Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Value of Video: Connect with Your Audience

Recently, I've read a lot about the value of using videos online, whether it's on a blog, a social networking site, or posted to Youtube. Here are my thoughts:

Videos add a greater sense of being connected to your audience, and even more specifically, your audience being connected to you. In a video, you express more about how you really feel about a topic, and you present more emotion. There's more "you" in a video than in written word. For example, during finals week this past December, I was really into leaving video posts on people's Facebook walls. Now, these weren't professional posts, but more comical and a better way to connect with other students going through similar difficulties as me, and also with people from home who I hadn't seen me in a long time. After I left a few, people started writing to me, "hey, where's my video post? I want to see what you're up to!" I never got responses like that with regular written posts. The feedback on my video posts was almost tripled than with written posts. I thought about why this was, and so I asked a few people. The responses I got were that they got to see my facial expressions and hear my tone of voice. It made it more funny in some cases, and people from home said they felt much more connected with me.

Of course, this was not for professional use, and this video format would not work in every situation. One area where videos can be immensely useful is in promoting nonprofit organizations, and asking for donations. You may be able to write on your Website why this cause is great and should be supported, but isn't it better to show them? These videos are different than commercials; they allow for greater flexibility, and therefore creativity. You can add a song; have a child speak; use still frames with sounds; and many other things that stir up emotions. Furthermore, with online video, you are usually seeing real people, and that also creates connectivity. Check out this video for a great example of a nonprofit cause using video for promotion of the cause. It's called the Pink Glove Dance, and it's fun to watch, as well as powerful.

Like I said, videos may not work for every platform, but many organizations in many different industries have experienced great success using videos. The key is that it really connects you with your audience. If your audience doesn't feel connected, you're doing something wrong. That's my PR thought for the day.

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