It’s a fact. The internet has completed its transformation from a text based medium into a fully interactive tool that relies heavily on video. ComScore released a survey in early 2011 which showed that the average user of Google consumed an 283 minutes of video online in January 2011 alone. That equates to almost 57 hours a year and those numbers are only increasing.
The most basic answer is prospective clients and prospective employees want authenticity. Having a slick looking brand, website, and impactful copy only illustrates the professionalism you want your firm to convey. But site visitors are smart. They know all things can look good when they’re polished and scripted but they want to know what is behind the curtain so to speak. Use video to introduce prospective clients to your team and the professionals actually doing the everyday work. It’s a way to back-up your firm’s positioning by putting your employees at the front of communications. After all, in professional services we’re selling the knowledge of our staff and their ability to deliver on what the brand promises. The best way to do this is by generating trust. And trust comes from knowing who you’re dealing with.
How to Get Started Developing Video Content
We know the concern. We actually dealt with it ourselves. “We don’t have the workload or ability to justify buying high-end equipment or a videographer and/or video editor.” The good news is you don’t need to. Developing video does not need to be hard or expensive. It does take a little bit of time but relative to the entire year it can actually be a small commitment from your team if participation is spread across the organization. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Equipment: Have a simple handheld camera capable of recording HD quality video. Even smartphones have this capability these days. In addition invest the $300-500 on simple audio equipment rather than using the camera’s microphone. Nobody likes it when they watch a video and they hear every sound in the room except the person talking. What you’ll need is a small portable audio mixer, microphone, cable, and headphones for the camera operator. As for an editor, iMovie will work just fine or if you’re inclined invest in a high-end software editor such as Final Cut.
- Keep It Short: Unless it’s so inspiring and educational it becomes the next “The Last Lecture” (one of my personal favorites), nobody wants to watch a long video online. Keep it in the range of 30 seconds to 2 minutes at most.
- Tell a Story: Spend a little time and organize a simple script to tell your story before sitting in front of the camera. If not, you’ll likely get scatter brained because a camera is pointing at you. The human mind works in a very linear fashion. We like what we consume to have a beginning, middle, and end.
- Use On-Screen Graphics & Text: To avoid a talking head for 30 straight seconds, supplement it with visuals. Add on-screen text and cut to graphics that represent what is being discussed. It helps keep the viewer engaged by adding dimension and connecting words to visuals.
- Don’t Script It: Above I mentioned the importance of having a simple script. I mean just that, a simple script and not a word-for-word script. Unless you are a professional actor, I promise you will not be able to read something word-for-word and not frequently get tripped up or sound like a robot. Speak from the heart and off the cuff like you would in normal conversation. Not only will it be easier, it will help you appear more authentic which is your end goal anyways.
- Have a CTA: It is important a prospect know what you want them to do next. Have a call-to-action at the end of the video directing them to next steps. Is there a white paper you’re offering related to what you just discussed? Drive them to it. Is there a “service offer” page on your website that explains more into what your company offers regarding the topic? Tell them how to find it.
- Don’t be Afraid of Imperfection: It’s likely you’re not an actor and people know that. It’s ok to trip over a word or two and not speak every word crystal clear. I promise it will happen and to not do it will take a hundred takes. Don’t be afraid to show a little human nature and imperfection. People understand.
What I am not suggesting is for video to become the primary form of content marketing you produce. At the least, I’d say one video every six months would suffice for starting out. Get the hang of it, figure out the process and increase volume from there. Here at Mlicki we’re on about a once every 6 month schedule and are aiming to get better. Traditional text based blog posts and articles are better for showcasing insight and/or analysis — not to mention they’re critical components of search engine optimization. Video should be used to build trust by augmenting traditional written forms of content marketing with a form that is more dynamic and transparent.