I recently did a Skype Video interviewed with author David Meerman Scott on the 2nd release of his popular book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, which has won praise in The New York Times and Computerworld reviews, been on the BusinessWeek bestseller list, and published in 24 languages. I asked Dave what he considers to be the "new rules" with online video marketing, and what tips he has for marketers with video based on his own work experiences.
First off… The quality of my skype recording leaves much to be desired as unfortunately, the audio is out of sync. If you would rather read the transcript of my interview, you can do so just below this video. Thanks… Ill get there with time :-)
Dispelling corporate myths and fears of online video
Grant: you say in your book that the idea of companies using video for web marketing is still relatively new. What are you finding the challenges to be for companies to adopt online video into their overall marketing mix? One thing you've mentioned is that many companies just don't want to give up the idea of "control."
David: I think its a couple things. The first thing I hear a lot is people who think that video is just silly. When they think YouTube, they think of a cat walking on a piano. So that's one of the first challenges that I get from companies.
The second thing that I hear frequently is that they think it's really complicated to do. To them, it sounds and feels complicated to make a video. You and I obviously know that both of those ideas are groundless. First of all, it's dead simple to record a video; it's like falling out of bed. And then, the idea of video is just silliness, is actually a silly notion in itself; it's not, its incredibly valuable stuff.
Making interesting video interviews
Grant: So how do you get companies and people to get over their apprehension and misassumptions with video, which is still ongoing? I would even argue that the fear with these people is not entirely irrational. I mean, once a video is out there, it's out there! You can't just take it back.
David: Sure. I mean, yeah you can delete it, but its still out there. What I tell people is that I'm a big fan personally of what we're doing now. I'm a big fan of the interview format in video. I tell people to carry with them a Flip Video camera. It's simple; it's straight-forward and easy to use, and the HD versions have really great quality. Now, the sound is whatever, but it works fine overall. I tell people, why not create a video interview with maybe a customer or partner, or with one of your employees, or maybe at a trade show; or just somebody you happen to come across, because maybe they're really interesting?
David: I often have examples of that. Recently I was doing a presentation at a really big conference in Mumbai, India. It was called "India Leadership Forum." 3,000 people were there, some really heavy-hitter speakers. I went third-to-last, and just after me was the CEO of Tata Motors. They own Jaguar and Land Rover – that's a big company. And then just after him was the economic minister of the country. Big stuff.
The CIO of the UK was speaking, and I thought, that's really cool! So I went up to him, I had my Flip with me, and I said, "Hey I'm David Scott and I do a blog, can I do an interview with you?" And he was like, "Sure, mate! I got this suite and we can sit in my room and do it there." So we both walk up to his suite and I get to do a 5-minute video with the CIO of the UK – how cool is that? And its a video interview format. I just used my Flip, and pointed it at myself, and pointed it at him – real simple stuff.
When I tell people about this, I show them this video. I say, guys; this took just 10 minutes to shoot, and 5 minutes to upload. I mean, this is simple stuff!
Grant: I have a Flip camcorder myself, and at ReelSEO we also use that when we go out to conferences, capturing something or somebody "in the moment." You don't have to wait up for a video crew do to their setup. Do you find though its a challenge sometimes when you don't have the luxury of a video crew or even just a second person helping out? Such as when the room is dark, or when there's much surrounding noise? Is it a challenge to find the best balance of the flexibility of doing a ton of videos, but also trying to get a good enough quality of a video so that it can still be considered something on a professional level?
David: I think part of it for me depends on who I'm personally interviewing, if I'm doing the interview; and if it's on the other side, I let them run with it. But I think that people are tolerant, in my mind, of a little bid of "bad quality" aspects (with online video), if its a great interview. A great example of that is I had an opportunity a couple of months ago to interview the CEO of General Motors… with my Flip! (Laughs). Luckly, whenever you have a meeting with the CEO of a "Fortune 10″-size company, there's lots and lots of other people in the room. (Laughs) They never let you get to be alone with someone like that. So luckily, someone else was there who could hold the video camera, so both of us could be in the shot. But stupidly, behind us, was his office window. So it ended up being a terrible shot – it was full of shadows and what not. And on the Flip, the sound is far from perfect. BUT GODDAMMIT, ITS THE CEO OF GENERAL MOTORS! I mean, that's great cool stuff! So again, I think people are tolerant if you got yourself a cool interview.
At the same time, I wish I had lights, I wish I had the opportunity to make it better, I wish at least we had figured out to go to the other side of the desk. But now I've gotten that sort of covered; I don't mind asking people to go to the other side of the desk! (Laughs)
How to get companies "hooked" with online video
Grant: So what do you think it's going to take for more companies and individuals to be doing more video online, which you advocate in your book? You mentioned in your book about giving team members Flip camcorders so they can get even better stuff than they would have if its just one person
David: I think it really comes down to really just showing how easy it is. I've found that most people, when they take the leap to shoot one video – they're kind of hooked. I know that was my case. When I did my first video, I was nervous about it. The first video I ever shot and put on YouTube: I was down in Saudi Arabia, and found myself in a camel market. Its a silly little video, but I got a bunch of views on it. I thought, wow, that's pretty neat, I got a bunch of views. So I think it created a monster and I've done a hundred videos since.
The technology will get better. A lot of my friends are also using the Kodak Vi8, which has an external microphone, so it's supposed to make it easier to get better sound. So things will change in terms of the technology, but I think it's just a matter of getting it out there.
"Subversive online video" company mishaps
Its kind of my same attitude on blogs – just get it out there! You can screw around with the blog masthead and color schemes later.
Grant: What is interesting also, in what your book covers, is not just the technology side, but also what companies have been doing with "subversive" social media using video. One of those things you talk about is the commonality of "stealth" video insertions into YouTube – where they present that a video originating from their own company is a consumer, user-generated content.
David: I'm a really big fan being transparent. If I'm interviewing somebody and I have a relationship in some form where money changes hands, I will try my best to remember to say that, or to write about that in the blog. So for example, if I was doing an interview that I was on the board of directors of, somewhere in there I would indicate that I am on the board of directors of this company. I'm a huge fan of making sure that all of those things are on the up-and-up. But some companies out there are shooting videos as if they're a consumer-generated video. For example, a video of happy people around a bar drinking a certain brand of beer, who appear like they just happened to be shot, when it was really created by an agency or money changed hands, and it was not really a consumer-generated-video. If there's a reason why it was made to seem that way, I would want it to say that and not try to fool us… also, if you ever get caught, its just not worth whatever you think you can get by doing it.
More marketing help from David Meerman Scott
The first place I recommend is checking out David's video channel, which features many of the interviews we've talked about here.
I also recommend checking out David's resources web page, where you'll find many marketing information freebies such as:
- His eBook download page
- David's most popular blog posts
- Free published reports on online marketing by David
And of course, buy his book! You can find links on his site to buy it in print softcover, or download it in audio or Kindle format.
Special thanks to Chicago Video Works for providing the opening and closing graphics to our new video show!