I heard that about 40 times yesterday, as I spent most of my day on the set of a new video for Ready Georgia, a program of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. This is the second year we’ve developed a series of Web-based videos for Ready. It’s a tactic we strongly believe in for relaying our clients’ messages and engaging their audiences. Plus, it’s fun, so it reminds me why I love what I do.
It’s virtually impossible to be unfamiliar with YouTube, but let me throw some numbers at you just in case:
- Videos on YouTube in the U.S. alone topped 16.8 billion views in April
- Ten hours of video are uploaded each minute
- It’s not just 19-year-olds who are watching. YouTube reports its demographic base spans ages 18-55, with watchers evenly split between males and females
While YouTube commands about a 41 percent market share, it’s certainly not the only place people access video. More than 226,000 videos were uploaded by Facebook users in March. An article I read on Mashable last week (partly my inspiration for this post) reported a new study by online video tracking service Tubemogul that found tweeters who visit videos from Twitter links spend the most time watching them, when compared to videos on Facebook or Digg.
We can have hours of fun with numbers, but what does this all mean to the average business or organization? The answer is simple: video is a fantastic medium for telling a story. And effective storytelling is what good public relations is all about. Video adds a dimension that can reach your audience in a different way, or reach a segment of your audience that isn’t as focused on the written word to get information. If done well, user-created video content is entertaining, informative and persuasive.
Working with our partner Broadcast Atlanta, we’ve developed and marketed videos that helped to create a more engaging eventfor The Clean Air Campaign; to relay the specific messaging needed for Ready Georgia’s various target audiences, and to show Atlanta and Birmingham commuters that “people like them” carpool, vanpool or take transit to work.
My favorite video we’ve produced so far is one from the 2008 PACE Awards (The Clean Air Campaign’s awards program). In it, executive director Kevin Green uses just about every clean commute mode available as he travels to the event. Along the way he runs into local and national celebrities, who are also taking transit, carpooling or walking to their destinations. Yes, it calls for a bit of a suspension of reality as you watch, but it gets the message across in a way we couldn’t with a PowerPoint presentation or collateral piece. In just three months, the videos created for the PACE Awards were viewed more than 147,000 times via YouTube, cleanaircampaign.org, local blogs and news sites.
I’m just as excited about the group of videos we’re working on this year. Proving we do take our work home with us, we filmed yesterday’s shoot at my house, telling the story of why families need to be prepared in the event of a disaster. As I watched the production unfold, I couldn’t help but think of how different client-created video is today compared to the “corporate” videos of just four or five years ago. Those were long, overly scripted, highly produced and very expensive. They didn’t have a very long shelf life, and it was tough, if not impossible, to measure the impact. Today, good online videos are about two minutes (or less) in length, and while it’s not a perfect science, we can track downloads and views. These videos are also reasonably inexpensive to produce, making them an easy addition to almost any public relations program, assuming the tactic fits the strategy.
Web-based video puts you in the driver seat to engage with your audience(s). If you haven’t considered it, maybe you should. How would you like your story to be told?