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Using Video in News Releases: Webinar Q & A

We received an overwhelming number of questions on our recent Webinar, titled, Using Video and Multimedia in Online News Releases. While we were not able to answer them all on the Webinar, we were able to compile some answers from our speakers – Mark Robertson, founder and publisher, of ReelSEO.com and Amy Mauzy, public relations manager for Malibu Boats, to the most common questions. 

How do you create a call to action hyperlinks within a video?

Amy Mauzy (AM):

At Malibu Boats we add the call to action and links to the video descriptions. The first line of a Malibu Boats video description on YouTube is always our web site URL. http://www.malibuboats.com. We do this because YouTube truncates the descriptions on the video page. The full description is viewable when a users clicks on “more info”, but we want the people viewing our video to also have access to a link to the Malibu Boats Web site. We have also added URLs as titles in the video itself, but they are not clickable. When we do this, the most effective URLs are short and easy to remember.

 

Is there any way to build encouragement for comments/ratings into videos?

AM: 

You could link give-aways or contests to video comments, but we've found that the best results for us come from viewing and commenting on others' videos.  We practice this technique, if you want to call it that, with the still images we post on Flickr, the media that we share on Facebook, our Tweets on Twitter, etc.

The best way to encourage participation is to participate. This can be time consuming so be careful. I normally block out a certain portion of my day for social media activities and those tasks normally include seeing what water sports/boating related videos, images, status updates and/or tweets have been posted. When I find something interesting, I comment, give it a thumbs-up, Retweet it, rate it, etc. I find that this is a very organic way to encourage users to take a look at your media, video or otherwise and participate. This ritual also gives me the opportunity to see what kind of social media buzz there is about Malibu Boats and gives me ideas for new content.

 

What is the optimum length a video should be and what is the maximum file size?

Mark Robertson (MR):

My suggestion is that you worry less about the length of a video, and focus most on creating a quality video that is entertaining and engaging.  You do want to include any calls to action and your most important message within the first 15 seconds of a video as attention can fall away quickly after a video begins.  That being said, I have seen analytics that show users watching long-form video content due to their interest in the subject matter and in the video itself.

Keep in mind that Web video is a "lean forward" experience vs. television commercials which are "lean back".  What I mean by this is that Web videos typically are not interrupting a viewer's experience.  In fact, a Web video viewer has deliberately chosen to click play on a video and therefore this viewer is already somewhat interested in watching that video.

Are there any video and music copyright laws - credit producers, photographers, etc. in the video or news release?

MR:

There are several good posts on this topic on ReelSEO.com, including:

 

Besides YouTube, where else can we distribute video? Are there any differences?

MR:

There are a ton of places online that you can utilize to distribute your videos, similar to YouTube.    There are many video sharing sites (e.g. blip.tv, vimeo, dailymotion, metacafe, etc...) that will allow you to upload your videos.

In addition, you can distribute videos to social networks like MySpace and Facebook.  Additionally, there are many tools available for you to utilize in order to simplify the process of posting your videos to multiple sites at one time.

Because there are so many destinations available, it is difficult to summarize the various differences that most certainly exist. That being said, YouTube is by far the largest video destination site and there are many benefits to highlight. 

  • You have a much better chance of being found and having your video watched when leveraging YouTube. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world when you consider search engine queries on their own.  When you consider searches for videos, there is no site that comes anywhere close to YouTube.
  • If you want to actively post your video on most any social network or other destination (or allow users to do so), chances are that the YouTube embed code will be accepted by default, whereas more exotic embed codes from other videoplatforms may be refused.  See here.
  • YouTube has the largest Page Rank, Google's measurement for link authority, and as a result, there is a much greater chance that your YouTube URL/Landing page will enjoy greater rankings in search engines.
  • Video search engines (like Truveo, Blinkx, etc...), and other search engines (like Bing, Yahoo, Ask) almost all by default crawl and index YouTube videos.

 

What does "Embedded Source" or "Embed a video" mean?

AM:

Go to YouTube.com and click on a video, any video. On the right side of the page you will see a form field with the title “Embed”. You can copy and paste the contents of this form field into the html of a web page and/or blog post. When you do this, the video will actually appear in a video player right on the page. This way the video can be played without requiring the viewer to leave your Web site or blog to see it. The video is housed on YouTube, but playing on your site. Other video services like Vimeo offer this capability as well.

MR: 

Here's a screenshot of where to find the embed code on YouTube.

YouTube Embed Code

 

What are the resources available online to measure video analytics?

MR:

This too, depends on the platform that you use to host your videos. Many online video platforms have video analytics built in so that you can track engagement, clicks, views, etc... If you are leveraging YouTube, there are built-in analytics that can be accessed in your account called "YouTube Insight". If you are going to post your video to multiple video sharing websites, tools such as Tubemogul.com will have added analytics solutions that allow you to track your video views across multiple video sharing websites. Lastly, if you are hosting videos on your own, many popular analytics programs such as Google Analytics and Omniture will have capabilities for which you can utilize to track video usage.

 

What video file formats seem to be the best - quicktime, avi, mov, mpeg, etc.?

MR:

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a difficult one. The answer largely depends on what site or platform you will be using to host your videos online. Most online videos are played through a flash player interface or SWF player. With that, the most common file type for online videos is an FLV. However, again, this will depend largely on which site that you use to host and or post your videos to. YouTube accepts almost any format and recommends videos created in mpeg4 format using h.264 compression.

 

Can using video be bad for SEO?

MR:

For the most part the answer to this question is no, depending on the method with which the videos are published. In fact, many believe that since the introduction of Universal Search, Google has actually increased the number of factors and variables within its ranking algorithm, many of which are thought to be attributed to the integration of video. With that in mind, some experts believe that without video, you may be at a disadvantage in the future with regard to search engine rankings.

I believe that perhaps this question may have arisen from the fact that many SEO experts frown upon websites that are composed entirely of Flash as they are more difficult to optimize. Keep in mind that although the majority of online video utilizes a flash player for playback, this is different from publishing a website entirely made from a flash movie.

For the most part, the goal of SEO is to help educate search engines as to the content that resides within your website. As of today, the easiest way to do this is still to provide adequate and relevant textual information within your web pages. This is also true when publishing a web page that incorporates video content. It is of critical importance that you publish videos to your website and take into consideration general guidelines and principles for SEO. I would also advise that you read up on expert tips and guidelines for Video SEO as there are ways in which to maximize the benefits that video can provide for SEO.

 

How can you syndicate a video?

MR:

There are many tools available for you to utilize in order to simplify the process of posting syndicating your videos across the web. Depending on the platform or hosting method that you choose, there may be additional options available to you (e.g. iTunes video podcasting).

 

How many tags should be used in a YouTube video?

MR:

There are a few things to keep in mind when using tags upon uploading a video to YouTube:

  • Only post tags that relate to your video. Many people will attempt to publish videos with tags to popular keywords that do not relate to their video. YouTube does have methods to identify this spamming behavior and can penalize your video from search results.
  • Use as many tags as you can to describe your video accurately and utilize related tags. I wouldn't worry about the amount of tags that you use, so long as those tags are relevant and related.
    • A good hypothetical example might be a video about how to use a "Robertson Lawnmower."
      • Tags (space separated): "Robertson Lawnmower" Robertson Lawnmower how-to instructions instructional tips "mow lawn" how mow grass lawns landscaping gardening gardener, etc.
  • Publish your most important keywords and phrases first within the tag field. In other words, if you want your video to be found for "Mark is cool," put the tags, "Mark" and "cool" first.

 

What equipment is recommended to produce a video?

MR:

This will depend very much so on several factors, the most important of which is what medium you are intending to showcase the video. When referring to online video, there are many levels of equipment that you can leverage to produce video for the web. That being said, my recommendation for camcorder equipment is as follows:

  • External microphone input - audio quality is very important and there is no better way to obtain quality audio than through an external microphone.
  • 16:9 widescreen format - I would add that my preference is for HD (High-definition). Although HD is not crucial for the web, in the future, I believe that it will become the norm. YouTube already supports HD video.
  • Look for a camcorder that contains optical zoom and optical image stabilizer.
  • Mid-level consumer camcorders work adequately for web video. My preference is to stick with Canon, Panasonic, or Sony models. Additionally, cameras between 500-1500 are usually just fine to produce quality video.

You will want to utilize a tripod or monopod for increased stabilization. Pay close attention to shoot in a well-light environment or leverage external lighting.

 

Video News Release Optimization

AM:

Mark's response is very helpful for this question. From a Malibu Boats perspective we took a look at the type of filming we would be doing and based our camera purchase on that. We knew we wanted HD, but at the same time understood the majority of our videos would be posted to YouTube and played in a smaller format. So we did not need a top-of-line HD camera. 780p works for our application. We also determined that we wanted a smaller camera to make capturing video convenient enough for us to do it on a regular basis. We multi-task a great deal and convenience is very important to us. In other words, we wanted it to be easy to tote the camera everywhere and shoot as much content as possible.

We also assume that a good portion of our video will be captured in a water environment so our camera needs to be waterproof or at the very least have a water enclosure. Budget was also a concern when making our camera purchase.

When we looked at the cameras in our price range that met our requirements we had to keep in mind that we would be adding an extra battery, a charger, a least a 16gig memory card, a standard tripod, a small tripod, a case and a camera light. You may also want to add an external microphone. The particular camera we chose does not have that capability, which is a drawback, but the other requirements it meets for us out-weighed the audio compromise. A camera light is something else you may want to consider if your filming requirements include lowlight or night shooting. Make sure that you factor extras like these into your budget. I also encourage you read the buyer reviews on any camera set-up you are considering. The camera we use currently is a Sanyo VPC-WH1 HD Waterproof Camcorder with flash memory.

I shared the fact that we use a MAC and iMovie to edit video. We work on PCs at the factory, but have a MacBook Pro specifically for its multi-media capabilities. iMovie is a program that has grown with our video editing skill set and comes on a Mac as a part of the iLife bundle. Also anyone can edit nice looking clips in iMovie. The learning curve is not steep at all.

 

MR:

There's also a good post on ReelSEO.com about this topic titled, Creating Videos for Business on a Shoestring Budget.

 

Can you please explain "Common Craft"?

MR:

Here's a case study on Common Craft that will answer this question.

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