Businesses, non-profits, and organizations of all sizes can use online video marketing to find clients, promote their products and services, and communicate their value, differentiation and positioning. In fact, I believe online video is one of the most effective and scalable ways to deliver your message to the people you want to attract.
I covered this topic in detail when I presented How Video Can Boost Your Traffic at WordCamp Montreal on June 29, 2013 (and again at WordCamp Toronto on October 5, 2013). If you were unable to attend the presentation, I have prepared a screencast of the presentation, prepared summary notes, and listed resource links. I have also posted the presentation on ShareDeck and SlideShare.
A transcript of my screencast presentation is located at the bottom of the blog post.
Online Video Marketing: Four Applications
As well as helping clients build their online businesses, I manage a healthcare services website that delivers online content and attracts clients to our clinic. We use video extensively on this site in four distinct applications areas:
- eLearning: We offer two online courses for health professionals that we sell on our site and license to partners to broaden our distribution. Each of the courses includes a printed manual (shipped to the student after registration). The course content is delivered using video screencasts of the lecture material and demonstrations of client application of the treatment techniques. One of the courses has fifteen hours of video content and the other has four hours.
- Publishing: We not only train health professionals on the treatment of certain medical conditions, we offer online services to end clients. We publish printed and ePub books and provide video to supplement the content. One of our recent books, Strengthen Your Core, includes over one hour of video content for the reader.
- Promotion: We offer two free video-based, five-day email courses to attract, engage and convert clients. One course is for health professionals and the other is for clients. We find these free video courses a very effective way to initially engage with the health professional and client.
- Blogging: A large percentage of our blogging content is video-based. We believe it makes for a more engaging, informative, and richer experience for our readers.
I estimate that I have produced over 400 videos amounting to over 40 hours of finished video content. Those videos have attracted over 300,000 views on YouTube. I believe that this work has attracted many new clients to our site and our business.
Online Video Marketing: Major Categories
There are four major categories of web videos:
- Talking head: These are typically presentation or interview format videos with one or several people speaking about a topic. They are meant to share information and convey authority, personality, and know how.
- Product or service pitch: These are meant to educate and stimulate a transaction or other call to action through video or screencast.
- Narrative: These often involve telling a story or describing an event (such as a wedding) through documentary. They are meant to inform, persuade, and touch you emotionally.
- Artistic: These are creative videos that entertain and engage through music or story.
I mostly work with the Talking head format of online video.
Why You Should Use Online Video
Although video can be complex to produce and can be labour intensive, I believe that the benefits pay for the investment:
- Video is a great way to communicate your story, personality, authority, brand, and positioning.
- Your video content has a long shelf life and is searchable.
- Video allows your prospective client to learn more about you, your services, and qualifications before contacting you. I have found that many clients are sold before they call our clinic. Instead of asking more questions, they simply book an assessment because they want to get started after seeing our video content.
My Video Workflow in Seven Steps
I have a seven step process to producing, publishing and promoting my videos. Although it seems like a lot of things that you have to go through to get a quality marketing video, keep in mind that I have been at it awhile so I can go through many of the steps quickly. With some practice, you will find you are able to produce quality video content quickly.
We like to choose a single topic to cover in a video. This allows us to simplify the message and increases our chance of keeping the viewer engaged. We also make sure that the video content fits into our overall content plan for the site.
Since we spend a fair amount of time setting up for a shoot, we often we will cover a number of topics in one shoot. This allows us to produce multiple blogs during one production.
Before the shoot we do a quick mental storyboard (we play the movie in our heads) so that we know what we are trying to achieve. Everyone knows their role before the camera starts to roll.
Finally, we always make sure that the keywords we want appear in the spoken copy and are part of the overall narrative.
2. The Shoot
Now that we are well prepared, we are ready to shoot the video. Choose a location that is appropriate for your topic. A health professional is probably best located in a medical setting or clinic. A business professional will probably seem right in an office setting. Be aware of the lighting conditions and potential ambient noise. I suggest your scout out your location in advance.
If you are the video producer, you will be responsible for working with your talent and getting the best performance possible from them. Most people (unless they have acting experience) are not comfortable in front of the camera lens. Coach them to make sure that they are breathing comfortably, speaking slowly, not repeating themselves, and are generally relaxed and natural.
Camera and lens choice can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your shoot. I could spend forever talking about different types of cameras and probably only confuse you.
I have several cameras I work with. I often shoot multi-camera to get different angles. I choose the camera based upon the nature of the video. If there is a lot of movement, I will select a certain camera. However, when it comes to the talking head video with one speaker, I use a Nikon D7000 DSLR with a 50mm lens with the aperture wide open to create a nice depth of field and sharp focus on the speaker. The product looks great.
Quality audio is very important for video. You want your speaker to come through clear – as though they were next to listener. I use the H4n from Zoom to record my audio. I choose the microphone based on the environment I am in but frequently mic the talent with a lavalier clip microphone.
I like a well-lit video. I use Lowell lighting. My original investment was in tungsten lighting. However, there has been great progress made in LED lighting and if I was starting fresh today, I would go with LED lights.
3. Post Production
There are many non-linear editing tools out there. I use Final Cut Pro X and use the Finisher plugin from CrumplePop. For screencasts I use ScreenFlow and I compress my videos before publishing using Compressor from Apple.
Your video is finished and looks great. Now you need to get it onto the right platforms. Like most people, I use YouTube since it is the best video sharing platform available. Also, you can be assured that it will play on most people’s browsers and platforms.
I make sure that the important keyword is embedded in the title and the description, and that I choose the right tags. I also embed a link back to a landing page on my site inside the description.
I also use Vimeo. I have a Vimeo Pro account because I have a membership site and want the video only accessible by my paid members. I like the range of options Vimeo provides me, find that the videos are very high quality, and have found their technical support people to be first class.
We publish our videos on our WordPress blog and use the Yoast WordPress Video SEO plugin to optimize our video content. The Yoast Video SEO plugin takes care of a large number of complex things associated with video publishing including generating a video XML sitemap. When your blog article appears in the Google search results, a video thumbnail will appear next to the text snippet.
My experience has been that I have found Google selective about when they present a video thumbnail. Yoast addresses this issue on his blog and provides some instructions on how to deal with the problem. I have found Yoast and his team produce excellent products and provide very good support. This blog post illustrates how he deals with issues. Conclusion: the Yoast plugin is a worthwhile investment but you need to pay attention to the details.
Although the Yoast Video SEO plugin provides a preview of the snippet with the video thumbnail, you can also use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to view how Google sees your snippet in the search results. You will also get a information verifying that the authorship is correct plus many other useful pieces of data. Give this a try.
Finally, I create a transcript of the video and embed the text inside the blog posting. I also place the transcript text in the YouTube captions. I use SpeechPad for transcription services.
Once all this is done, we need to promote our video. I announce my blog entries in an email newsletter and I also post on Twitter and FaceBook. I encourage you to buildi your following and promote your video content on the platforms you like.
Finally, I like to see what videos are working for us. This allows us to plan our content calendar and select topics our readers like.
I use the YouTube Analytics Manager. If a video is doing well, the “Traffic Sources” report tells me where the action is.
I also track my conversion traffic associated with video in Google Analytics.
You should have a better understanding of how to produce, publish and promote video content that drives traffic to your site and converts visitors to clients. I encourage you to look at these resources as you continue to explore the world of video SEO and online video marketing.
To learn more about video product and editing:
- fstoppers is great site for photography and videography. Careful. It is easy to waste time here!
- izzy video: Great instruction on video production.
- lynda: lynda is a great resource for all online learning.
The Secret to Success with Online Video
We would all love to enjoy the fame, fortune, and success Justin Bieber experienced because of online video and, specifically his YouTube presence (on second thought, maybe not). The majority of us will never get his number of views or a follower-base as large as Justin’s.
Not a problem. I am not sure who would want to have teenage girls calling your house all hours of the night.
However, there are four things I learned about using online video that will increase your chance of success with this media:
- Be sincere, be brief, be seated. This is advice Franklin Roosevelt often gave people about to make a presentation. This guideline applies not only to presentations to be made to presidents, it is also applicable to the online audience. I would add: Be authentic, display your know-how on your topic, and be likeable!
- Produce a quality video that shows you in a good light. You do not need a David Fincher production but if you do a few things right (such as audio, lighting, and location) you can come off as professional in your videos.
- Over time you will find the topics that resonate with your audience. You need to be consistent and persistent to eventually get on message. I recommend that you offer a diversity of topics and look for those that click with your followers.
- Speaking of followers, you will need to spend time developing an online audience. Do it organically. The best followers find you and promote you.
Contact me to discuss any of this content or to share your videos with me.
Transcript of Screencast
Transcript of my screencast presentation. Please note the scroll bar on the right hand side of the text.