Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can you do a marketing video?

Everyone wants to do video. It’s hot, it has impact and it’s possible. I remember the late 1990s, when there was plenty of talk – and lamentation – about video on the web. We all knew it was coming, but the infrastructure just wasn’t there yet. So, for more than a decade, people like me have been waiting for this day.

And then it came.

And then reality set in.


Here’s the problem: video isn’t easy. I’ve made several quick-and-dirty videos as a blogger (e.g., at Luxist), and at best, it was a lot of work for an awful product. You need to know video to be able to pull this off. If you’re not naturally attuned to it, you’ll work harder than you have to (I did) and be frustrated with the results.

That said, with the right approach and investment, you can crank out regular video for your website, corporate blog or press releases. Here’s how:

1. Be realistic: “professional quality” doesn’t mean what it used to. And that’s perfectly fine. Know what the outcome is going to be. If you don’t compare your white papers to the writing in The Atlantic, you shouldn’t hold your corporate videos to television standards.

2. Make it a part of your culture: don’t just plan to do one video. If that’s all you’re doing, you’ll work very hard, spend a boatload of money and have very little to show for it. If you’re going to do video, commit to it. The investment you make up front will be distributed across several projects, making the overall expense a bit easier to digest. Also, it will give you a chance to learn, make mistakes and ultimately put out a compelling product.

3. Buy it first: before making any big investments in equipment, find an expert. Hire an agency. Get someone who knows what he’s doing. Use your interactions with this hired gun as a learning experience. You’ll get a better understanding of the production process, which will influence your future investment decisions – for the better.

4. Promote it: use your video as bait. Just sticking it on your corporate website won’t do much for you … compared to linking to it or embedding it in your press releases, posting it to your blog, tweeting it and pitching it to online news outlets. You want as many people to see it as possible – after all, that’s where the ROI comes from.

5. Be smart: even though video is (obviously) all about the visual, it really is a content play. You need to have a message that matters, and it has to be clear. Don’t let the production process distract you from what really matters – i.e., what you’re trying to convey.

So, who does B2B marketing video well? OpenView Venture Partners. Check it out >>

Photo: torontocitylife via Flickr

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