Tip Sheet: Video Blogging To Build Brand Reputation

If you type in the words "Video Blog" on a Google search, you'll end up with more than 870,000,000 items. In February 2007, it was difficult to find more than a handful of video blogs that were up and running. Why the change and what are the implications for Corporate Communicators and PR professionals? There are many forms of online video that include video posts to a Web site, viral video, creation of Webisodes, video podcasts and video blogging. A video post or viral video is typically an individual video project such as a corporate overview, product demonstration or an attempt at humor. Webisodes and video podcasts (vodcasts) are typically an on- going series that can be subscribed to. They can be effective in building relationships with key audiences because, by definition, they encourage repeat contacts. What video blogging brings to the table is engagement because it allows for two-way interaction. The audience becomes part of the process. Brian Solis, who authors the blog PR 2.0, has written that "Online video is the next frontier for the communications industry adding a new layer of engagement to any existing PR, Marketing and web initiative." He added "the entire concept of social media VNRs (his term) can benefit any business," and advocates businesses should "keep the line of communication open through video." According to Wired Blog Network, Robert Scoble, who authors a video blog for Podtech, is generating $100,000 in revenue per quarter. Scoble, who helped launch Microsoft into the video blogging arena with the launch of channel9.msdn.com, is also the author of "Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses talk with Customers. Jafah, a new entry in the Voiceover IP market, has created a live television video blog as a central core in its marketing strategy. They are programming it as a network to build relationships with customers. According to Rachael King at BusinessWeek viewers in the 35 to 54 range are just as likely as those 18-24 to watch online video. This means there is a huge demographic that marketers can reach with their video content. Consider these important tips for building a successful corporate video blog: Set expectations at the start. You don't have to commit to video blogging forever. You can start with a limited time horizon to make sure it is successful for you before committing to it on an on-going basis. This may make it easier to get the go-ahead from senior management than asking for an open-ended commitment. Viewer demand is likely to keep it running. Make the production right-sized. It's become a cliché not to overproduce Web video, but you don't want to "underproduce" it either. You probably won't want to spend $30,000 to animate your company logo in a video, but you do want to work with experts who have proven story-telling ability. Creating a video blog is like running a network. You need programming expertise. If your video blog is based on a person, make sure they have personality. Vivian Schiller of the New York Times says the Web creates unlikely stars. But, they all have personality. Content is king. You want to create a format that viewers are comfortable with and becomes familiar. Fans of David Letterman can count on his "Top 10" list. Make sure your visitors know what they are going to get. Produce multiple episodes at once. This can be a significant way to save money while keeping the production professional. Don't overlook internal communications. This is the fastest growing opportunity for video blogging as it is a cost-effective way to break down the walls between management and other employees. While you may want to review comments before posting, a key step to avoid unhelpful negative comments is to require people to post comments on the record. Most important, make sure your communication is authentic. Institutional trust is lower than it has ever been and the nature of the Web is to expose misleading communication. Authentic communication is the key to using these tools to build brand reputation and connect with key audiences. PRN CONTACT: Doug Simon is the CEO of D S Simon Productions.He can be reached at dougs@dssimon.com

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