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Video essentials: A 5-minute tutorial - by Michael Rubin (Source: iMedia)

  • The number of American consumers watching online video per day increased by 32 percent over the course of 2010
  • Develop video that requires viewers to devour content and react to engaging and compelling videos
  • Take a stance on a particular issue facing the industry at large, and develop rich media content while remaining entirely non-promotional

Today's marketers are under enormous pressure to increase brand awareness, bolster SEO, and monetize webinars, ad campaigns, and other content they create. As a result, the use of innovative and compelling video marketing campaigns is exploding. Today's video technology enables marketers to easily develop and distribute online video content without the use of advanced editing and production software. This video can then be used in webcasts, marketing collateral, and other streaming video presentations to educate customers in a much more interactive and compelling way than text-based campaigns.

Why has video emerged as the next innovation frontier for tech-savvy marketers? The web today is full of "noise" and an overwhelming amount of content. It's essential for marketers to find new ways to cut through the clutter to lure customers and maintain steady engagement once customers are on their sites. Given that the majority of people are visual learners, it comes as no surprise that video is the best forum for communicating a brand's message. In fact, according to a recent report by Forrester Research, the number of American consumers watching online video per day increased by 32 percent over the course of 2010. This means that thousands and thousands of potential customers are learning about brands through video communications.

Stay connected. For more insights into the latest video marketing strategies, attend the iMedia Entertainment Summit, June 28. Request your invitation today.

Social media's frontier

Google Search and the other major search engines have enabled websites that incorporate video to achieve significantly higher search rankings than websites that rely mostly on text. As the vast majority of marketers know, boosting SEO has become the mantra in every online marketing meeting.

How many times have you heard "Follow us on Twitter" or "Like us on Facebook" in reference to a brand's social media presence? With the emergence of social media and interactive websites designed to support a brand, marketers are trying to harness the power of social media to engage their audience, build the fan base, and -- by extension -- amplify their brand profile. Once customers check out these branded social media properties, they are undoubtedly greeted with vibrant photo albums, conversations, and interactive contests, designed with the intent to retain and distract users while they get "brand-washed." Many consumer brand Facebook pages have taken on hosting streaming video as a means to personify the brand and hang on to user attention longer.

How to get it

Marketers who want to take advantage of video have two options. They can either purchase a premises-based platform, or adopt a web-based or "cloud" model. Both options can provide marketers with portals to manage and view the rich media content, encoding and distribution technology to capture and transmit video streams, and record and store capability for on-demand content consumption.

However, cloud-based solutions are particularly effective for marketers because they offer the ability to easily integrate pre-recorded marketing video on corporate websites, or even syndicate free or paid content to the brand's YouTube and Facebook pages. The low entry cost of cloud-based solutions is often much more appealing than the capital expense of premises-based platforms. And the interfaces of cloud offerings are often customized for use by marketers. A cloud-based solution also provides an engaging viewing experience, and many solutions include feature-rich management of all streaming video distribution.

Tips to maximize your use of video

And once the solution is selected, exactly how can marketers make the most out of integrating video? Here are a few essential tips and tricks to keep in mind:

Understand your goals

Identify your company's purpose for creating the video. Is it to attract new customers, sell products to your existing customer base, or educate the audience on a particular issue facing your industry? Also, think about what it is that you want to film -- a company profile, a product demo, or maybe even a customer testimonial.

Think outside-the-box

Develop video that requires viewers to devour content and react to engaging and compelling videos. If the video is able to spark discussions on social media platforms and encourage sharing from users, this increases "site-stickiness," leading users to interact with the brand online longer.

Educate the masses

Take a stance on a particular issue facing the industry at large, and develop rich media content that informs and engages your audience, while remaining entirely non-promotional. This will allow the brand to be perceived as a thought leader in the industry and boost brand awareness.

Keep in mind the 80-20 rule for social media

Eighty percent of all content -- video falls into this category -- included on a brand's social media properties should be non-promotional and intended to educate the consumer, and 20 percent should promote the brand. By incorporating video content that's educational, the audience will view the brand as credible (and, in turn, view the brand in a more positive light).

Tell the world!

Even if you create an incredibly dynamic video, it is useless if no one sees it. Make sure you prominently link or display the video across your company's properties -- your website, social media profiles, and newsletters.
It's clear that video offers unique advantages for marketers who want the latest technologies that drive eyeballs to their sites. With just a little bit of research and creativity, video can catapult a brand to a whole new level.

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