Why The Show Must Go Online: The Power of Internet Videos

The content of online video services such as YouTube is making the switch from being merely entertaining to being highly informative, and Corporate America is paying attention (and so should you!).

A recent New York Times report said even dental offices are using Internet video sites to demonstrate root canals (not for the squeamish!) and other procedures.

More people are turning to online videos for technical information and demonstrations of products or services.According to YouTube, the increase in instructional online videos is growing fast, and growing globally.

Your business, too, can profit from creating short videos for your Web site and free Internet video sites. The technology has developed to the point that most cities boast an array of online video services that can quickly turn out a professional video for you to boost your online marketing reach.

Here are six smart tips to use the power of online video:

Six Smart Tips to Make Online Video Grow Your Profits

1. Think 'Show & Tell.'
The power of online video is that you can show your audience how your product or service works, while telling them how it works and why. You've heard the phrase, 'explain it to my like I'm a six-year-old?' That's your cue to keep your "show & tell" online video short and to the point. If your business offers 20 services or 100 products, pick one as your focus. You want to keep your video short, snappy and tightly focused. But end every online video by telling viewers they can find more information at your Web site. Then post your Web site address in an overlay, say it out loud, and repeat. Visit www.patientkeeper.com for how online videos can be used to create client testimonials. Even environmentalists praise the informative nature of online videos posted on energy and the environment at www.shell.com. Visit www.businessweek.com to click on video updates of market reports for how to relay what you know by way of ongoing online video updates.

2. Think the 5 W's.
As in: who, what, when, where and why. Your video should answer these questions. Who are you? What do you offer in terms of a service or product? When should your viewers pay attention? (Your answer should be right now or always!). Where is your product or service available? Why is it smart to use your product or service? Your answers will form the basis for your script. Then add the visuals of "how" your product or services works. If your information is useful and easy to understand, viewers will urge others to view your video. Visit www.kingfishmedia.com for an example of how you can be the executive who stars in your own how-to video. Visit www.brightcove.com to view online 'case study' videos featuring how DuPont, Dow Jones and others have created their online video presence. In fact, visit the consumer section at www.dupont.com for samples of easy-to-digest how-to videos from this corporate giant.

3. Do Your Homework.
Go online and investigate what similar businesses are doing in terms of online video, and learn from smart ideas and bad mistakes. Video online services post the most viewed videos, so visit a few to plan your video's focus from two vantages: how to attract general interest and how to go deeper to attract specific interest in your field. Here are a few free sites to visit (and consider when deciding where to post your online video at no cost): www.myspace.com, www.youtube.com, http://video.yahoo.com, http://video.google.com, www.crushedplanet.com, www.veoh.com.

4. Go Professional.
The technology has become too advanced, and viewers are demanding ever more sophisticated fare. So don't think homemade video. Hire a professional to tape your video, and rely on their judgment as to whether to use you, other staff members, certain customers or actors. You don't want to risk the backlash that comes from poor video quality. Before you hire, ask for samples of online videos and also for references. To find a professional production company, visit local online telephone directories or consult your local chamber of commerce. Or visit these sites, which contain national/international production company directories: www.mandy.com, www.visualnet.com or www.icommag.com. [Editor's note: I think under certain circumstances there is still a place in marketing for the amateur video, if it's clever and direct enough.]

5. Create Buzz.
Once you're satisfied with your online video, immediately begin creating the "buzz" that will attract viewers. Use your Web site and newsletters to announce your new online video. Send a news release to the local media. E-mail friends, colleagues and others in your industry and invite them to take a look. The more your online video is visited, the more traffic you will generate from others who want to know what everyone else is looking at. This is what leads to more customers for your product or service. One Web site that has been cited as a one-stop-shopping example of how to cross-promote online how-to or overview videos, along with your online blogs, newsletters and other services, is: www.smartsheet.com. Visit this site for ideas.

6. Play it Again.c 2007 Ruth Klein

Marketing Strategist & Productivity Coach Ruth Klein publishes the 'Ruth Klein Report' bi-monthly with 10,000+ valued subscribers. For more information, visit www.ruthklein.com.

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