Earlier this year, I wrote a post on how to use moving pictures to promote your show.
That was 10 months ago, and things are changing at a rapid pace. It is estimated that YouTube attracts one billion (billion!!) views per day. Their traffic is somewhere in range of 10 billion per month.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a billion.
I recently had a special occasion to go to, and thought I’d try a makeup technique called “the smoky eye.” I know nothing about the smoky eye, but a brief Google search lead me to several videos that showed me how to do it. I can pretty much guarantee you that anything you are interested in, or would like to learn how to do has had a YouTube video made of it.
We love video–it’s engaging, and, honestly, it doesn’t take as much work to watch something as it does to read. Plus, the medium is arguably more powerful than the written word. With the huge popularity of smart phones like the Blackberry and the Iphone, its easy to access without even a computer. I download Sesame Street podcasts onto my IPod to keep him happy during long car rides. Finally, I think its popular because it has given us the power back. Anyone with a cell phone camera and an internet connection can shoot a video and get it up on the web, where millions of potential viewers are just waiting to make it “go viral.” Who can forget Susan Boyle?
Here are some ideas to harness this powerful medium and put it to work for you and your business.
Slide Shows: You don’t even need to have a video camera to do these kinds of videos. You need photos, a voice-over or music, and a video-editing program. Drag-and-drop your photos onto your video editing program, and arrange them in the order you like. Make sure each photo is viewed for at least 4 seconds, and if you want, add transitions between, and titles with explanations. Put a rocking soundtrack beneath it all, and use that as your video. Click here to see an example of this. You could use this technique similarly, to create a how-to video with screenshots and a voice-over.
Interviews: Simon Ogden has perfected this medium with his Video Listings service. The reason why this kind of interview is so successful is because it is simple, and people are speaking from their passion. Simon simply interviews key players and asks them one simple question: “why should people come see your play?” He gives them about a minute to answer, and, in editing, adds all the contact info at the end. You can see Simon’s VanStage listings here. I have recently been playing with this format, doing a slightly longer version. You can see those videos here. You can also record Skype video conversations if you are doing a long-distance interview, and upload that.
Behind-the-scenes videos: People are fascinated about what is going on behind the scenes. What happens backstage? How did you achieve that special effect in your film? What was it like in the studio the day you recorded that song/painted that painting, sculpted that piece? Have someone film “the making of” any given piece of art, and offer that as added value. The last two Great Big Sea albums have come with two discs: the CD with the songs, and “making of” DVD with interviews with the cast and live performance footage. They also have lots of this kind of video on their website.
How-to videos: If you are a master bohdran-player, painter in a specific technique, or you make the world’s best Veal Scallopini (hey, cooking is an art!), then you could create a video that shows other people how to do it. Better yet, if you have a product you are trying to sell, create a video that shows people how to use it, and maybe even show them some unconventional ways of doing so. When my son was a baby, I was an avid user of The Baby Trekker, a baby carrier. It came with an instruction manual, but it was complicated. A video like this one would have helped me out a lot.
Reviews: Do people like your work? What do they have to say about it? Film people (ask for their permission, first!!) as they are coming out of your show/concert/exhibition/film, and ask them how they liked it, and what they liked about it. Edit several of these clips together, and upload them.
Performance footage: While performance footage may be the trickiest of all video to get right, it certainly can be powerful. Remember “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Well, they may have been on to something. MTV and MuchMusic are huge. The bulk of those videos, however, are shot in very controlled studio environments. Live footage is much trickier–and I find that it often doesn’t translate well onto film.
Video Blog: Like a written blog, but done by speaking directly to camera (this is super easy to do if you have a webcam). Your topic can be on anything! Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV is the finest example of this I can think of.
Commercial: If you are selling a product or service, you can create a commercial for it. I think the most successful commercials are those that have a sense of humour. Some of the commercials that get the most hits on YouTube are ones that are cheesy, have low production value, and are purposely over the top. I’m not certain that this is the best way to sell your business, but it appears to be successful.
The most important thing about using video to promote your business is to make sure that if people find and watch your video, they are able to find you. Have, at the very least, your website’s URL at the end of every single video you create. As a marketing tool, it could go viral, but still be useless, unless people have a way of connecting to you.