working its way around the Internet, blogosphere and traditional business media.  And frankly, I’ve been underwhelmed by the responses.

Recently, I participated in a discussion in one of my Linked-In groups regarding just this topic.  I was shocked that much of the “chatter” revolved around search engine rankings – and not much of anything else.

Why search engine discussion when the topic is video?  Because there’s a great deal of debate on just how “searchable” video content really is.  Google and other search engines have proclaimed that they now have the ability to “search” video content.  That’s exciting news, even though most experts will tell you that this video search capability still has a way to go before it’s perfected.

But is that a reason not to use video on your web site???

For the record, I’m a HUGE fan of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  It’s done wonders for Blue Marble Media and our consumer-market business Cooper Maron Commissioned Films. People from literally around the world are finding us – and more importantly, contacting us with questions and opportunities for doing business.

So always, always work on building & maintaining your search engine ranking.

OK.  So you’ve done a great job building link and tags, keeping your web site and blog updated, etc., and people are starting to find you!  HURRAY!

My question for you is this: now that they’ve “found” you, what are they going to see?  How are you going to engage them?  How can you be sure they spend a little time getting to know you and your products and services?

Content, friends, content!

And video is one of the best types of content there is.  It’s better at explaining complex ideas … better at moving a viewer emotionally … better at entertaining and keeping your audience engaged … better at conveying customer testimonials … better at training a process or procedure … etc.

So first of all, while it’s not yet perfected, video searches are happening and are helping pump up your search engine ranking.

But even more important – video is going to help differentiate you from your competitors.  Think about it – if you’re number one as the result of a Google search — what about the guys who are number two or three in that same search?  Chances are they’ve got very similar written content to what you’ve been putting out there – that’s why all three of you are at the top of the same search results.

So, a consumer looking for specific products or services, is probably going to visit the web sites of at least two or three companies, right?  That’s certainly what I do when I’m researching on-line.

Once you’ve been “found” in a search, hopefully with a first page placement, it’s pretty safe to assume you’re now in a head-to-head competition with every other listing on that first page.  They’ve optimized their sites to rank well for this kind of search, just like you have.  What’s going to make your site stand out?  What’s going to position your company as more of an authority?  What’s going to make your company feel trustworthy and professional?

Could it be …video?

Getting a Handle on Social Media Marketing

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

We’re getting more and more inquiries from our corporate customers about the hows and whys of Social Media Marketing.  Frankly, I don’t think there’s any one, single posting anywhere that will tell you everything you need to know. But in a nutshell, getting started in Social Media Marketing boils down to embracing a few important revelations that can make a huge difference in your bottom line:

  1. It’s much more effective to put your message in places where prospects are actively looking for products and services in your category;
  2. Today, when customers are actively shopping for something, they almost always turn first to Google, Yahoo and other web search tools to find information and options;
  3. The company with the best information/content (i.e., most complete, easiest to understand, useful, engaging and offered in a variety of ways) most often wins the purchase
  4. In light of all of the above, your marketing mission is make it incredibly easy for your prospects to find you and your incredibly authoritative, engaging and useful information by leveraging all the tools available to you on the Web.

I have to give a huge tip-of-the-hat to the HubSpot Blog as an incredible resource for all things related to Social Media Marketing or what they and others are referring to as inbound marketing.  If you’re just starting to explore this brave new world of Social Media/Inbound Marketing, HubSpot is a great place to start.

HubSpot isn’t just a charitable repository of marketing information.  They’re really practicing what they preach by using great content to attract new customers for their inbound marketing software.  (In the spirit of full disclosure:  No, we don’t use their software — yet.  But I’ve become such a fan of their resources I can’t say how long it will be before we at least check it out.)

But my point really isn’t to fawn over HubSpot as much as to use them as an example of the power offering your customers really useful, meaty information that helps them in their day to day lives or work.  This company uses blogs, video postings, webcasts, video tutorials, interest group sites on Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook and who knows what else to get their message out.

Having a well designed Web site is just the tip of the iceberg.  Harnessing the power of the Web to have great conversations with your prospects and customers is what Social Media/Inbound Marketing is all about.