5 Tips for Planning Your Online Video Strategy

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 11:00:00 AM by Ed Heil

In this age of “transparency” and “authenticity,” one thing has become very, very clear. And that is that every Corporate_Video_Production-8corporate video production is not created equal! Simply put, just because you produce a video for the Internet or for your website does not mean that it’s good, or more importantly, that it’s relevant. Yet, we are seeing more businesses tell us they want to produce content online and that they need it to “look like 'this'.”

Where 'this' becomes touchy is when crossing the line between what brand managers, product managers and senior management believe is acceptable, and what the people seeking information expect and trust. First, know that this form of communication is evolving and uncharted for many businesses. Secondly, just because you have a camera, “iMovie," or Windows “Movie Maker,” does not mean you know how to produce relevant content. This, in my mind, is where the art and challenges lie.

Think about it. When you search for information on a product online are you looking to find a commercial? Sure, there are some businesses (beer companies come to mind), that have done a fabulous job producing “mock” commercials that have bee n extremely effective, but behind those spots are companies that:

1.) Can get away with it

2.) Have leaders that are not afraid to step out and put their neck on the line.

On the other hand, you have a number of businesses trying to apply old advertising principles to new media and it simply doesn’t work. For whatever reason, there is a lack of trust when that shiny spot lands in an organic medium like the web.

To illustrate this point, think of eBay. If people trying to sell things on eBay had a nice, “professional” commercial to accompany their product would you trust it? Turned another way, what would you find more trustworthy, the “commercial,” or the guy who’s selling the same product with a 99% buyer approval rating with a page of positive comments coming from satisfied customers? Chances are you’re going to buy from the “real” person who has genuine testimonials from satisfied customers. Video is no different.

So, the question becomes, “how do you produce content like that?” Easy. Clear out the corporate jargon, brand messages and phony examples. Instead, let one simple thought guide your piece: help people. If you truly have a great product that really can make a difference in someone’s life, then show that! Be interesting, be honest and be unique. If your video looks like every other commercial out there, guess what? It’s not interesting, honest or unique.

5 Tips For Planning Your Online Video Strategy

1. Be Real 

Please don’t hire a third-party spokesperson who is uninterested and unattached to the pitch. You’re better off with an inside marketing person who at least BELIEVES what they’re saying, rather than a paid actor who couldn’t care less.

READ MORE: Choosing the Right Spokesperson For Your Company Video

2. Be Interesting

Andrew Zimmern is a chef who got his media start in the Twin Cities. He’s since gone on to host food shows, write columns for magazines and has eaten some of the most disgusting food you can dream of. He is also a spokesperson for Target's grocery department. What I love about these spots are that first and foremost Andrew is an expert. He knows his stuff and he’s passionate. Granted, it doesn’t hurt that he’s a pro in front of the camera, but his love of food is what shines through and he is extremely engaging.

3. Keep It Simple

It’s the oldest adage out there and it really applies with online video. Talk to your customers in a language they understand with words that they use. You’re not reading from a brochure, you’re talking to people. Sounds easy, but it’s a lot tougher than you’d think. Also, bells and whistles make you feel like you’re on a “big” shoot, but the plain fact is…you probably don’t need it. Clear, engaging messages trump high-end production every day of the week.

4. Use Testimonials

Real people with real stories add so much to your claims and totally legitimize your efforts. I always get a kick out of written testimonials that are filled with all sorts of praise and then attributed to “John” from Minneapolis. Really? Did “John" really write that? Show me John and let me look at him in the video and if he’s real, I’ll believe him.

5. Get Good Advice 

Get good, real advice from people you trust as it relates to the “believability” of your video. You don’t need someone to nod their head yes and tell you all the things they think you want to hear only to find that your video has become the laughingstock of the world wide web. 

Remember, represent your company or organization well, but don’t “sell” to the viewer or visitor. Help them. It’s funny how something so simple can be so effective and yet so difficult for businesses to understand. However, that’s how social media works and that’s ultimately where you want your video to land.


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Posted in Online Video

Ed Heil
About the Author
Ed Heil is the president of StoryTeller Media + Communications. StoryTeller is an inbound marketing agency and video production company based in Minneapolis. Ed blogs about inbound marketing, video production, social media, and media relations.