“Video, video, video…Use video in your communications!” How many of you reading this, whether a marketing lead at a large company or a one person wonder running a small business trying to get YOUR company’s story some attention have heard this?
As a communications professional, I hear this all the time. The reasons for using video are many…too many in fact to list here. But, at its core, video is authentic… or at least it can be. If you want to see a person give an answer or explanation and it’s on video…you know it is the person responding….not the talented wordsmithing of someone else. With video, you can see and hear what you are learning about …and I’m sure one day soon we’ll be able to smell video as well.
- More than half of online video viewers share links to the video they find with others.
- Online video now reaches a mainstream audience.
- 57% of online adults have used the internet to watch or download video.
So why is it, when someone mentions doing a video, the hairs on the back of your neck go up and you want to crawl into a hole?
Let’s point out some obvious hurdles…or assumed hurdles:
Hurdle 1: Expertise: No video know-how = no ability to produce a decent video
Reality Check: In the past few years, the number of tools, both on the software side and the hardware side for video production have become amazingly user friendly. A few of the tools we have in our treasure trove on the social media team at Cisco include the Flip Video (we may have more than one, ;-)), the Canon 7D and Canon GL2. With these cameras, the quality and ease of use span the spectrum…but as many of you know, anyone can pick up a Flip, point and shoot. As for editing, there are a number of tutorials on line and many cameras are coming with their own software. We use iMovie, Adobe Premiere Elements and Flip editing software. For the most part editing is a matter of selecting your shots, dragging and dropping them into your video. This is a HUGE improvement over the editing software of yesteryear. (For all of you pro editors out there, what you do is an art form, no argument there. The above is a simplistic explanation…the point being…in order to cut a video, you don’t need a master’s degree. I wish someone would have told me that 10 years ago…I would have saved a lot of money!!) Also check out Mary Coffman’s blog post on Tips for Creating Better Online Video.
Hurdle 2: Time: Video takes too much time.
Reality Check: Yes, video does take time. But so does any other piece of content you produce. Producing quality video takes creativity, strong storytelling and good visuals…and that takes time. If you know what you want going into a shoot, you will be a lot better off on the other side. The pre-production phase of a video is key…this is equivalent to an outline or even a brainstorm document for written content. A map of where you are going will help you execute the video more efficiently. My strongest recommendation here is to start small and keep it simple. A suggestion to get started: use video as an additional asset to a written piece like John Dodge recently did in a story about his visit to the MIT Media Lab. A touch of video can bring the look, feel and energy directly to the reader/viewer.
Hurdle 3: Expense: Video production is too expensive
Reality Check: Yes and no. Video production can be expensive, depending on what you want, what your goals are and what your idea of quality is. But, it can also be relatively inexpensive and the return on investment can be great. (See: World’s Most Interesting Intern) On the social media team at Cisco, there is no one approach to how we produce video. We evaluate what the story is, what we need to deliver a solid piece of content that will be engaging and people will want to share and how best to do this within our budget. My two cents here: don’t let cost get in the way. Equipment is reasonable, training is free on line (example: Top Tech Tips: Video – So Easy to do Badly), and once you and others start showing/realizing the value of video in your communications, resources may come available.
With that, get out there, keep it simple, and just do it!
I’d love to hear how you are using video in your communications and how you have overcome some of the hurdles.