Archive for the ‘Video Marketing’ Category

Five Reasons Why the Vlog Is a Successful Marketing Tool

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Special thanks to our team member Michelle Alford for writing this post.

John Green had mild success as a young adult author before he made a marketing decision that boosted his popularity and drove his third novel onto the New York Times best-seller list he created a vlog.

In an October 2008 video, John describes the publication of his second novel. According to him, “On the day it came out, [my wife] and I went to a bookstore and there were no copies. And then I went home and we had some soup. Then we watched CSI and went to bed.”

Compare this to the immediate and explosive success of his third novel, Paper Towns. It premiered at number five on the New York Times best-seller list, and John Green read samples to crowded venues on a thirteen city book tour, immediately followed by an eleven city Tour de Nerdfighting for his vlog followers.

Started on January 1, 2007, by John and his brother Hank, the vlog has grown to have over 116,000 subscribers and almost 4.5 million channel views.

Five reasons why this vlog is a successful marketing tool.

1) It focuses on entertainment value rather than on selling a product or service. The brothers are quirky as they discuss amusing life stories, write and perform original songs, declare challenges, and suffer punishments chosen by their followers.

How this applies to YOU: When creating a video, consider whether you would want to watch it. Then consider whether anyone else would. While the video doesn’t need to be funny, it does need to entertain whether it’s a safari travel agency showing videos of exotic animals or an environmental activist demonstrating new, environmentally friendly technology. If the subject could work as well in writing, then it might be best to write it as a blog.

2) It regards its audience as friends rather than as customers. The followers are called “nerdfighters” and are treated like part of an exclusive club. While John’s third book has been mentioned often in the vlog, it’s done as a friend giving progress reports, often in a humorous manner. In an early vlog, John said, “So, I may have to extend my deadline by a couple of days, which is particularly humiliating considering I shared it in public on our video blog, but I think I will definitely be done by Wednesday. Definitely by Wednesday! Definitely by Wednesday! Definitely by Wednesday! Next Friday by the very latest.”

How this applies to YOU: Talk to your viewers as you would to your friends. Be pleasant and open. Though your ideal manner depends upon your profession and brand image (a lawyer needs to keep a more professional appearance than a fisherman), universally people will respond to your videos better if you seem likeable and trustworthy and treat them as equals.

3) It knows its audience. John writes young adult books with smarter or nerdier main characters (the main character in Looking for Alaska memorizes famous people’s last words and the main character of An Abundance of Katherines is a washed-up child prodigy). The vlog appeals to teenagers’ sense of humor with punishments that include eating a blenderized happy meal and waxing leg hair, but the brothers also treat teenagers like adults, discussing current world issues and how nerdfighters can help to decrease levels of world suck.

How this applies to YOU: Consider your audience thoroughly before beginning to post videos. What do they want from you? What will they find interesting and intriguing? Releasing a video that receives over a million hits cannot be considered a success if the viewers are not also people who would purchase your products / services. You also need to consider your brand image and be certain that nothing in the video makes you unappealing to your target customer.

4) It’s interactive and regularly gets its audience involved asking non rhetorical questions to be answered in comments, answering nerdfighter questions in regular videos, and enlisting nerdfighters to help with secret projects. One such project, called the Project for Awesome, asked nerdfighters to make a video promoting a charity of their choice, each using the same thumbnail so they’d be easily recognizable, and then to comment on as many other Project for Awesome videos as they could. On the day they were released, all but one video on the YouTube Most Discussed page were for Project for Awesome.

How this applies to YOU: Get your viewers involved. Ask them questions, respond to their comments and questions in videos, and hold contests. Consider your subject area and how you can further promote audience participation. For example, if you are a chef, in addition to videotaping yourself cooking recipes, you can ask viewers to submit videos of themselves making family recipes and select a few favorites to showcase in your next video.

5) It’s sincere. Though much of the videos is certainly scripted, they never sound fake. John advocates doing things because you enjoy doing them, not because you’re expecting a certain result don’t write a book because you want to have published a best-seller, write the book because you want to write a book. He sounds genuine when he thanks nerdfighters for helping his book to succeed and clearly enjoys making his videos.

How this applies to you: While creating regular videos is a great marketing tool, don’t do it because you expect immediate results. Even if you do everything perfectly, it takes time and real commitment to gather a loyal following. In addition, if you consider making videos to be a chore, this will probably be apparent to potential viewers, making them less likely to watch.

By creating a community of like-minded viewers, John and Hank Green have been able to promote their products without overtly advertising them. Because their followers feel like part of something, they’re happy to devote their time and money much as if a close friend had a project they’d like help with or had recently published a book. Videos can help you connect with potential customers on a personal level, providing them with a look, voice, and personality to associate with your name and also increasing their interest in your products and making them more invested in your success.

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Message from Michelle

Welcome to this issue of Sumèr’s Secrets. Mama and I are finally settled after our trip to see the family (although she really misses her son, Moose).

Recently, a client came to us concerned with dwindling traffic on their YouTube channel and requested we critique their videos. It didn’t take long for us to figure out why no one was watching their videos. Before I continue, it’s important to note that Sumèr does not record or edit videos. We write the scripts and we are in the business of helping our clients create and share a strong brand message.

We figured that if one company was having this problem, there must be more. My team and I surfed business videos on YouTube and were shocked with what we found: video after video had boring, invaluable content.

This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets focuses on the common mistakes businesses make when posting videos on YouTube. From the video content to the messaging, and your dress to the footage quality, your videos should work to strengthen your brand image.

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Feature Article:

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

These days, it seems more and more companies (and individuals) are making videos and posting them on YouTube with the expectation their videos will help with search engine rankings and attract new clients. While video marketing has the potential to promote a business and attract clients, many companies find no one is watching or reviewing their videos.

Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find videos without sound, ones that make no sense, poorly produced videos, and boring content. The worthless video is everywhere.

These poorly produced videos are fine if you’re uploading footage of your cat chasing your hamster or showing your kids playing in the ocean. But if you are a company using YouTube to promote your services, products, or expertise, then poorly produced videos will do the opposite of what you intended.

Before taking the time to film your video, ask yourself “What is the purpose of this video and how does this video promote my brand?” Perhaps you want to explain a specific product or service, illustrate your industry expertise, or strengthen your brand image by providing viewers with valuable tips and strategies. Once you know the above, you will know what action you want your prospect to take.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when posting YouTube videos:

  1. Posting a video just to post it: Posting a video without a clear purpose is a YouTube no-no. Not to mention a waste of your energy and the viewer’s time. Before you create a video, you want to decide what the purpose is, the best way to provide prospects with valuable information, and the most effective way to execute it.Let’s say a tour company wants to post a video about their latest tour promotion to Niagara Falls. Posting a video that just scans the falls and the spectators isn’t enough. Without some sort of explanation to orient the viewer, the video will have minimal impact. And a video like this does nothing to entice viewers to want to visit Niagara Falls. Sure it’s a nice view, but the video message isn’t powerful enough. A more effective video would orient the viewer and include audio that talks about the tour, gives facts about the Falls, and / or include happy traveler interviews about their experience.
  2. Your video should reinforce your brand, not hinder it: A poorly made video—whether it be bad quality, muffled sound, or flat-out pointless—reflects your brand image. Your videos should be consistent with your brand personality and with your brand message.For example, if you are an adventure travel company and you have a video of you on a zip line high above a rainforest canopy, viewers will be okay with shaky video footage. It not only shows what your company does, but it creates an experience for them. By contrast, if you own a spa and you want to post a video on the latest and greatest facial services you offer, your video should be high quality. Your dress and message should reflect your brand.
  3. Not using a call to action at the end of each video: Although the entire video should be working to drive the prospective client to take action, the last portion of your video should always provide a call to action and be accompanied by the appropriate contact information and links. Having your information readily available after viewers finish your video will help drive them to take action, which could be calling your company, purchasing your product online, inquiring via email, or simply learning more about your company. Whatever the action you want them to take, make it obvious.While the call-to-action usually comes at the end, if you have the appropriate video software you can display your website link and company phone number at the bottom of the screen throughout the entire duration of the video.

Never Again Hear the Words “I Can’t Find Your Video”

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Optimizing your video posts on YouTube is essential if you want viewers to find them. Discover the tips and strategies  for optimizing your videos from YouTube’s project manager, Matthew Liu.

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Hulu Hits a Home Run in the Online Video Community

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

YouTube can easily be considered King of the online-video scene. No force has dethroned YouTube from its number one online-video platform—but it looks as though there may be a challenger. Hulu.

According to comScore, in March 2009, Google sites ranked as the top U.S.-video platform with 5.9 billion videos viewed. YouTube accounted for 99% of views on this video platform.

Rising quickly and steadily, Hulu has reached the number three spot on top online-video properties among U.S. internet users and is beginning to take a step into the international realm of online-video.

According to WebProNews, the UK is already beginning to provide full television episodes to viewers, and Bollywood is in negotiations with Hulu, as well.

According to, comScore reported that Hulu’s total video streams grew 14.3% in March, and the number of unique viewers was up 19.7% in the same period. Although Hulu hasn’t yet reached YouTube’s video-guru status, it’s definitely on the rise and is something YouTube needs to consider as a major competitor. With video spending expected to rise past the $1 billion line by 2011, according to, competition between the two video platforms could get fierce.

According to, MAGNA Global stated that approximately $530 million was spent on online videos last year and this number is expected to rise 32%.  

Since there is a significant growth in professional video production, many advertisers are taking the online-video route for their marketing campaigns’, and it’s only a matter of time before online-video properties are advertisers’ main vehicle for advertising.

Interactive Marketing Spending: The Future of Marketing

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

According to a recent Forrester Research study, interactive marketing spending will more than triple by 2012, reaching a high of $61 billion.

Interactive media is an extremely beneficial vehicle to implement marketing campaigns. These types of vehicles include email marketing, online video ads, social media, search marketing, and texting.

Customers demand new and improved products / services, and it’s important for your marketing campaigns to be fresh and innovative as well. With the increasing use of handheld internet devices, many consumers are using the internet to receive information, interact with others, and browse for entertainment purposes.

Differences between traditional media and interactive marketing:

· More personal communication with customers. Posting videos on YouTube and advertising on MySpace and Facebook are excellent ways to create a more conversational and personal campaign. YouTube videos create the opportunity for you to post videos that may keep the attention of viewers longer than a print ad.

· Develops two-way communication. Emails can be used to promote and advertise sales, new company products / services, and to keep customers up-to-date on company news. They can also be used to conduct surveys and derive responses from the viewer, creating a direct communication between company and customer.

· Newsletters, subscriptions, and mailing-list sign-ups are popular among consumers interested specifically in what your company offers. These tools help you target your exact market and cater marketing campaigns toward this clientele.