Beyond pre-roll: What's next for online video

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Here are five tips for how you can begin riding the branded editorial video wave in order to start increasing customer conversions now:

It's all about search
The key is to make video content that is relevant to what consumers are already searching for online and optimize it accordingly. The aforementioned Betty Crocker video series is a good example of how to do this successfully. Another example of a brand that is getting it right is Autodesk, a world leader in 3-D design, engineering, and entertainment software. To ensure Autodesk stands out in the home design/remodeling industry, the company researched what people look for online before they start a home renovation project and found that people often search for questions such as "What do I need to do before I call a contractor?" and "How to refresh my kitchen with paint." To answer these burning questions, Autodesk developed the searchable "HomeStyler" video series, a library of TV-quality videos that provide ideas and inspiration from TLC's "While You Were Out!" designer, Nadia Geller, in a journalistic style that is familiar and engaging to audiences. 

Adopt a different attitude about creative
Consumers want information-rich video. Through video, they want to learn about your brand's features and benefits. However, advertising-style copy is not going to resonate. Brands are legitimate experts in their field and have a right to act this way. A brand can and should share its expertise in a way that is useful to consumers. For example, who knows more about baking than Betty Crocker? The Betty Crocker test kitchen videos referenced earlier use the brand's expertise in way that provides value to the consumer. This series just surpassed 20 million consumer views. Another good example of a brand that is using its industry insight to engage consumers in a meaningful way is Sony. 

When marketing its digital cameras to consumers, Sony was able to identify that people want to know how to take good photos, not hear about the technical specs on Sony camera lenses. Sony quickly realized that if it could teach people how to take better photos of their family and friends, they would become trusted advisors and, in turn, sell more digital cameras. To accomplish this goal, the brand partnered with respected fashion photographer Nigel Barker to create a searchable, branded video series that provides consumers with tips for how to take the best baby photos, holiday pictures, and outdoor images. 



Go for TV-like reach!
Once you have developed the right content for consumers, it's important not to adopt the "build it and they will come" mentality. In other words, don't confine the content to your own website. Targeted distribution is critical, and it's important to tap into the editorial and feature wells of content-driven sites. This approach increases consumer engagement, and it allows for targeting into topic-focused publishers. For example, videos created on the consumer how-to video website Howdini.com that are related to food topics are also shared via iFood.tv. Additionally, Howdini videos on topics such as "How to get a celebrity hairdo" and other fashion and lifestyle related-trends are strategically available on many of Glam Media's network of women's blogs and online sites.



Harness the power of YouTube
Let's face it, YouTube is the king of online video. However, makers of some of the best YouTube videos don't know how to optimize their content in order to drive the content to the top of the search column. It's important to understand that video can be optimized for search in the same manner in which we ensure websites are searchable. The truth is, you need video SEO, just like you need site SEO, and just tagging is not enough. Brands can channel the power of YouTube by optimizing online videos for search and creating channels on the popular video-sharing site. For example, Howdini.com launched a Howdini Guru channel on YouTube in order to create another means for sharing its how-to video content with consumers. The Howdini Guru channel on YouTube now has more than 32,000 subscribers.


Realize the power of social media
For marketers, social media strategies are everywhere we look these days. When used strategically, social media is a powerful content distribution vehicle. Distributing content on publishers' sites is a great way to target the content, but to drive SEO for that content, marketers must also distribute via social media channels. Video-sharing sites are a great start, but it's important to also remember tactics like tagging, bookmarking, and news-sharing sites.

Follow these five steps for developing editorial video for your brand, and you can start meeting your consumer's unmet and growing need for information-rich online video. Consumers are hungry for this kind of relevant and substantial content, and marketers will reap the benefits of deep consumer engagement with their brands.

Alison Provost is founder, chairman, and CEO of TouchStorm.

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