We came across an article today from ReelSEO talking about the business of video virality. Once a video is produced, then what? How do you start to build an audience? The ReelSEO article links to a couple of videos from ABC News. It seems that ABC had the same question about what makes an online video take off into the mainstream. So, they hired an agency to help. One video is the full report on the process of conceptualizing, producing, and marketing the video. The other is the finished video, now at over 1 million views. It was an interesting experiment. So, what are some lessons that can be learned from this process?
Plan – The ad agency spent time with the client, brainstorming all kinds of ideas. They got to know the client on a personal, professional, and philanthropic level. It was only after they learned about the client, were they able to come up with an idea that reflected his interests and values.
Find Influencers – The agency did their research and found specific sites with large audiences who write about and discuss topics similar to what’s seen in the Hovercat video. Getting those influencers to share that content with their audiences boosted views. It pays to do the research.
The ReelSEO article also points out that the ABC News piece didn’t even cover the views that can be gained through social media and email. ReelSEO also acknowledges some of the shortcomings of the video itself, and speculates (rightly so, we believe) that the video could have gained much more traction if the content itself had a bit more substance to it. Regardless, it’s a good experiment, and it demonstrates how a brand can gain significant views on their video content with the right amount of planning and research.
Perhaps you have ventured into the online video arena by uploading a little bit of content to your website, YouTube channel, or Facebook page, and now, you’re interested in learning how to make the most of these efforts. I came across some advice from Kelly Wallace (Chief Correspondent and Head of Video for iVillage) while watching an episode of The New Media Minute, hosted by Daisy Whitney. iVillage is one of the most popular sites on the Internet, ranging anywhere from 26-30 million unique visitors per month. Over the past few months they have been increasing the amount of video content they produce for the site. Currently, videos on iVillage generate 4 million views per month. Here’s what Wallace had to say for those interested in adding more video to their site:
Start out small. Video is more expensive to produce than written content so don’t try to bite off more than your advertising budget can chew. If you start out small and invest just enough to get you up and running you can easily see what works and what doesn’t work. Then, as you familiarize yourself with the process and you work out the kinks in your format, you can begin to invest more and more into the production and post-production of your videos.
If you have a variety of video content than spans different themes, think about organizing this content into playlists or channels, to help viewers find what they’re looking for.
Think about creating regularly scheduled programming so your viewers know when to expect newly released content. Much like a TV schedule, you can set up to release videos on theme #1 on Mondays, while Theme #2 is released on Friday. The more familiar your audience becomes with the schedule and with the on-camera talent, the more they will begin to relate to you, your people, your brand, and your topics.
Video is an extension of your brand. It’s another way you can reach your potential customer. But remember that the quality, the format, and the value of the content will ultimately reflect back on your brand and will effect how the public perceives you. Think out your video strategy carefully and be diligent to produce the best possible content you can.
The Wininger Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases and is located in Birmingham, Alabama. For their recent website design project, they were interested in producing a series of brief videos that could be used to introduce potential clients to the firm and to the attorneys. They hired Morris Web Marketing to handle the website design. Morris Web Marketing turned to us to handle production and post-production of each video.
The concept for each video was basic: interview the partners and give them the opportunity to discuss the firm and its philosophy. Then, shoot b-roll throughout the office and use the acquired footage to create three brief videos for use on the web. We spent one half-day on location shooting each interview and capturing b-roll.
The first video centered on the firm as a whole – the history, overall mission, and what makes them unique. The second video deals more with the specifics of how they approach each case, and the third video provides the viewer with advice on what to do if they find themselves injured in a serious accident.
The video below is the Wininger Law Firm overview video.
You’re set. You’ve hired a video production company to come into your place of business to shoot footage that will eventually be used in an online marketing piece. Everything is good to go. You and the Director have hammered out all the details. You have the talent scheduled. You have the script prepared and memorized. The shot list is ready. All that’s left is to shoot the video.
But have you really thought of everything? Could there be something that you overlooked?
If you work in a location with constant activity (i.e. a retail store, restaurant, salon, etc.), there are two main items on your pre-production checklist that need to be handled before the video production company arrives to set up.
Audio – If you plan to record live audio while on set, background noise will be a major concern. You need to take proper steps to ensure that you can capture good, clean audio. Ideally, you will want to shoot the video on a day when your business is not open to the public. This will eliminate sounds like customer chatter, footsteps, doors opening/closing, etc. If you are forced to shoot during a normal business day, try to select non-peak hours in which to shoot. This way, customer traffic should be at a minimum. To help reduce the amount of background noise, try hanging sound blankets around your talent. You can also post a public notice to all customers that filming is in progress and that all chatter should be kept to a whisper. Also look for places within your location that may not have quite as much foot traffic.
Release Forms – It’s important to lock down the area directly behind your talent, so that no one wanders into the background of your shot. If that isn’t possible, bear in mind that any customer that wanders into frame will need to give you his/her consent to be in the video. You will need to have release forms ready, in case this happens. If your business has a lot of foot traffic, it may not be feasible to stop every single customer and have each one sign a release form. In that case, you will need to place a public notice at the entrances to your business and around the camera crew which indicates that you are in the process of shooting a video. It will also need to clearly state to your customers that by walking throughout the store, their likeness may be captured on video.
Details are so important when it comes to producing a video for your business. Things that you normally take for granted (i.e. door chimes, customer traffic, electric appliances, chatter) can become distractions when trying to shoot. Talk with your video producer/director about your location and any potential logistical/legal problems you may face. Budget in the time for a tech scout with your video production team. The best way to handle these issues is to take care of them before they become bigger problems.
The New Media Minuteis a podcast I listen to regularly. In each episode, host Daisy Whitney covers the latest online video trends. In the episode dated September 27, 2011, Daisy spoke with the head of AOL Video, Ran Harnevo, to discuss how video creators can increase video views. Content, of course, is a given. We’ve all heard that compelling, interesting content will drive views. But is there anything else that video producers can do to boost the amount of people watching their videos? Here are the take-away points from Ran’s interview:
When it comes to where you will place your video, think geographically. This point is geared more toward advertisers; i.e. those who place their videos in different markets. If you are an advertiser, thinking about how to get the most views for your video, consider the relevance of your subject matter. If it speaks more to an East Coast lifestyle/culture, place your video in those markets.
The placement of the video on the website affects the number of views. This might require some A/B testing, but the research will be worth it. Does the video perform better on the right sidebar? The left sidebar? Front and center? Evaluate the performance of your video as it relates to page placement and then insert your video in the location that will give you the most views.
Select an interesting thumbnail. Sometimes just the thumbnail image can entice a viewer to watch your video.
Work on building up a library of videos. Viewers are more likely to watch additional video content if it’s related to what they are already watching.
If you are an advertiser, your ad formats are important. Personalized pre-rolls and interactive videos will boost the number of views because they encourage engagement.