Plenty more. Or a lot less.
It depends on the video. And the website.
If you’re an individual “citizen” blogger, you may be fine with something that has a homemade look. People will often give you a pass. They’ll accept that you’re not a big operation with deep pockets to invest in high-end video.
The quality of your video reflects on your entire company
If you’re a business, people may still give you a pass. Only in a different way. They’ll think, “Gee, how unprofessional. I wonder if the rest of the company is up to snuff.” So they pass you by and head to a competitor’s site.
A slapdash video is a poor reflection of your entire company.
Interview with video pro: Melissa Shusterman, director, D4 Digital
Melissa Shusterman, director of digital video and web communications at D4 Digital, a division of the Philadelphia-based D4 Creative agency, knows how to create professional internet videos that communicate your value proposition in engaging fashion. Formerly a producer who’s worked with MTV, VH1 and FX, she’s also noted as an innovator of episodic web video.
Melissa and I recently had a nice chat. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Use of video online is getting a lot more popular. How do you see that trend going forward?
Melissa: YouTube is the fastest growing audience online. And its audience is far beyond the under-21 age group… Yet YouTube is filled with crap. There’s a lot of nonsense. You’re seeing a dog sit, or a baby cry, or a person rant. It’s amazing because people watch it. The power of receiving your information through someone’s mouth, or moving pictures, is incredible.
Why is that?
Melissa: Because we are human and we like to feel like we are spoken to directly and that we’re connecting with someone’s body language. Their eyes. Their opinion. It almost feels like a conversation, even in a video that doesn’t have a person looking right at you. Take that guy who talks about wine but screams at you. He’s a prime example. Why would people want to listen to that? Because instead of reading a PDF about the top four wines with a picture of a wine bottle, which is highly impersonal; you suddenly got to connect with a person who is as passionate about wine as you are.
Many businesses don’t see the need for video. They have a website and they think that’s enough. How do you convince them otherwise?
Melissa: Well, one of our clients, a media company… I told them, “I just Googled your company and looked you up on YouTube, and … there was something that came up with someone cursing with your company name associated with it. It looks like you’re not thinking about that world. But other people are posting about you in that world. So do you want your company to be perceived like that? Because maybe you’re not Googling or YouTubing, but millions of other people are.
So they say… “We already have plenty of video. Why don’t we take the video we have now and stick that up on the web?” Well, that’s for broadcast. We need to film things specifically for internet use.
With certain clients you advocate the use webisodes; a series of short episodic videos. How does the impact of that differ from a TV commercial?
Melissa: With a commercial you have the constraints of 15, 30 or 60 seconds. It’s a more traditional medium to convey a very specific message. When you have webisodes, it’s organic. It can be a continual message that can be woven into something that’s entertaining and informative.
When you watch a commercial it’s an assault at you. They’re great and some are highly entertaining, but they’re very quick. Sometimes you don’t even really know what you are seeing.
When you have a personality, or a character, or a storyline, that’s in two-minute increments for 10 days; or a lifetime; you are getting to know the brand better, You are getting the added value of a longer format and the information that can unfold.
Companies often go with a “talking head” approach on their homepage. Do you think that can still be effective?
Melissa: In the past you would have a talking head and it was about two inches wide and one inch tall. The players are much broader today. So now maybe it’s taking up a third of the homepage and it’s taking away some the space you used to have for your messages. So instead of having the CEO speak, that video should encompass your messages.
The CEO could tell the messages. What’s the difference with what you’re referring to?
Melissa: Graphic pictures, voiceover and music can convey a compelling message and it can guide people further into your website. Video messaging is now multi-layered and engaging… I can talk about this for hours but the simple thing is, people Google your company. They land on your page. Do they understand what you do, or do they go to the competition?
It’s one of the components of integrated media that’s going to be essential for being current. People do not read. People watch… If it’s people’s first impression of your company, the message doesn’t have to be long. But there should be entertainment value and it needs to be authentic… Pick a genre that fits your company. Possibly documentary style. Or like a sitcom. Whatever fits your clientele.
Are there any common mistakes that you can identify with corporate videos?
Not being up-to-date. You’ve got to stay current. It’s like wearing a bad pair of jeans. When you’re current it shows you’re investing in the future and you’re moving forward as a company. So it’s not something that you just do once.
Things that are too long. People are busy. Keep it short. Even if it’s got humor, because after someone laughs they’re ready to move on.
It’s always about the consumer or the potential consumer. It’s not necessarily about the company. That’s true of all good marketing.
What if a company says they’ll just repurpose commercials? They’re short. What would you tell them?
Melissa: Don’t repackage what you do for broadcast for the internet. People are savvy. The minute they know it’s a commercial you’ve made a mistake. You’ve turned them off… You have a captive audience. If someone is sitting at their computer it’s different than watching TV where they may be on the phone. Walking around. Feeding the kids. Doing sit-ups. They’re half listening. When someone opens up something and it’s speaking directly to them and you haven’t captured the audience, shame on you.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think of Melissa’s thoughts on what makes for an effective corporate video? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 8 so far )
Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know
The survey was conducted by Pear Analytics. Their process was to randomly sample Twitter’s public timeline for a two-week span. They put tweets into six categories that aside from “pointless babble” included “conversational,” meaning messages that go back and forth between people or attempt to spark conversation (questions or polls), and “pass-along value,” which covers any re-tweet. Items the Pear people qualified as “news” had to come from national mainstream sources, such as CNN and Fox. News on social media and anything published on TechCrunch or Mashable did not make the cut.
There are other specifics, but suffice to say, the whole thing is highly subjective.
My reason for covering this less-than-scientific research was to point out that even if there is a lot of babble on Twitter the platform offers value to businesses.
I didn’t think the actual finding was surprising. Anyone who watches Twitter’s public timeline for maybe 10-15 minutes can come to the same conclusion.
Colleagues made the same observation. Some noted that in the scheme of things most conversations, and messages received via email, are not particularly important. So why pick on Twitter?
Why pay so much attention to a report that states the obvious?
It’s All In How You Say It
For starters, consider the word choice: “pointless babble.” How great is that? It’s not insignificant content or something equally mundane. ‘Tis trash talking the twitosphere.
Naturally, this spurred tweets galore. And it made for a terrific story hook.
Next, look at how Pear conveyed the win, place and show results:
What a fun punchy graphic.
It’s All Very Official
Now take a gander at another image that shows a correlation between the type of tweet and the day of the week it tends to occur:
It’s good to have graphs and charts with numbers in a report to reinforce the idea that this is real research.
The study includes additional data from other sources. These stats and diagrams make it even more official.
I don’t have access to Pear Analytics’ financial statements but best guess is it’s a small business enterprise. Hats off to whoever dreamed this study up — it surely draws attention to the company.
The point about the pointless babble on Twitter states the obvious.
Slick packaging makes it newsworthy.
- Deni Kasrel
What do YOU think about getting attention by stating the obvious? Comments welcome.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Welcome to the Communications Strategist: A new source of ideas for creating communications strategies and tactics that can help you get the results you want, and maybe even more. The scope will include the traditional (such as print, which does still exist, at least for the moment, and the 4P’s of the marketing mix), current online practice (web design, usability, content strategy, social media, etc.) and emerging trends (web 3.0, web 4.0 and whatever else comes up).
FYI, part of the impetus behind this blog is my current status of being, ahem, between jobs. Now, with extra time on my hands, I have been doing more reading than usual, to include poring through many articles, books, web sites and blogs relating to trends and practices in marketing and communications. I’ve also been networking a heck of a lot, and that often includes attending meetings for local groups that have something to do with communications, especially social media, as well as assorted other web-centric topics. I am constantly learning new things that I’d like to share, hence this blog.
Of course, as anyone who knows me well would expect, I did some research about blogging prior to making this first post. I figured it would be good to get a grip on the basics, and as it turns out, that’s all you need to know to get rolling in the blogosphere.
My main reference thus far has been the Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. I recommend this book to other budding bloggers because it’s a pretty breezy read and it does a decent job of covering what goes into creating, maintaining and promoting a blog. So you know, the HuffPost guide doesn’t really delve into nitty gritty how-to nuts and bolts details (refer to titles in the “For Dummies” series for that kind of thing). Still the tone of the text conveys genuine enthusiasm and passion for blogging as do many sidebar comments by successful bloggers. I got a real sense of the satisfactions and benefits that can be derived from writing a blog. Also, one of the big things with having a blog is to be personable and write in your own voice. Easy to say but what does that mean? By including numerous sample blog posts The Huffington Post Complete Guide To Blogging shows, not simply tells, how that may be accomplished. I am still learning the blog-speak part. It’s a work in progress here.
- Deni Kasrel
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