How-To Video: Why You Should Be Producing Your Own

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is worth significantly more. How much more? According to James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a 1-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. The big lesson here is that video matters-a lot. So much so that if you're not creating video already, you are missing out on big business opportunities.

About 100 million  internet users view online video each day. Sure, a large number of those 100 million viewers aren't focused on business while watching videos of a cat in a shark costume. But analysts say that a significant number of viewers are searching the web for answers to business questions. The most common reasons consumers search the web for video (aside from entertainment) are to locate solutions to problems or to shop for-and understand-products or services they are thinking of purchasing.

Online shoppers consistently say they find video helpful in the decision-making process. And retailers that use online video say products that are accompanied by video sell better than those without. A whopping 174% better, according to the folks at MarketingSherpa.

And it's not just the consumer market that values video. Video matters in B2B transactions. Seventy-five percent of executives surveyed by Forbes say they watch work-related video online at least once a week. And 65% of executives surveyed by Forbes say that after watching an interesting video, they visit the website of the company that provided it.

According to forecasts from the global internet traffic team at Cisco, by 2018, 79% of all internet traffic will be video. Cisco says, by the same time, global broadband speeds will nearly triple, making access to HD video on demand possible in most places around the world.

Video is what consumers want. According to research from eMarketer, it's what the average U.S. adult spends 5.5 hours a day watching, primarily on mobile devices. That's partially because video-when done right-can communicate concepts faster than text and static images.

Eye-tracking studies conducted by Moz and Mirametrix show that video thumbnails presented in internet search results command far more attention than search results without video. Users are drawn to them.

Video is also more engaging than traditional communication approaches based on the production of static text accompanied by images. This fact comes as no surprise to those who have made their mark in the storytelling industry, such as Todd Resnick, president and CEO of The Voice Co.

"Storytelling is the most exclusive and intimate form of knowledge transfer that we know of," says Resnick. "Older than the fireside or campfire chat, older than every written language. It's the conversation that we all remember. We call it ‘experience learning' in the entertainment business."

What type of video provides the most value to consumers? In fact, for many product manufacturers and service providers, the type of video content most sought after by consumers is not produced by the marketing department. It is post-sale content, which is information we have traditionally provided to consumers after they purchase a product or service. It's content typically produced by the support, training, and/or technical documentation departments. Examples include how-to video tutorials (step-by-step instructions to assemble a shelving unit, set up a smartphone, or fix a flat tire), and explainer videos (fun, interesting, and understandable introductions to complex concepts, relevant topics, or families of products or services).

It's clear that video content is some of the most sought-after content on the web. What's not clear is whether marketers understand that it's their job to align their content strategy-and the content deliverables they produce-with the wants and needs of the prospects they hope to court and the customers they want to retain.

In order to win in the new digital economy, video product and service content must become part of the marketing mix. Anything else misses the mark.