The Value of Online Video

I read a recent study that showed 0% of internet users would be willing to pay to use Twitter.  I don’t use Twitter myself, but with all the talk out there about Twitter these days, I was quite surprised to see that even those who use it don’t really see any value in it.

Establishing value is an important tenet in any business so here are some simple valuation points for our business:  Website video and professional video production services

1)    Video combines sight, sound, motion, and emotion to provide the most optimum format of communication.

2)    Video is a great way to introduce yourself or explain a complex issue in understandable terms.  Given the choice, most folks would prefer to watch a two-minute video instead of slogging through pages of text on a website or PDF.

3)    Video provides  a great avenue to engage your prospective clients and stay on your website longer.  People search the web for information on products and services they want to buy.  Video allows you to present information about those products and services in a more accessible format.

4)    Better communication with your customers and clients leads to other benefits.  Product videos can help increase sales and online video has also been shown to reduce return rates for retailers by 60%.  If a customer can see the development of a product, its features, how it works, etc. before they buy it, then that decreases the potential for wanting to return the product once they actually purchase it.

5)    On-line video can be repurposed to use in sales presentations, trade shows & conferences, events, investor relations, television commercials, website pre-roll ads, in-store video, etc.

6)    Three out of four respondents reported watching some type of short, professionally produced videos online regularly (Online Media Daily, June 2010)

7)    You can share videos.  A true “Viral Video” is a rare phenomenon, but a video doesn’t have to go viral to be effective.  A recent video we produced about a new medical device is being distributed to a targeted audience of physicians and health care administrators.  Going viral would not necessarily benefit this particular company but showing the video to specific people with the means, the authority, and the need to purchase the device does provide a huge benefit.

8)    You can drive people to your website by sharing links to your video in your company newsletter, your press releases, and your Social Networking sites (including Twitter!!!).  The more places you post your video the more people you expose to your message.

9)    Mobile video continues to grow and will only get more popular as more and more people begin to use SmartPhones and other mobile devices like the iPad.

10)  Video is awesome!!!

Mac

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How’s Bidness?

Business has slowed down a bit for us in the last few weeks.  After a fairly robust spring for Tweedee Productions, I fear that the lazy days of summer are upon us.  You know how it goes.  The client who says they’re moving forward with a project doesn’t get back to you for weeks because they’ve been on vacation and their boss has been on vacation and the guy making the ultimate decision has been on a remote island in the Pacific “finding” himself. 

When business is slow I unfortunately and unfairly tend to blame myself.  I start to think about unrealistic things like we should be “doing something” about business being slow.  We should react…how?  We need to…what?   

In reality there’s not much I can do.  Business usually happens on its own schedule regardless of when we need it to happen.  Obviously, all businesses need to react and adapt to a changing economy.  If they don’t they won’t be around for long.  But, some experts will tell you that it’s easy to over-react for the sake of “doing something”.  In our last economic downturn many well-known corporations slashed their workforce in response to a bad quarter, laying off talented and experienced people, only to find business improve a few quarters later. 

Believe me, we have felt the effects of the great recession of 2009 here at Tweedee Productions.  I’m not minimizing the economic events of the last couple of years nor our response to them.  But it’s easy to over-react when business “gets a little slow” given the backdrop of the financial world in 2009.  I have to remind myself that we’re in this for the long haul – keep a steady hand on the rudder. 

We’re fairly lean at Tweedee to begin with.  We’ve got the “right people on the bus”, to quote business guru Jim Collins.  The talented team of individuals we have in place is essential for providing our clients with the high degree of service they’ve come to expect.  We need to be confident that our approach is the correct one, that there will always be economic storms, and we will be able to ride them out. 

I just need to relax and enjoy the summer.  Besides, business will pick up.  Right? 

Oscar knows how to relax.

Gregg Schieve, CEO and Founder Tweedee Media Inc. 

OK! I talked me into it!

Well, I took the plunge.  I made the leap.  I threw all common sense to the wind and got a smart phone.  A SMART PHONE!  It makes me feel smart just to say the name – Droid Eris.  “Why yes, I have the Droid Eris.”  

But, will it make me smarter?  Will I work and live smarter?  It’s only A PHONE!  

I don’t need a smart phone.  In renewing our cell phone contract, I could have gotten a new, simple, easy to use cell phone.  But then, I don’t need an electric garage door opener either.  But it is sure nice to have when it’s pouring rain or the temperature is 20 below!  

So I talked myself into it.  Really, once I heard my arguments for getting one, I was convinced.  With more and more ways to watch video either on the internet or on mobile devices, I need to understand video delivery technology.  I need to understand what the buzz is all about.  After all, Tweedee Productions is in the video content production business.  I better know how all this stuff works.  

Mac Chorlton, our business development guy, has had a Blackberry for a couple of years now.  He understood the potential right away.  I remember the day he got it – he was all excited.  He explained how quickly and easily he could show someone one of our videos at a networking or sales event.  Image that you’re at a cocktail party and someone asks you what your company does.  You get that “why, I’m glad you asked me” smile on your face as you whip out your smart phone and play for them a short video that explains your product or service in three minutes or less.  Brilliant!  Instant emotional connection. 

Now, if I could only figure out what this button does…  

Gregg Schieve trying to figure out his new smart phone.

Using SEO Video to increase traffic to your website

For years, many companies have been using simple keywords as their main Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique to increase website traffic and their rankings in search engine results.  But there’s been a lot of talk lately about how Google and other search engines are increasing their use of blended media types (articles, pictures, video, & other content) to provide more relevant search results.  The importance of video in those search engine algorithms is helping many websites that have video content increase their traffic and wind up on the first page of those search results.  In fact, according to a recent study by Forrester Research, the use of SEO Video makes you 53 times more likely to end up with a “Page One” ranking on Google.

Right now, it’s hard to separate yourself from the pack, because many competing businesses are all using the exact same keywords within traditional SEO.  But adding SEO Video to your website helps set you apart from your competitors and increases your likelihood of being ranked above them in search results.  Posting non-SEO video to your website, or to YouTube, or to a YouTube embedded player on your site is good start, but it won’t necessarily increase the search engine rank results for your website.  In fact, that strategy may actually just create search engine results for YouTube and ultimately send people directly to YouTube instead of your website.

But posting SEO Video to your website is the best scenario of all… Using keywords and key phrases in your video’s file name, the captions, etc. as well as incorporating other traditional SEO techniques along with your video is the best strategy to bring people directly to your website and generate additional traffic.

Also, USAToday.com small business columnist Steven Strauss recently wrote an article citing “research indicates that if you have video on your homepage, up to 80% of your visitors will click that first.”

That’s right:  If it’s an option, 80% of your visitors will be drawn directly to the video on your website as the first thing they want to click on.  So if you plan to add video to your website in 2010, you want to make sure that 80% of your visitors are seeing a high quality, professionally produced video that accurately portrays the message of your business, organization, etc.  Of course, that’s one of the most important things to remember as you develop your ideas for incorporating video into your website.

Mac Chorlton

Turkey Testicles Go Viral

Tweedee Productions is currently riding one of those YouTube viral video phenomenons that you hear about.  By the time this blog entry is posted, we will probably crack the 1,000,000-view mark of a story about people eating a most unusual part of the traditional Thanksgiving bird.

It all started innocently enough back in the fall of 2008.  We assigned Sandy Kowal and our good friend Carrie Cokins to do a simple little story about the annual Turkey Testicle Festival (see video below) in the great city of Huntley, Illinois.  That’s right, a festival celebrating the eating of turkey testicles!  Deep fried.  Dippin’ sauce.  Tastes like chicken.  After much fun and frivolity, the story was put together and posted on Tweedee’s YouTube channel where it has lived in relative obscurity (by YouTube standards), generating only about 1,500 views throughout the year.

This fall, things changed.  It started with the organizers of the event asking for permission to post our testicle eating story on their web site.  At the time we thought any exposure was good exposure, right?  Besides, it would be nice if a few more people saw one of our videos, right?  Within a few days we started to notice a slight increase in the trickle of views.  A couple of mouse clicks later and that trickle turned into a flood.

As Thanksgiving 2009 approached and viewership continued to grow, we were amazed at the numbers we where getting.  In a matter of a few days we went from 3,000 to more than 150,000 views!  Over the long Thanksgiving weekend we surpassed 700,000 views.  It kept growing – 880,000 on December 4th – and growing – 950,000 on December 7th – AND GROWING!  Just when we thought that viewership would trail off, wham, another 20,000 views!

Up until now, in the vast video wilderness known as YouTube, we had never received more than a few thousand views for any of our videos .  So, naturally getting 1,000,000 views for any video let alone one about a testicle eating festival made us happy.  In YouTube numbers, however, it’s a drop in the digital bucket.  There are millions of videos on YouTube and millions of video producers trying to be the next big thing.  So why have viewers flocked to our video?  What has attracted viewers and, more importantly, kept them watching, prompting them to spread the video virally?  Apart from the rather unusual subject matter, it tells a story pure and simple.  It pulls you in, explains an event and leaves you with a good taste in your mouth (pardon the pun).  Simple is better.

Watch our video and share it with a friend – it’s the viral thing to do.

-GS

The Blog Police

When you read a blog post with a glowing review about a certain product or service, do you ever wonder if the blogger who posted that was getting paid by someone to provide that glowing review?  Well, that problem has actually become an epidemic on the web and it’s gotten so bad that the federal government has stepped in to provide some oversight.  When you’re on-line, it’s often very difficult to determine if the content (blogs, customer reviews, etc.) you are seeing is a paid endorsement or an independent review.  So the FTC recently announced that bloggers who receive compensation must disclose any payments they have received from the subjects of their reviews or face penalties.  The changes are aimed at de-blurring the line between editorial and advertising on blogs, social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter), etc.

A study by Nielsen Online showed 78 percent of online users view recommendations from other consumers as trustworthy so the concept of policing pay-for-play bloggers sounds like a good idea.  But  the devil is in the details and this new regulation could create a myriad of problems.  For example, in previous blog posts, I’ve talked about videos we’ve produced for several different companies who have paid us to produce those videos.  But I’ve also referenced other videos that we have not produced.  So would future posts like that put me in jeopardy of being fined by the FTC if I don’t make that paid-or-not-paid distinction for every video I reference?  You can probably see how this problem would translate to any company, group, or organization that provides a blog or editorial content on social media sites.

As a production company, we are always creating videos that help a business or organization tell their story, connect with their customers or members, and market their services or sell their products.  In a previous Tweedee blog post, my colleague Steve Donovan provided links to six different videos to show further examples of what he was talking about that week.  Those videos were a collection of movie trailers and other videos that Steve produced himself.  So if Steve or I mention videos or provide links to videos in a blog posting to enhance our message, do we really need to distinguish for each and every one whether or not we were paid to produced that content?

It has been 30 years since the FTC revised its policy on endorsements so this new regulation is probably long overdue since these types of pay-for-play endorsements have become a rampant force in the internet world for shaping consumer decisions.  Of course, this new regulation will be very hard to enforce due to the overwhelming number of blogs, podcasts, social media outlets, etc. out there on the World Wide Web and we could have a Pandora’s Box on our hands.  It seems to make sense that a blogger should not be able to promote themselves as an independent reviewer providing their opinion as opposed to what they really are:  A paid spokesperson.  So this new ruling will hopefully provide some transparency among these pay-for-play folks.  But once again, monitoring and enforcing these new regulations seem like a real nightmare.

mac@tweedeeproductions.com

get to know me….

as we enter the brave (and not so new anymore) world of social marketing you may find yourself asking, “what’s the point?” i guess the point is – “get to know me.” this is your opportunity to reach out to your current clients and find new ones. lets look at a few ways you can reach out.

1. video on your web site. this is probably the most effective way to show who you are and what you are about. it’s easy to get video on your website. tweedee productions recommends an episodic approach: send out a monthly or quarterly video newsletter or profile piece about your business or clients. its not a hard sell as much as its a reminder that your are still around and doing great work. make sure to tell your story in your own words. it’s a perfect chance for you to show your fun side, that you are an expert in your field or for new clients to meet you & see your work. the badger chapter of the american red cross does a good job of reminding their friends they are doing good work year round.

once you have video on your site think about how to place that video on other sites. if you have a product or service that needs to reach a specific audience tweedee productions can help you find those sites and we can help you determine the type of storytelling that may be the most effective there. a little bit of research can go a long way. take a look at this video for inspired bicycles. it went viral shortly after hitting youtube and some bike specialty sites. what does it say to you about their bikes? cool? freedom? self-expression? or does it just leave you feeling amazed & inspired?

2. blog. yes – blog. don’t complain about the time it takes to blog – just do it. make it your space to be and expert in your biz. make it fun. make it serious. just make it you. this is something you have complete control over – your thoughts. share them. your current and future clients will read it. believe me, people you don’t know will read your blog. its amazing how far the blogging world reaches. use it effectively and regularly and it will work for you.

3. FB, twitter & linkedin. you may already have personal accounts on facebook, twitter and linkedin, but don’t forget about your business. set up facebook fan pages and/or friend pages, a twitter biz account & a linkedin biz page. updating them won’t take a ton of time if you use the right tools. tweedee productions can help show you how.

ok, you have the basics…. now get out there and build relationships, build trust and build your bridge to new clients. give us a call today – we’d be happy to help you get started.

sandy kowal - gets a grip on being social

sandy kowal - gets a grip on being social

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