Why are we burying links to social outlets? Content is KING! Maybe?

One of the more interesting things that continually fascinates me…we are still burying social links. What do I mean, burying social links on websites, televisions ads, print ads, etc.

Websites: I see more and more links to organizations, brands, individuals’ social links at the bottom of a website…or even below the fold. I wonder if web designers and developers are engrained with working with template based methodology? Maybe we just do not know what to do with the links? If we are blogging and have great content…why are we making it so hard to find the blog? Oh, let’s put the link to the blog at the bottom of the homepage and bury the blog in the navigation.

Television Ads: It is easy to just add the social media outlet icons (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) at the end of the spot. Watch some of the popular ads and you will see a glimpse of these icons in the last 3 seconds of the ads. Most of these outlets just put the icons without the link address to the social link. People need to see the exact URL and not just a Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube icon as an afterthought.

Print: Same as websites and television, these links and outlets are after thoughts. Social outlet icons or event links are buried at the bottom of a design or where we can squeeze them in somewhere. These icons are put there for “awareness” yet only bring awareness for the outlet as an organization, but give no URL to go find the links and engage.

This makes no sense to me?

It is my belief that a YouTube channel has the greatest reach than any other social outlet. Yes, it is a destination social outlet where Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube. So if Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are gateways to YouTube, why are we making it hard for individuals to find these social links?

Let’s look at YouTube…it has twice as potency as all the other social outlets. Links to YouTube videos last twice as long in the social space than links to any other content, basically has twice as long half-life as other social links. Here is the research from bit.ly on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/06/links-sharing-bitly/

Also…social media-related YouTube stats are just as impressive. YouTube says that on average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link. Meanwhile, over on Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day. OK, with these stats…we should make it easier for our audiences to find our video content.

Let’s take a look at this YouTube video by Fancy Feast. It is one of their newest campaigns, encouraging you go find more of their YouTube links to watch the whole “engagement” story. But at the very end, they include a link to the channel, but is so small and short…you have to go to Google and search for it. Oh yes…that is what they want you to do…search for the content. We will get back to that in a second.

Reminder…Gthe point of this campaign is to get you to go watch the rest of the videos, to watch the whole story. The link is so small and so short when watching on television…I guess you have to use DVR to see it.

Organizations are lazy with their social links hoping that the user will use keyword searches to find content. Why are we making it so hard for our audiences to find our social outlets…we want them to engage in conversation? We want invest tons of money in these outlets, why the heck are we making it hard for our audiences to find them.

Let’s let look at some more stats:

“As of February 2011, YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month. We spend around 2.9 billion hours on YouTube in a month — over 325,000 years. And those stats are just for the main YouTube website — they don’t incorporate embedded videos or video watched on mobile devices.” <– via Mashable.com.

Oh…btw, YouTube is the Number 2 visited website internationally…yes! Here is the list for 2011: http://www.google.com/adplanner/static/top1000/

So what do these stats tell us, we expect people to search for content. We do not do this intentionally, maybe the smart advertisers do, but most average organizations do not think about this. The social search of Google and Bing ranks content based on searches, creating millions of dollars of revenue from our inability to tell audiences the direct link to a social outlet or social piece of content. The more clicks to the content, the better the search is refined, the higher the rank of the content or social outlet.

Advertisers who are not generating income (direct or indirect links) should do a better job of giving audiences a direct URL or link to social outlets and social content. Why…we want audiences to find content as fast as possible, because CONTENT IS KING.

Oh…this whole argument is based on the premise that your social outlets have viable a community and wonderful content to engage. So if your Content Is Not King…then keep on burying those links.

Video message distribution is all about community!

Video over the web has transformed and made us re-think how we use this visual medium. As you know…I am big on the rhetorical triangle and how we as communicators use this daily to engage in common discourse. I have spent lots of time talking about audience…but one of the areas of the rhetorical triangle that really intrigues me is distribution. How are we distributing our message to our audiences. My thesis has always been that audience, purpose, and distribution are working in parallel and dependent upon the other to create the context of our communication. But, distribution is one of the major tenants of this triangle.

So let’s define distribution. Based on my interpretation and application, I view it as the vehicle by which we touch our audience with our message. It is a channel through which the audience receives and interprets the message for consumption. So if we look at online video, it can be a primary or even a secondary distribution mechanism for our message(s).

Think for a second, before online video…video was television. Our message was created and distributed via television stations and their trafficking of advertising campaigns.  We would also use video to reach our audiences via trade show presentations, internal communication avenues, or where ever their was a television. The broadcast tube was the distribution mechanism and it was primary.

As the ability to distribute video over the internet grew, the screen on a computer was not the only way to distribute this visual message. Video messages have to rest on some URL, some individual domain for us to find and watch the information. But this is only a small portion of the distribution for video. With television, you could put it on a VHS tape, DVD, or pay for advertising space. The vehicle here for distribution was merely finding the right channel.

With online video…the primary points of distribution became “infinite” with huge different channels of URL’s…making it hard for audiences to find this content. This is how the social media space began to explode…beginning with email. Email to me is a social media outlet. It is social and just as asynchronous as Facebook or Twitter. You can send an email and have to wait for a period of time for someone to read or respond. It also created personal, social dialogue. So using video via email became a natural fit.  Why…because we could send a message to our address book and they would watch. Obviously we know where this went, email addresses became wide spread and more groups were creating and purchasing books of email lists to send messages.

Now audience analysis has become more important when creating online video messages. It is no longer spending money just to create the message, you have to begin to figure out how to distribute this message to the target audiences. Organizations that are spending large dollars on great video production now can track viewership, and the ROI is more about the tension between the message and how the message is distributed.

So online video production houses are having to move from just content creation but to content distributors as well. In order to keep business rolling, they have to act more as communication practitioners combined with their video production skills. These plans include looking at social outlets beyond traditional outlets as touch points to audiences. We now have to leverage keywords, SEO, YouTube, bloggings platforms, permalinks, and other distribution parameters to find their audiences.

If you want to create a video campaign and realize the value of using Twitter or Facebook to connect and distribute a message, the community building effort must start long before the video message is created. This is why community building is huge in the minds of digital media content creators. If you are a small company and want to get your video message in front of the right people, you have to define…where does the community exist and how do they communicate?

Social outlets are not always the answer. I finished a huge project for Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. They wanted to capture and tell stories of rural churches in North Carolina. These stories would be showcased at the annual conference, in-front of 2000 pastors, staff, and other support staff. The distribution was simple, burn to a DVD for everyone to watch at one time…then we would put on YouTube for them to find, and share afterwards. The community was in one physical room. Then, once the community was exposed to the message…they could use technology like YouTube to share with their friends.

The point here…is we have to think about distribution and how it relates to the audience. If we want to create a year long social media campaign for a community to watch, there has to be a community. You just cannot set-up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, then start tweeting about the video. If you are trying to hit a large audience of people and you only have two people in the community…then something is not working. A community of people have to engage with a common interest online before you can start sharing a message.

Example, a few years ago…I worked with Clemson on a project. They wanted to create a video invitation to send to all of their students via email. They wanted to invite the students to an event called Legacy Day. This was a day where students, faculty, staff, could come together to meet those who had left money to Clemson in their will. They were also going to be having a book signing for the new Clemson history book.

After talking with Clemson, we came to the conclusion that email blasting a video to the students would have as much effect as going out in the center of campus, during spring break and holding a sign up to come to Legacy Day. No one would open, read, click the video link, watch, then attend. So, instead…we knew that Clemson students are highly active on Facebook. So, we engaged with a group of students to help us with the project. We found some students, got them to help us with the video production, they create a Facebook event and shared with their friends, and we posted small video vignettes once a week leading up to the event.

So what is the point, we realized that Facebook is the distribution mechanism, BUT we needed to engage the individuals in the student community of Facebook to invite their friends to join. Then they could share the video with their friends. We nearly double the expected attendance projections…and we used video to tell the story of Clemson Legacy. We were leveraging the online community of students.

Distribution is a powerful tool…a powerful consideration…a powerful part of the Rhetorical Triangle.

Is video tape media really dead? Is SD media cost effective? [techy blog post]

With the announcement of the new Final Cut Pro X and other Non-Linear Editors (NLE) like Avid Media Composer moving more consumers into the pro-sumer market…the question begs an answer: is tape media dead? Outside of more consumers using non-video tape recording cameras, more and more pro-sumers and professionals are moving from tape media to SD media.

In a recent review by USA Today of the new Sony NX5U along with the emergence of using Digital SLRS to acquire video images…the claim is that video tape is dead. It is in the first line of this article: “Review: Sony NX5U video camera”. Jefferson Graham states, “The big takeaway from this week’s overhaul of Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing software is that tape-based media is dead.”

Well here are my thoughts?

Storage costs money! Yes! Higher Definition images need more space to store these images! It all comes down to work flow…what do I mean, well we will address that in a second.

Traditional image acquisition in the video production world use video tape to record the image captured by the lens and processed by the camera. Once recorded on the tape, it would take equal amount of time to play and “ingest” into a computer’s non-linear editing suite (like Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer & Adrenaline, Adobe Premiere, etc.). Basically, if you recorded an hour’s worth of video, it would take an hour to put it into the computer.

With solid state media, video cameras are able to record the image as a file. The better the image, the better the camera, the larger the files sizes. Instead of just playing the video back for the computer editing suite during “ingest”, you could just transfer the file, the same process typically as copying any other file from a thumb drive to your computer. This cuts down time in the production process, huge amounts of time. BUT!!! Once you transfer the files to the computer, you can erase the media in the camera and reuse for the next production.

When you use video tape, many production shops do not erase the original tape and save just in-case the original video information needs to be accessed. More video tape means more money. Thus, the transition to cameras that do not use video tape, it appears to cut down on cost.

BUT…here is the thing that keeps me still acquiring on video tape and recordable media like SD cards simultaneously. Once you put the video from a camera that records it without video tape into the computer, you have to save the original media somewhere. It requires hard drives to store this original media…because you erased it from the camera and it is not on an original video tape.

So…for the production house and the consumer, you have to find a place to store this original video media. For a production house…this turns into Terabytes and Terabytes of storage of this original footage. Now this storage costs can be passed off to the client…but it takes space. Bigger and bigger storage servers…and if you are storing on servers that use hard drives with moving parts, they can fail. Yes, you can RAID these drives…but I have met more and more and more major universities, production houses, etc. where the RAID’s fail and the original media is GONE!

Yes…I was at a major university that lost a whole season of football footage to a failed RAID system. Those hard drives are moving parts. Yes…there is solid state storage but it so damn expensive, it is hard to justify the costs with the new technology.

Avid’s NLE’s allow you to erase media that is unused in the editing process, but keep the parts of video production used in the final product. BUT…what if you want to re-access that un-used media for  another project?

Here is what I do…my current solution.

1. I use a camera that can record on video tape and solid state storage simultaneously. The video tape is there just in-case the solid state media fails. It has happened before during my ingest. I have lost a whole day of shooting on an SD Card, but had the tape as a back-up. If not, it would have cost me time and money.

2. I ingest into the computer using Final Cut Pro with the solid state media card. Why, because it converts to a Quicktime (.MOV) that is widely excepted by most major NLE’s. I can also ingest 83 minutes of HDV in 7 minutes compared to the 87 minutes it would take for me to play that tape into the computer. Then…if I want to edit in Final Cut Pro or Avid…I have the original raw media digitally. (Avid has to convert the files to their proprietary codec)

3. I save the original HDV video tape as a back-up…properly labeled. So, if I loose the raw media on the hard drive, I can open the project and use the tapes to re-ingest the media.

4. I save the project files from both Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer in two other spots outside of the edit suite: a back-up storage drive and my online back-up space in the cloud. So, if I loose everything digitally, I have the original project files in two places and I can pull the tapes out to re-ingest the media.

5. I back-up my raw media files of the current years’ productions at a un-disclosed storage facility on consistent basis. This allows me to save time if my systems go down…just go get the media and transfer the files.

Why do I do this…because I do not trust moving parts in hard drives. I have had more NLE systems and their hard drives fail with media. I have watched major broadcasting units not be able to put on a show because files got corrupted with lost media. Tape is a physical media that provides a great back-up solution for original media.

Now, this is not always going to be a great solution long-term…but I am researching and working with partners on solutions that will provide me and my clients a great solution.

* Image Credit: Westside Media Group & Ken Rockwell

my life as a visual storyteller…translating to new media

My wife and I have been cleaning out our attic and working on the baby room. I found an old picture from 1998 when I attended the NPPA Oklahoma Workshop for News & Video. NPPA stands for National Press Photographers Association, which is a group of people who believe in one common goal, telling a good story visually. So why do I bring this up in my blog…well, it goes the very foundation of my business.

As a young journalist, the NPPA along with many workshops like Poynter Institute in Florida, I learned how to listen, capture, and craft a compelling story. From technical proficiency, which included using camera, sound gear, and our linear edit bays to visual storytelling that believed in capturing the moment. These skills have stayed with me over the years and influence how I approach every project I work on today.

Being a good storyteller is a subjective trait…many different people have different approaches. Some use writing, some use photography, some use technology. I use my cameras and my digital knowledge. I have learned how to transform that storytelling, journalistic approach into a marketable business in today’s economy. Now what does that mean?

Every project I work on whether it uses video production, new media, teaching, or coaching…I work to find the story in each context. I use a stoytelling approach to each and every project that crosses my desk. I was trained as a journalist to listen for the stories. Yes….listen for the stories. When I would go into a breaking news scene, we were trained as photojournalists to listen visually. Carry our cameras on our shoulders and our microphones in front of us and listen for the stories.

We would capture images from the field during hurricanes, conventions, fires, events, etc. and listen for the story. Listen for people talking and those colorful metaphors that painted the picture. We were trained to look at every situation and then turn 180 degrees to find those who were describing the story. Why…what better way to capture a story than through the eyes and ears of the people who are experiencing the situation. We resist writing voice-over in our scripts…it signifies we did not do our job collecting quality interviews and moments. We aim to allow people to tell the story, not some third party voice-over.

So how does photojournalism and storytelling translate into new media including blogs and social outlets? Storytelling is an amazing tool. It gives us the opportunity to tell stories, third person accounts through outlets like video, blogs, journals, and other new media tools. It allows us to capture other peoples’ thoughts in a way that we can share them others to enjoy. It provides and opportunity to bring the audience into the context and see thing through someone else’s lens. It also provides and ethical approach to content creation. We learn to honor those whom we are using to tell stories, to represent their interests along with ours as well.

We have an opportunity to take a project, a blog, a video, a message and bring the audience into a theater, our digital theater. We have a chance to see something through another lens by using words, video, pictures, sounds, etc. We have a chance to stop writing corporate copy, generating brand messages…instead craft a story that can translate to the people around us.

One of my favorite things to do on a project is a little ethnography project. When I first start working with a group, I like to emerse myself inside the story. I like to find myself inside the context, then start capturing the sights and sounds of the message. Their are many ways to tell a story, but I chose to tell it through another’s viewpoint…to capture reality for others to enjoy. Content can be king!

[Video Blog] Content Can Be King with Focused, Passionate Writing! A Success Story!

The video above talks about my buddy Marty Boardman and how he is using his blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to build his real estate investment business. He has done this through writing great content, storytelling, and keeping a focus on his mission. Ultimately his passion shines through these social outlets.

About two years ago he had hit rock bottom with his real estate business, after generating millions in business. He and I are very close, he was best man in my wedding. So I taked with him about using a blog to start taking control of his message and use it as a focal point to educate the public about his business. Every two weeks on a conference call, we would chat about his successes. He started using his blog to write passionately about real estate investment, his business, and his goals. He started using Twitter to build relationships online and research other real estate investment news and opportunities. He started using Facebook to build a community of people with the same interests and used YouTube to show his properties and also as a video blog.

By writing and generating great content, writing passionately, connecting with others…he has leveraged these tools as a major business focus. Via these tools, he has built quality relationships that have led to over $250K in investment opportunities over the last year. He is a storyteller and he used his storytelling skills to engage his audience with passionate writing and focused content. Because of this content, the community found him and engaged with his passion.

Hats off to you Marty Boardman! To see his blog, go to http://freerealestateeducation.wordpress.com/ or his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/freerealestateeducation. You can also find him on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/MartyBoardman

Customer stories…powerful!

You know…sometimes it is better to just let your customers do the talking. Yes sir, in this world of marketing…sometimes it is better to get it straight from the horses mouth. Well, that is what Young Office thinks…so they set out to tell their story through the eyes and ears of their customers.

Building customer relationships is key in this world of business, especially in a service industry. Customers talk and they share. My grandfather always preached to me the importance of his customers and the personal relationships he forged. These relationships were not forged just over business deals and exchanging of goods/services for payment. These relationships were forged by listening, taking a personal interest in the lives each one of his customers.

Just yesterday morning, I got up early just to go sit and chat with one of my customers. It was not about business, it was not about projects…we chatted about life, good books to read, and just being entrepreneurs. Their is something to be said for getting to know your customers on a level beyond the daily grind of business. Some people like to keep business and personal separate, and I respect the way they forge relationships.  I choose to share a little about me and hope that my customers will share a little in return. Hopefully over time, that mutual respect for business will turn into mutual respect on a personal level.

That is what I think Young Office has…mutual respect on both a personal and business level with not only their customers but also their vendors. As I was going from customer to customer, interviewing each business person for the video project above…I learned a lot about Young Office. I did not learn about furniture or office environments, I learned about their relationships. I learned that they know how to listen and they know how to work on a level of partnership with each person/group they serve. Each person I interviewed from oobe, Greer Memorial Hospital, the bounce agency, USC Upstate, and Delta Apparel; the message was the same. They had an earnest trust for Young Office, trusted them with not only a costly investment for their office environment expertise…but also they trusted them with their relationship.

You can learn a lot from talking to one’s customers…that is why customer stories are so powerful. You are letting your customers spread your message and empowering others to take notice of your belief in relationships.

Video and Blogs together…hmm, great combo

There is a reason why video and blogs work together…well, it brings personality. People want more than just a reading experience that is based on search-ability and getting information; they sometimes want to connect. As much as they hate to admit it…they want to learn more. They want to learn what makes the writer tick.

Video is such a crazy thing in this world of blogging, online media, social media, and mobile connection. Video provides depth. It takes us further than the textual words, those words that writers work so hard to bring color inside each syllable. Video does that…it brings texture.

There are a few reasons I work with clients to bring video into the everyday web experience, here are a few reasons:

  1. It brings emotion to the screen. People get to see how someone talks, breaths, laughs, sighs, expresses, etc. It reveals the true emotion behind the written word.
  2. It brings texture. The written word is a two dimensional field where we write our thoughts and hope that our ability to craft sentences provides depth. Video provides a three dimensional look into the screen that Brenda Laurel describes as the “theater.”
  3. It connects social platforms together. If video is placed on YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, or any of the other social video sites…it connects rich media outlets together creating a great SEO experience for the user looking for information.
  4. It breaks up the monotony. As bloggers and writers, we get into a habit of just filling the screen with text within our blogs and web experiences. Bringing video into this online experience can bring a depth beyond the words providing connection points. People get to see who they are reading, and hear those words that are typed.
  5. Video reinforces the brand experience. It allows the user to see the branded message in action, connecting those visual cues to the written word.
  6. It takes the pressure off writing too much content. Sometimes it is better for something to be explained visually in video form, those ideas that are sometimes normally hard to explain in the written word. This takes the burden off of the copywriting or creative writing experience; allowing visuals, music, interviews, graphics to take the place of the written word.

There are many times in the world of blogging, people have a hard time articulating thoughts in written form. There are many times that a thought comes to mind, but we are not in a place to write. We are surrounded by devices that allow us to capture video. We can capture a special moment, an interview, an emotion, or we just want to talk into the camera. What ever presents itself, sometimes the camera is better suited to capture the moment than trying to write down the thought.

Use the media, do not be afraid. Video is a powerful tool especially if you want to supplement the written word.

Here are a few people who do it so well in the blogging context:

Organizations that do it well:

So bottom-line, do not be afraid to use that camera and integrate some video into your online experience. You can provide the rich insight many people are seeking.

What is social video???

So I have been thinking what makes video social? Yes….what makes our video content connect with audiences in a social, fluid environment. Well, it is my opinion that it comes down to technology and content. Seriously, there has to be relevant content that relates to an audience in a way that makes them have the desire to share. Then, once they want to share…it has to be supported by technology that does not prohibit the ability to share.

Recently I have been harping on Flash Video and how it marginalizes certain audiences…and this is all about technology. If I have a device and a friend shares a video with me, I click to watch and cannot view the content because the technology does not support Flash…then the video is not social.

So when I think about the technology aspect of social video, it can be broken into two arenas: enabling the ability to share the video and enabling the ability to search and find the video. But before we get to technology…let’s try to talk about characteristics of social video. So let’s think through this a bit…ways we can make our video content social.


  • The video message has to be compelling.
  • The video message has to have an action item.
  • The video appeals to our emotions.
  • The video message makes us want to share.


  • The video has to be hosted and compressed so that it plays fluidly in majority of online environments.
  • The video player that displays the video is using the latest technology to meet your target audience’s devices needs. If it is HTML5, Flash, Quicktime, or what ever…it needs to be able to reach the largest section of audiences to consume the video content.
  • The video content has to be associated with searchable terms. We know what it means to make our webpages rich with searchable words…but now our video has to SEO rich. So whereever it is hosted, it must support searchable tags and video descriptions.
  • The video content must have a permalink to link directly to that video. You do want people to share your video, so it must have a link to post on social sites and email for reference.
  • The video content must have rich embed options. You want the masses have the ability to embed your video into your blogs, websites, and other online media outlets.
  • The video content needs to have the ability to have a title that is associated with the video. Places like YouTube and Vimeo provide that option to make the content searchable.

Let me give you two examples:

1) IT-oLogy Open House:

I worked on a project a few months ago with the sole purpose of telling the story of a new brand at an open-house. IT-oLogy was formerly the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management. They were launching their new brand at the open house for their new building. So we produced a video that had all their partners and supporting agencies describing IT-oLogy in their own terms. We made the video fun, goofy, yet appealing to the 250 plus people that would attend.

When I showed up to make it play on their new big screen, the people were still installing the technology that supported video playback. So…we uploaded it to YouTube in full 1080p and played it on a big 50 foot screen from YouTube. They had the bandwidth to support the higher quality and it played well. When we uploaded it to YouTube…we made sure we named it properly, gave a rich description, and implemented logical tags. When people left, they wanted to go find the video. Why…because it was cool plus most of the people in the room knew the people in the video and wanted to share with their co-workers. They were able to embed in their blogs, email the YouTube link to their friends, share it on social outlets. A quality message maximizing technology to enable sharing.

2) My Class at Clemson

I was putting together a presentation about finding your passion. I found this great video called “Where good ideas come from.” I wanted to share it with my class during my afternoon session. I like to use my business Facebook page as a place to save cool links that I might want to comeback to later. So I posted the YouTube link to my Facebook page with a description of it’s intended purpose. So when I got to class, I pulled up the video from my Facebook page and played it for the class and they loved it. Afterwards, I noticed that a conversation started happening on Facebook under the link I posted.

The conversation was around entrepreneurship and where great ideas come from. People from the academic world, business world, entrepreneurs, etc. were commenting and discussion the underlying theme behind the video. At the same time, before I could email the link to my students, one of them posted the link to their Facebook page thanking me for sharing in class. That means that they were able to do a Google search for the video, find it, grab the link from the video, and share with her friends. Steven Johnson was the speaker in this video and a group called RSA Animate produced the visuals. These people not only inspired me to share with my friends, students, and colleagues….but they also inspired and enabled others to share. The content was engaging and inspiring and the technology was seamless to enable the ability to share.

What are your thoughts? How are you using video socially?

Social Video – Get with the program!

What the heck do I mean by this? Well…for many of us digital geeks out there, this might be a no-brainer. But…the world is changing in the Social Video space faster than someone can upload the next YouTube video.

If you want to compete in the viral, social marketing space…then just go ahead and give in to YouTube and Vimeo. Seriously…if you are self-hosting content or have vendors hosting video for you, then you are in a DARK DARK ROOM.

Over two years ago, I was pitching to clients to be skeptical of YouTube, Vimeo, and other free video hosting outlets. I was telling them that “they” own your content that is uploaded and you would have to worry about protecting your brand. Well…I was saying that because I was trying to sell video storage, compression, and distribution like I was the next big venture. GUESS WHAT…that game, that technology is just a commodity.

If you are a marketing department, you really need to know the following about your video content:

1) The ability to play your content over a wide range of devices from Windows, Macs, and Linux based desktops and laptops is necessary. You also need to be able to reach the real growing crowd…MOBILE DEVICES. With 4G here…we will be watching video content like we are drinking our favorite frosty beverage…GUZZLE, GUZZLE, GUZZLE.  So…if someone cannot watch you latest marketing video because it is hosted using a Flash or WMV player…the you are marginalizing a large portion of your audience. HTML5 players are the next innovation for playback of your video content. Why do you think YouTube, Vimeo, Brightcove, Sorenson, and many others have implemented this technology.

2) The local production shop who is hosting your video DOES NOT have the SEO like YouTube and Vimeo can provide. Seriously, when you embed a video hosted on these two platforms…you are connecting some of the largest search engines to your page via the video content. When you upload the video to YouTube and Vimeo, you can provide a detailed description, tags, location where it was shot…and all of this follows the video when you embed it into your website. The local shop is not owned by a search engine, so they do not specialize in SEO. So if you are paying to host content on their private servers, then pay to have the final video released to you and upload it to your YouTube channel.

3) YouTube and Vimeo also come with a community. Yes, people are searching these sites for video content based on their interests and comment right below the video. So…the community is built around the content, engaging audiences beyond the website you have it embedded. The search engines like this!

4) The quality of the playback is great. You can look at HD quality video right over your home network. That is backed by huge teams of technology experts that make it their mission to make your picture quality look great. Why do you think Hollywood uses these outlets to release Trailers…hmm?

5) It is so CHEAP. YouTube is free and Vimeo is $60 per year. So why are you paying monthly fees for hosting when your marketing message cannot be viewed on some the latest mobile devices? I do not know, but you might want to reconsider.

This post is truely meant for viral marketing efforts for video. There is TREMENDOUS value in using private hosting and Flash video for private video messages. You not only can control the distribution, but you also force individuals to watch the content in specific types of technology. There is value in this model.

Thoughts…think I am crazy? There are some business that would like to scream at me…but oh well. Why am I writing about this…because large organizations are still operating in yesterday’s thinking.

Marketing Departments- Say NO TO FLASH VIDEO, please

Seriously, the debate is the debate…Flash Video, HTML5, H264…I get it already. We still have not decided on a standard for web video. But seriously, Flash just is not working. I do not care if you think it is the best thing slice bread…instead, take that sliced bread and make a PB&J while reading this post.

So why is Flash not working, seriously? Because we are in the world of mobile users. Yeah, those smart phones that your audience is enjoying right now.

If you have a marketing department and spending tons of money on video hosting for your public marketing video…then you are getting freaking bad advice. Dump the video hosting for your marketing video and put everything on YouTube and Vimeo. Seriously…if the White House and every other major marketing group out there is doing it, then you should too!

Here is why:

1) YouTube and Vimeo are in the business of providing high quality video content to the masses…it is their business. So they are going to have the latest technology when it comes to players. Bottom-line, you will be able to watch the content on just about any device out there!

2) YouTube and Vimeo will have better SEO opportunities than any other private hosting option out there!  Why, because most of the video content out there is on their servers and it is their business to optimize for searches. Oh yeah, last year…YouTube was the Number #2 search engine.

3) YouTube and Vimeo provide a multitude of options for embedding in web outlets and social sites. Every time you upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo, they provide an easy embed option into your website and blog. They provide easy click options from playing solely in HD, changing the size, etc. Also…the share link makes it so easy to populate into Facebook, allowing the user to watch the video inside Facebook without having to leave to go to another website.

4) YouTube and Vimeo have figured out this whole compression thing for you. You can practically upload just about any video file and it convert the file for you and give you thumbnail options, so you do not have to manually choose and upload some image as the pause screen.

5) YouTube and Vimeo display HD Video content and it looks ROCK SOLID! For a huge conference in Columbia, we uploaded a completely uncompressed HD video to YouTube, and played it for an auditorium for a dignitaries from YouTube. Why, because the computer in the conference room was having a hard time working with about every video file we put on the Windows 7 desktop. So, since it looked great in HD and it played nicely without pause via YouTube…it was displayed in 1080p over a 50 foot screen. The crowd cheered at the end!

6) YouTube and Vimeo offer private viewing of video content. So, if you want to restrict the audience and move away from totally public consumption, the option is there. Yes…you can even restrict to private links so that you have to have that specific link to watch the video content.

7) If you are a large organization, you can create categories to separate video messages according to topics, departments, etc. You can create your own video vault without the hefty price tag! Seriously…YouTube is FREE! Vimeo is also free but offers a premium package for $60/year! YES!!!! Between FREE AND $60/YEAR. Compare that to your monthly spending on your pretty server for marketing video.

Why did I write this…because I was irritated the other day when I tried to open a video message on my iPad and the video was Flash. The video link was from a Twitter and Facebook post of a major organization. I went to my desktop and the video message was intended for a mass audience. Now I realize that iPads and Apple devices are only a finite portion of the user audience. BUT…Apple users are a major audience in mobile video usage. WHY MARGINALIZE YOUR MESSAGE! Just put the dang thing up on YouTube/Vimeo and take advantage of the community.

So if you are  spending tons of money to host video content for marketing purposes…RE-NEGOTIATE! If your marketing message needs to hit a broad audience, take advantage of the technology, SEO, and community of these outlets. BTW…YouTube is one the top search engines…NUFF SAID!

Done with my rant.