Get “Rich” Quick: Making Rich Media Work for You

Rich media, which includes audio, still images, flash animations and video, is becoming increasingly popular in online communications, for everything from marketing and public relations, investor relations, to employee communications and training. Users consider video the most credible form of online content, ahead of both audio- and text-based content. In a survey conducted in 2007, nearly 60% of B2B buyers said video influenced their purchase decision.

Video in particular is at the root of what can only be called a revolution. Capabilities that less than 10 years ago might have cost a company $100,000, can now be obtained for less than a tenth of that. Video production and posting to your web site is now so simple and inexpensive that there is no excuse not to use it.

Video is the most engaging form of online content. People who spend time online are often reluctant to read long articles, white papers or blog posts. They want their information in quick bites. Short videos (3 minutes maximum except for highly technical or specialized material) are ideal. Video also has high social/pass around value. People are more likely to bookmark/share a video, and to comment on it, than they are with an article or blog post.

If you don’t already have an onsite recording studio, you should build one. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive, and will get your company into the 21st century. Set aside a small conference room, do some soundproofing and you’ve got a studio. For equipment, you’ll need a fast, current laptop, a handicam with USB and/or Firewire, two high quality microphones, a mixer, some cables and software for capturing and editing video. The same studio can also be used for audio recording and production. Don’t scrimp on the microphones. Good video is simple. Good audio is an achievement.

You’ll also need a place to upload/host videos, and a media player. Feedroom is just one of many companies that host video. For internal use, you might be able to host on your own servers. There are public, free video players which are generally (not always) supported with contextual advertising. Some of these can be customized with your logo, etc. There are also dedicated enterprise players (like Intridea’s MediaPlug)that allow more security and control, and the ability to customize with company colors and brand identity.

Some very affordable video software suggestions: Final Cut, AVID, or Adobe Premiere. And for audio only: Garage Band and Cubase. (Note: Some are Apple OSX or Windows only, but most work on both platforms.)

In addition to technological and production considerations, and more important, is a video content strategy, which like anything you do in social media/social business, should tie to your broader business and communications objectives. Think about what your key messages are, what you’re trying to accomplish, and what topics and company events might best be supported with video content. Not every video should be done by the CEO. Think about the most qualified, articulate spokespeople in your company and whether they should be the ones in front of the camera.

Some ideas for using video:

  • Quarterly earnings report (both public web site version and version for employees)
  • Leadership and motivational videos
  • How-to’s, chalk talks
  • Interviews with clients/customers
  • Customer support
  • Product launches
  • Live broadcasts and archives of executive speeches and company events

The topic of online video is obviously too complex to cover in the space of a blog post, but hopefully this gives you a sense of the benefits of joining the video revolution and how to get started.
If there’s anything you’d like me to comment on in the next Intridea newsletter, or to write about here on the blog, please let me know!