Let me try to walk through this logically. I may step on some land mines, and if/when I do, I apologize.
- If you have a business and that business makes any type of money or gets any type of funding, chances are it has some kind of “value prop” or “business plan,” right? (You’d hope.)
- Someone within the walls of that business should be able to describe the value prop or business plan. (Again, you’d hope.)
- If you’ve had one customer — even if it’s not a paying customer yet — and that customer has returned, then there’s someone out in the world who can explain what your product or service is. (Again, you’d hope.)
- At some point, you’ll probably need a website so that people can find you and understand who/what you are and what you do/produce/provide.
- Most websites are fairly vague and use sales/marketing-speak and buzzwords to convey their idea, instead of being upfront about it. (This is largely because of the advice of “marketing experts” or consultants.)
- Videos are processed by the brain 60,000x faster than text, and people are 39 percent more likely to share videos.
- Pretty smart media outlets like The New Yorker are currently doubling their video-production staffs
- When they make moves like that, they don’t necessarily host the videos on some proprietary player. Nope.
- They use YouTube. An example?
Now, there are a lot of arguments you can make about YouTube and its evolution/potential decline over time … but the fact of the matter is, it’s the online video hub most people are probably familiar with, most people understand how to share/embed videos from, and most people can search/navigate the easiest.
There’s a whole push right now around Facebook Video, as Facebook is essentially the dominant force in the “getting stuff in front of people” (i.e. marketing) world, but some of this Facebook Video topic is fraught: you might get more views, yes (and that’s good!), but Facebook basically owns your content, and that’s not good. Plus, two weeks later? It’ll be hard for people to find.
So when you add up all this stuff — explaining what your business does, the speed with which we process video vs. text, the ease of use of YouTube — here’s what I always come to, that many companies don’t seem to get:
Why wouldn’t you produce a simple, 3-4 minute video about your company’s value proposition and have it front-and-center on your website?
This seems logical to me. Here are the arguments I would assume people will make:
- We don’t have anyone on staff who can produce a quality video!
- We don’t have the ability to hire for such staff because we’re focused on revenue growth positions!
- A YouTube video won’t help us at all! We got targets to hit!
Before I answer these questions, let’s drop a quote in here from Ann Handley, who is pretty well-respected in the content marketing world:
Try something new. Have fun. Explore. Because as marketing strategist and writer Barry Feldman says, “If you’re not experimenting with video, you’re simply sitting on the sidelines watching the big game unfold.”
Yep. Now, as to the concerns above:
- In-House Talent: First of all, you probably do have someone that can shoot/edit video. Take the time to get to know the strengths of your people more. (Sidebar: that’s technically one of the definitions of “leadership.”) Second, let’s say you don’t. It’s not a super-complicated process. Ask people if they know anyone. Go on Craig’s List. Go on media job sites. You don’t need to make a full-time hire here; you just need a 3-minute video that tells the story of your brand.
- Headcount and Revenue Growth: Understood. Here’s the thing people always miss: build the relationships now and the revenue does come.
- YouTube won’t help us at all: Um, there’s a cottage industry now of people who get flown around the world to do cool experiential things because of what they’ve done through YouTube. It helps individuals and it can help companies if you’re focused on telling your story.
Some people have called YouTube “essential” for small business; I’d concur there too.
One of the most amazing things to me about every company I’ve worked at/observed/my friends have worked at is that you often have 500+ employees, right? (Or way less than that, sure.) So few people within a company can really tangibly explain what that company does and how it makes money. Oftentimes, managers can’t explain that back to their own people. Do you know how weird that is? Most companies exist essentially only to make money, and yet 3/4 of the people working there can’t explain how that happens?
If the internal crew can’t explain it, chances are the people approving website copy won’t be able to clearly explain it, which means you’re gonna get a bunch of people on your site bouncing all over the place because they have no idea what exactly you do or produce.
But if you had this simple video that told a story and explained it, that could help a lot.
Oh, and hey — remember this: people aren’t buying your actual product. They’re buying a better version of themselves. Incorporate that in the story.