Monthly Archives: March 2017

Using Videos and Vlogs As Internet Strategy to Get Visitors

Videos are an effective way to get a message across to our clients and yet they are still under used. With the explosion of web 2.0, videos can be supported by most sites and they can be hosted cheaply too. A vlog is short for videoblog. It is a blog which uses video as the primary content as technically it is linked to within a videoblog post. A vlog is accompanied by supporting text, image, and additional meta data to provide a context for the video. Vlog like Blogs are updated regularly, generally includes personal reflections, comments and often take advantage of RSS for syndication to other web sites and aggregator software (rss readers).

Why Use Videos?

If audio has more impact over text, visual takes it all. Visuals have a cutting edge as far as conversions are concerned. It leads to more personalization hence greater customer involvement.
Some examples of business videos are:

o Showing a demo of a product
o A presentation of services
o A CEO giving a speech
o An explanation of a procedure
o Showing different uses of a product
o Fun videos
o Create interaction
o peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and acquisition

Earlier videos were used sparingly because of bandwidth considerations and the increases of loading time. Moreover content was needed for optimization. However with the introduction of Video Sitemap Protocol optimization of videos has been made possible. Moreover now there are dedicated media servers to take care of vlogging and podcasting

Requirements:

o A Microphone compatible with your PC
o A Webcam that allows you to record video and save it on your computer hard drive.
OR
o A camcorder
o Video editing software

How does it work?

1. Get a microphone: To record a video, you need to have a microphone that is compatible with your computer.
2. Get a webcam.: You need to get a webcam that allows you to record video and save it on your computer’s hard drive.
3. Take time to Prepare your vlog content: Take some time to think about what you’re going to say or do during your vlog.
4. Record your vlog: Turn on your microphone, start your webcam and begin recording. Save the file when you’re done.
5. Upload your vlog file to YouTube or Google Video:
6. Get the embedding code of your uploaded vlog file. Alternately if your server supports these type of media, upload it to your website.
7. Copy the embedding code: Once you upload your vlog file to YouTube or Google Video, copy the embedding code and keep it handy.
8. Create a new blog post: Give it a relevant title and add content to introduce your vlog.
9. Paste the embedding code for your vlog file into your new blog post. Using the embedding code you copied earlier for your uploaded vlog file, paste that information into the code of your new blog post.
10. Publish your new blog post. Select the publish button in your blogging application to send your new blog post with your vlog in it live online.

Deciding on a video host: Check the following

Check out the other videos on the site. Are they high quality and in good taste, or a little raunchy and inappropriate? Choose a site you feel comfortable about.

Check the File Size Limits: Web video hosting sites have varying limits in the size of the video files they allow you to upload. Generally you’ll have to compress your video before uploading so it meets the file size requirements of the video hosting site. If you have to compress it too much, your video may not look very good by the time it’s playing on the web.

Storage Space Offered: Is there a limit to how many videos you can upload to your account, or how much storage space you can use?

Uploading Formats: What video formats does the site accept? Most web video hosting sites accept multiple video formats, such as Quicktime, Windows Media, MPEG etc. You can even find sites that allow you to upload directly from your camcorder or cell phone. If this is important to you, make sure that the web video hosting service you choose to use offers these features.

Viewing Formats: What format do the videos on the site play in? Flash is the standard for most web video hosting sites, because it is installed on most computers and plays quickly and easily. However, some sites offer other video formats, in case you want to share your video on a site that doesn’t use Flash, such as iTunes.

Compression Quality: Web video hosting sites will recompress your video before publishing it. Some sites do this better than others.

Video Downloads: Because of copyright issues, many web video hosting sites do not allow users to download copies of the videos on the site. There are some sites though, such as Google Video, that allow users to save copies of videos to their desktop or portable video player.

Editing Capabilities: Many web video hosting sites now offer editing features. JumpCut offers extensive online nonlinear editing, and other sites give you the ability to remix your video or add titles, narration or photos.

Audience: Different sites have different audiences. If your video focuses on a niche topic, choose a web video hosting service that serves that niche, else YouTube.

Video Sharing: Most web video hosting services allow you to embed your videos in blogs, on personal web pages, and on sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Video Player: Some sites will include advertisements next to the video player, or will place a watermark of their logo over part of your video. This may be fine, but it doesn’t look so professional if you’re sending the video to clients and it has a big “YouTube” logo on it.

Tips

o Decide on the purpose of your video. If it’s to attract traffic to your website, host is there. Else you can go in for third part hosting. like http://www.youtube.com.
o Use keyword rich title for your videos.
o Add a video sitemap on your website. Sign into Google webmasters to create a Video Sitemap
o Get your video transcribed. Either use an automatic transcriber or use an affordable cheap transcription service vendor.
o Keep your video duration around 5 minutes, not more for bandwidth considerations and to keep it effective.
o Add a call to action.
o Test your vlog after publishing to ensure it’s working smoothly.
o Some popular Download-First video formats are AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4. Here are some popular Streaming Video formats: WMV (Windows Media Video), QT (QuickTime), and RealVideo (RM).

Video Editing Software

o iMovie: iMovie comes free with new Macs. iMovie offers many options for editing video and audio, and adding photos, music and narration to your movies.
o Movie Maker: Movie Maker is Window’s free video editing software, which comes installed on new PCs. Use the program to create and share high-quality
o Avid Free DV: Free DV is Avid’s free video editing software, and it works with both Macs and PCs. It’s a stripped down version of Avid’s professional software, and gives users limited video and audio editing capabilities.
o Jump Cut: An online entry, Jump Cut’s free video editing software allows you to cut video, and add audio, photos, effects and titles right on the web.
o Virtual Dub: Virtual Dub offers simple editing capabilities. You can’t get too creative with the software, but you can use it to make simple, clean edits in your video footage. Virtual Dub works with Windows only.
Places to Host Your Vlog

o Free Vlog
o Internet Archive

Some Video Sharing Sites

o YouTube: YouTube is the biggest and best known, and it offers many features if you want to share your video and get it seen by a large audience.

o Revver : Revver is a revenue sharing, as well as video sharing, web site. Ads embedded at the end of videos can earn producers real money.

o Google Video : Google purchased YouTube, but it still maintains its own video sharing and search tools.

o Blip.tv : Use Blip.tv to start your own online television program.

o Jump Cut : Yahoo!’s entry into the world of social video sharing, Jump Cut offers a sleek online video editing tool, as well as all the bells and whistles for uploading and sharing your videos.

o Yahoo! Video: Yahoo! Video has all the features available on other large video-sharing sites. It also gives you the ability to upload a transcript for your video, which makes it easier to find in web searches.

o My Space: If you have a My Space page, you have a forum for easily sharing your videos online.

o Video Egg: Upload your video, share it and, possibly, make money off of it.

How to Start Vlogging on YouTube

Interested in learning how to make your own vlogs for YouTube? Wise decision on both fronts, my friend. With the meteoric rise of YouTube serving as evidence, it’s undeniable that video is becoming an increasingly popular medium for both content producers and consumers (two terms, more and more, describing the same population). And because it’s YouTube that has become the leader in online video–in fact, now fielding more queries in the US than any other search engine save Google–it makes the most sense to publish there. And did I mention its free? And it now supports HD? The following is a how-to guide for creating your own video blogs, doing so in little time and costing next to nothing.

Vlogger’s toolbox

  1. Computer/Internet connection: You’re reading this article…check!
  2. Video recording device: My guess is that you already own something that records to video, if not a dedicated camcorder, then a cell phone, digital camera or webcam. If not, don’t worry–although, you did just bust my “no purchases necessary” bubble–because you can get one online or at nearby brick-and-mortar on the cheap.
  3. Editing software: Again, even if you’re unaware, you most likely already have it. Windows Movie Maker comes bundled with Microsoft PCs, and iMovie comes with Macs. Both, although entry-level editors, are more than capable of producing video blogs.
  4. Desk lamp (optional): To put your best face forward, you need to properly light it. Natural lighting from a window is ideal, but if you’re shooting at night, you’ll probably need additional lighting beyond just the overheads.

Pick a topic, any topic
Important: although blogging is personal, this isn’t your diary, folks. Maybe you to want listen to yourself ramble on about the mundane details of your life, your current emotional state, or whatever else is on the top of your head, but, trust me, nobody else does. Your video blog, to be effective, should be tightly focused on a singular topic, one about which you are a) knowledgeable and b) passionate. If you meet those two qualifications, then your vlog has the best chance of offering something worthwhile to the viewer in an interesting, compelling manner.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is doing a product review. If you regularly use a product and love doing so, then you probably know quite a bit about it and would come across energetically when speaking to it–plus, you already have it around the house to show on camera. Congrats, you’re qualified to vlog! I recently recorded a review of the newly released Bud Select 55 (oh, how I love getting drunk for reasons other than dancing off beat and sending inappropriate texts).

Lights, camera, action!
Lighting: The best option is to position yourself near a window, letting the sun light your face. The goal is to make sure your face is well lit so the viewer can see all that passion about Bounce dryer sheets being emoted on your expressive features. If you have to use artificial lighting, avoid relying just on overheads, which can shadow your eyes and simply not provide enough light. I’d advise using a desk lamp set up near eye level to supplement.

Sound: Using your camera’s built-in microphone should be good enough; however, make sure you’re somewhere quiet. That means eliminating as much background noise as possible, including the sound of your laundry being dried to static-free perfection.

Performance: Your first instinct may be to write a script. Don’t do it! Sounding as if you’re reading lines comes off badly, and having a script nearby tempts you to do something even worse: looking off-camera to actually read what you wrote. Do that, and just like an outfit of clingy clothes, the whole thing is ruined. It works best when you give a natural-sounding delivery while looking into the lens, appearing to make eye contact with the viewer. Go ahead and outline what you want to say–it’ll help you stay focused and reduce distracting “um” pauses–but just don’t write it verbatim.

Edit it, then edit it some more
Rule One: Generally speaking, shorter equals better. It’s a moot point that there’s a ten minute limit on YouTube; your vlog shouldn’t come within a closet make-out session length of that time maximum. Seriously, I highly doubt what you’re talking about warrants more than three minutes, probably no more than two. If you haven’t been paying attention, online content platforms becoming popular lately fall under the more-is-less micro category. Twitter, anyone?

Rule Two: Vanilla Ice rapped it best, “quick to the point, to the point no fakin’.” With your video’s title, you’re making a promise; and you need to deliver on that promise quickly–and by quickly, I mean in the first five seconds. If not, then you’re running the high risk of viewers clicking away “so fast, other DJs say, damn!”

Techniques/Effects: A text intro and outro is fine, just make sure they don’t force you to violate the aforementioned rules. When you’re starting out, your video editor’s built-in effects and transitions are like shiny new objects tempting you to play with them–they’re innocent looking, but employ them at your own peril. Anything beyond a simple fade is probably going to look at best endearingly cheesy, at worst annoyingly distracting.

Send it through the YouTubes
The information you wrap around your vlog is just as important as the information you deliver in it. Around it? Yes, I’m talking about the title, info and tags. Not only do these three make up the text that’ll communicate to the user what your vlog is about, but, importantly, they’re three main factors by which YouTube indexes your video for inclusion in its own search engine, as well as how the other major players like Google and Bing do so too. As such, you should be filling each with searched keywords best describing your subject matter. The title is the most important; the art is writing one that packages your topical keywords into an appealing attention getter, plainly and clearly delivering the gist, but in a click-baiting, compelling way.

If you link it, they will come…maybe
Just because you post it on YouTube doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it. There are literally millions of videos on the site competing for viewers’ attention, most of them sitting silently, waiting on the thousands of views that are never going to come. The same as for the vlog itself, if you want to make some noise you’ve got to create it. For purposes of both optimizing for the search engines and targeting well-qualified traffic, a smart way to catch views is to cast out a wide net to Web 2.0, posting the link and embedding the code to popular places themed similarly to your vlog’s topic. For my Bud Select review, I found Budweiser-related Facebook pages and groups–many with thousands of fans and members–and posted my vlog to their respective walls. From YouTube Insight’s statistics, I can see I’ve gotten views as a result.

By making and uploading your own vlogs, are you going to become the next YouTube sensation, garnering millions of views and thousands of dollars as a partner? Rest assuredly not. But, with some creative and strategic effort, you can definitely make yourself heard by the niche you serve, with the possibility of creating a targeted funnel of well-qualified traffic to your website or blog (something that could be profitable if you’re selling a legitimate service or product). Business purposes aside, by creating to-the-point video blogs on topics you know about and have passion for, you’ll definitely be adding value to the online community. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

3 Tips To Help Your Online Video Marketing Beat The Competition

Got a new business product but don’t know where to start? Video marketing just might be for you. This article discusses video marketing, its advantages and a short guide on how to make a video perfect for any marketing campaign.

There are a lot of ways through which you can market your products and your services. Among these methods, the most cost-effective means is perhaps the internet. Through the internet, you can come up with every marketing campaign possible. The internet is so flexible and vast that with the right moves, it can help your business become more popular and more prominent. That being said, let me introduce you to the latest trend and possibly the most effective of all online marketing strategies: video marketing.

— Video Marketing —

Video marketing just might be the hottest trend to date in the marketing field. The time for telling through text marketing copy has passed. Instead, it’s now time for showing and demonstrating through video clips.

If you’re not that familiar with video marketing, there’s absolutely no need for you to worry. The internet provides a lot of resources on how you can make your videos. You can learn about the tools that you need to make videos and the techniques that can make your videos work for marketing purposes. The following are some tips on how you can make video marketing work for your business.

1. Determine where to post your videos.

First of all, you have to know where you are going to post your video marketing material. There are many choices available to you. You can place your video in your website for more interesting site content. You can also post video clips in online communities and blogs. Of course, you should not neglect to post videos in video blogging sites like YouTube.

2. Determine the video content.

The prior step will help a long way in determining the content of your video marketing materials. As a general rule, your videos must contain information that will build more interest in your business’ products and services. However, the actual and specific content will have to vary, depending on where you’re posting your videos.

For instance, videos in your website can be much more product- or service- oriented. Particularly, your videos can demonstrate how effective your product or service is. Your videos in your site can also be video testimonials from your customers. Moreover, they can be video clips about your special promotions and special updates.

Videos posted in online blogs should be more about updates, news and special promotions. They should merely inform your viewers about the latest news and induce your audience to click on the link to your site for more details.

For video blogging sites like YouTube, your video should be less product-oriented and more entertaining and creative. Your website link can be provided with the video and your products can be featured in them, but your videos must never be a simple sales pitch. You’re never going to be referred and reposted that way.

3. Identify your audience.

All along, you should keep your audience in mind. How old are your intended consumers? Who are they and where do they come from? The content of your video marketing materials will also heavily depend on the demographics of your intended recipients.

After you have done all of the abovementioned steps, all you will need to do is to make your videos and post them online. Of course, you may have to engage the services of a video server for your purposes.

The Art and Benefits of Vlogging

While the world has become familiar with the term “Blogging” and many have somewhat of an understanding as to what blogging and owning a blog site entails, the world is still relatively ignorant about the term “Vlogging” and what it is all about, not to mention, how to make it a viable financial component to or even the “anchor” component of a content creation business. In fact, when I started writing this article I actually had to enter the word “Vlogging” into my online Word dictionary as otherwise it would appear with a red underline every time I wrote the word.

Vlogging in concept is in effect just blogging through the use of videos as opposed to text. And yet, it is so much more on implementation than the conceptual definition implies. Through the use of videos, consumers are not just reading the words that people put on their “Blog” sites to discuss their daily thoughts, passions and interests. Vlogging is about generating full exposure of the person’s life that is creating the “Vlog”. When you watch a Vlog post, you often are completely pulled into the creator’s life. You see how the vlogger looks, their expressions, their house, possibly their car or neighborhood, and even their families. You learn so much more about the person than a 500-1,000 word or so Blog post or article could ever show you.

The other day I was surfing on Social Blade and I happened to go to the section of this site to view who the current top 500 YouTube content producers are. This page allows you to see their results and their latest videos which you can watch. Viewing some of these, I was literally amazed to see how many of these YouTube top producers were Vloggers that were letting you into their lives to show you their kids playing in snowbanks, their pets playing with each other or doing funny things, people in front of the camera providing their perspectives on books or films, on makeup applications, on video games and more. Entertaining was goal number one. Sharing knowledge was goal number two.

These people were sharing themselves just as much as they were sharing knowledge and insights, discussing products, games to play, etc. Some were funny, some were silly, some were authority figures who you felt you could trust, and yet they were all enormously successful online. Their creations were not just getting 100’s of views, they were getting 10’s of thousands of views and even millions of views.

As my awareness of this medium of expression has increased over this past year, I have begun to notice it being expressed all over the Internet. Vlogs are being embedded in Blog site posts, on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Twitter, in online published articles and in fact, although the term is not a familiar one to most, Vlogs are everywhere on the Internet. The term “Selfies” is another new word I had to add to my Microsoft Word dictionary recently, yet the new world “Mobile Smart Technologies” and related applications for these devices has had everyone sharing self-images and “selfie” videos with their friends and the public easily from wherever they happen to be. You can even post videos you create while walking around, directly into your Blog site without even going home to upload it!

With respect to business application, this is still in the early adopter stage for many companies but it is looking more and more to me as being the next big marketing wave for many corporations. Today, individuals can make some very comfortable livings just blogging about their lives online. Tomorrow, I see corporations getting more and more into this medium so their marketing arms need to start learning about how to build strategies centric to this type of medium.

So what is my personal take on this and what are my tips with regard to the Vlogging medium? Learn how to do it and get comfortable with it. As an individual or a blogger wanting to make extra revenue from your home based ventures, get on board with using this medium. You can make money with this. Tips I would share from what I have learned about this medium thus far?

  • Goal one is to entertain, goal two is to share knowledge, and goal three is to share your life in some manner.
  • As you create your vlogs, share them and post them to various social media platforms. YouTube now makes this extremely easy and you can distribute your creations everywhere in a quality manner literally at the push of a button.
  • Don’t be afraid to share yourself. You don’t have to be a rock star or a movie star to go on camera and share who you are. Viewers are happy to watch everyone. In fact, I think every day, ordinary people living normal lives are proving to be just as interesting on camera as any celebrity. Look at the success on TV with today’s reality shows – even people digging through garbage in attics, basements, storage units, etc. are garnering major viewing successes.

The world has a voracious appetite for entertainment these days. Millions of people are looking for content to view on their phones as they go to work, take breaks in their day, or relax at home. Created videos are now being watched on phones, tablets, computers and TV sets. Start creating and people will start watching you as well. Get good at it, and you can earn a living from it – maybe even a great one.

About Dan Grijzenhout: Dan has lived a successful entrepreneurial career for over 30 years. He has been a consultant, entrepreneur, systems architect and developer, investor, business owner and is now an author, online course creator and teacher, sharing his years of experience and knowledge with others. Search for the name – Dan Grijzenhout – on Amazon to see his available books and e-books.

Video Blogging: Simple Tips for Beginners

Video blogging is one of today’s best ways to share information online. This aims to instruct, inform or simply to entertain. Others have taken this path to promote brands, products and services, their advocates, or to share anything that would give viewers a good laugh. Unlike written content, a video blog makes it easy to connect with viewers because it gives you a one on one feel that brings you “closer” to the subject.

While video blogging may seem to be just a shoot-and-post process, it is definitely more than that. There are certain guidelines that you need to follow to be successful at it. It takes careful planning, necessary equipment and tools, talent and a whole lot of creativity! Here are some simple tips you will find essential.

Think of a Unique Concept
Do not limit yourself, think outside the box. Come up with a concept that will stir the curiosity and interest of viewers. Ask yourself, “Is my topic relevant?” “Will people find my content useful?” “Will it provide the entertainment I want to give?” Be creative and unique. You can develop your own concept or get inspiration from the works of other people and give it your own twist and flavor so that you will not come out as a copycat.

Provide a Striking Title and a Proper Summary
With the millions of videos already posted online, it is quite difficult to catch the attention of viewers and coax them to watch your video. One way to do so is through the title. Think of a simple line, or sometimes a catchy word will do, that will provide a story about your content without saying everything. In addition, provide a simple summary so that your audience will have an idea what they can expect from your video. Keep it short but it should provide enough details to stir curiosity. One thing you should always remember is to be honest. Never provide a false title or summary that will trick your audience, unless you want them to start despising you and pre-judge everything you do.

Avoid Plagiarism and Respect Copyrights
One essential thing you should always remember is to never copy the works of others and publish it as your own because you can be sued for plagiarism. If you find an interesting content and you want to use it on your own work, always give credit where credit is due; give attributes to your source or reference. Related to this, never post or include a copyrighted content to your work without asking permission from the producer or author. Copyright infringement can get you into a stressful, serious mess.

Enjoy What You Do
Video blogging is not a one-sided activity. While people learn and are entertained by your work, you should also have fun doing it. If you do not find joy in it, it may reflect on your work, resulting in boring and lifeless videos.

Video blogging has definitely become a very effective way of communicating and selling ideas or products. It is a great tool to connect with viewers. So, if you are interested in widening possibilities in the virtual world through video blogs, then go for it! Take advantage of social media to voice out your ideas and feelings! Just remember that there are certain rules and regulations that need to be heeded to avoid getting into messy situations. Enjoy!