Making the switch to inbound marketing requires writing great content. Writing great content requires time. The problem is that most small businesses don’t have the time and therefore have been slow to adopt content marketing. Some agencies have tried bringing in content experts to help fill the gap, but while that works for larger companies with big budgets, the small business owner has been left out in the cold.
Is there a better way to get the subject matter expertise out of the small business owner’s head and transformed into great content on her website and beyond? Video blogging may be the answer. I know it firsthand because as a small business owner, I have a hard time finding the time to write a blog post.
My colleague and I set up a video blogging experiment for our SEO reseller business. We speculated that video blogging would take less time than composing a written blog – we could simply record our discussion on SEO, online marketing, website design, or any topic related to our business. Like most small business owners, we love what we do and we love to talk about it, so a conversation is much easier than writing a blog post!
Our objectives for our video blogging experiment were:
- Four video blog posts per week
- No more than 30 minutes total time per day
- Use video content but also transcribe the video into text for maximum SEO value
- Use Schema.org or video sitemap to take advantage of Google Rich Snippets
- Answer common questions or add our point of view to news topics
- Minimal investment in equipment
My office is in Falls Church, VA and I planned to co-host the video blog sessions with Adam Stetzer, my colleague in HubShout’s Rochester office. To keep things simple, we selected Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts lets you record a hangout and automatically post it to YouTube. YouTube lets you download the video or embed it on a website.
Adam and I both have the latest Logitech HD-quality webcams (~$99) and an Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone (~$100). My office had some backlighting issues so I used Wistia’s suggestions for a basic lighting setup. I mounted two lights on my monitor to take care of the situation.
Timeline: 30 minutes to get your video blog done
Thirty minutes doesn’t leave much room for error, so let’s take a look at the setup.
- 5 minutes – identify topic. One of us spends a few minutes doing keyword research and deciding what to write about. We start with a rough idea based on a recent news event related to our business, an employee question, or a client question. We use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find a good topic and keyword. We look for keywords with at least 100 exact searches per month that have medium or low competition.
- 5 minutes – rehearsal. We turn the targeted topic/keyword into a question and then outline three points that we want to discuss during the video blog. Brevity is critical. People start tuning out after about three minutes.
- 5 minutes – record Hangout. Getting the video done in one take is essential. We have a rehearsed introduction sequence where we mention the question and topic keyword. We then discuss the three primary points. It’s important to make eye contact with the camera and speak slowly!
- 10 minutes – post-production. We download the video from YouTube and do a quick edit in Camtasia Studio. We add a title sequence and remove the Google Hangout branding. Next we upload to Wistia. We’ve found that Wistia offers great tools for embedding and tracking videos. Wistia also offers video transcription.
- 5 minutes – final post on our website. Wistia sends us an email when the transcription is done (usually one day) and then we post the video and transcription on our blog and share it on social media. Depending on how you set up Wistia, it will either automatically add a video sitemap or in our case we update our video post with Schema.org tags so that a video thumbnail will show on the search engine results pages.
Total time = 30 minutes
Here is a sample video that we recorded on the topic of video blogging:
We shot and posted 75 videos over the last six months. Almost all have gotten at least one referral from an organic source, but the success has been uneven. The top five videos have gotten about 60 percent of the total referrals because they were ranked more highly. This is despite the fact that we used similar procedures for selecting keywords, Schema.org markup, and procedures for posting.
The traffic growth from our video blogs is evident in this Google Analytics screenshot that shows organic search engine traffic that clicked a direct link to one of our video blog pages. (In other words, this doesn’t count traffic that landed on our home page or another web page and then visited a video blog page.)
The bounce rate for this content is higher than we would like but we have continued to fine-tune our approach and the topics we select. Overall we are very happy with the results and have begun rolling out similar experiments for our clients.
Adam and I like the conversation-style video blogging but you can do it without a colleague or co-host. Pick a topic related to your business and record your commentary. Remember, you’re the expert in your field and your insight is valuable to your customers and prospective customers!
Video Blog image on home page via Shutterstock.