By Lawrence “LAW” Watford

Staying ahead in business is often about reading the tealeaves; that is predicting the future.  Since the birth of the Internet, history is populated with very well known companies that failed to do just that, and as a consequence fell behind or in many cases disappeared altogether.  Well if you’re a company anxiously awaiting the next chapter in the tea leaf manual for business, then I would suggest you read up on how companies are using video as an integral part of their marketing – more specifically how companies are beginning to create web series.

 

WHAT?

What is a web series? Well, Wikipedia defines it as:

A series of scripted videos, generally in episodic form, released on the Internet or also by mobile or cellular phone, and part of the newly emerging medium called web television. A single instance of a web series program is called an episode or webisode.

While the definition seems a bit technical, the reality is that creating a web series is not such a complex feat to accomplish.  In it’s simplest form it requires a video recording device and an online platform to host it.  In other words, all you really need is a cell phone that records video and a YouTube, Facebook or Twitter account.   Simply press record, stop and then upload.

Having said that, it’s important to note that while the “keep it simple” method may work for a teenage singer looking to get discovered, it’s probably not the way you want to go if you’re trying to grow your business.

 

HOW?

If you’re really going to integrate a video series into your marketing strategy, then make sure that the quality is representative of you and your brand.  This doesn’t necessarily mean shooting on the Dream Works Studios lot with Stephen Spielberg directing.  It does, however, mean that your presenter(s) looks sharp, the lighting is reasonably well placed and the recording quality of the camera is at least HD (high definition).  If you have the budget, then it might be well worth it to hire professionals to take care of the particulars of recording and editing so that you can focus on the messaging.

Whoever is presenting is (at least for a moment) the face of your company, so it is important to make sure that they come across well on camera.  This means that they are appropriately groomed and dressed for the audience you’re looking to reach.  Notice I used the word “appropriate” as opposed to “well” or “nicely”.  This is because standards and styles vary from company to company and industry to industry.  A presenter for an MTV web series isn’t going to look and feel the same way as a presenter might for BusinessWeek.

Beyond the visual presentation, the most important thing is that the presentation is compelling. You can have the most polished video production in the world with a presenter who looks like a top model, but your web series will be a flop if that person has nothing to say, or the wrong thing to say, or even the right thing to say, but does it in the wrong way.  So it is important that your presenter is, not only knowledgeable about the subject matter, but also engaging in his/her presentation of it.

 

WHY?

“Why?” is a pretty simple question to answer.  Because you and your company will eventually be left behind if you don’t.  Also, a web series allows you to showcase your company’s expertise or bonafides in your field. It is also a very clever and subtle way to soft-sell your products and services.

The tealeaves – I’m sorry – statistics already bear witness to the fact that customers are more engaged by video content than they are by print alone.

Videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%. (com)

  • 80% of viewers recall a video ad they have seen in the past 30 days. 26% of viewers then look for more info about the product, 22% visit the product site, 15% visit the brand site, and 12% make the purchase. (Online Publishers Association)

In addition, if you’re not already doing it, then it means that your competitors may have the jump on you.  If lagging behind is not an option for you then consider these stats from REELSEO.COM:

  • 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns
  • 84% are using video for website marketing
  • 60% are using video for email marketing
  • 70% are optimizing video for search engines
  • 70% will increase spend on video
  • 82% confirmed that video had a positive impact on their business. (com)

 

WHEN?

Now! Or at least ASAP.  If your prime competitor beats you to the punch and begins to build viewership and recognition for their web series, it’ll become that much harder for yours to garner attention and you run the risk of looking more like an imitator than a trail blazer.

So don’t delay, and remember to have fun with the process.