Online Video – a guide to why and how you should be embracing itAuthor: Richard Belcher
What is online video and why should I be using it?
Online video is fast becoming common place in any news article, webpage or forum. Thanks to improved bandwidths and broadcasters’ introducing users to on-demand video via the BBC’s ‘i-player’ for example, the public have embraced the consumption of video through computers and laptops.
A quick Google search will bring up a wealth of research and statistics that claim to prove that “Online video has arrived and it’s here to stay”. It is suggested that 69% of online users have watched a video with 24% watching at least once a week. Netpop Research recently claimed that 36% of all entertainment is consumed via desktop and laptop computers.
What’s in it for me?
In order to keep up with this fast paced evolution, many businesses have begun to adopt video as a promotional tool. It is no longer a case of “should I be involved in this revolution?”, it is “how do I get involved in it?”.
Video gives visitors to your site a new way to experience information. Businesses that include video in their websites, blogs and product pages have several advantages over their competitors.
The internet age has made gathering information easy however; it is far more efficient for users to absorb information by watching a brief video than to read a block of text.
Search engines (including Google) rank video content higher than still images. This means that carefully titled and meta-tagged video will help you climb up the search engine rankings more than any block of keyword filled text.
A video by one of your staff talking directly to customers creates a more personal interaction between your business and your clients.
Online video webinars or webcasts can be a cost-effective way to communicate with national or global sales teams or clients directly- saving travelling time to meetings, train or plane fair, accommodation costs and expenses.
How can I use Online Video to benefit my company?
The possibilities of using video online are almost endless. You need to consider what message you would like to deliver and what your target audience is going to be. Don’t be shy of doing a little research or speaking to a professional before diving in head first. However, some of the most common ways to harness the power of online video include:
Describe a product or service. In detail or in brief, video is a great way to demonstrate a product’s features for users to experience before they buy.
Video Blogs or Messages. These can be used to welcome viewers to a site or page or to introduce your business, news about your business or particular staff members. This is a great way to add that ‘personal’ touch.
Video conferencing. Scheduled webcasts or webinars can help you keep in touch with existing clients or introduce you to new ones. Regularly scheduled events keeping people up to date with information or simply expressing opinions can quickly help generate traffic to your site as well as making you appear to be ‘experts’ in your field.
Advertising. Brief advertising videos embedded in other web pages or sites can be a great way to inspire sales. Be careful though as this is not as clear cut as it may seem and users can often be wary of this type of marketing.
Webcasting an event. Give your event a GLOBAL AUDIENCE by broadcasting it across the web. Live or on-demand video webcasting can be a great way for you to spread the word about your event, lecture, presentation or conference. It also allows limitless delegates and is ideal for those who cannot attend.
We have been putting video online for a number of years now so have experienced most of the problems and successes that can arise. From this experience, my ‘Five Top Tips to Online Video’ and points to consider if you try this yourself are:
Production Values. Ensure that your video is an advertisement for your services and not detrimental; poor lighting, sound and amateurish camera work will quickly draw potential clients AWAY from your services. Consider writing a script and using an auto-cue to ensure consistency.
Consider your message carefully. Always bear in mind what you are trying to achieve. The excitement can quickly steer you off track so be aware of your audience and what you are trying to tell them.
Make your video search engine friendly. Google and most search engines now rank video higher than images so ensure you title your video and label it with Meta tags. Also, consider a link at the end of the video or a watermark bearing your logo throughout. Statistically, users that watch are very likely to click the link or visit your site if they know where to go.
Duration. Watching video on a computer is very different to being sat in front of a television. Try to limit your webcasts to between 30 seconds and 8 minutes (even less if you are just using audio). People’s attention span is much lower on the web so ensure you keep them entertained. If you are filming a live event or presentation that lasts longer than this, consider dividing the session into smaller chunks or editing ‘highlights’ that portray the essence of the longer video.
5. Contact First Sight Media. We pride ourselves on both our excellent knowledge of our industry but also our relationships with our customers. Even if you are considering producing the video yourself, we will happily offer advice or a quotation with no obligation.About the Author:
Richard Belcher is Technical Director at First Sight Media and is particularly interested in the development of interactivity and web based video. His expertise in webcasting, video production and interactive media along with his interpersonal skills make him ideal for this position; working closely with clients looking to produce their first webcasts or directing large events and conferences for live broadcast via the web.
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