If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the worth of a video? From a business perspective, priceless. In today’s world, where life online is fast-paced and hyper-interactive, businesses have the ability to connect with their customers in a way that’s genuine and long lasting. While we’re staying connected via keyboards and touch screens, there’s no denying the impact of a human face – and a professionally produced web video has the power to create an emotional reaction that can convert a Google search into a loyal and enthusiastic customer.
For today’s instalment of the digital literacy series, I spoke to Neil Scott (@StrategicVideo), President and General Manager of The Edge Communications Inc., a Calgary-based full-service video production company. Scott filled me in on the benefits of a well-made web video to businesses and offered valuable insight into how businesses can incorporate video into their digital media strategies.
What is a web video and where does it fit in the overall digital space?
A web video is a video that is distributed over the Internet. It could be distributed via e-mail, a content delivery network, through a website or a company intranet. With today’s high speed Internet, larger bandwidth and sites like YouTube and Vimeo, playing and sharing high-quality video is really easy. Almost all of the videos my company makes are distributed as web videos.
Nowadays, people are bombarded with new digital messages every second. Yet it takes only a couple of seconds to make a lasting impression in today’s digital space using video. Video includes pictures/graphics and can impart more information in a shorter period of time when compared with other forms of communication. Therefore, it’s easier to create a rapid emotional response. The role of web video is to entertain, make a connection and most importantly encourage a response from a viewer. Well-crafted video makes people want to look at a website for more information, or go to the blog, or to make more connections in social media.
How are businesses using web video?
Businesses are using video to:
- Build a culture around people, a product or a service
- Get more prospects or more sales
- To create brand identity, or for recruiting and training of employees
Twenty strategic ways to use video for business can be found on the Strategic Video blog.
With the availability of cheaper video production tools and online video distribution, many businesses are choosing to broadcast their own messages. For some companies this approach works, but for others it’s a very public way to fail. Mastery of the technical tools is expected by the public – people want to clearly hear and see a video. I also find that many business videos fail to deliver clear and concise messages.
For business owners to get value out of a video:
- The key messages must be clear
- The target audience must be defined
- The distribution method must be right for the audience
What are the benefits of using web video?
The greatest benefit of a web video for a business is to share an emotional connection with a specific group using pictures and sound. Video is targeted and can be placed strategically where your target audience can find them. Video can also be loaded with keywords to help people searching for specific content. Each video is a searchable item on the Web, and lots of videos create great search engine opportunities. Web video is more targeted than TV. People still enjoy the habit of passive consumption of information that they experience while watching TV, but in today’s digital world, they want video to speak to them, not at them.
Where does web video fit in a business’ overall digital media strategy?
I’ve noticed that many business owners are not fully aware of the powerful stories that exist within their organizations because they’re focused on other aspects of the business. The job of a professional video producer is to find the powerful stories and connect those stories with the right audience. Regardless of where the video is being used, be it social media, a website, a blog or in any other way on the web, the unique story should be front and centre.
Video is a powerful tool anywhere on the Web because potential customers can become familiar with a business before they even walk in the door. Video production doesn’t have to be expensive. We did a series of web video clips for an optometry practice that simply allowed potential clients to see why the doctors in this clinic were passionate about eye care.
Video can also be used in the context of merchandising. Retailers or marketers who have websites with online shopping carts often use video to facilitate buying decisions. One of my favourite uses of video in retail is on LL Bean’s website. All of their professionally produced videos show their dedication to quality in outdoor goods.
Bottom line: why should businesses be using web video?
At my house we don’t look at newspaper ads and we don’t have a copy of the Yellow Pages – and I think we’re pretty typical Canadians in that regard. The convergence of technology that started a couple of decades ago is nearly complete. TV, movies, newspapers, directories, and radio can all be found online and they’re all now using video. They’re all using video because it creates a high level of engagement.
Businesses that use video will be found online and those businesses with the best video content will frequently be found first.