Google and other search engines are losing out to online video: 33 billion video views per month compared to 15 billion searches. That’s more than double. The latest issue of Website Magazine reported that consumers are watching an average of 12.71 hours of online video per month. Those clues tell us how important web video has become.
Just 10 years ago if you were to ask the same question, what about web video on my site the answer would have been a definite no. Xing technology, a pioneer in streaming technologies began right here California’s Central Coast. Before it was sold to Real Networks in 1999, Xing invented StreamWorks, the first live 24-hour video and the first live 24-hour audio broadcast system for the Internet. Web video back then, was resource intensive. Moving the vast amounts of data around the Internet using the old 56k modems during the 1990’s was painfully slow. I remember waiting 45 minutes for a Maria Carey music video clip to download in 1995. Not only was the video the size of a postage stamp but also it was less than one minute long.
Today’s technology makes it easy and accessible to produce videos for the web, unlike in the pioneering days of webcasting in the 1990s. With video portals like YouTube, Hulu, and Brightcove, finding and watching them is easy too.
But should you use video on YOUR site? The short answer is – probably. However, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Revisit your business goals, ask yourself what you would like to achieve and whether video will help you reach your objective.
Then, before you even think of picking up a camera, do your homework.
- What’s the objective of your video? Get clear on this right at the start. Is it to promote a new product, get sign ups for a seminar, do damage control, introduce your new CEO, answer frequently asked questions, provide customer support? Something else? Knowing what you want to achieve will help you focus the content.
- How long does your video need to be in order to reach your objective? 30-seconds, 3-minutes, 23-minutes? Or more?
- Who is your audience? What are the demographics of your target audience? Are they male or female? How old are they? What is their level of education? What do they want to know? What do you want them to know? What do you want them to experience? Getting to know your audience will narrow down your content even further and keep you on track.
- Define your message. Focus your entire video on getting your message across, but be specific. A very general message is less likely to hit home with your viewers or get more than a ho-hum reaction from them. That’s not what you want.
- Who will write the script? You do need one. Winging it may sound like fun, but the results won’t measure up and your video will be a dud. Will you write the script yourself or do you need to hire a scriptwriter?
- Who is going to produce your video? Anyone with a video camera, a Macbook, iMovie, and the Adobe Suite can produce a video for the web. But ask yourself whether an amateur video will create the impression you want. If not, it’s time to hire a professional team.
- Figure out your budget. Nothing puts a damper on enthusiasm as quickly as running out of money before a project is finished. In addition to a videographer and scriptwriter, add in the costs for renting equipment, editing the video, hiring other professional talent both on and off camera. Finally, if you want an added dimension to your video, include the cost for the background music, or music bed as it is called.
- How are you going to post it on your web site: as a QuickTime movie? As a Flash movie? Or simply upload it to YouTube? YouTube is free and but consider whether it’s the best place for a business related video. If the answer is yes, make sure to embed your video into the web page or you run the risk of losing your audience to YouTube’s site.
Yes, consider video as a way to get your company message out to your audience. Then think the project through and plan in advance BEFORE the camera rolls. You’ll save time, money and aggravation, and you’ll end up with a video that gets your viewers excited.