Video is one of the best methods to get your message across and give maximum exposure to your business. Thanks to the evolution of video production technology there's no excuse for every business NOT to be able to consistently produce quality video.
Blendtec is the company which produces the "Will It Blend" series of videos that showcases blending iPhones, iPads, cameras and many other items destroyed in a Blendtec blender.
Jeff Robe, Director of Marketing at Blendtec conservatively estimates that Blendtec's videos have been seen at least 300 million times. Jeff and his team definitely know about video creation - well massively VIRAL video creation.
Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur and the founder of Help A Report (HARO), the most popular service linking journalists to sources and sources to journalists. With over 15,000 Facebook fans, over 57,000 followers Peter definitely knows something about generating publicity, which is VERY important in creating viral videos.
The 8 Lessons I learned from Blendtec and Peter are:
Make a connection with the audience.
One of the reasons video is so popular is because it allows you to connect with your audience (be it customers or otherwise) in a way that a simple blog post, Tweet or Facebook update cannot do. Communicating face to face, is best of course, but video is the next best thing.
As you think about the technical aspects of producing your video, let your over riding concern be to ensure you CONNECT with your audience. Connecting with your audience is all about ensuring that when they finish watching your video, they identify with the message you are trying to convey to them. Maybe you want to convey to an audience of parents that your chocolate donuts are healthy for kids. When parents finish watching your video, not only should they want to pass it on to friends, but they should also have some feeling of, "Hmm…I never thought so, but maybe these chocolate donuts are healthy for my kids".
A picture is worth a thousand words.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth several million. Since video is so valuable it's important that you do it right, Jeff told me. This does not mean your video has to be LONG or compete with something from "Dancing With the Stars", but you should invest the time and other resources to do a quality video. As you do your video consider the "return on investment" you want to get from your video. Do not treat your video creation like a "second thought". Remember, each second of your video is a few million words.
When Blendtec's team considered its famous video series, Will It Blend, it didn't just come from chance. It took creativity - and many meetings and discussions. Think of the often funny commercials we see on the occasion of the Super Bowl. Remember that there is an entire team of smart and creative people (for the most part) who spend months and months thinking of these commercials. If you want to increase the success of your video, get the creativity of a team of people involved. Gather your staff, friends and family together and invest the time to THINK creatively about how to produce a video that will generate the MOST attention for your business.
Create a good story line.
Part of the success of the movie Avatar was the imagery that James Cameron and his team created. However, the other reason for its success was the script that James Cameron put together. Without a great script (whether it's a 60 second or 5 minute script) your video won't be any good and you'll be wasting your time.
Ensure that, way before you shoot your video, that you take the time to write down the script of the video. The script is the detailed story line of what happens in the video. It's like the business plan of the video - know what it is supposed to accomplish.
Know why you are unique.
Thanks to the Internet, there is so much information available to consumers and business professionals. There's very little in this world that is unique. However, one thing that Steve Jobs has done so well is to take seemingly common items and make them "unique". Who would have thought that that a cell phone and MP3 player would be an iPhone. Who would have thought a tablet computer could be an iPad? Blenders are not sexy items. Bricks and cameras are simple and boring. However, blending a camera or a brick is QUITE exciting and unique.
What about your businesses video? How can you bring out what's unique about your business and create a video that others would want to see?
Know who your audience is.
What's the most important thing to keep in mind about creating your video? Who is the audience! If you're targeting a bunch of 5-year-olds, your video is going to be quite different than if you're trying to reach 27-year-old men, or 67-year-old ladies. Defining your audience early in the video creation process will help you know what to be creative about, develop your story line and pretty much all other aspects of your video. One suggestion, create "representative" profiles of your audience. For a snack business, your profile might be like this:
"Juan Richardson is Male, 25 - 30, loves sports, loves the out doors. He's married with 3 children and loves to eat junk food on the weekends while watching a movie"
Invest in quality video production.
There are two ways you can go about doing video. Whichever way you decide, it's important that you ensure you do your video in as professional a fashion as possible.
You can hire a professional videographer. The costs will very depending on your needs. How extensive the video is, how long the video should be and so many other things. You could also invest in developing your own studio. Whether that "studio" is a $200 flip camera and a brightly lit room, or several studio lights, a professional camera and a variety of backgrounds.
Jeff told me that fortunately, Blendtec was already working with a professional videographer, so doing the Will It Blend videos was done quite professionally.
Maybe you want to start out with a smaller investment. Whatever the investment you make, do it as good and as high quality as you can. Peter suggested you look at Pixability. This company sends you a Flip camera and edits the video you take for a flat fee.
Market your video.
Peter reminded me that Old Spice's man on a horse video has been seen over 8 million times on Youtube, and I'm sure many more times on other social networks and duplicate video posts. This was more times than was seen on the TV advertisement during the Super Bowl, when the advertisement was first aired.
The lesson learned is that while traditional TV (and other media) are useful and needed, you don't have to spend millions of dollars to have good visibility for your video. The most important thing to having many people see your video is to have the video engaging enough that people will want to forward the link to your video to others. Tools like Twitter and Facebook make it very, very easy for the first 10 people who see your video to pass it on to 100 others and these 100 to pass it on to 10,000 more.
As part of the video creation process, you should also develop a marketing plan of action - which will outline the plan for ensuring your video reaches the most people and more importantly the right people who can forward your video along to others.
Ramon Ray is the editor and technology evangelist for Smallbiztechnology.com.