July 17, 2009
/ by Heidi Sullivan
PR is becoming more and more about creating content than pushing content than ever before. PR people are writing and recording in higher volume and in more formats – it’s not just about the email pitch or press release anymore.
To help us all navigate this shift, I’ve created a blog series, Content Creators, that helps PR people understand the ins-and-outs of creating great content by interviewing leaders in our industry on a particular aspect of content creation. The first post, offering insights on social content, features an interview with Social Media Explorer Jason Falls.
Today, however, I’m delighted to feature Dan Hindin, Big Teeth Productions‘ Social Media and Marketing Dude (and yes, that is actually what his business cards say.) Dan is also the director of communications for the Social Media Club of Chicago and has long been active in social media both personally and professionally. Here are some of Dan’s insights on creating (and sharing!) multimedia content:
Heidi: How can creating multimedia content enhance my news or story?
Dan: To put it simply, multimedia content makes stories more interesting. People are inundated with a tremendous amount of information these days, and static words and pictures are no longer enough to gain and keep the public’s attention.
Moving pictures not only draw more eyes to your story, but they also allow you to tell a more compelling story. I remember my high school English teacher emphasizing to our class repeatedly, “Don’t tell us, show us,” when reviewing our writing assignments. What better way to show instead of tell than using content that people can actually watch?
Heidi: When is it best to use video?
Dan: Video can be used anytime you have something to say that you’d like to share with others. That may sound overly general, but it’s true. There are so many uses for video – to introduce a product, give background on a company, build awareness of a brand, instruct consumers on how to use a product, tell a simple story or just engage with an audience in a more personal way.
When people have a chance to see you talk about something you’re passionate about, they’re more likely to understand it and potentially share in that passion with you. When people see something with their own eyes, they’re so much more likely to relate to it than they are if they just read about it. Even a new parent who sends a video of their child’s first steps to a grandparent is creating a much more precious experience for that grandparent than if they had just told them that their grandchild is now walking. By seeing it, they are sharing in that experience and becoming an active part of it.
Heidi: What are some best practices when creating video?
Dan: The great thing about how quickly technology has progressed in recent years is that pretty much anyone has the tools at their fingertips to create video. Whether it’s your phone, a little Flip camera or high-end professional equipment, you can easily capture moving pictures and share them with the world. But different situations call for different approaches.
If I wanted to start a vlog, I could stare into the camera built into the top of my computer, press record and I’d be good to go. But if I want to create a piece that will welcome people to my website or make a convincing pitch, I want to be working with a professional crew and people who understand the process and know how to market in this format. A good production company will have a well-trained network of experts to help deliver the kind of video you’d want your business to be associated with.
Heidi: Okay, I’ve got my video… now how do I get people to watch it?
Dan: It used to be that only large corporations would use video – i.e., TV commercials – because only they could afford the price tag necessary to buy a worthwhile TV spot. It wasn’t so much the cost of production but the cost of airtime that posed the biggest barrier to entry for small companies. That’s where the social web’s role in democratizing media becomes an important factor.
Today, the key element to drawing attention to your video is no longer cost but creativity. With the monetary playing field leveled, smaller companies have taken advantage of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, interactive microsites and other free or affordable venues to host and/or build interest in videos they’ve produced. In the end, it’s just the same as getting people to look at anything you create. Don’t wait for people to find your content – get it out there, put it in front of key influencers, foster conversation. By working with someone who knows their way around these social sites, you can build the interest you’re looking for.
Heidi: Tell me a little bit about Big Teeth Productions and what you do.
Dan: Big Teeth Productions is a video production company run by the unique and talented husband-and-wife duo of Gregg and Elise Jaffe. After both spent years working for large advertising agencies in New York and Chicago, they decided to follow their passion and start their own business. Big Teeth provides the full range of services necessary to create a high-quality video for a variety of purposes including online marketing, fundraising and original programming. We can take clients all the way from idea formulation to writing, producing, editing and even placement.
Gregg and Elise added me to their team to expand the company’s services to include social media marketing. They were finding that many of their clients were not making the most of the content they paid Big Teeth to create. It’s a value proposition. Like you said, Heidi, okay I’ve got my video…now how do I get people to watch it? You could also ask what value is a video if no one sees it? So I was brought in to work with Big Teeth’s clients to get those eyes on their videos – and also to help build Big Teeth’s own social media presence.
Heidi: How can I make my video seem less like a corporate pitch and more like something people want to watch?
Make it interesting. It’s that simple. I’m certainly not the first to say it, but the rules of marketing have changed forever due largely to social media and the savvy consumers who have been empowered by using it. Rather than interrupt potential customers in the middle of something they’re interested in, the idea is to provide them with that interesting thing that they don’t want to be interrupted from. The simplest way to accomplish that is to entertain your audience. Create unique, compelling content that offers viewers something that no one else can offer.
Heidi: How long should a video be for sharing on social sites?
Dan: In general, less really is more. A good rule of thumb is to keep all online video under three minutes – and even that’s often too long. You have to keep your audience and venue in mind. If they’re clicking on a link on Twitter, where 141 characters is one too many, would you expect them to watch a 17-minute video they were redirected to? The online viewer is being pulled in many directions at once. Don’t give them a reason to move on to the next thing.
What successes have you had with creating multimedia content?
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