Podcasting and Videocasting Workshop
with Sage Lewis

The first question asked by the audience to kick-off Sage's session was "does the quality of the video matter?" "Great question. Let's just start there," Sage says. "If you ask a videographer ... he'll say heck yeah!" But in his experience and after polling his audience, Sage has found that audio quality is most important to his viewers, while having a high quality picture is secondary.

A video that's a little less than perfect also makes businesses seem a little more human, a little more down to earth. The power of video is that it breaks that glass barrier between businesses and consumers, allowing them to connect on a personal level. One of Sage's favorite case studies is the Twittering of Zappo's CEO Tony. And the reason he's so popular is because he's being transparent and showing his personality -- and people connect with that.

There is a craving for connection in society right now. The big companies have separated from the public, and Sage says that clients and consumers don't want to see things fancy and glossed over. It makes people feel like there is a separation that can't be bridged.

Perfect is the enemy of good enough. A  lot of people say "that's not good enough. That's not perfect," and then nothing gets done. Video is such an opportunity for so many different industries. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Sage advocates video because they help visitors connect with you in a personal way. Not to mention the fact that we love TV, we love movies, we love video. Text isn't going away, but video is definitely growing and becoming a huge market.

We need to give people content in any way that they want it.

Video Equipment
The first thing you need to do in selecting equipment is asking what your budget is and what your goals are. If you are looking to keep it under $200, he highly recommends the Flip video camera. It is small, affordable, and great sound and picture quality for the internet. It has a USB port that "flips" out and allows you to connect directly to your laptop, edit the video, and upload it to YouTube and other video sharing sites ... all from the camera.

If you are looking to get something a little nicer, just do your research. Sage does all of his research on Amazon because they've got good prices and helpful reviews. He does recommend ensuring thatyou buy a camera with a port to plug in an external microphone.

On YouTube you have two options for capturing video:
  1. upload a video from a camera/file on your computer or
  2. use quick capture, which launches your webcam so you can record straight to your YouTube account.
Optimizing Your YouTube Videos
The method in which videos are currently indexed is very simplistic, and will probably get more complicated over time. Right now, it's very important to write descriptive, keyword rich titles, descriptions, and tags - because tags do still matter for video. When tagging, do not use commas (YouTube doesn't recognize them); just leave a space between each word. One major benefit is that your words can be combined in all different ways to be relevant for a larger variety of searches. If you are just starting out especially, do optimize for your name and blog or website.

If you want your video viewers to come back to your website, lead your YouTube description with your URL. That way, they don't have to click to view the entire description before they'll see it and be encouraged to click.

The two questions Sage always gets are how important is the quality (remember, "perfect is the enemy of good enough") and how long should my videos be? He says that as long as the videos are providing good information or otherwise interesting viewers, it doesn't matter how long they are. YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes, so obviously it's good to stay under that. Just like with any type of content, you want to only provide as much as your audience needs or wants.

Video Commenting

Leave comments on! It's frustrating for users when a business tries to engage in social sites like YouTube, but then turn comments off. These sites aren't just for uploading video, they are for connecting and engaging with other people, which happens through discussion. It could backfire if you don't allow comments on your business videos. You can delete comments if there is a good reason (which doesn't include having your feelings hurt).

Other Video Services
Sage has tried building his video community on other services such as Google Video, but none of them are anywhere near as effective as YouTube. They have don't the same kind of invested audience. 

Putting Video to Work For Businesses

People are still a little bit afraid of video. Whether it's worry over looking goofy, not having enough personality, or not seeing the value in it, people need to be convinced that this could be a great marketing strategy for them and their company.

This is still a new thing, and companies are questioning what is the value? and how can it make me money?

More and more data about video usage is available on YouTube. You can see how many views, how many comments, how many stars each video has, and what websites are linking to the video. The more popular your video is (views, stars, favorites, and comments), the better your video performs in YouTube search.

Major benefits of online videos as business marketing:

  • driving qualified traffic back to your site
  • connecting with your audience
  • building a community around your brand
  • videos uploaded to YouTube can be shared on all of your platforms such as Facebook pages, blogs, etc very easily
  • can be done on a low budget; they don't need to be professional or expensive
  • position yourself as a leader in your particular industry by providing video resources, information, and connection
A Few Quick Notes On Podcasting
  • they must be hosted on your own server
  • you NEED an RSS feed (Sage uses Feedburner because it syncs nicely with iTunes, which drives the lion's share of podcasting)
  • audio podcasts are most prevalent; video is less prominent because of the large amount of bandwidth it requires
Online videos and podcasting have become so much more accessible in the last several years that it is now becoming a great option for small businesses - because we all have the capability.

September 23, 2008

Jackie Baker is an internet marketing analyst with SiteLogic Marketing (http://www.sitelogicmarketing.com) where she focuses on auditing websites as well as SEO, social media, usability, and information architecture consulting. She comes to the industry from a marketing/PR and website development background. Jackie maintains an active presence online through her blog RegardingHorses.com (http://www.regardinghorses.com) where she shares her love all things equine, particularly therapeutic riding.

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