During these rough economic times and with the online environment being so competitive, businesses need to create and sustain brand awareness now more than ever. Businesses must also focus on building customer loyalty with their online audience; this in turn will drive repeat visitors and sales.

Creating and Distributing Videos

Creating a video and distributing it online through various media channels can be a very useful tool in driving awareness and sales. A video can be used to communicate products and services in an easy, digestible and useful format that can be shared easily among viewers and visitors to the site. There are business areas where video has more obvious advantages and natural appeal such as entertainment (music and TV) and lifestyle. However, with the right production and development there is no reason that other sectors should be excluded from creating and displaying a video.

Developing video content for an online audience conveys a myriad of messages and can be managed in so many different ways to suit requirements. Human psychology being what it is suggests that the more robust or stimulating the experience, the more engaging it is, the better the viewer will comprehend, understand and retain the message or experience. Thus developing a video that is engaging will almost assuredly ensure that your viewer will watch to the conclusion.

Creating a video, vlog (Video web LOG), or posting a video is essentially the involvement of more human senses to gather information, which in turn makes the viewing of the video more engaging. Try to make a video that can educate, entertain and communicate with your network and potential customers. Make it entertaining and informative, you do not have to create the next ‘Will It Blend’ video, but you get the general idea.

Video is an excellent tool for brands attempting to provide more in-depth messaging and is best suited for content that is original, allowing the video to be presented and viewed as it was intended. If the content is focused such that it appeals to specific user groups, they may share the content with their friends and peers within their social network environment or other user generated content sites they feel would also be interested in your video, product or service. The added benefit is the advancement of the brand.

Video Hosting Options

Flash video players have become extremely flexible with a number of capabilities and functions, other than the playing of content, users have the ability to embed the video player into their blogs or websites. Creators have the ability to add robust media sharing functionality, they can link to eCommerce websites playlists for similar content, the ability to define the use of other videos e.g. music, artists, line-up and podcasts and so on.

Marketers looking to utilize video for their branding have three choices available to them:

  • Creating a video channel with a third-party service (such as YouTube, Dailymotion or MetaCafe, etc) and host your videos.
  • The business can host their own proprietary videos on their video, allowing visitors to download or embed the videos on their Website or email the videos to others within their trusted network that may have an interest in the video.
  • The final option is actually a combination of the first two.

Each of the options noted above have their own pros and cons. The deciding choice for the business should be determined by such factors as the brands goal, the cost of hosting and maintaining the video technology internally versus utilizing a third-party video channel service and the objectives of the content or how will it be communicated and consumed.

A video presence or channel for your brand makes sense when the target audience is already a frequent visitor or has an existing relationship with the brand. The presence of a video channel allows users to follow the brands’ content easily by subscribing to the business’ video channel. The visitors can be introduced to similar content related to the brand.

Building content or videos around similar subject matters has the added bonus of driving their audience into additional video channels. Allowing individuals to participate and upload similarly themed videos can help ensure that content is fresh, up-to-date and also appeals to broad and niche channels or viewers.

Third Party Hosting vs. Self Hosting Videos

Third party video hosting not only provides an inbuilt audience, but allows brands to utilize the advancements in technology of the third party host as they become available / adopted by the site. The use of multi-video channels can be an effective way of catering for a range of requirements from interviews, podcasts, marketing and promotions.

Video hosted in a User Generated Content (UGC) environment becomes extremely useful and flexible for a number of different audiences whether they are the target audience, media and other important stakeholders.

Managing videos through a third-party site in conjunction with brands effectively extends the videos longevity. This longevity can allow the brand to experience the benefits of universal search and other social media benefits of how videos can become viral. However, one of the downsides of third-party hosted content is the advertising and ‘related’ content that may be served may be of a questionable or competitive nature that marketers have little to no control over. Additionally if there is ever a problem with the site (ex: temporary or permanent shutdown), brands and marketers can run the risk of losing their content, any positive feedback and even their inbuilt audience.

Brands that host video content on their own website and servers have realized that it provides flexibility, while ensuring the involvement of a complete synergy with a web destination. The brands can then choose the correct elements to accompany the video content, such as having users forward the videos to friends, embed on their own blog or social network. While some brands may not feel it necessary for the audience to rate or leave comments, it is encouraged to help build a trusted network and following.

If a brand hosts their own content they not reliant on a third party service that could implement any developments in technology or user interaction that may be of benefit or interest to the target audience. Brand hosted content does not have to bother with any advertising or competitor’s content being served up and ensures the safety of the content.

The brand that wants to create and host their own videos should have the capability to provide an environment accurately reflecting the content message as well as one that their target audience will relate to and wish to share with others.

Final Thoughts

When considering online video include the following:

  • The original content should be high quality and created for the Web.
  • Should you decide to utilize content from a third party, find out what quality is used and assess how it will impact your target audience.
  • If the third party content is withdrawn or if the service is no longer available have a backup plans.
  • Visualize how the video will be shown in relation to the brand. Make the video search engine friendly.
  • Make sure that the video is viral. (Passed along easily between parties whether they use the Web or a mobile device).

For more information on Video and Social Networking, call us at 1-800-978-3417 or Contact Active Web Group and let us help you!

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