Quality, Platforms & Scarcity: Matthew Schwartz Answers Your Video Questions

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In 2014, the use of video content among B2Bs jumped 8 percent, meaning nearly three in five businesses have integrated video into their content marketing strategy.

Why wouldn’t they? Video content creation is a powerful way to connect, engage and inspire audiences. However, communicators still are less comfortable putting together video stories than written ones. Recently, PR News Group’s Matthew Schwartz spoke on our webinar “Film School: How to Use Video for PR,” which discussed best practices for everything from creation and distribution to platform customization and measurement.

Below he answers some audience questions that he didn’t have time for during his webinar.

Want to see the webinar yourself? Click here to watch the on-demand version now!

Q: What’s your opinion on professionally produced video versus phone-generated video? Is there a preference for one or for the other and how does the non-professional vid affect brand?

A: They are quite different, but one doesn’t necessarily cancel out the other. A professionally produced video affords the best opportunity to engage your audience because it lends itself better to using other elements (B-roll, etc.) and shows respect for your audience.

On the other hand, phone-generated video has a herky-jerky quality that some audiences like (although I think those audiences are fast dwindling).

A lot depends on what your goals and objectives are: If you want to establish a robust video presence you need to go with professionally produced video; phone-generated video (of less than crucial events, say, office gatherings, award ceremonies, etc. ) should be used more to supplement the professionally produced content.

Q: Doesn’t lead generation and brand building go hand in hand in terms of purpose of video?

A: No, they are separate messages and should be treated as such. Brand building is big picture type stuff. What is the company’s brand-value proposition? What is its purpose and how does it help consumers? Lead-gen is to get fannies in the seats, so to speak, and juice revenue.

Q: What platforms for storing/posting your videos do you recommend? YouTube, Vimeo, etc.?

A: All of the above. Having a YouTube channel, in my opinion, will soon be standard for any brand worth its salt.

Q: IF you have a camcorder, IF you have space…what about those small organizations that don’t have even that stuff?

A: If you have a skeleton company but still want to produce video, perhaps the initial solve is to build a library using phone-generated video. You might also think about shifting your marketing budget–perhaps subtracting some traditional buys and transferring those dollars to outsourcing video production.

Q: Can you share the best time lengths for short and long form video? Is there a recipe for success?

A: No recipe for success. If you’re first starting out, you probably want to limit the videos to two to five minutes in length. Once the videos increase in sophistication, you should and produce long-form video (that’s relevant to the cause, of course).

Q: Talking heads are boring. What do you suggest for visuals that are affordable?

A: You have to look at your environment—offices, manufacturing plants, partner offices, etc – in a different light and see what environments might lend themselves to good visuals. Talking heads can be very boring; that’s why you have to show some action that the execs are involved in. SHOW, DON’T TELL.

Q: How is the company image impacted if the video is not of “Hollywood” quality?

A: Your audience is not necessarily looking for “Hollywood” quality, but simply strong “production” values (pacing, lighting, direction). This is where effective research comes in regarding gauging what kind of content your audiences would like to see.

Q: Copyright matters: where can you obtain historical photos and obtain the rights to use them?

A: This is a case where PR should work very closely with legal counsel on what’s involved in retaining the rights from image sites.

Q: Are there colors to avoid in video?

A: Spectrum colors, stripes anything too bright or busy that may clash with the “set” and draw eyeballs away from the people in the video delivering the message.

Q: What should you look for in hiring a person/firm to shoot and edit business videos?

A: That the person/agency is familiar with your market/space, has shot videos in the space before and knows his or her way around FinalCut Pro.

Q: Could you elaborate on what you mean by “scarcity” in marketing videos?

A: Amid the explosion in online information, consumers expect to get content immediately with a few keystrokes. But, in show-biz terms, you should develop your video strategy to leave your audience “wanting more.”

Build in “teasers” for your videos and perhaps try and serialize your videos (soap operas didn’t last for nearly 50 years for nothing). The idea of scarcity is not to constantly “push” content but to distribute it smartly and sparingly.

Want to go beyond video? Click here for our free “Outside-The-Box Content Marketing for PR” white paper!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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