No worries, I'm not changing my name to “Captain Video.”
There has simply been an uptick in interesting video news. Today's example is an excerpt from a WWD interview with YouTube’s senior director of marketing, Julie Supan.
"The key difference about our site is about community in control," said Supan. "We let the community decide what's popular."
This strategy has resulted in three million videos watched daily, with 8,000 videos uploaded per day.
The audience is predominately in the 18- to 55-year-old age range, but the topics covered via video have no limit. She showed some examples, ranging from a video that provides instructions on how to make an omelette in a Ziploc bag to another that chronicles a girl with bone marrow cancer who is trying to raise awareness for the disease.
For brands considering YouTube, Supan has imparted three keys to success: be real, be consistent and be interesting. "If it's done for the community in mind, it will be successful," Supan said. "Our goal is to get more great content into the system."
The beauty, and the beast, of this is that "great content" is broadly defined. How does your audience define it?
In other video news, Springwise details a product placement company that will put your CPG onto YouTube. And this, in turn, reminds me of yesterday’s news about Firebrand.
Video is becoming more flexible,widespread and commonplace. VNR use should be increasing, not dying out. The FCC fine could turn the tactic into the TV equivalent of an advertorial, but hopefully it will mostly discourage the offending parties from misusing this tactic.
As video technology gets more powerful, it’s getting cheaper. It’s one thing to worry about print media as its audience migrates to a completely different platform, forcing publishers to change its business model. But VNR production companies have more opportunities than threats right now. Here are four ways VNR production companies can thrive.
Unbundle: Many assume you must pay for an entire VNR package to get access to the biggest point of value – distribution and tracking. By unbundling services, VNR production companies create a lower cost of entry for customers. The end result should be an increase in market share/customer base to which you then cross–sell services.
Leverage: This tactic is getting easier, not harder. And by staying behind the scenes, we’re seeing everyone including your neighbor's kid grab the attention -- in their spare time. VNR production companies should be positioned as cool, video gods. By not positioning themselves and exhibiting leadership in the space, someone else is taking all the credit.
Expand: There are many opportunities here as the market expands. Giving customers more ways to use the carefully crafted content they've invested in adds value to the customer relationship (and revenue to your bottom line). VNR production companies should create a garage/boutique service that puts “street/authentic” video production capabilities into the hands of corporations. Yes, corporations will pay money to make a video that is shaky with less than average production values. This same company can tell me how to turn my b-roll into a YouTube teaser campaign leading up to the launch.
Educate: More directly connected to the FCC news, and reinforcing the need for industry leadership, is the need for education. VNRs are being likened to a devil’s trident thrown by fat cats in Washington as they twirl their mustaches and count stacks of money. Please. Spare me the drama. Which VNR production company is going to step up and lead a campaign raising awareness of the right and wrong ways to create a VNR?
The question posed by the YoungPRPros is an important one, but for reasons beyond the FCC news. VNR production companies need to step up or they'll fade to black.
*Thanks to Andy Aldridge for inspiring this post and helping me bake it.
Firebrand programs the "coolest" TV commercials the way MTV used to program music videos, creating the first multi-platform network to go "live" simultaneously on TV, the web and mobile.
A YouTube for ads might sound odd initially, but this pull technique feels better to me than recent push methods being floated out there. And with content, contests and commerce to offer it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
2) Flickr’s Dark Side | Various Sources Holy Fotomat!One picture from Flickr placed into a Virgin Mobile ad is raising some serious questions about Creative Commons licenses and Flickr. Having used a Flickr pic in printed materials before, might I suggest ASKING the photographer and getting a release form signed?
Flickr is playing an interesting role in computer theft too. But it’s not the only photo site having issues. Scott Baradell notes that the rise of sites like iStockPhoto has caused Getty to drop some prices. This price drop has understandably raised photog ire.
3) PR Makes Geek Squad Even Smarter | Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal Best Buy research shows that “90 percent of Americans don't understand HDTVs.” In response, Best Buy is launching HD Done Right, to provide consumers with information about planning and budgeting for the new sets.
As we settle into football season and the holidays hurtle towards us, this approach is brilliant on so many levels. It makes the Geek Squad look that much smarter, positions Best Buy and Geek Squad as HDTV experts and it generates plenty of media cat nip to get the word out through the research results. Smart.
4) Swash Sounds Strange, er, Too Good to be True | Swash Tide brings us Swash – a collection of products that eliminate wrinkles, odors and stains so the energy-conscious can stave off the laundry cycle a bit longer. The sloth-centric will appreciate it too. Green is good and P&G gets a gold star for trying something new. But it’s “Fresh It Up” product comes in Free Agent, At Large and Posse scents!? Something tells me I’m not the target audience.
1) American Girl – The Video|Animoto Animoto is a web application that automatically generates professionally-produced videos. The one above uses pictures from my recent Atlanta trip. My firm helped design the American Girl store there.
You can upload up to 15 images for every 30 second story you want to create and add your music or pick from Animoto’s music lounge. It’s dead simple to use and serves up easily on other sites like Facebook, but it has some limitations. Maybe Scrapblog will buy it and fold it into their site?
4) Facebook MegaSuperBonus Links|Various Sources Retailers like Threadless and J. Crew are following Wal-Mart and Target into Facebook. Some are wondering if Facebook and business mix. I think it depends on the business.
A presentation from Nike on “temporary branded environments” at the retail design conference I’m attending also serves as a case study in media relations.
Nike morphs pop-up retail into a targeted media relations tactic to reach key media and influencers. They create branded environments to attract, and completely immerse, their audience in a Nike experience according to Kurt Parker of Nike Asia Pacific.
Make Your Brand an Event Consider the challenge of getting media attention at the Olympics or the World Cup. Creating destinations like Nike Park offer media, athletes and customers the chance to experience the brand and test out Nike products while generating word of mouth and media coverage.
Turn Your Brand into Art Nike has also evolved into what it calls sports culture events like White Dunk. White Dunk brought together 25 artists to create art inspired by the Nike Dunk shoe. The end result is an art exhibit which was initially housed in a building transformed to resemble a giant, white shoebox. Online demand for the shoe surged as a result and pieces of the exhibit are now on loan to various art shows.
Athletes Serve Up the Nike Experience The Flickr set above is from the Nike Plus News Conference in Taiwan. Marathoner Paula Radcliffe was a focus of this event where the audience was immersed in a themed environment created to show the impact the product could have on someone’s running routine.
Big Brands, Budgets and Buzz Even an iconic brand like Nike needs to go big to stand out. Nike cannot afford to rely on a product media kit – not matter how clever – to get the coverage it needs. While I was pleased to learn that Nike does not use ad equivalency to justify its investment, I was surprised that there are few metrics in place to track ROI. Parker notes the president of Nike Brand understands the importance of these events and elements of these environments often trickle down to influence the retail launch.
Here is the takeaway that inspired me to write this post. When creating a giant media event, Nike is very careful to edit the message and to not say everything.
“Focus on saying less, but say it really well to generate more excitement than you might otherwise around a product.”
Think about that concept as you stuff your next press kit to its breaking point.
Print’s dead? Don’t tell Rupert Murdoch. He’s launching two print magazines to piggyback his WSJ and NY Post in an effort “to spur reader engagement and attract new advertisers.”
Seemingly unrelated to this, an email just told me to “HURRY!” as my “BlogWorld & New Media Expo Discount Admission [is] Expiring Soon!”
The Bohle Company is promoting BlogWorld this year. Bohle’s site tells us they have experience doing this, I hope they burn their playbook and take a unique approach to blogger outreach. While the show's lineup looks interesting, BlogWorld’s e-mail marketing smacks of old school.
The final, unrelated news item spurring this post is Yahoo’s 360Mash. Mash is Yahoo’s foray into the social network space. Yahoo! joins a short list of companies who, upon seeing the success of Facebook and MySpace, start their own social network.
Reading the above examples is like watching Groundhog Day --just not as funny. While being a smallwidget with a long tail is all the rage, we see old world thinking bolted onto the new.
My guess is that many companies want the new world rewards of customer engagement without relinquishing old world control. If they own the social network, it’s easier to assume presume that control exists.
The benefits of giving up control of the message are proven online. New tools require new rules and you should expect mixed results (at best) by mixing the two. /rant
Everyone wants to know the secret formula to pitching blogs. The secret is it takes more than pitching.
You need to get immersed in the topic you’re pitching and be able to expand the conversation. This requires a deeper level of subject matter expertise than media relations folk usually have time to establish.
Many agencies have practitioners doing specific tasks across several accounts -- account execs make the phone calls and send the emails. The team in the trenches is focused on pitching -- not the bigger picture that includes the story.
As blog-savvy firms forge ahead, here are six questions you should be able to answer in the affirmative before you start pitching a blog. Have you...
Read more than the most recent post of the blog?
Searched the blog for your client or relevant product/service/industry terms to see if they are even covered?
Subscribed to the blog’s RSS feed or e-mail delivery to make it easier to follow and to boost their audience metrics?
Left a comment on the blog that continues the discussion and is unrelated to your pitch?
Study up on current events…news is media relations jet fuel.
Does this read like a lot of work? Well new rules require new tools. And as more and more bloggers extend the olive branch, the price of a bad pitch is increasing -- less coverage, whiny bloggers and angry clients.
Now that I’m client side, I don’t get to these events as often as I’d like. In fact, I’ve turned down a couple of opportunities to stay focused on work. So I’m really looking forward to meeting some more of my online colleagues in person.
Hopefully you’ll be there to join the conversation. Connect organizers have already set up a survey to ensure attendees learn about the topics they consider most important.