In my previous article, I covered why video production pros today are becoming online marketers. This time I cover the key elements of online video marketing that all video production pros should know about, and how they can use that to their advantage to stay competitive in the client and job market.
Video Marketing Basics: What Video Production Pros Should Know
- Delivery & Encoding – transferring video media to the Web and mobile without technical glitches.
- Content for the Web – understanding the differences in terms of content, and what works best on the Web.
- Presentation & Distribution – how to best deliver and place video on a Website and across online media channels.
- Engagement & Metrics – follow how users are engaging with the video being put out online, across your distribution channels.
1) Web Video Delivery & Encoding
Simply put, encoding involves converting video from one format to another. For video production people, here's how I would describe what they need to do for the web:
- Gather the raw video from the original source, such as a camcorder or other device used to shoot the video. If it's an analog device such as a tape-based camcorder, we call it encoding for the analog-to-digital conversion. If it's a straight digital-to-digital conversion (such as a camcorder with a digital hard drive or removable compact media such as an SD or Flash card – which already encodes the video once), we refer to that as transcoding.
- Understand the appropriate file formats for wherever it will be displayed online.
Video production professionals should understand the distinctions between displaying video on traditional media channels versus online – Web, mobile, even WebTV. Not only are there bandwidth considerations (i.e., what are the likely connection speeds your audience has to retrieve your video content), but different player dimensions and preferred file types across some web sites as well.
The mass merchant digital media director I interviewed shared this with me:
"A (video production professional) today also needs to also be skilled in the transcoding (re-encoding) of video for deployment across various platforms and possess an understanding of how video plays across different media. They need to have the organizational skills to build, organize and manage/maintain a library of video assets. As we expand our mobile footprint, we're constantly working to understand how video fits within the mobile strategy. And, further, what steps we need to take to dual-create video to live across those devices, – considering format, size and bit-rate standards to ensure optimization and the highest-possible quality.”
I think that while production pros certainly should know the different requirements of various delivery destinations, there are many tools designed to help with this process and encode video for these various purposes – like Sorenson Squeeze, encoding.com and zencoder.
If you want to understand the basics, read our article about video file formats, compression and codecs, etc… here.
2) Web Video Content
Video Production Professionals need to understand more than just technical requirements. They also need to differentiate between the different types of video content, and what works best on the Web. Something as simple as first finding out where the video will be shown and how it will be shown, and around what particular marketing strategy, will help the video production professional assess what type of content should be (short vs. long-form, tone, etc…). Customer testimonials are popular right now, but a testimonial that's 35 minutes long won't be good on the Web.
Some Considerations for Video Content That's Intended for the Web:
- Is the type of video you create an attempt to sell something? If so, then the video's purpose is to nudge the consumer past the final step of consideration and into a purchase.
- Is it meant as a how-to or tip? Then a longer format may be acceptable
- Is it meant as entertainment? Commentary? News coverage? Each content type will weigh into the graphics, music, animation, length, and camera shots.
3) Web Video Presentation & Distribution
A video production professional should know the basics for showcasing videos on a website, and across the Web in general, in a professional manner. For this we recommend using a video platform other than YouTube (stay tuned as we'll cover our reasons for that in more depth in the coming days). Give strong consideration to professional-quality hosting providers that let you further customize your player: Vimeo, Blip.TV, Brightcove, Ooyala, Vzaar, Sorenson, are just a few names of many online video platforms out there.
4) Web Video Engagement Metrics
My interview with a mass merchant digital media director (who's also in charge of all online video content) says that their video production professionals' responsibilities include understanding and following industry standards around video usage. This includes the following video metrics:
- Average view time
- Most popular content types
- Social implications
- Click-to-action #'s and %
You can see why its important for video production professionals to not only know what the marketing goals are, but what the data shows for how videos and campaigns are performing, which should shape the direction of the video content with how that content is distributed.
How Video Product Professionals Can Think Like a Marketer
Here's a compilation of tips provided to me by a few companies I interviewed – some that are heavily into online video marketing and what they're looking for with hiring; and some that are small-business and individual enterprises that need to do it all – produce video, help their clients, and operate their own business. Some of these suggestions are also our own from what we've seen as to how client prospects and customers respond to video marketing positively:
1) Understand the full web video process including deployment
This will help you learn how to effectively weave marketing and merchandising objectives with the desire to create high quality, highly polished video.
2) Keep abreast of trends for require real-time responsiveness.
Be organized, responsive, and accommodating. Follow trends for Web video content in your company and clients' industries, and follow news on Web video trends in business.
3) Pay attention to the financials beyond just the production budget.
Be part of the budget discussion. Work with the planning team to figure out median costs per video, costs for specialty videos, and ROI expectations
4) Understand how to work with stakeholders at multiple levels.
Executives will have one view, while a senior-level producer or director will have another. The personality or talent (if they're invested in the outcome of the video) will have another. They must understand how to collect all viewpoints and work toward a finished product that will serve and satisfy all parties.
5) Practice video marketing for your own company.
Businesses that expect to showcase themselves with a professional video presence need to do more than just embed a video from a site like YouTube. If you're not hosting your own video and creating your own video players, then use a professional online video platform. Have your own blog, social media channels (Facebook at least), and participate in the conversations around your industry.