The importance of a video content strategy

An interesting post from Shelley Bowen published on the Content Marketing Institute’s website today:

Video today is like desktop publishing was 15 years ago — everyone thinks they can do it,” a colleague said recently. And the fact is, anyone can create a video. A video worth watching? That’s a whole ‘nother story.

I recently wrote a one-minute video content script for a brand introduction video. It included voiceover, visual text, and descriptions of imagery for context.

I admit, I had more fun than I’ve had creating content in a long time. The voice, the rhythm, even the messages came fairly easily to me — the biggest challenge was to control the voice (I have a tendency to go overboard before drawing it all back to reality) and keep it down to one minute. And they loved it. Which always makes me super happy.

Yes, this kind of project can just as easily be a ROYAL pain in the you-know-what, with a lot of back-and-forth. Or result in something that’s not worth sharing. You know what made it work?

Content strategy!

So maybe that was obvious to you. But it isn’t always to companies that need content written or edited…

Read the full post

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A digital native title dispute

By Ray Welling

In the competition between digital natives – Gen Y, which has grown up with online technology and digital immigrants – those of us who can remember typewriters and phones with cords attached – for primacy online, it seems that the digital natives have gained the upper hand.

Think Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, and a billion dollar online empire by the time he reached his mid-20s) vs. Rupert Murdoch (MySpace, phone hacking scandals, declining dead tree media empire). Or Natalie Tran (24-year old Australian vlogger with 156,000 Twitter followers, more than 400 million YouTube views and a cozy career in the making) against say, Tony Abbott (50-something Australian politician with 56,000 Twitter followers but no YouTube channel).

If you read the media reports on what’s hot on the web, there appears to be a strong relationship between a lack of history and Internet success.

But it’s not that simple.

It can be useful to have a long-term view of the online world, which only a seasoned digital immigrant can have. If you can combine that with knowledge of traditional, pre-Internet business principles, you can look past current fads and build a business model that’s sustainable.

For example, the current obsession with whatever is the latest online application exploding in the public consciousness ignores the fragile nature of web success.

With all the current talk of community-building and developing personal relationships, you’d think the concept was invented by Facebook. Digital natives may be too young to remember, but digital immigrants will recall that when MySpace burst on the scene, it was seen as the long-term future of social media. That is, until Facebook came along.

Early digital immigrants can go back even further and remember GeoCities, an online community where people could create personal pages and create a following of fans, which was all the buzz way back in the 20th century.

And consider the power and ubiquity of the Google empire. It may be hard for digital natives to fathom a time pre-Google, but digital immigrants can remember when Yahoo! was seen as the impregnable leader in search (As an aside, it used its cash reserves to buy GeoCities back in 1999), a crown it took from the equally-invulnerable Alta Vista.

Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas

Big Pharma joins the YouTube generation – literally

The Health 2.0 blog has posted an announcement from Johnson & Johnson that it has launched a health channel on YouTube. These professionally produced videos, hosted by an ex-TV correspondent and doctor who, surprise, surprise, has done consulting work for J&J, offer advice and info on a range of topics. J&J’s Director of Video Communications (as an aside, now there’s a pretty specialised role) says, “The videos are neither brand-related nor product-centric, though many of the videos cover disease states in which some of our operating companies participate.” Will be interesting so see whether they drift toward more brand and product info as time goes on…

$8 billion – and for what?

Michael Learmonth writes in the Silicon Valley Insider that in the three years since YouTube was launched, investors have spent US$8 billion on online video – and that’s just in the US.

He writes: “What did they get for their troubles? So far, next to nothing. YouTube, which accounts for more than half of all video views, will generate a mere $200 million in sales in 2008, and the industry has yet to produce a profitable company.”

But, as he points out, “Yet, while most VCs are unlikely to see any return on their investment, we don’t think $8 billion is an outrageous number. Consider:

  • Online video is in its infancy. YouTube didn’t exist four years ago.
  • 119 million people watched an online video in May.
  • $1.35 billion will be spent on online video advertising in 2008 (though much will go to video sites that weren’t venture funded, like ABC.com)
  • Advertisers poured $17 billion into broadcast and cable TV in the 2008 upfront

It also pales in comparison to other speculative investments of the past few years; Merrill Lynch wrote off $9 billion in bad mortgages in the first quarter of 2008 alone (and $29 billion since the meltdown began.)”

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to launch myself an online video site…

Life on the small screen

Following on from yesterday’s piece on citizen journalism via YouTube, comScore reports that the number of online videos viewed in the US jumped 13% in March to 11.5 billion, fuelled largely by a surge in the use of YouTube which helped lift Google’s share to 38 percent.

YouTube.com accounted for 98% of all videos viewed at Google Sites, while Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 477 million videos (4.2%). Nearly 140 million US Internet users watched an average of 83 videos per viewer in March. That’s nearly three videos a day, seven days a week.

How many online videos are you watching per day? It would be great to get some Australian figures, even if they are not scientific. Are you trolling mindlessly through YouTube daily watching drivel (guilty as charged, on occasion).

Some other interesting facts from the March stats:

  • 73.7 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • 84.8 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on YouTube.com (50.4 videos per viewer).
  • 47.7 million viewers watched 400 million videos on MySpace.com (8.4 videos per viewer).
  • The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes.
  • The average online video viewer watched 235 minutes of video.
  • The ultimate in citizen journalism?

    Last week I wrote about the need for journalists to adapt to the rise of new media. Here’s another very big reason why: YouTube has announced it’s setting up a citizen journalism channel, where anyone and everyone with a video camera can upload their own ‘news stories’. When CNN launched its iReport service earlier this year, it set up a filtering system where an editing team vets all material before publishing, but YouTube doesn’t appear to be doing this – like its normal videos, it’s a free-for-all. As a trained journalist, I don’t know whether to laugh or shake in my boots – probably both! I think it will further dilute the power of major media companies, but at the same time people will seek out trusted, quality writing if they want the full story on something (a study recently released by the Annenberg School for the Digitial Future at USC showed that the number of people who think only a small portion of material posted on the Internet by individuals can be trusted jumped from 33% to 45% in 2007). But one thing is for sure – this is going to change the dynamics of news-gathering and publishing.