While most would agree that video on the web is becoming a premier medium for promoting business, exactly how to go about leveraging this tremendously powerful and potentially profitable technology remains a mystery. Do you grab a video camera and some software and go the DIY route? Or do you hand the job off to a high-end television production company trying to glide out of the airwaves and into the online world?
And once you’ve got a video, where does it go? Facebook and YouTube? Or are they yesterday’s news? Maybe there’s some new whiz bang blogging or social media site you should be using to promote your video. If there is, where do you go to find out about that?
With so many choices, and potential pitfalls, it’s no wonder that many businesses are sitting on the fence. But really, online video is pretty easy to sort out if you start with the basics and build from there.
Let’s start with motivation. For the most part, people visit the web for two reasons: entertainment and information. As a savvy professional, you must tap into one of these two motives to gain the attention of your online audience.
So, how do you do that? In the past, it meant a static website. Many professionals still think along the same traditional lines they did years ago: publish a website with information about their product or service, add some photos, and optimize.
While this is the minimum a business must do to compete online, there are other factors to consider. Optimization, for example, has grown in popularity as a source for getting online traffic and is also growing in cost since the days of Overture for a penny a click. Getting visitors to your website requires multiple channels of engagement including; social networking, search engine optimization (organic or PPC), back linking, article placements, and more.
So what happens when you’ve done your due diligence with optimization and are getting visitors to your site but are still not getting the calls? In other words, how do you improve your website conversion rate? To learn more about that, let’s shift from online video to traditional television, where it all began.
Since the early 1950s, advertising agencies concluded that the best way to reach consumers, and turn them into customers, would be by creating shows around a company or brand. As with radio, which was supreme before television for selling product, these television programs were produced by advertising agencies for their clients rather than by production studios as is the norm today.
There are two types of television: scripted and unscripted. In the first category are shows like CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. The unscripted (or semi-scripted) show might run along the lines of Survivor, or it might be a talk show, such as Late Night and Live with Regis and Kelly. Through the years, the talk show format has become extremely popular. One of the reasons for so many talk shows is that the cost to produce them is relatively low. While a typical scripted television series runs about a million dollars per episode, a talk show costs around $100,000 per episode to produce, making it a much more attractive investment from a studio standpoint.
When it comes to talk shows, most of us have become used to the informal guest-host format where the host welcomes a celebrity or other newsworthy person to the set for an informal discussion. Other talk shows include local cable broadcasts, where the host (or hosts) interviews someone in the news or an expert in a given field.
According to television talk show expert Thomas Tennant, there are two elements that make for a good talk show: the host and the “live” element. While not every talk show has an Oprah or Larry King manning the ship, having an engaging professional person to ask the right questions makes all the difference in the audience’s willingness to watch. Whether the broadcast is actually live or pre-recorded, it still needs to have a fresh feel about it, as if the show is happening in the moment, even if it’s re-run for years to come.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be on a talk show? For many of us, it seems like a pipe dream. After all, only a few select people ever really have the opportunity to get their 15 minutes of fame, despite Andy Warhol’s promise.
The Internet has made things possible that were once only reserved for the rich and famous, including that 15 minutes of fame. In fact, done right, web video can give you a lifetime of fame with prospects and clients, and an unmatched marketing ROI.
Television audiences who used to gather around a box in their living room at a specific time to watch a show are turning to the Internet to watch shows. Now, instead of making an appointment to watch, they can decide with the click of a mouse when, where, and what shows or videos to watch. And most importantly, as a business owner, you too can make yourself more visible and more accessible, engaging, and credible than ever before by using the same technology. Not only can you put your business out there in front of your audience without regard to time or the permission of some television executive, you can do it without the $100,000+ price tag. In fact, web video promotion is so affordable that it’s now within the reach of even a small business.
Emerging production companies with Internet prowess have overcome the obstacles associated with producing television talk shows by incorporating new technologies, virtual sets, and procedures that give any business an opportunity to showcase their expertise on an industry-specific Web TV talk show.
After years of watching cheesy infomercials on television, you might be wondering about credibility. And frankly, appearing in a poorly produced web video can hurt your credibility as much as a thrown-together infomercial on late night TV. This is where a professional production team can help by doing the heavy lifting in the background. Being interviewed on your own web TV show can present you as an expert or thought leader in your industry and enhance your credibility many times over. Even better, once produced, the show segments can be added to your website and redistributed over and over on multiple video channels, blogs, and social networking sites.
While buying time on the television airwaves can be effective if you have a substantial budget to support it, broadcasting online is far less expensive and the outlets for it are growing daily, offering unmatched local and worldwide exposure. Being a knowledgeable guest on a web TV talk show brings value to the show and its audience, but just as important, it gives you, the guest, an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your expertise as a thought leader all across the web.
Where else can you get face to face with your target market with so few barriers? Web TV gives you the kind of credibility boost and visibility that were once only possible via traditional – and very costly – broadcast television. Now, as the web and television converge into a single marketing powerhouse, every professional can become the star of his or her own business show, leveraging all the benefits of traditional television for a whole lot less money.