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October 14, 2010
Web Video -- The Most Powerful Medium Online

One year ago, I was sipping a tall glass of hot chocolate and pondering how to further solidify my personal brand. Yes, I do my best thinking with chocolate, and yes, I do spend time thinking about things like “my personal brand.” And yes, I am a total geek.

At that point, my company, The Marketing Zen Group, already was growing at a rapid pace, and I was at the helm of it as President and CEO. Fun title, great company. My challenge was that I wanted to also create a separate brand entity for myself. One that was distinct from my identity as CEO. Could I be the next Kelly Ripa? Hey, a girl can dream! I could have started another blog, but I wanted something that really allowed me to connect with the audience. I didn’t know it at the time, but the answer was online video.

Did you know that 64 percent of people will finish watching up to a 30-minute commercial video clip versus 24 percent who will finish reading an article? I thought it was pretty crazy too, until I tested the theory. I started my own Web TV show at Shama.tv. I created two-minute video clips around new media and business-related topics. Within three months, one of my videos had over 8,000 views. I wasn’t able to achieve that much traction on my blog in more than a year.

Get over your fear

The biggest thing that stops people from doing online video is fear. It takes tremendous courage to put yourself and your content out there. It took me a lot of time to let go and just do it. I remember being extremely nervous when I uploaded the first video. But the fear quickly dissipated into gratitude as comments and kind feedback poured in.

Will everyone love what you have to offer? Perhaps not. The key is to write for your specific audience. Make it relevant, fun, and honest.

Topic, differentiator, and style

If you have one hour to spend constructing your videos, spend 40 of those minutes picking your topic, choosing your differentiator, and determining your style. Pick a topic that you are passionate about as it will show on camera. The differentiator and style often go together. What makes your videos different may depend on your personal style. Remember, different doesn’t mean outrageous. It just means one variable that truly allows you to stand out. Once you’ve determined the content and style, you can focus on the technical aspects.

The technical details

There are two ways to create online videos. One, you can get someone to handle the production piece. I am lucky enough to have internal resources, so this part gets taken care of for me. Two, you can do it yourself. There are lots of good point-and-shoot video cameras available today. Just keep in mind two of the most important factors are lighting and sound. A decent camera with good lighting is preferable to a great camera with poor lighting. Also, invest in an exterior lapel microphone. It will be well worth it. Once you’ve finished production, you can move on to distribution.

Get it out there!

I have three basic rules I try to follow when it comes to online video distribution.

1.) Post the video on your website first. There is no reason why your website should not benefit from more traffic. Put the video on your website and drive traffic directly there.

2.) Host the videos privately if at all possible. Avoid YouTube. I use Viddler.com to host my videos as it allows me greater analytics, and I have more control over the content. I can even brand my player with my own logo. You can certainly use YouTube to share the videos, but I would recommend hosting the file with your own host. Tip: Don’t try to host your videos on your website directly as the file size will make loading time excruciatingly slow.

3.) Use social media to share the link to the video. Got your video on your site? Is it relevant? Well produced? Great! You can now share the link through Twitter, Facebook, and other social mediums.

Online video with the power of social networking can provide an unstoppable platform. Use your power wisely!

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Shama Kabani is the President of The Marketing Zen Group, a full-service digital marketing firm that serves clients around the world. She also hosts a popular Web TV show on business and technology, and the media regularly call on her to comment on business and technology trends. Her first book, "The Zen of Social Media Marketing," was released in April, 2010 and is the No. 1 seller in Web Marketing on Amazon.

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