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The Ins and Outs of Getting The Most Out of Video

If you’re looking for advice on how to shoot or edit video, this is not the post for you (well, it could be, but not for that reason). If, however, you want to know why you should use video and the various ways you can use it, you’ve come to the right place.

Video today should absolutely be a part of your marketing mix and in some cases, it should be a core part of it.

Let’s dive in.

Guiding a journey

Marketing today is about guiding a journey. People are going out and conducting their own research and deciding whether or not they want to buy from companies. In many cases, companies aren’t even aware that these people are looking at them. Content can help to guide the stages of the customer journey, while also providing insight for the companies themselves. Video can be a great tool for this.

Websites today can no longer just serve as digital brochures. They must serve many roles for your business and should help you:

  • Get found online
  • Educate and inform visitors
  • Nurture visitors to a conversion

On top of all that, your website needs to build trust with your audience, and in my experience, this is where video shines. Short of a live, in-person presentation, I’m going to say video is the most important tool to do just that.

Why video?

Video is not only effective, it’s practical. Video is:

  • Portable (thank you technology)
  • Chunkable – For example, you can take a 30-minute presentation and repurpose it into numerous impactful videos.
  • Emotional – This is key for getting the attention of your audience.
  • Flexible in terms of where you can put it and the various mediums you can publish it on

What I don’t hear people talk about enough though, are the benefits of repurposing video into other forms of content rather than the other way around. You can actually get a ton of leverage out of video that will help your content generation skyrocket.

For example, what if you shot a video and then stripped the audio from it and turn it into a podcast episode? From there, you could get the transcript from it and with very little editing, turn that into a blog post or multiple posts. See how that works? If you come from a video-first standpoint, you’ll find it’s easier to create more content overall.

Benefits of using video

It’s undeniable that videos provide many benefits, but did you know that 80% of online visitors will watch a video? In fact, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. A few of the reason behind this include:

  • Video is engaging and easy to consume
  • It can be highly effective at influencing buying decisions
  • It’s easier to grab your audience’s attention with video than a text-based message

Where to use video

Now that I’ve mentioned some of the many benefits, let’s dive into where you can use this form of content, starting with the optimal areas of your website.

  • Homepage – An overview video is great for an introduction and helps to keep your audience on your website.
  • Product pages/How-tos – Placing videos on these pages provide full transparency for your audience and allows them to better understand what it is that you’re selling.
  • Demos – Once you get near the purchase, walking potential prospects through demos via video can really help to build their trust with you.
  • Testimonials – You want people to see positive reviews others give you, and using video testimonials is a great way to do it.
  • Contact Us page – Placing a video here is great for increasing conversions at a critical point in the customer journey.
  • FAQs – Rather than responding to questions with text, use a video!
  • Blog posts – Mix up your written posts with video posts to mix up the format and keep your audience engaged.

The value of video in social media

Perhaps the place that we see video the most these days is social media, and this is because:

  • It’s visually impactful – Videos stand out much more than a text-based post in your newsfeed
  • It’s engaging – People want to watch videos
  • It’s low-cost – Video ads are one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise

What’s great about video is that you can use them across the board. You don’t have to create new videos for social. You can repurpose the ones on your site and promote it across various platforms.

Using live video

Something I’m seeing more and more of is the use of live video (especially with Facebook Live), which is great if you use it correctly. Don’t use live video to just take footage of the sky or of you making pancakes. Use it with a purpose to make it valuable. Some of the ways I find it helpful include:

  • Training – Live video is great for internal purposes, especially for recordings if people miss the class
  • Events – Live video allows people to witness an event even if they can’t make it in person
  • Announce – Live video is great for announcements and to generate buzz

YouTube video ads

It’s nearly impossible for people to watch YouTube videos without an ad being played. When it comes to these types of ads, it’s easy to come off as annoying rather than engaging. People just want to watch their videos! But if you are engaging in this space, the rewards can be infinite. It’s a great tool for targeting and expanding your reach. To give you the best chance for success, be engaging and entertaining, and get your point across within the first 3-5 seconds of the video.

Equipment for creating videos

A decade ago, video was kind of hard to come by. Today that is not the case and it doesn’t need to be expensive. You really don’t need a lot to get something off the ground.

Basic setup

  • iPhone
  • Lav mic – Plugin to the iPhone jack
  • Tripod – For stability and more professional looking shows
  • Hosting
    • YouTube – Great for immediate uploads and search potential
    • Wistia – Good player that is:
      • Flexible
      • Easy to edit
      • Provides control of who sees it

Advanced equipment

As you can see, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get up and running to create great video content.

Editing videos

Once the footage is shot, you need to be able to edit it to what you want. Consider using the following tools to get this done:

  • iMovie (Mac) – Comes with Macs
  • Final Cut Pro (PC)
  • YouTube
  • Animoto

Final tips

Last but not least, consider these recommendations to get an ideal final product:

  • Pay attention to the sound. If the quality is poor, you’ll risk losing your audience.
  • Keep videos short to stay in line with the average consumer’s attention span.
  • Get to the main point early on in the video in case your audience drops off further in.

The most important point I want to drive home is at the core of every great video is a strategy. Before you do anything, identify the objective of the video and the action you’d like your audience to take by watching it. Knowing the “why” is invaluable.

So there you have it! What tips would you add to this post?

10 21 Blogs I Turn To When I Need to Learn How To Do Stuff

No shock in this statement – I’m a big fan of blogs and blogging as a core marketing, content and SEO practice.

Blogs

photo credit: via photopin (license)

I subscribe to many blogs, read blogs daily and generally find that when I search for things blog posts offer the most useful solutions.

I read many different types of blogs – some for inspiration, some for thought leadership and still some for personal growth.

Today I want to present a list of blogs that I turn to on a regular basis when I want to learn something practical and useful.

This list of 21 blogs isn’t top list or ranking or any other of the link bait kinds of lists you see out there. The blogs on this list are tools for me as I market and grow my business and attempt to expand my knowledge in an ever changing world.

I frequently get asked about resources I turn to and, for today, here they are. I placed them into a handful of categories, but many of them could cross over into multiple categories and often do in the range of topics they weigh in on. Most of these won’t be new to regular readers as I reference them often, but it can be helpful to see them all in one place. Subscribe to this list and you’ll always have ready access to tips, tools and techniques you can take action on today.

Feel free to share blogs you find utterly useful when you need to learn how to do stuff.

Video
Reel SEO – http://www.reelseo.com/
Video Brewery – http://www.videobrewery.com/blog/

Podcast
Podcast Answer Man – http://podcastanswerman.com/
Entrepreneur on Fire – http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com

SEO
MOZ – http://moz.com/
Search Engine Watch – http://searchenginewatch.com/

Social Media
Social Media Examiner – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
Buffer – https://blog.bufferapp.com/
Razor Social – http://www.razorsocial.com/blog/

Facebook
Jon Loomer – http://www.jonloomer.com

PPC
PPC Hero – http://www.ppchero.com/
WordStream – http://www.wordstream.com/blog

Conversion
Kiss Metrics – https://blog.kissmetrics.com/
Unbounce – http://unbounce.com/blog/
QuickSprout – http://www.quicksprout.com/university/

Analytics
Occam’s Razor – http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/
Crazy Egg – http://blog.crazyegg.com/

Content
Content Marketing Institute – http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/blog/
Copyblogger – http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/

WordPress
WP Beginner – http://www.wpbeginner.com/category/wp-tutorials/
Yoast – https://yoast.com/

 

 

6 Why You Don’t Need to Go Viral to Make Video Marketing Work

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Amy Harrison – Enjoy!

Clapperboard

photo credit: ARMLE via photopin cc

A viral video is the dream of many marketers and business owners. One smash hit can transform a business’s reach overnight. And it’s not just big brands like Blendtec and Old Spice dominating the video market. Newer companies such as Dollar Shave have exploded onto the scene largely due to their viral video presence.

The myth of viral for small business

While it can be a game-changer to be suddenly watched by the world, most small businesses don’t need this level of exposure to see results. If you could grow your audience by a few hundred, or a few thousand engaged prospects, would that make a difference to your inquiries, leads and sales?

The pressure to go viral can have a negative effect if you think:

  • You need a perfect video with high-end production to stand out
  • You need to create something wacky or crazy to get attention
  • If your video doesn’t go viral, you should can it and forget it

If you think video isn’t worth it unless you’re a YouTube star, you could be missing out.

Smaller audience, bigger rewards

Last year, I started a light-hearted sketch show called Content Marketing…Stripped!  I’ve created just 18 short videos

None of them have ever gone viral.

Most get around 100-300 views, but site traffic is growing, subscribers are up 75% and I’m seeing increased social media engagement.

Most importantly, they help attract clients. I’m closing sales faster because leads are more qualified. After watching, prospects say they feel they know me, would enjoy working with me and contact me based on that. I’ve never woken up to a phone call from The Tonight Show, or asked to comment for the New York Times, but this consistent creation of short videos has improved my marketing results.

Where to start? How to get results from a non-viral video

internet face (1)

A still shot from Content Marketing… Stripped!

Even a simple video of you talking to camera can build rapport and engagement with prospects. So why not break out your camera, and start planning your first simple marketing video using these steps?

1.     Focus on your customer’s problem first

Solving a customer’s problem is a great idea for your videos. Think about common “how do I…” questions your customer has that you can solve. For example: “How do I create a customer profile for my marketing?

2.      Ask yourself: what is the impact on my customer if this problem is left unsolved?

In the above case, without a clear customer profile, you don’t know what marketing will work, and you can’t attract your ideal target market to your business.

3.    Don’t just state the impact, illustrate it

Rather than simply tell your customer that it’s important to solve this problem, see if you can give them examples and illustrations to prove it, for example:

  • Wasting time and money on marketing that doesn’t make the phone ring
  • Attracting the wrong clients and losing time on sales calls you’ll never close
  • Getting the wrong referrals because people don’t know who you serve

Video lets you be creative in how you present this information, you could think up a quick sketch, or unleash your whiteboard skills. Even if you’re just describing your examples, it’s better than simply telling your viewer that it’s important to solve their problem.

4.    Provide tips to solve it

Once you’ve illustrated the impact of the problem, provide useful tips viewers can use straight away.

5.    Remind viewers that you have products or services that can also help

In addition to free tips, don’t forget to let them know you can solve their problem directly with links to your contact, services or product page.

Start small and dip your toes in

If the goal of going viral has been putting you off, give video a try, there might be some low hanging fruit that you didn’t realize was ready and waiting for you.

Harrisonamy 150x150 (1)Amy Harrison trains companies to write better content, faster. She provides live content workshops for clients in Europe, and online training sessions for the wider world. You can find her Content Marketing…Stripped videos here and she was a featured speaker at the 2014 SXSW Interactive conference.

31 One Simple Tactic That Can Give You an Unfair Advantage in Local Search

Showing up in local search results is a pretty big deal if you’re any sort of local business. When people search online locally, but plan to buy offline locally, being the organization they find first and find when mobile could mean the difference between growth and death.

While lots of people publish tips about Google Places pages, local web content, address citations and the sort, not enough people are talking about the power of local video when it comes to gaining an advantage in local search.

Many people are talking about video from a content standpoint and I agree, but what about locally optimized video for SEO. I’ve seen this intentional tactic produce some pretty incredible results in a very short time – particularly when it comes to a Google and YouTube combination.

See, here’s the deal – Google wants to give people interesting search results and as often as possible that includes a mix of local Places pages, videos, products, images and blog posts all mashed together on page one for specific search phrases.

Local businesses that get good at producing and optimizing video can find their YouTube videos zapped to page one for highly competitive search terms with very little effort.

I did a little test over the weekend to prove this theory. Granted there may be other factors at play here, but here’s what I and I believe you can do it too.

I am hosting a couple workshops in Kansas City in June. Since this is for me a rare local play I wanted to see what could do to get some local search results. So, here’s what I did.

  • I created a very brief video recorded directly to YouTube.
  • I even did a little bit of editing using the new YouTube Tools
  • I named the video Kansas City Marketing Workshop and Training
  • I added a description with this term
  • I added keywords that related to the term
  • I saved the video
  • I embedded the video on a page on my site.
  • I pointed to the video on YouTube from my Facebook page

Total time invested was about 15 minutes. About 30 minutes later this video showed up on page one for the search term – “Kansas City Marketing Workshop”

Kansas City Marketing Training and Workshop video

A day later it moved to the #2 position for the search term and #4 position for the term Kansas City Marketing Training. I conducted these searches logged out of my Google account and even received the same results using private browsing in Safari.

There’s no telling how long this video will stay at the top of the results for my search term, but it certainly reinforced the idea that this is a powerful way to gain additional local search results while creating useful content.

Below are tips to keep in mind as you explore this tactic:

Do the keyword research

Use a tool like WordTracker or Google Keyword Tool to hunt for some search phases that make the most sense. You’re not looking for hyper competitive terms like “Marketing,” you’re looking for longer, less searched phrases that you can quickly impact.

Also keep in mind those frequently asked questions. Focus on making videos that address those issues.

Create multiple videos

The idea behind this approach is to create dozens of simple videos that allow you to build a library of content that addresses many of the things your prospects are searching for.

Make the videos sell

Make sure you add URLs and annotations to your videos so you can send people to pages that give them even more information.

Optimize for specific terms

Use the search phases you uncover as your video titles, in descriptions and as keyword combination. Do a search on YouTube for the phrase you are trying to win and see what comes up. Once you find the top videos in your search term make note of the keywords and borrow liberally.

Point to the videos

Google loves it when other sites point to videos that are hosted on YouTube. You can give your videos even more juice by linking to them from your web site, Facebook and other video hosting sites.

Experiment with the intriguing little tactic and you may uncover some pretty fantastic results for frequently searched terms that might not otherwise stand a chance of competing for.

7 10 Tools To Get More From Your Video

This post originally appeared on AMEX OPENForum

Video has become an essential marketing tool. It’s a great way to tell your story, show the human side of your business and communicate highly complex ideas in an easy to digest manner. But while video has the power to deeply engage, it also has the power to bore the viewer to tears—and creating compelling video is different than writing, say, a compelling blog post.

Starting a camera and spouting out a thousand words of brilliant prose does not make a compelling video. There are proven techniques and tools that can help make your videos engage, hold attention and wow the viewer. Here are 10 tools that can help you get started.

1. Prezi. This is a interesting take on the slide presentation as it allows you to create one giant and more easily connected idea and then use the tool to zoom, pan and fly all around the presentation to create a really dynamic feel. It’s not the easiest tool to master, but check out some of the incredible examples on the site to get inspiration.

2. YouTube Editor. I like this tool because it’s free, and because you’re using YouTube to host and stream your videos anyway, it gives you some nice editing capability right in YouTube. You can also add annotations and transcripts to your videos making them more SEO friendly.

3. Camtasia. This PC and Mac desktop software is the market leader in the screencapture video world. Screencast videos are a great way to demonstrate how something online works. Camtasia has some nice features that allow you to add focus to areas on your screen as well as annotations and URLs.

4. Animoto. This automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. It takes a little trial and error to get right, but adds surprisingly professional touch when you do.

5. Stoome. This is a really unique tool as it adds a crowdsourced element. You upload video clips and borrow from other users. You can then work on your project alone or with others. This is an awesome tool for creating videos when you attend a big event or conference.

6. GoAnimate. This tool allows you to make full-featured animated movies using characters and sets of your choosing. Animation can be a really powerful way to tell your story in a unique manner.

7. Magistro. This tool takes your raw footage and goes through and picks out what it thinks is the best of the best to create a short video. The tool then lets you add music and titles. Again, this is one that is awesome when it gets it right, but a little clunky with it doesn’t.

8. Sellamations. This service will create doodle videos where a hand draws out your story with a marker in high-speed capture. It’s not the cheapest route, but it’s certainly one of the best ways to create a one of a kind video that’s simply hard not to watch.

9. Common Craft. This is another really unique way to tell your story using video. Common Craft uses paper cutouts moved around or white boards to tell your story. This is probably one of the best ways to take a complex idea and really make it easy to understand. Again, hard not keep glued to this format.

10. ReelSEO. This one actually isn’t a tool, it’s just the best place to learn about tools like this as well as how to more effectively use video to build your business in general.

5 The Easiest Way to Create Videos Right Now

Creating video for blog posts, landing and other web pages has become an important way to communicate a personal message and showcase your brand.

While there are many ways to get started using video the key, I think, is to simply get started. So, while you may end up investing in HD cameras, condenser mics, editing software and green screens, today I would like to describe the easiest way to get started producing your own videos.

Facebook and YouTube both have direct record video options and, while it may not be the most high tech way to create a simple video, it surely is the easiest. The only thing you need is a camera. You can use a digital camera that you plug into your computer or a built in camera common on most laptops these days.

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34 Creating and Using Web Video Never Easier

Video on the web has simply grown to become an expectation. Sites these days feature video for every imaginable use and visitors and users have grown to anticipate this engaging medium.Small business videosThe good news is that creating and using video on your websites and blogs has never easier or more affordable. (One disclaimer: Professional videographers can help you produce very high quality, engaging videos, just like a graphic designer can help you produce high quality print materials. Consider a professional option like TurnHere as well, but arm yourself with the tools and knowledge to get it done right either way.)

    Some reasons to use video

  • Interview customers and capture testimonials and success stories (Here’s a fun idea – hold a testimonial party)
  • Interview employees as they discuss what they do and how they help customers
  • Record a greeting from the CEO – don’t sell, just let them know your story
  • Use video as a call to action in your email campaigns (Here’s how)
  • Add video to your Google Maps profile, Facebook Fan Page, and LinkedIn profile
  • Create product and service training videos showing customers how to succeed
  • Record FAQs with real prospects or customer posing the questions
  • Interview your key strategic referral partners
  • Create all manner of “how to” video and screencast to help demonstrate your expertise

Getting started with web video

This is not meant to be the complete online video tutorial, but the following items will help you get started as you consider ways to enhance your online presence with video. (Some resources for that: ReelSEO, MakeInternetTV and Online Video Toolkit)

Capture

Recording video has become fairly simple. High quality digital video cameras have dropped below $200. Highly portable options, such as the Flip cameras make it easy to pack a camera anywhere and most new phones, such as the iPhone 3Gs, feature video recording capabilities.

Determining the best option for you depends a little on your objective. If you want to grab lots of impromptu shots out in the field a Flip is a nice option, if you are doing interviews or product demos the digital video camera is probably a better choice.

    A couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Get a camera with the ability to add an external microphone so you can get a lavaliere mic for interviews. The sound will be much better.
  • Use a tripod – you can’t hold a camera very still no matter how hard you try.
  • While HD cameras produce higher quality output, they also produce much larger files. Ask yourself if your use requires the higher quality

Don’t forget screencapture software for recording tutorials or capturing slide presentations in video. Camtasia Studio from TechSmith is the leader here (new Mac version) but Adobe’s Captivate is an alternative. Mac users also use ScreenFlow Pro

Another emerging option is live streaming video. Creating and capturing live video, much like a live reality show, is another possible outlet. USTREAM.tv and Livecast.com offer nice platforms.

USTREAM also offers a live streaming video app (this is an iTunes store link) for the iPhone 3Gs – you can point your phone now and stream live video.

Edit

Once you’ve recorded your videos you probably want to edit them in some fashion to make them more engaging, logical or professional. This is an area that can way technical, so I’ll just point out a few ideas.

Video editing software such as the very basic Windows Movie Maker and the more robust iMovie on the Mac are both standard and free. More robust programs such as Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle Studio for PC and Final Cut Pro for Mac are also good options.

Publish

Video sharing sites offer an incredible service for the small business video publisher. Sites such as YouTube allow you to upload, host and stream your videos for free. Video files are large and demanding so hosting and streaming them on your own can get technical and costly. Video sharing sites make the process very easy. You simply upload your videos, create some setting and then copy the embedding code to publish the video, with player, right to your site. While most of these sites offer free versions, consider the pro versions if you intend to use this medium often. Pro versions give much more control and more professional end product.

    Popular sharing sites include:

  • YouTube – the Google owned grandaddy
  • Viddler – standard feature set and more flexible than YouTube
  • Vimeo – offers a paid version that gives you much more control
  • Blip.tv – focus is show format
  • Brightcove – more focused on creative video

Promote

Video promotion is one of those odd topic, because it can get lost in the whole viral conversation. If you’ve found a logical way to create a video that millions want to watch and share and that video supports your brand and marketing objectives, go for it. But, it’s probably not a great idea to sit around thinking of ways to create funny viral type videos unless they make sense for your brand.

Having said that, getting your video viewed by prospects is usually a good thing.

    Some video promotion tips:

  • Make your videos sharable – add social media links or tools like AddtoAny so people can pass you videos on
  • Optimize your videos – when you upload a video to a sharing site make sure you use keyword rich titles, descriptions and tags (getting your videos to show up in Google search is a good thing!)
  • Optimize the video pages – Search engines aren’t great at knowing what’s in a video (although they are getting there) so make sure you thoroughly describe what your video is about on the page or blog post where it resides on your site.
  • Publish your videos on social networks – Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn profiles and Biznik profiles are great places to run some video
  • Push your video to lots of places – video distribution services, such as TubeMogul, allow you to upload your video once and distribute to many sharing sites. TubeMogul also offer tracking as part of the service.