How to Create Killer Online Video for Marketing

Here’s an infographic from Entrepreneur magazine, in an article titled “7 Ways to Create a Killer Marketing Video” authored by Emily Conglin.  I have some additional thoughts, as a marketer (currently leading strategy for an Omnicom agency) and as an author of Beyond Viral,” which was written for marketers seeking to capitalize on video online. The book is now ancient in online terms, but still has some tips that have stood the test of time.

One of my key messages in Beyond Viral is that advertisers should not “over produce” videos. Go for volume of efficiently produced video rather than creating one or two expensive ones.  I still see a lot of that violation in advertising, where creatives want to shoot one single video and spend tens of thousands of dollars. As I still say, of my thousands of videos on YouTube as Nalts, I never knew which one would gain traction. For me, it turned out to be “I Are Cute Kitten,” a video seen 47 million times as of this writing.

So volume helps… especially since marketers can use online-video for a variety of stages in the consideration-to-purchase funnel.

The infographic urges marketers to begin by identifying the target market and the video’s business objectives. The intersection of those customer needs and business needs is the right way to begin.

Another temptation for marketers is to sell, sell, sell before providing value to the target customer. As the infographic points out, most viewers abandon a video in those precious early moments. We once did a sponsored video for Kodak, and the agency insisted that we open with a promotional slate. As a result, the viewers were basically told “this is going to be an ad” before they ever got to the story. I encourage marketers to resist the urge to force a business objective on the audience before providing them value.

What ya think? Comment below and check out the infographic. Any infographic with an orange monster must have some important information.

To see full infographic, click and visit Entrepreneur magazine


What Percent of Us Have Uploaded a Video? Why?

"Oh, this is going viral, Claire."
“Oh, this is going viral, Claire.”


One in four people (25%) of Americans have uploaded a video, according to a recent Pew Research report.

That’s driven by two factors:

  • Mobile — more than 40% of us record video on our cell phones and 40% watch videos on our tiny screens.
  • Social media uptick going from 8% in 2005 to 72% in 2013.

The percent of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69 in 2009 to 78 in 2013. Here’s a little video of results, although I’ve pretty much stolen its thunder.



Best-Kept Secret in Video Curation: (Second Life for Viral Videos from Another Dimension)

If I was Ray William Johnson or Sxephil, I might keep this coveted “fountain of delicious video” to myself… featuring them on my own videos, with perhaps a brief credit to the creator but not the source. Alas, I lack the good sense of my big brothers on YouTube, having been cursed by an impulse to share, even when it is against my better interests.

Meet one of the best-kept secrets in non-viral video curation: Reddit’s videos. Thanks to Mark and Tim from Poptent for turning me on to Reddit.. perhaps we’ll call it the Digg for underdogs.

That tiny, unassuming Reddit icon sits on my Chrome browser shortcut panel, smiling upon me. My little alien friend patiently beckons me (sometimes two or three times a day)m promising to fulfill my insatiable appetite for rare and wonderful video gems.  Not the most popular or most current, but a collection of clips that are insanely aligned with my eclectic taste… as if the folks giving it an “up” arrow are telepathically tuned to my preferences. Here’s me on Reddit. I have no friends.

What’s lovely about this “crowd sourced” collection is that it’s not only unique and interesting videos. It’s almost always called out with a unique headline that provides an additive level of humor (it would be lazy to use the real video’s title, right?). I was recently taunted by a headline, “I don’t know what it is, but I want one.” The video featured an obscurely named video of a freaky bird/rat pygmy that falls off a scale (it inspired my recent video montage titled “epic battle of the cutest and weirdest pets“).

The Reddit picks are not always fresh, hot, trending February 2011 picks, but does that really matter? Sure if we cluster around the “most recent” and currently popular videos we build a common and uniting vocabulary. My children, for instance, surf iTunes most-popular knowing that they’ll hear it discussed at school and on the radio. That’s a social/cultural bond not known to the Insulated iPod Playlist Generation. Still, just as the dusty shelves of remaining Blockbusters hide some classic films in the “not new releases” isles… there are mounds of classic, vintage online videos from 2007-2010 that deserve a second chance. For example, remember Marcel the Shell With Shoes from Vimeo (I wrote about it on October 7 last year). It was posted on YouTube a week later, and now has 6 million views (worth maybe 3-4K to its creators, and growing). While I imagine the artistic Vimeo crowd will no longer invite Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate to their wine tastings, the duo deserved more recognition for a meme that Daneboe might have turned into a $500,000 franchise.

I don’t know much about this mysterious army of Reddit curators, but they have a knack for finding often obscure and unseen videos (several hundred views) that deserve the honors otherwise left only to “dramatic chipmunk” or “Star Wars Kids.”

The Reddit Video collection is, I’m convinced, unviral in our world, but viral videos from a parallel dimension. That makes them even more special.

Today’s favorite picks: Steve Buscemi’s sketch where he takes hell in a vegan, feminist bookstore (fresh skit). Then Ryan Leslie turning a rap song into an improv musical performance (who cares if it’s 2008 it’s new to me). How about this intellectual debate from 1969 and American exploitation? Where’d THAT come from? How about some dude’s cousin covering Ren and Stimpy (only 300 views)? I’ve been “favoriting” the best on my YouTube channel if you want an easier way to receive these intravenously. You can still subscribe to someone’s favorites, can’t you? I can’t recall how.

Yes, it’s a motley collection with one unique and common thread: I’m glad I watched at least 72.4% of the top videos, which is more than I can say from any other aggregated source.

Online-Video Marketing for Small Businesses

How can a small company take advantage of this bountiful new online-video market? They can personalize their offering, increase reach, optimize search-engine rankings, and target with greater precision. While few startups will “go viral,” entrepreneurs have a competitive advantage in their flexibility and agility. Without large bureaucracies or expensive agencies, a smaller business can leave out the nonsense and get their message out via the less crowded medium.

I have not yet found a way to profitably help small businesses take advantage of online video. As an entrepreneur I couldn’t justify my own fees to a startup. So that’s one of the primary purposes of writing “Beyond Viral,” and in sharing secrets with whatever journalist comes my way… last month it was Entrepreneur magazine and “Rise to the Top,” and now it’s AOL Small Business.

AOL Small Business writer Lauren Drell does a nice job of providing some key insights and recommendations for smaller businesses. Check out her 5 things you need to know… because you do.

Beyond Viral (go buy it at Amazon) has a chapter devoted specifically to small businesses, although most of the entire book is applicable. The secret trick is to stop thinking about a specific funny, viral video… and engage the medium strategically. Finding where your audience is, what will get their attention, and how to compel the right ones to consider purchase or trial. It’s not brain surgery, but it’s easy to waste time or money.

PattyTube: YouTube Gathering March 17, 2011

Come one, come all. Ye Old “PattyTube” on St. Patrick’s Day, and meet Mike Lombardo, WheezyWaiter and whatever other washed-up YouTuber decides to show up.

RSVP if you wish at the YouTube Gatherings site, and feel free to suggest/organize an adjoining event/venue. I may promote YouTube gatherings, but I couldn’t organize a 2-person dinner.

Right now it’s built around WheezyWaiter and Mike Lombardo’s musical performance at MilkBoy Coffee (directions) at 4:00, Thursday, March 17, 2011. That’s in Ardmore, PA, which is conveniently just outside Philly. If you’re looking for a hotel, search around the Milkboy address: 2 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003. Or stay at Zipster08‘s house.

I’ve already heard from quite a few peeps who are interested or booked. Obviously if people plan other events around Friday/Saturday it would draw more interest and make it more than a one-night stand. If you’re extra kind I’ll add your face to the little slate I just made up:

Online-Video & Entrepreneurship

If you’re an entrepreneur interested in the Internet marketing and online-video, you’ll want pick up “Smarter, Faster and Cheaper,” which is a refreshing take on the space by mini-maven David Garland. My first impression of Garland, a fellow Wiley author, was jaded by his “as seen on ABC” logo and cheesy pocket hanky. I thought he might be one of those multi-level marketers or “get rich quick” dudes, who suck you into a spam vortex and start pimping eBooks. But we love ya anyway, Joel Comm. And congrats on the weight loss!

Anyway, oh contraire on that first impression. During our 1-hour chat before this interview (see The Rise To the Top) I discovered he’s quite a likable chat. He also told me I was harder to pin down then the celebrity authors who endorsed his book, which was a sad reminder I need a virtual assistant.

Check out Garland, and enjoy this little interview. It’s worth the click. I’d embed it here, but the mini maven deserves some more traffic, even if he’s got loads.

David Garland interviewing Nalts, who lacks the pocket handkerchief but does the best he can.

Survey of “Business People” Substantiates Online Video

Well, he’s not crazy after all. Online video works even for the top brass it seems. A Forbest Insight study reported by eMarketer shows that online video actually has some business application… even in the coveted “C” suite (CEO, CMO, CFO and CIO). That last one stands for “career is over.” (Wait for laughter).

Rich, white executives like online video too!

Some important “take aways” based on the Forbes/Google survey of 300 c-level and executive leaders:

  • More than 80% said they were watching more online video today than last year
  • Nearly 60% of all respondents said they would watch video before reading text on the same webpage (but give them a choice please)
  • 22% said they generally liked watching video more than reading text for reviewing business information
  • Three-quarters of all executives said they watched work-related videos on business websites at least once a week, and more than half did the same on YouTube.
  • A stunning 65% have visited a vendor’s website after watching the video (but that doesn’t mean that they do so 65% of the time they see a video)
  • It is not clear how many of them have heard of “Annoying Orange” or “Fred.” The research wasn’t conclusive on that.

Before we get too excited, let’s recognize that they still prefer text for business information:

Text still leads, but offering them a choice appears "no brainer"

The biggest surprise to me? They’re surprisingly receptive to longer videos (about half said 3-5 minutes was cool)

47% of executives said 3 to 5 minutes is acceptable length according to Forbes/Google

Finally check out what they did after watching the video? Appears online video moved them down the purchase path.

This eMarketer graph shows that executives took action after watching videos.

So run along now and tell your boss, please. The online-video space needs more legitimization, and you can put this man to work.

Biggest and Most Organized Online-Video & YouTube Community Event

There are loads of social media events, and many YouTube “community gatherings,” meetups and online video events. But the “South By Southwest” of online-video and YouTube is indisputably VidCon. Organized by Hank and John Green (vlogbrothers), the event in 2010 drew hundreds of community members, top “YouTube Stars,” and Nerdfighters (the active people who rally to reduce the world of “suck”). It also included lots of on-stage entertainment that was shared widely online. VidCon 2011 is planned for July 28-30 in San Francisco, California. Early bird discount if you book before Jan. 10, and the hotel is Hyatt Regency Central Plaza.

Here are some highlights of 2010’s VidCon to give you a flavor. It’s focused on viewers and creators, but does attract industry folks and marketers (and has a special industry track). Unlike some popular YouTube love-festivals where “big YouTubers” are VIP, this one is quite egalitarian.

Time To Kill AVCHD (and Tanbee Converter)

Prescript added post hoc: Thanks to Jeff and Jimmer (see comments) for useful tips on solving the AVCHD problems, including this Panasonic white paper. I found this Panasonic white paper about AVCHD and iMovie too.

Sony and Panasonic invented a video format called “AVCHD” and I would like now to proclaim it dead. I remember years ago hearing about great new cameras that were “functionally obsolescent” for Mac users. The way they stored video footage required a whole separate conversion process (pre-editing) that was painful.

Last night I recorded an evening “Christmas carol flash mob” using 5 different cameras to compare how they’d handle low light. The winner was my Panasonic Lumix, a neat little camera and video camera combo which happens to use AVCHD. Sadly, I’ve spent 5 hours and $40 of software trying to get the footage into a usable format, and to no avail. In an act of desperation I purchased the Tanbee AVCHD Video Converter. I should have known better since I couldn’t find a single review or rating for it.

Tanbee, like AVCHD (for a Mac user anyway) can best be described as “ass.” The trial provided an obnoxious watermark, the $40 version one crashed, and after waiting 3.5 hours for a file to convert… all I got was audio and slow motion footage that didn’t match. I can only imagine that Tanbee has put its technical resources not in product development but SEO strategy (to ensure no ratings were available on the first few pages of Google).

Tanbee Software: Another Wasted $40
  • The software was impossibly slow.
  • The trial version produced a watermark in the center of the frame.
  • The converted footage had slow-motion video with normal audio (not matching)
  • It crashed several times. I had to re-register it each time.
  • Even the interface is stupid. It says press the + key to start, but not the big + key in the center. The little one on the left.

Sadly, the industry continues using AVCHD, which I can only assume is bearable for PC users. See a recent Kodak review that the AVCHD software may cause “editing and playing headaches.” I’d say that was being kind.

Again- I’m imagining there are Vegas, Pinnacle and other PC users who are happy with AVCHD, but I’d love to know if an Apple/Mac user has found a way to make this format even remotely functional. Failing that, watch my “boogerofnalts” eBay account for the listing of a perfectly working Panasonic DMC-ZS3.