I met Doug Simon last year at the PRSA T3 conference in New York City. Doug is President and CEO of D S Simon Productions, which has been serving public relations and marketing professionals since 1986 by delivering their messages through video. I thought it would be great to get Doug’s perspective on some of the questions that many communications professionals have regarding the use of video on the web and how to create video effectively to generate buzz in online communities. Here are a few questions that Doug was kind enough to answer.
Deirdre: How are today’s organizations using video to build brand and create buzz?
Doug: Given the power of video there is really no limit on how organizations are using video to build brand and create buzz. We’re seeing multi-million dollar brand integration efforts tied in to Super Bowl spots, spoof videos as this take of the popular MAC commercial from a generic drug manufacturer shows http://tinyurl.com/9nmj7z, internal video news programs such as Prudential’s PruTube as well as informative, educational and popular “How-to” videos.
Deirdre: What are the practical first steps and things you should consider if you want to start video blogging?
Doug: If you are already blogging or planning to, adding a video embed code is as easy as posting a jpeg to a site. What you first need to do is think content just as you would if you were trying to gain a following with a new TV show. The first big decision is to identify who the on-camera person is for the show. They have to have personality and a point of view to gain a following. Next up are some PR basics. Who is your audience? What information will they be interested in? What is the style of the video? Popular choices are commentary, demonstration or interview formats. You can also do a more heavily produced piece. Another popular idea is covering events your organization is involved with. You will also want to consider creating a visual “bug” that will have your web site information so the video will drive traffic
Deirdre: Do you need any special technology or equipment?
Doug: If you are producing the video yourself, you will need a camera that has a separate audio input. Canon and other manufacturers offer models in HDV format in the $700 price range. You’ll also need microphones. I suggest you consider purchasing professional grade wireless microphones which will allow you to insure excellent sound quality even if your vlogger is shooting the video of him or herself. You also want to get a tripod for a steady image.
Deirdre: Can you provide any cost saving production tips?
Doug: Sure. Commentary, demonstrations and interview formats are the least expensive to produce and they don’t take require a lot of editing. You might want to budget once to create a more produced opening. An example is the very successful www.willitblend.com campaign.. If you are editing yourself, you can use free programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.
Deirdre: What distribution techniques would you recommend?
Doug: Distribution and promotion are critical to the success of the campaign. Plans need to be put in place to reach both internal and external audiences. First you want to place the video on a social media ready microsite with a unique url you can drive traffic to. Search engine optimize using Google’s Keyword Tool. There are five key promotion elements to what we call an Internet Media Tour that can get your content seen by the right people. Targeted web influencer pitching to earn media online with bloggers and media websites; viral social media placement to gain coverage on social media news sites; web syndication of the video content to sites including YouTube, Yahoo, MSN and others; distribution of the content through a multi-media release and B2F marketing where you distribute the content to “Family” and “Friends.” You will also want to consider creating a visual “bug” that will have your web site information so the video will drive traffic back to you when it is syndicated.
Deirdre: How do you measure video’s value?
Doug: Goals vary and in some cases you can tie your video initiative directly back to lead generation. In others you might look at how many web sites the content has been syndicated to. While video views can be an important measure you want to look at how high your video ranks on common search terms relevant to your business. When you control the content distribution for B to B and internal communications campaigns it is much easier to assess results because you can ask for and receive direct feedback.