I interview David Meerman Scott, popular social media and video marketer, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, and his most recent book, Real Time Marketing and PR. We discuss more about the fear of video that companies still have, and the common arguments made for not getting involved in the space. David shares his own experience as a worldwide speaker on how video is becoming essential for doing business today, and ways to defeat the bad arguments holding companies back from getting involved.
Argument #1: Not Enough People Watch Video Online
The good news is that David says he’s already seen the level of resistance to video beginning to break down with companies. The gauge he uses is when he gives a presentation to an audience, he often takes an audience poll on who’s watching video online.
“When I give my speeches I speak all over the world – with audiences from fifty, to hundreds, to thousands of people… in the last couple of years. I speak to all kinds of groups, all different ages, all different job functions. Frequently I’ll ask the question ‘how many people in the last one to two months have watched a video online,’ and it’s as close to 100% of each room as you can get. Had I asked that question years ago there wouldn’t have been as many hands. So, I think that it will break down. I think that we are going to see more and more people who will be using video in the future.”
David says that some good catalysts for an increased acceptance of video have been its increased visibility in search engine results like Google; and improved sharing features on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. He also says the shared visibility across search and social networks of video content have defeated the argument from naysayers that video isn’t important for companies to be involved in.
“That’s one of the big ways that (video) is greatly misunderstood by companies – people will find it, because they’re already at your website, they’re already at your blog. That’s where video can be incredibly powerful and incredibility valuable. So the argument that audiences for businesses aren’t watching video online is completely invalid.”
Argument #2: Good Quality Video Doesn’t Appear in Google Search
Another argument from naysayers is that Google has too much “noise” (i.e, lots of irrelevant results) in search queries by consumers, so that doing video that can be optimized for it’s search results listings won’t bring them the traffic and leads they want. David wholeheartedly disagrees.
“I think Google does a tremendous job of cutting through the noise.” He says. “That is why so many people still use Google, and it’s made them one of the most successful companies on the planet. Google is still the place you go to if you’ve got a problem to solve. You know that while people could potentially go to 50,000 or more places that could potentially solve whatever problem they have – typing a query into Google is what pulls up quick, relevant results. I think good video is already being surfaced in that way, and more good video will be showing up there. If you create a video that’s valuable and people point to it, every time they point to the link, then that’s a vote of confidence that that’s good video, and the Google algorithm surfaces that video.”
In the video presentation above from David, he goes into the 4 ways that all business attempt to generate attention; and how creating your own attention with video is what he says works best for most businesses. He argues that best type of attention is that which is earned. Google and social media networks are a good indicator of what someone, including what some video, earned enough quality attention to deserve a prominent search listing and thumbnail image in Google.
Arguments #3 & #4: Video Is Too Much Work & Takes Too Much Time
It’s true that marketing and the creation of video was traditionally a very time consuming, plotting, lengthy kind of process. Traditionally, companies’ experience would be to hire an agency or videographer, put together a list of what they would agree to do, and it would take weeks to a couple months to get an end product. By the time all that was done, the window of opportunity was likely to pass for responding to some buzz about your company, brand, or product.
But that has clearly all changed. “The plain and simple truth is I could pull out my Flip video camera right now, and I could have something up and on YouTube in less than an hour.” Says David. “I can do that, and anybody can do that; and it’s worked for me for my own marketing purposes.”
One of the David’s favorite examples is musician Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” video last year. It was a great example of consumer-genereated media (and justifiable outrage over terrible customer service by United), using humor and a catchy tune, and generated around 9 million views. With that huge amount of traffic that was showing up for Caroll’s video under “broken Taylor guitars,” The Taylor Guitar company decided to create their own video response. They wrote, filmed, shot and then uploaded their video literally within hours after Caroll’s YouTube video broke. In the Taylor Guitar company’s response, they talked about how people can safely travel with their guitars, how to best protect them and prevent them from being broken. “Now that was really clever, because the whole planet’s talking about broken Taylor guitars because of this incredibly popular video that Dave Carroll produced that’s got at this point 9 million views, and then Bob Taylor posted a video response very, very quickly how to travel with it.” David says.
Argument #5: We can’t get legal permissions to do video
Many companies say that they don’t do video because they can’t get the proper permissions and release forms, which their own attorneys will often insist that they do in advance. Unfortunately this makes companies think that doing video online presents too many potential legal troubles, and so they don’t get involved. It also means that the opportunity to do video “on the fly” (from being at an event or having a special speaker or guest stop by that an audience would love to hear from) isn’t a possibility with them.
I asked David to comment on an article and video on his blog titled, “Stop obsessing over video release forms,” and goes into the subject of permissions, and what he and found has worked for protecting himself without needing to get pre-approval from lawyers.
“What works for me is when I turn on my video camera I say would you “I’m going to be filming this video interview with you, and I’m going to be posting it on YouTube and linked into YouTube from my blog, is that OK?” And they say “yes,” and I then say, “can you spell your name, and tell me your title and affiliation.” After I’m done, I upload the edited version to YouTube, and I keep the other part in case I need it later. And if someone were to say to me afterwards that they don’t want the video online, that’s fine. Now I am not a lawyer, and that’s certainly not to be treated as legal advice, but, you know, just do the right thing. But the idea that everything we do in life has to be approved by lawyers beforehand, that we have to get legal permission first, is absurd.”
Deal with Fear, Overcome It with Video, or Risk Bankruptcy
David has heard all kinds of reasons by companies for which they’re not going to engage with the new forms of communications. “People have all kinds of excuses for why they don’t do Twitter, all kinds of excuses for why they shouldn’t do an e-book, all kinds of excuses why they shouldn’t do online video. All these excuses pop up again and again and again with companies, and they’re fear-based excuses. Many of these companies are huge companies, billion-dollar companies, who suppress their marketing and employees from putting things out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of the fear-based tactics; and it cripple’s their ability to communicate. I truly believe that those companies, over time, will probably go bankrupt if that is their attitude they continue to have.”
About David Meerman Scott
David’s newest book, Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business was released in November 2010. It achieved #2 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and #3 on the USA Today bestseller list. He has also come out with the 3rd edition of his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, which opened people’s eyes to the new realities of marketing and public relations on the Web, has been published in 26 languages and spent six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list. His popular blog and hundreds of speaking engagements around the world give him a singular perspective on how businesses are implementing new strategies to reach buyers.