Has Live Streaming Video Become Mainstream?

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Do you have a live streaming video channel in your future? You may scratch your head wondering how such a Web presence might improve your business. But, even though it’s not a mainstream marketing vehicle today, live streaming video is a trend to watch. What started as live sports and concerts on the Web is expanding to eclectic programming ranging from weddings and celebrity interviews (eg, 50 Cent, Dalai Lama), to business events and training, political coverage, and more.

Early-stage companies like Justin.TV, Stickam, and Mogulus have made it easy to go online with compelling live streaming video. Just set up an account, plug your camera into your computer, and direct your video broadcast to the Web. A simple widget allows other sites to carry your channel.

One start-up, Ustream.TV, was even selected as exclusive Web video provider for the Republican National Convention, offering continuous live feeds of interviews and speeches to the entire planet as they occurred. According to founder John Ham, Ustream’s live channels are not just for watching, they’re for connecting and creating brand loyalty. “Ustream is not a destination,” says Ham, “it’s a platform for ‘live moments'” that is becoming a social networking foundation.

These are early days for live streaming business channels, but as MarketingProfs’ upcoming Digital Marketing Mixer Keynote and Internet Wine Library TV host Gary Vaynerchuk says: “This is where the world is going,” and where you need to be “spending time building your brand, building your community.”

The Po!nt: Dive in. Or at least keep your eye on the Live Stream; it may indeed be flowing mainstream.

Source: Howard Greenfield of Go Associates.

What does YouTube and Calculus have in common?

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Since the beginning of YouTube back a few years ago it has, by every indication, become the number two search engine in the world.  With more than 85% of all people with Internet access using the web now to research everything from products, services, and companies I see it also being used to answer questions, to find how to do something and even teach you Calculus!  Yes math through the use of streaming media!  My teenager can now have access to a host of virtual teachers online 24/7/365!  All I can say is I’m jealous because I had to do it the old fashioned way!

I have a high school senior that had a horrible teacher this year in AP Calculus and when he exhausted the conventional means of getting help to understand what was being taught in the classroom, I caught him one night on YouTube having the answers to his questions explained in remarkable detail right online by another teacher half a world away.  At first I was upset but then before I could say anything I had to admire my son for taking the initiative to use the Internet to solve his homework problems.  The end result was an A for the semester and we are still waiting for the AP results.

Our Po!nt: While many see little, if any, value in the Internet this second generation of Interneters have embraced it as part of their everyday lives as a resource base to find answers in a click.  Wait, after 17 years of Internet use I have done the same.  Like father, like son (he’ll hate that if he reads this)! As always we welcome your thoughts and comments on this or any topic.

8 Steps for Making an Effective Business Marketing Video

Video Marketing

Certainly you have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 100,000+ words! Video grabs people’s attention far more quickly and effectively than text or photographs. Research has shown that if a person can either watch a product being demonstrated live or watch a video they are 80% more likely to make a buying decision at that moment. Not necessarily buy at that momnet but make a decision if your product will solve their problem.

So why not make a video to market your business or product? Most feel it is cost prohibitive, especially for a small business. Certainly that was the case five years ago but today’s technology makes it reasonable to do it yourself. Besides it really isn’t that hard once you follow a few tips. The following eight steps will help you make a good-looking, effective video.

1. Start with a script. If you don’t, you’ll turn on the camera and find yourself tongue-tied and rambling on and on as you try to think of what to say. A simple bullet list of topics will do wonders in making your video more effective and are better than paragraphs. Develop a list of bullet points and then rehearse your way through them a couple times, honing what you want to say just like you do when you’re rehearsing a power point presentation. Remember that people are trained to watch video as a story, so be sure that what you say has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  While it will be tempting to cram a whole lot about your company in your first video, keep it short and to the point. You never want to overwhelm your viewer with detail.

2. Stage your production carefully. Plan you camera angles, locations, props and setup times, etc. to reflect your message you are trying to convey. A simple thing like adding another camera to capture your message from another angle or close up can make your production look more professional and have even greater impact. To many people will just pick up the camera and start shooting video footage and never think about backgrounds, external noises like traffic and airplanes, lighting and more. Planning and creating a story board for your production will help you organize your production and determine what you need to create fantastic results.

3. Be sure to practice your lines. The more you rehearse what it is you are trying to say the more natural it will sound and it will improve your chances to make a connection with your potential customers. Video is a great way to let people connect with you in all three ways but it only works if their authentic-meter tells them they’re watching a real person. So be yourself.

4. Don’t use the camera’s built-in microphone. Buy a wireless lavaliere mic and clip it on your lapel.  You can buy a good quality one for around $100. The difference in the professional quality of your video is significant. Simply, Google lavaliere mic. Just make sure that the one you buy has the right connections for your camera. Also be sure and get a mic with a wind screen on it to reduce the wind and external noise when you shoot outdoors.

5. Be vigilant about your lighting setups. This is one of the easiest ways to make your video look professional. Don’t shoot against a window because your camera will automatically adjust to the outside light and you’ll end up way too dark. Don’t place yourself directly under an overhead light because you’ll end up with very nasty raccoon eyes, as the light casts shadows from your brow. You do want to point a light source directly at your face in order to counter shadows from overhead light. You can take the lamp shade off a table lamp so the light shines on your face, or point a desk lamp at yourself. Don’t place it so close that you blind yourself, just use it to fill in the light on your face. It’ll make a big difference. And, if you have dark skin, do not shoot against a light background as the camera will adjust for the background. Place yourself against a darker background so the camera adjusts to your face and not the white wall behind you. Using a simple sheet of white poster board to reflect light where you have shadow can add to your videos results.

6. Frame your face well. If you’re planning to use your video on your website it’s going to be relatively small, so if your face is small in the video it will be very difficult to see on your website. Why does the size of your face matter? Because we want to watch your face as you talk. And beware of too much head room. Head room is the space above your head in the frame, and too much leaves lots of empty space and too little you. So – bring your head very close to the top of the frame. Aim for a head-and-shoulders shot without a lot of headroom and you’ll look great.

7. End your video with some kind of call to action. This is because people watch videos to watch a story, and every story must have an ending, and the most effective ending for a marketing video is a clear communication of what the person should do next. Here’s an example: “Developing an effective website is not easy, but we have the experience and the know-how to help you through this. So call us, right now, and let’s get started.”

8. Post production magic! This is where you can take your production to the next level by adding just a few extra touches. Adding a music score to the beginning, during and at the end of the video sets the pace and mode for your company. If you have multiple camera angles you can add the B footage for such things as close ups of your products and cut-aways of your interviews. Also do not forget to add such things as your company’s logo and credits page at the end to finish of the project.

Timing is everything and your first marketing video should be no more than 90 seconds to four minutes in length. Short and simple is better. From product features, training, promotions, etc. video is your best marketing tool. In the coming weeks and months ahead we will expanding this article to cover things that video merchandising for your online store, video demonstrations, video training and other marketing application for video.

As always, we value your comments.

Can I Afford Streaming Video On My Website?

Design Our Blog Video Marketing

The short answer is can you afford not too?  The power of video is amazing in building confidence in your company’s products and brand.  Research shows that if a person can watch a product being demonstrated live or watch a video they are 80% more likely to make a buying decision at that moment.

Over the past few years with the advances in Internet technology, streaming video that was once reserved for the companies with big budgets is now within reach of most small businesses.  Thanks in part to new Continue reading