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The Importance of Online Video

The Importance of Online Video

(Photo: laverrue)

Online video is just a passing fad right? That’s what so many businesses still believe but that’s simply not true. It’s been over half a decade since the biggest online video site YouTube first sprang onto the internet and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Those who are adamant it’s just a passing trend are probably the same people who took one look at the motorcar and decided the horse and cart is still the way forward, or after finding out about email declared it a new fangled gadget that would never replace traditional mail. The truth is, like the car and email, online video is not a passing fad; it’s natural progression, the next evolutionary step for the Internet.

The main problems most businesses have when it comes to online video is the connotations that online video is just for people wanting to watch silly videos of skateboarding dogs or the latest video by their favourite music act. According to ScanScout, more people watch online videos about computers, technology and gaming than anything else, closely followed by people watching entertainment videos online. In May 2006, 6% of all online video consumed was from the business genre and this figure is growing year after year. YouTube alone claim to get more than 2 billion video views everyday which isn’t surprising considering it’s been the second largest search engine in the world on several occasions. In short, your target audience is online and they’re looking for video content so isn’t is about time your website started to accommodate it? If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth a thousand pictures. Just imagine how much more content you could convey to your target audience with the addition of a simple video.

By now I’m hoping I’ve convinced you to at least entertain the idea of online video, but you need to figure out how it can be used for you. At the very least any business can do a question and answer style interview, this doesn’t require any technical sophistication and will be very easy to edit. No matter what industry you work in there has to be something productive you can talk about. You aren’t trying to sell your product so there’s no point filming a sales pitch but maybe your customer service department can give you a list of the most frequently asked questions or there’s been a technological development within your industry that you could give an explanation of. No matter what product or service your website is offering there’s always going to be something you can say about it. You might even want to publish a downloadable white paper or PDF to accompany your video, this can be great for lead generation if you simply ask for a name and email address before the download commences.

If you have an ecommerce website creating video content should be easy. Filming practical applications of your products can be a great way to install faith in your brand and generate video content at the same time. If you sell cameras give a video demonstration of the different features, or a guide on how to shoot the perfect picture. If you sell clothes film an in house fashion show or film someone explaining what colours complement each other and what’s in style this season. The longer you’re able to keep any website traffic on site the more likely they are to remember you, so even if they don’t buy from you on this visit adding video content makes them more likely to think of you when they are serious about making a purchase.

Once you’ve created your video it’s simply a case of following best practice to get your video noticed. Make sure the opening still is engaging and entices people to click on it. Finish it with a still containing your contact information so people can get in touch if they want more information. Don’t forget to add the video content to your XML sitemap to let the search engines know it’s there and you’re ready to start marketing it.

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