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Five characteristics of successful online videos
The online video phenomenon has taken hold of Internet users worldwide for a reason: Online videos are, for the majority, more engaging, entertaining, emotionally moving and action-inspiring than their more traditional media counterparts. They’re the old marketing adage in action: Show, don’t tell!

Although you may be accustomed to viewing online videos for personal reasons, the medium has plenty of business uses as well. When used effectively, they can boost sales, increase site traffic and generate leads for your organization. In fact, according to social media go-to blog Mashable.com, adding video to a website can drive 36 percent more clicks, 20 percent more inbound calls and more than double the time a user spends onsite. You can’t pass up results like these, simply because you may not know the online-video ropes.

By their very nature, people crave stimulation. Online video contributes to a user’s web experience by offering stimulating content in a landscape that is usually motionless and limiting in engagement. Online videos thrive in marketing efforts when an organization uses them to:

  • Tell their story
  • Tell their customers’ stories
  • Further explain a process, product or service
  • Showcase a product (demonstrations)
  • Provide a glimpse into organizational culture

According to Tim Street, digital video and social media marketing professional, online videos are most successful in gaining viewership and generating leads when they exhibit the following five characteristics:

#1: Spectacle
Spectacles are awe-inspiring occurrences that make the viewer want more before the video is even finished!

#2: Story
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to persuade customers in online video and other marketing measures. When formulating the strategies for your online videos, brainstorm ways to add a story to the video’s premise.

#3: Emotion
In the words of Street, “Emotions change the way we think about products and services.” They are the triggers for most individuals when crossing over from the consideration phase to the purchase phase. When incorporating emotions, pick two of the following to concentrate on: love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, humor or fear.

#4: Conflict
Conflict and argument have long been characteristics of society, and people are naturally interested in how they develop. If incorporating conflict into your online video, be sure it’s displayed in a way that is respectful and tolerant, offering room for opinion on both sides of the issue. Try to resolve the conflict at the end of the video as to not leave viewers with a sour taste in their mouths.

#5: Questions
At the end of your videos, you want to leave at least one question in the viewer’s mind. That question could be in regard to what happens next, or where to turn for more information.

Once you’ve created videos, house them through a branded channel on YouTube or other services to increase visibility along with ease of sharing. Then, embed the video on your business or organization’s website or blogs and begin promoting and linking to it via other methods, like e-Newsletters, Facebook, Twitter and traditional marketing materials. If your organization plans on posting videos regularly, consider promoting your branded channel as a whole. Distribute postcards to top tier customers with a “Watch for new videos!” message about upcoming videos and pair it with a set of affordable and fun Sport Binoculars, or a “Like what you see? Don’t forget to pass it along!”message with a Stress Ball.

Further entice audiences to become involved by asking that they post their own response videos or submit video questions to your organization. Offer all who post their own videos a fun giveaway like the Fold Up Flier or Beanies to let them know that you’ve heard them and appreciate their input.

Be sure to also thank individuals who choose to repost your video on their own site, blog or Facebook page. Also thank people who retweet your promotional tweets with a quick thank-you note and token of gratitude, like T-Shirts or Thank You Chocolate Bars. Viral videos often equate to free publicity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also develop relationships and engage others in the process.

Online video can be an effective way to be heard and propel your business and exposure to new heights. Consider these five points today and check out our Blue Paper® on online videos for more ideas.

Rich, David. “How to: Create online video that works.” Mashable. 2009. Web. 31 Jan. 2010.

Street, Tim. “Ingredients of Viral Video.” Inbound Marketing Summit 2009. Boston. Oct. 2009. Speech.

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