Look at me: moving beyond the typed word

Nowadays, the Web is a fantastic place to find helpful information, but more and more surfers are turning their attention to videos to find the information they are after.

Why? For the same reason people spend more time watching television than reading books: We like to be shown rather than told. We live in a visual culture—one that is making the jump online, so it’s no wonder that YouTube is now the second most popular search engine behind Google.

YouTube and embedded videos can be powerful tools in your marketing portfolio. Here are some of the reasons to consider using online videos to bolster your Web presence and drive up traffic:

  • More time to communicate – Unlike 30-second television ads, on YouTube, you can showcase how your product works in real-world situations and post videos with detailed explanations and narratives.
  • Interaction with viewers – Video websites like YouTube let users leave comments about videos, and you, as the video owner, can respond to those comments in turn. This facilitates dialogue with potential customers.
  • Costeffective – Posting videos on YouTube is free, which means you can spend money on making a high-quality video instead of vying for advertising slots on television.
  • High traffic – YouTube is one of the most visited sites on the Web, which means viewers of all walks of life can stumble upon your videos. Furthermore, if users like your videos, they can pass them on to friends, or add your channel to their profile so they can come back and revisit later.

Having a Web presence is all about sharing information, and videos are just another way of doing so, but deciding what kind of content to post can be a challenge for people with little multimedia experience.

Here are a few ways businesses have effectively used online videos to attract traffic and views:

  •  Instructional Video – Show off your expertise on a subject by posting a video that explains how to do something that the ordinary person might not know, such as bandaging a wound or cleaning spots out of t-shirts
  • Video Interview – Show your ability to speak and engage with an audience by having someone interview you, or interview an expert on a subject that relates to your company. Online, we don’t really get a lot of face-to-face time, but videos of you can help put a human face to your company.
  • Product Demonstration – Show your product in action. Tape people trying out your product in real-world situations and show, rather than tell, how your product is superior to others on the market. Descriptions on websites can only go so far, and adding a visual angle can sometimes drive home the point in a more meaningful way.

If you use YouTube, remember to integrate this with the rest of your Web portfolio. For example, link to your videos on your website and blog, and tweet when you post a new video. Maximize your video’s exposure and reach by effectively using YouTube’s tagging feature with relevant tags. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your videos should be easy to find.