Why You WILL Need Web Video (But Who’s Gonna Write It?)

ABOVE: A video written and produced on the proverbial shoestring by Vonstipatz for ReCellular, which as recently as 2012-13 was up-cycling as many as 400,000 feature phones every month. View it by clicking here.
Everywhere you look in content marketing, or social media if you prefer, there’s video along with copy. Short videos of :30 seconds to longer yet digestible lengths of :60 seconds to 2-3 minutes. If it’s longer it had better be damned gripping or you risk losing your viewer and your reader both.
We are told that not only does content with video grab more eyeballs and create more actionable impressions, but that video can provide a big boost to SEO. The cost and difficulty of producing good video for your brand, product or service (despite the millions of videos online) means search keywords in your video taking prospects back to your brand or message are that much more valuable.
The good news is twofold: 
1) Producing good, short video is more affordable than ever (big downward price pressure on video creators).
2) If you’re a writer–these videos have to be written before they can be produced!
Contently has a great blog piece that goes into depth about the growing need for writers for the ever increasing demand for Web video, read it here.
For you–whether you’re a brand or a writer in the content/social category–video is a powerful tool you should be using to augment your brand marketing, and a growing way to keep from being a starving writer.
Video now can be, at its most basic, words as graphics arranged in an attractive way with simple motion effects and a voice over. It can also be simple graphic animation or cartoon animation, or an arrangement of still images that have subtle moves on them–like the famous Ken Burns documentaries Civil War or Prohibition…wholly derived from still shots.
So, if you’re not yet in the game of creating (or contracting) video for your needs, what’s the fastest way in? Like anything in life, you’ve got to get your feet wet. There are 1000s of video clips and graphic effects you can buy and download on sites like Pond5.com. Same for royalty-free music clips.
Or, similar to videos you’ll see on Kickstarter (an excellent reference for low-cost production ideas) you can do a simple interview or talking head format where a spokes person for your brand delivers on a script. A one-camera shoot with a simple backdrop, you can edit this yourself with iMovie, for a song. A DSLR with a pro, after-market microphone (doable for $1000 ballpark) and you’re in business for years to come. One short video can pay for the equipment and software investment.
For those of you who need more help, especially with the writing, find a writer who has written and/or produced videos, or for that matter, radio scripts–old school talent who have this experience have to know how to write a robust script that fits EXACTLY into :30 or :60 second formats, and comfortably so. If they can manage that, any other length will be a piece of cake.
Even if you’re a big, fat Fortune 500 brand, or work for one, Web video is just as important–and more demanding–than mass market “television” spots. Why? You know why. Your viewer can click PAUSE or QUIT anytime.
And if you’re a smaller brand, product or service, you can find parity with the big brands that was very difficult or expensive just a few years back.
One of the last “big budget” TV :30s I produced, a simple 2D cartoon animation, was budgeted at $25K–that’s $833 a second. If I could get those rates M-F in 2015, I’d be driving a Lamborghini right now. For comparison, the video at the top of this post was produced for less than $2K.
Then again, you could realistically shoot and edit video on a iPad now, and save up for the obscene ride.
What are you waiting for?
Tom Stevens has written and produced radio, video and animation for budgets ranging from $500 to $30,000 and up. If you have any questions about how you can get in the video game, give him a yell.


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