Making Video a Part of Your Communications: How to Overcome Perceived Hurdles

October 22, 2010 - 13 Comments

“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.

The  Pew Internet & American Life Project’s first major report on online video and the project’s State of Online Video study give us a few other meaty stats on video:

  • 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.

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  1. I’m amazed at how inexpensive it has become to produce high quality video productions that 5 years ago would have required thousands of dollars. Video is such a great opportunity to develop a personalized connection with your online audience. There’s no excuse not to do so with all the relatively inexpensive DIY technology and tools out there.

  2. This is a great article. Informative and comprehensive for the beginning user. Written in a way that is very easy to grasp and which even helps bolster the confidence of someone that is tackling video for the very first time. I like the article, great work.

  3. Video advertising, via the web, tv or mobile phone is becoming more and more important.

    I watch allot of the video’s via my business blackberry mobile and i must say it was a good watch.

  4. really really great if we could smell was already smell the future

  5. I think lots of people have jumped on the bandwagon of “making video” for their sites and to promote their work, but I think the real question is not whether you’ve made your video, but whether you have a systematic way of creating and promoting a series of videos for a purpose, whether that purpose be driving traffic to your site or branding themselves as an expert.

    People definitely need to know video is now a tool, BUT they also need to know that video is a means to an end, not an end to a means

  6. I come from a marketing communications background and have had been a producer for corporate and commercial videos in the 80s and 90s. Right now Im using videos online to promote and the thing is that the 3 things you’ve mentioned, the so called hurdles are sooo yesterday.

    Firstly nobody is producing 30min or even 10min videos anymore as far as Im concern. Let alone spend 20k-50k to hundreds of grand for it. In times like this, everyone is creative and can get themselves crash courses on the web and immediately shoot it with affordable camcorders or even a smartphone and edit it instantly on movie maker.

    Perhaps clients are still associating big budgets with sophisticated equipments and big creative ideas that used to dominate.

  7. I think having a wide variety of communication channels is essential. Video is now an integral part of search. In my own experience video blogs often get more hits than normal blogs.

  8. I am using video to make communication easier, faster and clearer. Video communication tend to catch attention more easily. I have always used video as form of communication whenever I have something that needs to be explained in details. And it always worked as I have expected.

  9. Some more resources:
    Why Vlogging is Better than Blogging:

    Marketing Your Video: @Cisco_Channels

  10. recently I came across job opportunity in Canada, requiremts on Web Coordinator, with understanding making video with OS Windows, Video Modifications, Coordination with Tech Video.This video skills is highly required these days, for Blogger who want to get around, is best by making video and posted on Youtube with embedded links,Ultimately will increase the back link and search engine organic.

  11. Yes, the equipment got easier to use but the main reason for me getting into video is because there is so much help available online. There are websites and videos that make learning to video a lot easier.

  12. I think video is changing the way we use the web on a huge scale. Sales pages are all going to video. Apps like Skype make it easy to use video for communicating with family and friends.

    The one thing that would be great is an easy way to do video messages like voice mail. Baby taking his first step sent to grandma would be a huge success.

    For sales videos there are a lot of new tools out there where you can take static images and create attractive videos. It makes for a good user experience. Which in turn increases sales.

  13. Great post!
    As clients become more comfortable using video features on their smartphones, it seems to be loosening up their apprehension to using videos for their communications projects. We gave one client an ‘exercise,’ using video and having his teenager ask him questions on camera – it’s a spin on a thought leadership piece. After he saw how easy it was and saw how he interacted on camera, he got it! Now, we’ll be creating more ‘professional’ thought leadership video pieces. For my colleagues, our in-house interactive/digital video team does a great job of making ‘video thinking’ part of our culture. Through lunch and learns,’Flip and Learns’ and creative exercises, you’re able to get a group of advocates who’ll be the cheerleaders for others.I agree on budget, video isn’t cheap and some think to really make an impact, a high-priced video is the way to go. I think strategy first, research/creative process and then execute. Then as a part of integrated communications plan, I develop the PR, stakeholder outreach, social and ANALYTICS – always measure everything you do.
    Again, the timing on this post rocks! @lilyn