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3 Keys For An Effective Online Video Strategy

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… by Chantelle Flannery

The way video is being consumed online is increasing, approximately 70% of global online consumers watch video online (nielsen). There are three key factors that you need to take into account if you want your organization to succeed in online video:

  1. Quality Content
  2. Consistent Programming
  3. Ability to Adapt

Looking at these factors an organization that stands out for taking full advantage of the rising consumption of online video is the Horizon League. The Horizon League Network (HLN), the conference’s online video portal, brings exclusive content surrounding the Horizon League’s 10 institutions’ athletic departments.

Just how does the Horizon League utilize these three key traits:

Quality Content:

  • A variety of live content is available with over 400 live events, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, swimming & diving, softball, and baseball. HLN also features a vast on-demand library with highlights, features and original programming.
  • So far this season viewers are watching an average of 40 minutes of live video on HLN, whereas traditional media companies utilizing web video have a much lower average viewing time. Fox viewers are averaging18.3 minutes of video content and NBC only averages 16.5 for video content (comScore).

Consistent Programming:

  • The Horizon League began streaming sporting events in 2005. Streaming video originally started as a replacement to a regional TV package of up to 15 games a year. For the same budget, the Horizon League is able to stream over 400 live events each year.
  • This year HLN will produce its 2,000th event. Over the past six years, the regional TV package would have only produced a maximum of 90 events and impacted only a percentage of the viewers.

Ability to adapt:

  • Until the 2010-11 school year, the Horizon League managed their traditional content on a separate site from their video content. The merging of the sites, under HorizonLeague.com, allowed for a unified experience for fans in which video could be placed alongside press releases to give fans options on how they would like to consume content. The overall site traffic is seeing a significant increase this year with the combination.
  • A partnership with WebStream Productions has given the league an experienced video production partner. WebStream works with local production crews and athletic department staff members to increase production quality and consistency from all 10 campuses.

The Horizon League Network will continue to be an important marketing tool for the league as online video consumption continues to soar. Additionally, with the merging of television and Internet-enabled devices, the availability of this content will only serve to increase the league’s exposure.

How will you, or your organization, utilize these success factors to improve your online presence?

Chantelle Flannery has immersed herself in online marketing working for small businesses, not-for-profits and Fortune 500 companies. She currently works at a social media agency focusing on strategy, client relationships and production management. Recently Chantelle co-authored Corporate Blogging for Dummies from Wiley Publishing.

Contact Chantelle Flannery
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Digital Broadcasting – Creating Dynamic Content

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At BlogWorld Expo I gave a session titled Content You Care About. This session was all about the many ways that you can create digital content, host it and post it to your blog. I also gave out some of my tips for driving traffic to your blog. I’m writing a few posts over the next couple of weeks on different topics but how those topics relate to creating digital content.

Today I’m talking about Digital Broadcasting. There are many ways that this can be interpreted but for me there are two pretty big ways to broadcast yourself online. Video and Audio. I’m going to focus today on video. I personally have just about finished one entire month of shooting videos every single day just to post them up to YouTube and Vimeo for a contest that I held on my blog. My equipment was pretty simple. I had a Kodak PlayTouch and a Sony condenser mic. With that I was able to create crisp and clear HD content.

Each video was a simple one where I recorded between a minute and three minutes of video. Because the videos were so short they were easy to watch for busy people. You don’t have to create an opus to digitally broadcast yourself. Something really short is usually the most effective. Not only that shorter videos are smaller in size and can be uploaded more places. More places means more eyeballs watching your content.

Each video had a written description with links back to my blog so that people could find out more about me and the contest that I was having. Those posts often had links to products I was reviewing or some other way to earn a little extra money. My main intent behind the videos was to get more people entering my contest and I encouraged my readers to post my content to their Facebook pages and beyond. Getting the word out there beyond my own sphere of influence.

When making the video make sure that you are in the picture. Speak clearly and smile often. If you are doing a product review hold the product up long enough so that it has a better chance of appearing in the thumbnail in Youtube. You get more thumbnail choices with Vimeo and can even add your own custom thumbnail to that site.

You can edit the videos and put your branding at the beginning and at the end but for me the videos that I’ve been making lately have been more about who I am rather than having a fancy intro and outro for the video. This also cuts down on editing time as well. Stating my name at the beginning and end of the video is enough to get the point across as to who I am. Knowing what I want to say or even writing out a little script helps keep the video short too. Don’t amble, ramble or mumble. Get to the point and look like you are having fun.

Andrew Bennett has been blogging for the past seven years. During that time he’s taken over 2000+ photos on as many consecutive days and has attended every Blog World so far. When he’s not on Twitter (@BenSpark) he can be found at BenSpark.comYou can contact him at benspark@benspark.com.

The Faces of BlogWorld Expo 2010

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Video music by DoKashiteru and ditto ditto

Thank you to everyone who participated. If you didn’t catch me to do a video in Vegas or reply to me via Twitter just leave a comment on this post to participate! Who are you and what is your site about? What did you enjoy most and what were the best BlogWorld tips you learned at the event? Will you be back next year?

(Also, things I learned for next year: I need to purchase a mic :-p)

Live Streaming: The How, The Why and The Future

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Tune in this morning at 11:00AM-12:00PM for live streaming of our Live Streaming panel with Cali Lewis (moderator), Philip Nelson, Colleen Kelly, and Tammy Camp! Details below.


 

Live Streaming: The How, The Why and The Future

Colleen Kelly Henry Philip Nelson Tammy Camp Cali Lewis
Colleen Kelly Henry Philip Nelson Tammy Camp Cali Lewis

Live streaming is the “next big thing”. It’s taken the online space by storm because it offers people interactivity with their entertainment – directly and without delay. On this panel Colleen Henry, Philip Nelson, Cali Lewis and Tammy Camp will discuss how you can take advantage of live streaming technology to enhance your business or personal brand. They’ll educate attendees about matching streaming purposes with your goals, easy set-up tips, examples of how traditional and new media personalities are using it, overcoming challenges, and what the future of live streaming looks like. This will be an information-packed session with lots of take-aways for you to start streaming!

Cartoon: “Besides, isn’t all video ‘mobile’? I mean, the pictures move.”

Author:

The day ended with a session on video, chaired by Susan Bratton of Personal Life Media, and featuring Dermot McCormack, Executive Vice President of MTV Music Group Digital; Dick Glover, CEO of Funny or Die; and Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3.

There were some great moments, including the revelation that the budget of a typical Funny or Die video is… drumroll please… what’s that? We can’t afford a drumroll? That must be because the figure is only $2,000.

But the moment that grabbed me early on was the emphatic statement by one of the panelists that one huge factor affecting the future of video right now is the rise of mobile. And given how many conversations I’ve had with people who are still trying to get their minds around just how huge a platform mobile is, well, that spurred this cartoon.

One person covers eyes in despair as the other points to a huge TV camera and says 'See? Wheels.' Caption: Unclear on the whole 'mobile video' thing.

Mark Burnett with Brian Solis: Convergence

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Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit.

The full title of this session was “Convergence of media and the future of unscripted drama on the web.” Brian Solis (author of Engage and creator of the Conversation Prism infographic you’ve used in at least three slide decks so far this year) interviewed Survivor creator Mark Burnett on how networked communication is challenging, supporting and transforming shows like his.

Cartoon: Jeff Probst tells a contestant 'You've been voted off the island. But on the brighter side, you're trending on Twitter.' It was a fascinating conversation, starting with the essential importance of story to both blogging (something Solis speaks about so eloquently that I wonder if he might have the same kind of spec screenplays buried on his hard drive that I do) and shows like Survivor, where Burnett invoked Joseph Campbell and walked us through the show’s imagery of life, death and  rebirth.

From there, the two looked at the way the online backchannel has transformed water-cooler conversations. Those conversations now start during the show itself, and take place everywhere, Burnett said. “The water cooler is now omni-present.”

Cartoon: two people at a water cooler. One asks: 'So, didja see the liveblogging for Survivor last night?'

The conversation ranged over football legend Jimmy Johnson’s appearance on a rescheduled Survivor to the MTV Movie Awards, before they launched into Burnett’s latest project, Sarah Palin’s Alaska. He described Alaska as “epic”, and we became the first audience to see promotional footage from the upcoming show.

Burnett tells Solis, I pitched 'Joe Lieberman's Connecticut, but nobody bit. Then, at the end, Solis announced a surprise: the footage was being released to the world not through the usual channels, but via Steve Garfield’s YouTube channel. (Burnett acknowledged the plan may have initially caused some agita in the executive suites at TLC.)

TLC exec's head exploding. But tastefully. And educationally. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is that very video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7xnvXMHxGE[/youtube]

The Halo Moment (Or, How I Learned To Get Over My Video Fears)

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If you call yourself a geek in the slightest, chances are that you’ve been playing copious amounts of Halo:Reach over the last day or so. If you’re not a geek, allow me to explain. Halo:Reach is the final installment in one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Oh, there may be more Halo games, but the developers have turned over the property, so this is the last game they’ll be doing, at least for a long time. For fans, it’s a big deal, and I’d be really surprised if this game doesn’t break all sorts of sales records.

To the point, Allison. Blogging tips, not video games!

Today, I wanted to talk a little about videos and how I used to be scared out of my mind to do them. (Still am, if we’re being honest.) Fear is a total buzzkill for bloggers, and although many say that they don’t do videos for any number of reasons (I don’t have a camera, I don’t know how to upload videos, I don’t have a good place to record them, etc, etc, bullcrap etc.), the real reason that most bloggers don’t do videos is that we’re scared of them.

It makes sense for bloggers to be uncomfortable at the prospect of recording videos. We spend most of our time behind a computer screen. Heck, there are some days that I don’t even put on pants (my apologies for any visual that notion has given you). People judge us by our thoughts and ideas, not by our looks, and that is extremely liberating. So, adding videos? Ugh.

Let me tell you a bit of a story, and the reason I started off this post talking about Halo.

Back when the Halo series was a lot younger, I used to play with three friends of mine. You can play Halo either online or locally, and we would just play locally because our Internet connection wasn’t really good enough for online play. It was a lot of fun, and since I was playing with friends, I felt comfortable and secure with my skills, even though they were all a lot better than me at the game.

Then, I started playing online a bit. I was able to get a connect that was good enough to play with people from around the world, and with my gender-neutral name and lack of girly customizations, I was just another one of the guys. Usually, I ended games middle of the pack – I wasn’t an outstanding player, but I also wasn’t a joke.

One weekend, my friends asked if I wanted to play with them in a tournament. My initial reaction was to say yes, but then I realized that I’d be meeting the other players face to face. That prospect intimidated me a little. Well…a lot. I was afraid that people would write me off as any kind of competition, just because I am female. I was afraid they’d laugh at me or roll their eyes every time I died. I knew then as I know now that I’m not, by far, the only female gamer in the world, but all the other girls seemed so good at Halo…and so pretty and so cool. I was self-conscious and afraid to take my gaming beyond the screen and into the real world. It was easier just to hide.

I ended up going to the tournament after all, and you know what? A few guys commented how it was nice to see a girl there (there were only two of us in the room I was playing in, out of 20-30 people total). Other than that, I was the same as I was behind the television screen – just another gamer. I’m guessing that some guys inwardly made fun of me or felt like I didn’t deserve to be there, but the general feeling I got from almost everyone was that we were just there to play the game.

And as I looked around, I realized that we all had things to be self-conscious about. While I was worried about being a girl, I’m sure other people in that room were feeling self-conscious about their weight or height or even skin color. We all have insecurities. So what? None of those things matter when playing a video game, and because we all showed up despite our insecurities, we had a total blast that day.

And for the record, I ended up middle of the pack again. So, that just went to show that people were playing with me in real life the same way they played with me online, where they probably assumed I was male.

I began to realize a few months ago that I was having a Halo Moment about posting videos on my various blogs. I’m self-conscious and insecure about my looks and voice, and I worry that readers will roll their eyes or not take me seriously. It’s easier to hide behind the computer screen and control what everyone sees by choosing what pictures of myself to post.

Do you need videos on your blog? No. Will they increase the value of your blog, help you find new readers, provide extra income opportunities, and just all-around show that you rock? Yes. Yes, they absolutely will. I was avoiding them for a long time, but the truth of the matter is that almost every blog out there could use a few videos.

So, a few weeks ago, I took the first step and ordered a Flip video camera. You all (well, most of you – I won’t speak for everyone) don’t care what I look like or what my voice sounds like. Neither do the readers of my other blogs. You care about my message.

I deleted the first video I made because I didn’t think I looked cool enough. That was a stupid Halo moment, because it was actually a decent video. It’s a process, learning to get over the fear of making videos for my blogs. I’ll get there, and hopefully have some videos to post in the coming months.

I hope you’ll take the first step with me by starting a fund today to buy the equipment you need to start making some videos. Or, if you already own even a crappy webcam, recording a few minutes to post on your blog.

At least track me down at BlogWorld and make a video with me. 🙂

Do You Want to Date my Avatar?

Author:

A set-up to this video, if you aren’t a major geek like me: The Guild is a web series about a group of socially-awkward people who play a role-playing game together online. It tells the story of how they went from being online-only friends to friends in real life.

I have a point to make here, I promise, though it’s always a good day when I can write a post that references one of the totally geeky things I love, like The Guild.

The whole show centers around how weird it is to take online relationships to the real world. It’s something that’s definitely a concern for bloggers, just like it was a concern for the online gamers in this show. You might love to “date” my avatar, but will you love me in real life too? That is, you may love the blogger personality on my website, but the real me is…complicated.

And that’s true of anyone, no matter how “real” you are with your readers. Someone who visits your blog only gets to see a certain side of you. You could be the most open and honest blogger in the world, but until you have face-to-face interaction with readers, they’re only dating your avatar.

While you can be a very successful blogger with just an avatar connection to readers, what I want you to take away from this post is the fact that you’re going to make a much, much stronger connection to people if you get out there and do some face-to-face networking. If BlogWorld isn’t a possibility for you this year, start small with local business groups or smaller events that are in your budget. Just get out there and meet people in any way you can!

A great way to transition into this is to do some consulting or webinars with your readers. You’re still behind a computer screen, but you’re actually talking to people, so it feels more “real life.” The goal here is to get people to know you. I always feel more connected to people who have offered webinars in the past. They’re just more real to me. Videos do the same thing, so if you’re comfortable talking to your webcam, do some recordings instead of only posting text.

The line from that video that I think is most important is:

If you think that I’m not the one, log off, log off, and we’ll be done.

That’s exactly what happens when you’re nothing more than an avatar to people. With no real-world connection, it’s harder for someone to remember you. It’s pretty easy for me to say, “Meh, I don’t have time to read Blog X today, so I’ll just skip it. Maybe tomorrow.” When I feel like I know the person though, either through a real-life connection or through their videos and webinars, I feel…well, almost obligated to support them through reading their blog posts or buying their products. I’m in their circle of friends.

That’s how you want you readers to feel – like they’re in your circle of friends. It’s impossible to have a deep personal connection with every single reader, but do what you can to be approachable and available in real life. Sure, I’ll date your avatar…but I want a long-term commitment with someone real, not a figurehead.

YouTube Adds Banners, New Embed Features, and More

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Subscribe to me on YouTube

What is your video blog hosting website of choice? If it’s YouTube, you’ll be happy to know that they’ve added new features, including new ways to embed, annotate, and promote your videos and channel!

YouTube updated their blog on Friday to add their latest features to the video player services, including:

  • Promotional badges: Promote your YouTube channel on your blog or website.
  • Local music listings: A new addition to their revamped music page is the “Events Near You” section.
  • Annotations upgrades: You can have your annotations transparent with black, white, or half-transparent black text.
  • Redesigned video manager: Offers new ways of managing, sorting, and reviewing videos you’ve uploaded.
  • New embed features: A new embed code style lets you view embedded videos in a Flash or HTML5 player
  • HQ Webcam uploads: Upload high quality from your Webcam.

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