Why Video Can Be the Foundation for Your Local Content Strategy (Part 1 of 2)

You want me to write a blog post

[Ed. note: The following is a guest article written for Local U by Paul Sherland of IX Brand SEO Services Company.]

They just can't seem to get it done! You hired a digital marketing company six months ago to move your website to the top of Google, and it's not happening. They built a beautiful new website for you, but it's stuck on page two. You call the marketing company weekly, and they just tell you they need more content. Content? You gave them copies of all of your marketing brochures! What more could they want? You have a business to run, and you don't have time to write something else.

Your troubles are the troubles of most small businesses. These businesses hire digital marketing agencies to move them up in Google rankings, and the digital marketing agencies don't deliver because there isn't enough quality, relevant and recent information online to attract favorable attention from Internet users and from Google. The effort to build that information, that content, often evolves into a dispute between the business and the marketing agency. But it doesn't have to be!

Let Video Power Your Local Content Strategy

Video can be the solution. A video production program can be the foundation of your local content strategy. If you can talk (or you know someone who can talk for you) and you have access to an iPhone or some other camera, you can make a video. If you're an expert on your local business products or services, then you can make a video that provides the quality, relevant and recent information that Google and your potential customers are looking for.

Video works for many reasons. Here are four of them:

1. People Prefer Video. Video works extremely well on a desktop and even better on a tablet or phone. People would much rather watch a short video about your products and services than read about them. People spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them.

2. Works on Mobile. Mobile use is growing rapidly and desktop use is flat. Why not use a medium that works on both!

3. It's Easier to Talk than Write. For most people, it's easier to stand in front of the camera and talk (or demonstrate something) than it is to write about it. Your mother will like seeing your videos online, although she may tell you to stand up straight.

4. Video is More Persuasive. Customers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.

Video can be the foundation of your local content strategy because it can support most other aspects of your local content development. What's a content strategy? It's the planning and management of content creation and distribution that's user friendly and meets user needs. So your video production process can be the foundation of your local business process to create content that's easy for your customers to find online and that meets their needs for information.

Video Transforms to Meet Your Local Content Needs

Need text content for your local business website pages and blog posts? Starting with your videos, you can get them transcribed to create the quality, relevant and recent text content that Google is looking for, and you can use that new content in web pages and blog posts with your videos.

Let video feed your need

Need business information you can use with Facebook? You can upload your videos directly to Facebook and your videos will be shared, playing continuously in mute to attract clicks and shares for your posts. Plus your videos will be displayed on the left column of your Facebook business page to engage new page visitors.

Want to do more? Upload your videos to YouTube, and they can appear in YouTube and Google search results. Make sure you add closed captioning to your videos to help the search engines understand what your videos are about. Don't rely on the closed captioning that YouTube automatically generates for every video it hosts -- YouTube's automatic transcription is often horrible!

Other uses for your videos? Share your videos on your Pinterest for Business boards. Share your videos on Google+ and Google My Business. You can feed all of your needs for local content with your video content strategy.

How to Launch Your Local Video Content Strategy

Next week, we'll talk about how to get started. What kinds of videos should you create? What topics work best? What kind of equipment do you need? Should you edit your videos or just record the first take and go with it? Where should you host your videos? How can you get your videos transcribed? How should you display your videos?

If you have questions or comments about your experience with video in local digital marketing, please post them in the comments.

About Paul Sherland

Paul Sherland is President of IX Brand SEO Services Company, a small digital marketing agency outside Houston serving local businesses. Paul's background is unique in the digital marketing world; he's served as a US Navy pilot and squadron commanding officer, he's led teams working in data analysis and computer simulation, and he's a lawyer, too.

16 Responses to “Why Video Can Be the Foundation for Your Local Content Strategy (Part 1 of 2)”

  1. Paul, great post! We use your technique of having our videos transcribed and using that text for blog posts. Plus we strip out the audio it and use it on Soundcloud and Bandcamp as podcast. So by creating one video, your actually creating 3 separate pieces relevant content that Google loves.

    Love the info in your post, please keep it up!

    • Hey Mark, thanks for your kind words and thanks for offering another fantastic use for the video content you create. I appreciate the referral to Soundcloud and Bandcamp too. What software do you use to edit your video and strip out the audio?

      Paul Sherland
  2. Couldn’t agree with you more Paul and thanks for the good article. I take a different tack on the style of video that can be made for local businesses, what I call voice-and-visuals videos. If you look closely at local television commercials you will notice that in a majority of them there is no one on camera. It is a scripted announcer using photos and graphics to tell the story. Yes the walls have been broken down in the era of the smartphone and YouTube in that anyone can appear on camera and make a video. But in reality most people are very uncomfortable on camera, or doing public speaking, recognized as one of the greatest fears people have. Plus they really don’t know how to shoot, edit etc, which also takes a lot of time. I believe the way forward is to produce voice-and-visuals / motion graphics style videos that can tell the business story with professionalism, and at an affordable price point. thx again Tim

    Tim Tevlin
    • Hi Tim, thanks very much for sharing your approach to creating video content for local businesses. I agree with you that using a scripted announcer and photos and graphics can be a powerful way to build a local business brand. And being camera-shy is a barrier to many of my clients.

      My view is that there are great reasons to do both for many local businesses. At MozCon 2014, Phil Nottingham of Distilled gave a presentation about using video and he talked about creating two types — a “hero” type that would be more professional and polished and a “home” type that would be more informal and cheaper to produce. Phil said that businesses should try to do both and I agree.

      Most of my clients are small service businesses and for those businesses, it’s helped to have the lawyer, doctor, landscaper or plumber in the video because it begins to build the customer’s trust in the service provider. A doctor client in Houston had a patient come from San Antonio (3 hours away) to do an outpatient procedure because the patient had seen the doctor’s videos and he wanted that doctor to do the surgery. A plumber had a customer call to say that he wanted the plumber in the video to repipe his house after watching our repiping video on YouTube. These are the “home” videos doing this.

      But I’ve also done some “hero” videos with a third-party video company and they are beautiful and compelling videos that included customer testimonials and B-roll video and images. For the “hero” videos, the video company charged much more than the cost of a same-length “home” video because the videographer spent three hours on site. A very skilled video editor spent a substantial amount of time with all that material to produce TV-quality 30 second and 90 second videos.

      So I definitely agree that the videos you describe have a very important place in a successful video content strategy and I appreciate you sharing your expertise!

      Thanks again, Paul

      Paul Sherland
  3. Hi Paul and thx for your comment . . . I have worked a lot with a plastic surgeon who had me editing actual surgery video and boy that was heavy going! But he insisted it would bring him clients and indeed it did. Glad your videos brought your clients some business.

    A core part of my theory with videoposts is that a single voice-and-visuals video, that can include photographs of lawyers or the dentist or whomever, can be applied to websites for search, social organic posts and even Facebook ‘Promoted Post’ ads all in one shot. Testing so far has been strong in terms of helping improve search rankings, Facebook Likes and even generating direct revenue as a result of deploying a single piece of video content. So there are clearly some strong approaches to take across the board and video content is going to be a core content of local business marketing online now and permanently it would occur to me. thx again Tim

    Tim Tevlin
    • Tim, I’ve never done video during surgery — my hat’s off to you. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

      I completely agree with your comments. Video can be used and repurposed for use in a number of ways and the growth in mobile use strengthens video as a core content for local business marketing.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experience!
      Paul

      Paul Sherland
  4. Just reiterating your point, that video is a huge asset. When we use 3rd party hosting and transcribe the audio and place it on a page with unique textual content around it (we usually write a blog post 1,000+ words on same subject and add additional comments not usually the transcript) our pages rank really well. We’ve had textual content pages stuck on page 2 in Google, added video to the page and moved it to the first page and many times above the fold. But need to host video independently to ensure the page gets the seo credit and not with YouTube. And an added bonus, if you mention your NAP you’ll get a citation out of it too.

    • Absolutely Toby, thanks for your comment! The only point where I differ with you is hosting. The videos I use with websites are hosted on a paid host — I use Vimeo but Wistia is another good one. But I still host copies of the videos on YouTube because sometimes the YouTube videos will appear in search results independently of the blog posts and webpages.

      As for the NAP, I’m sure you also add the full website URL to create a clickable link.

      Thanks again for your comments! Paul

      Paul Sherland
  5. Agreed. Video is always the best way to go about content. That is hard for me to say as a writer, but it is true.

    • Thanks Nate! Even for great writers, video adds a dimension that improves results in many areas of digital marketing, mobile being one of those areas.

      But your writing skills can still come into play in working with video transcriptions. What works in video can often be improved in text. I think it’s very important to spend some time improving your transcription text to turn it into a page or post.

      Thanks very much for your comment!

      Paul Sherland
  6. Thanks for the great post. I agree video is all these things and more, potent and persuasive content that adds text, audio, and video from one source. It`s difficult for small businesses to produce however since video is expensive or time consuming or both. And where do you start, how do you find a reasonably priced video production company, and how do you develop good content. It seems a steep learning curve whether you do it yourself or hire someone else.

    • Hi Cathie, Thanks very much! Hopefully Part 2 of this post will give you some ideas for topics, production, editing, hosting and repurposing your video content.

      I think it’s best to divide your video production into two buckets — the lower cost and more numerous videos that I call “home” videos in Part 2 and the high quality and more costly videos I call “hero” videos. You hire the video production company for hero videos and you do the home videos yourself.

      After you’ve started with some FAQ videos, I think you’ll find that it’s easier and cheaper and better to use home videos for the bulk of your content production than researching and writing new content.

      For example, one of my family lawyer clients can set up her iPhone on a small tripod on her desk and talk for three minutes about uncontested divorces or the factors the court considers in awarding spousal support. My client then sends the video to me, I edit it and append the standard legal disclaimer, and then get it transcribed. From there I can use the information as a new video blog post, and it’s recent, timely and expert information that prospective clients will value. I can also use it on YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

      If you want to practice before working with a client, do some video of community events with your smart phone and edit with iMovie or the PC equivalent. I do promos for community theatre, school band concerts, and school sports events to practice with my cameras and promote worthy community causes.

      I hope you try it. I think you’ll be very pleased with the results in a very short time!

      Thanks again,
      Paul

      Paul Sherland
  7. It seems like hard work making the transition to video, but the sooner you start the better, not only that there is also a higher percieved value in video production as well as the barrier of entry… I’ll bet none of your competitors are doing it right now..

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