Recently, I've been re-reading a series of superb articles from Nick Jones on his Full Media blog:
I think Nick is right – using video is a great way to offer a personal and visually interactive experience to the customer: " ... the viewer will be left with a sense of familiarity, almost like they’ve met you in person" (Jones, 2013b3).
The above three articles are well worth a read if you want to embrace the technology and offer something a little different. And you can think beyond your website. As Nick reminds us, there are multiple channels that accept video files: advertising directories like Yell.com and social media profiles like a Facebook business page (Jones, 2013c).
I've posted previously on the Parlour about adding value (see, in particular, Adding Value to Your Editorial Business – Little Saplings and Big Trees). Nick's articles got me thinking about how I could experiment with video to enhance the written information I include on my blog and elsewhere on my website.
Just to recap, added value can come in a multitude of forms – a free advice booklet or guidance sheet, a business tool that enables your customers or colleagues to work more productively or in different ways, and a resource hub or knowledge centre are just a few tangible examples.
An idea ...
I'm not going to talk about web video for testimonials – Nick's already done an excellent job of that. Instead, I want to think about enhancing some of the tangible added value that I offer to colleagues (though there's no reason why you shouldn't consider doing the same for client-focussed resources).
One of the ways in which I add value to my website is through the provision of my files of PDF-proofreading markup symbols. Thankfully, most of the time the installation instructions don't cause any problems, but every now and then a colleague calls me and I walk them through the process, after which all is well (I've not had any failures yet!).
Might it be that a video demonstration of the installation process would be more effective? Might the nervous user feel more reassured if they could hear the sound of my voice taking them through the installation step by step?
Moving on from that, might a new user like a video demonstration or tutorial of how to use the stamps within a given PDF editor like PDF-XChange or Adobe Reader? Would this provide a more personal account that my colleagues could derive reassurance from, particularly those who are a little uncomfortable with the concept of PDF proofreading using custom stamps?
I think the answers to those questions are all "yes". I think that video streaming offers us exciting ways to engage with our customers. As Nick says, we can use the technology to explain what we do and to provide the social proof, via the testimonial, that we can do it. I also want to utilize the technology to enhance some of the added-value elements that I offer via my business.
Where to next?
The next step is to research how I'm going to do it. For a tutorial-based video, I'm going to need to work out how best to capture what I'm doing on my computer screen. I know there are tools available that are both free and paid-for, and I need to investigate what works best, what suits my budget, which is the most user-friendly, and whether there are any stability issues. I've seen countless screen-video tutorials on YouTube – enough to know that I'm way behind the times!
Whichever route I go down, it makes sense to embrace these options. I've also posted before about the importance of testing (Lessons Learned: Marketing for the Small Business Owner), and this seems like a great test to add to my to-do list. I have a lot of research to do and a lot of questions to ask, but it feels like an exciting and dynamic way to interact with my colleagues and future clients.
Do you have added value on your website that you could enhance using web video? Are you thinking about it? Have you already experimented with it as part of your marketing strategy? If so, what software and kit do you recommend, either for videoing what you're doing on your screen or for creating separate files for upload?
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