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Video Best Practices: Online Video – Make Your Investment Count

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By Eric Carlsen

RISMEDIA, August 17, 2009-If it hasn’t already happened, it won’t be long before everyone is sick of hearing about how great online video is. For the record, as co-founder of a video production company, I think the stampede to capture, edit and share video content is fantastic.

That statement however, comes with a very large caveat. Whether you are a brand new or long established business, if you are looking to put video content online, proceed with caution.

Video’s proliferation on the web has had a notable side effect: More bad video…everywhere you look. What can you do to ensure that your company’s video investment achieves the desired results? There are numerous items to consider, however these should get you started.

Here are 5 Things to Consider When Creating Video Content:

1. Have a goal - So you want to use video on your website. Excellent. What do you hope to accomplish? Is it telling a story about who your company is, what they do, how they do it? If you do not know what your goal is, even the best production company will find it challenging to help you reach it.

2. Define your target audience - Who will your viewers be? Potential clients? Partners? Existing employees? Before you even begin brainstorming for content, define your target audience. It is better to create 3 or 4 short videos for different audiences, than to create one long convoluted video that is supposed to appeal to every possible viewer. This ties directly to my next point.

3. Keep it brief - A recent article in the NY Times noted that web viewers are getting more comfortable with longer videos. There is no doubt this is true when people sit down to watch their favorite show, a movie or even a mini-documentary on the web. However, visitors to most company websites are not primarily looking to be entertained, they want information.

The more concise, informative and relevant your video is, the more likely that it will be watched to completion…thus clearly conveying your message.

4. Pre-production is the mother of invention - Today’s economy means budgets get trimmed. Some companies will carve out a few dollars by cutting pre-production time. But in the end, it is the time spent in pre-production where the real gold is mined. Brainstorming, writing a script, and eventually nailing down a storyboard are vital to a successful finished video.

5. Pros vs. Cons - There are plenty of qualified professionals out there producing compelling video content. Take a good look at their portfolio. Ask questions about their production process. And listen closely for the questions they should be asking you, the client. The right questions are the difference between a cookie cutter video and a unique marketing tool.

If content is king, inspired, well produced video can be the crowning jewel of your company’s website. All it takes is planning, forethought, and the right team to make it happen.

Eric Carlsen is co-founder and managing partner of The Scene Lab, a full service video production company. For more information, visit www.thescenelab.com or e-mail ecarlsen@thescenelab.com.

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