Video on the Web to reach your buyers

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Social Media  |  Viral Marketing  |  New Rules of Marketing and PR  |  Case Studies  |  Marketing  |  Advertising  |  Brand Journalism

Organizations that deliver products or services that naturally lend themselves to video have been among the first to actively use the medium to market and deliver messages about their offerings. For example, many churches routinely shoot video of weekly services and offer it online for anybody to watch, drawing more people into the congregation. Amateur and professional sports teams, musicians, and theater groups also use video as a marketing and PR tool.

The idea of companies using video for Web marketing is still new. Video follows both blogs and podcasting on the adoption curve at organizations that don’t have a service that naturally lends itself to video. Some companies are certainly experimenting, typically by imbedding video (typically hosted at YouTube) into their existing blogs. I’m starting to see video snippets of CEO speeches and quick product demonstrations on corporate blogs, but this is still quite rare. For example, Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures uses occasional video clips on his blog to great effect.

Whether they're new to the game or have been offering Web video for years, organizations get their video content onto the computer screens (and video iPods) of buyers in several different ways:

> Posting to Video-Sharing Sites. YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site on the Web, although there are others. Organizations post video content on YouTube and send people a link to the content (or hope that it goes viral). Creating a simple video is easy—all you need is a digital video camera or even a mobile phone and a YouTube account. There are all sorts of enhancements and editing techniques you can use to make the video more professional. Two examples of compelling video contributed by a company and available on YouTube:
1) The Smirnoff "teapartay" video, which features old money New Englanders rapping. It reminds me of people I went to college with, so I’ve watched it a bunch of times. And the viral component of this video is clearly working because here I am sharing it with you.

2) A fantastic "mocumentary" about enterprise salespeople by IBM.

> Developing an online video channel. Companies that take online video programming seriously develop their own channel, often with a unique URL. Examples include Weber Grills’ Weber Nation Web site, which features video grilling classes, and Ford Bold Moves, a site with a weekly video documentary series that takes visitors inside Ford Motor Company as it attempts one of the largest corporate turnarounds in history.

> Attempting stealth insertions to YouTube. Some companies try to sneak corporate-sponsored video onto YouTube in a way that makes it seem like it is consumer-generated. The YouTube community is remarkably skilled at ratting out inauthentic video, so this approach is fraught with danger.

> Vlogging. Short for "video blogging," this term refers to when people imbed video content into a blog. The text part of the blog adds context to each video and aids with search engine marketing.


> Vodcasting. A vodcast is like a podcast but with video—a video series tied to a syndication component with iTunes and RSS feeds. For example, BMW offers a weekly vodcast series of two-to-three minute videos about what’s going on at BMW. The company uses the vodcasts to publicize the cool things it’s doing around the world.

> Inviting your customer communities to submit video. This technique is how some companies, including Mentos and Converse, try to generate viral marketing interest. These companies sponsor contests where customers submit short videos. The best are usually showcased on the company site, and the winners often get prizes. In some cases, the winning videos are also played on TV as "real" commercials.

Video is cool. An your competitors are probably not doing it.