Are your prospects among the 104 million who use this service?

friday, 26 november of 2010

Are your prospects among the 104 million who use this service?

by Tom Trush

If you've been reading my articles for any length of time, you know my favorite method for marketing businesses is writing and distributing educational content.

However, one medium is growing so fast it's impossible to ignore -- online video. I started complementing my marketing efforts with video about a year ago. My only regret is I didn't start sooner.

Viewership of online video has never been higher, and its growth is staggering. According to The Nielsen Co., nearly 136 million unique viewers spent an average of 3.5 hours watching online video in July 2009, a jump of 42.2 percent over the previous year.

The top site for watching video, according to Nielsen, was YouTube -- with more than 7 billion streams and 104 million unique viewers.

The best news for budget-strapped businesses is getting your videos on YouTube won't cost you a single cent. Where else can you make your marketing message available to millions without ever opening your wallet?

The following piece originally appeared in the Flagstaff Business News:

How to Use Online Video to Promote Your Business

Consumers' online video viewing habits are creating big opportunities for businesses willing to incorporate the ever-growing medium into their marketing strategies.

According to eMarketer, a digital marketing and media research firm, 67 percent of all Internet users view some form of video advertising at least once a month. By 2012, that number is expected to jump to 81 percent.

In fact, the popularity of online video has grown so much that YouTube recently surpassed Yahoo as the world's No. 2 search engine.

"The Web has become increasingly social and eyeballs are shifting from mainstream TV to the Internet," said Gary Vaynerchuk, whose Wine Library TV show receives more than 80,000 online views a day. "There is an unprecedented opportunity to capture people's attention by pumping out expert, free content within your niche."

In September 2006, Vaynerchuk, director of operations at Wine Library in Springfield, N.J., set up a cheap camera in the corner of his office and began recording his commentary about wine. Today, thanks in large part to his online presence, he is a nationally acclaimed businessman and marketing strategist.

The biggest mistake Vaynerchuk sees businesses make when getting started in video is attempting to create a Web show that looks like a television program.

"They spend weeks working extremely hard over-producing video with bells and whistles when they could have pumped out more content and spent that time more productively getting engaged with their community," he added.

After a career behind the camera, Mike Koenigs stepped in front of it and began recording in his garage using shop lighting. A few years later, he built a four camera, high-definition recording studio -- Digital Café -- and counts Tony Robbins, Debbie Ford and Deepak Chopra as clients.

He says today's technology allows anyone to communicate worldwide without restriction or any form of traditional media distribution.

"Just get something and get started," stressed Koenigs, who has distributed more than 3 million videos in less than two years with his Traffic Geyser product. "Your first video will be your worst video and your second video will be your second-worst video, and after that you'll start getting a handle on it."

As for equipment, a Flip Mino set on top of a book can get you started for little more than $100. But Koenigs recommends spending around $250-$300 for a camera, adding a tripod and investing in overhead natural lighting for a more professional look.

For enhanced sound quality, he also suggests using a condenser microphone plugged into your camera.

Once you're set up, answers to the most frequently asked questions about your product or service can serve as video topics.

If you're not comfortable in front of the camera, an optional starting point is screen-capture video. Using a screen recording software such as Camtasia (PC) or ScreenFlow (Macintosh), you can narrate and record what's displayed on your monitor.

"As a business owner, you've probably made a PowerPoint presentation hundreds of times," Koenigs said. "If all you did was snapped on a little microphone, did your presentation and spoke as if you're in front of an audience, you could have your whole video."

Once your video is complete, distribution is key to getting noticed. So Koenigs encourages submissions to as many video sharing sites (e.g., YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo), social networking sites and blogs as possible.

For increased visibility, he suggests writing your video title and description using terms people search online to find information about your product or service.

When it comes to video distribution and getting noticed on the Internet, Vaynerchuk says prepare to put in effort and engage with your community.

"Putting out great video content is not enough," he warned. "Use Twitter, Facebook and all the other essential social media tools. All of these tools are free -- you just have to be willing to work your face off."


© Trey Ryder

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