How to Make Your Online Video More Visible

June 22, 2012

  by Michel Rubini, International Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/London

The temptation to package your message in a video is difficult to resist. Video is brilliant at making complex concepts easily understandable. Video can engage an audience on an emotional and informative level in a way that text simply can not.  Not to mention that when it comes to press releases, we see that multimedia content, including video, can drive press release views.

Assuming first that you’re sharing quality, engaging content, you still must remember that a video made for offline consumption does not always translate perfectly for online distribution.

Keep it short – Online audiences are not as attentive as offline audiences. Distractions come in many ways when browsing the web. Online video should ideally be under three minutes long. The shorter the better.

Make Text a Friend Not a Foe – Google needs the text to find your video but the traditional uses of text on screen can create poor online user experiences. So what’s the solution?  Christian Heilmann, developer evangelist from Mozilla Popcorn, shared a possible answer at a Newsrewired event.

Chris Heilman Mozilla

Christian Heilman

Heilmann explained that video is a black hole on the web. Google is unable to go through a video like it goes through a text. A good headline and a lengthy description is all we have to make it seen.

So how can we make our video more searchable and more findable? Heilmann’s suggestion is to always separate your content from your presentation. Any text should never be in the images. Any text in a video should be overlaying it. It makes the text easily edited, translated, enhanced or deleted when required. Titles and subtitles and are loved by Google and therefore, as Heilmann puts it, “separation increases search-ability and find-ability . . . search engines have something to bite into.”

The big question now is: how do we do it? Heilmann is a big fan of HTML5 video as an answer to these problems. HTML5 video makes it more accessible on the web by allowing the maker to easily separate text and images. Text is over imposed and can easily be edited and found by search engines. Like music made of many different tracks laid on top of each other, HTML5 video text is placed in a running track. Different kind of texts can be added to different tracks. Broadly speaking, there are 3 different tracks:

  •  Subtitles: translations of the dialogue in the video for when audio is available but not understood. Subtitles are shown over the video.
  • Captions: transcription of the dialogue, sound effects, musical cues and other audio information for when the viewer is deaf/hard of hearing, or the video is muted. Captions are also shown over the video.
  • Chapters: they are used to create navigation within the video. Typically they’re in the form of a list of chapters that the viewer can click on to go to a specific chapter.

A good example of a video using the above feature is shown here:

The overlaying is unscripted in the coding itself. Suddenly, the invisibility cloak is lifted and the video is findable, searchable and flexible . . . all things you will most certainly want when sharing your videos.


Multimedia Continues to Drive Press Release Views – Now More than Ever!

April 23, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Facebook buys Instagram.  Experian Hitwise reports that Pinterest is now the #3 social site on the Web.  More than ever, the adage “show, don’t tell” applies to communications and communicators.

Adding multimedia to a press release tends to increase the number of online release views.  When I looked at a list of the most-viewed releases of the second half of 2011 to see how many were multimedia-enriched, I found some pretty startling numbers.

Of the top 500 English-language releases, about 75% had one or more photos or videos.  Out of all the English language releases that Business Wire distributes, only 5% include multimedia.   In other words, 5% of all our English language releases accounted for 75% of the 500 most-viewed releases in the last 6 months of last year.

We can’t really say that your release is 75% more likely to be viewed if you include photos or videos, or that it will receive 75% more views.  Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear to me that adding multimedia does help drive release views.

Consider the releases on the most-popular list that ran without multimedia:

  • Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility
  • Announcements from several huge pharmaceutical companies on the results of clinical trials or strategic initiatives
  • Major acquisitions and joint ventures involving public and/or well-known companies
  • One of the major video game manufacturers announcing a price drop

That the Google announcement was hugely popular was no surprise.  News from very large public companies is of inherent interest to the media and markets.  Acqusitions are almost always big news because of investor interest and because they can affect an entire industry.  Video game news, with or without multimedia, tends to be noticed.

Meanwhile, the variety of photos and videos that ran with the Top 500 releases was wide-ranging.  Some examples:

  • A river cleanup
  • A photo of sauces and condiments
  • Photos of existing DRAM technology and an innovative variation
  • Photos of the principals of 2 merging companies
  • A benchmarking study (graphic)
  • Pictures and/or video of contest winners
  • Ringing of the Opening Bell at the NYSE

What is clear to me from this list is that the potential for finding visuals to accompany–or to tell–a story is vast.

A release can be very technical but illustrated with a photo that its equally technical audience will appreciate.  The media do appreciate photos of people, and not just for personnel announcements.  (If those people are celebrities, so much the better, but it’s not a requirement.  Newspapers and business journals love to use photos of locals.)   Charts and graphs can be compelling.  Finally, there are some stories that seem to beg for photos or videos.  Among these are any releases announcing eye-catching new products; corporate social responsibility releases (show the river that’s being cleaned up, the electric car charging stations, the participants in the 10K run);and releases announcing corporate milestones.

Besides the potential bump in viewership,  using multimedia in conjunction with a good story can increase the chances a story will be used by broadcast media.  Broadcast monitoring service and Business Wire partner Critical Mention reported in one of their newsletters that the Yelp’s IPO announcement resulted in 395 hits on U.S. television stations; and these are over-the-air broadcasts, not postings on broadcast websites.  The story was a big one, of course, but the accompanying images were really colorful and exciting.  As Critical Mention described it, the release (what Business Wire calls a Smart News Release) was “loaded with newsy images and video.”

Besides the benefits of attracting attention to your release and giving journalists more reason to cover your news, there is at least one other benefit to using multimedia:  Your news can live longer.  I have seen many instances of photos being used months or even years after they originally ran.  An especially good photo of people or companies in the news can be used more than once, as in this example of Business Wire’s CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz shown with Warren Buffett in a 9/30/11 photo illustrating a 2/6/12 story.

Granted, being affiliated with Warren Buffett is an advantage when it comes to gaining attention.  But even companies that don’t have this advantage can still give their stories greater appeal, and “legs”, by supplementing them with multimedia.


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