Right about now, you can barely turn a corner on the internet without an article or blog post popping up in your face about what the new year will hold.
Writers are going crazy covering topics like "the top ten marketing trends of 2015" or "what will content creation look like in 2015?" And that's exactly why I'm not going to ask you to focus on 2015's trends in online video.
Yes, I know as a columnist it's "my job" to cover all things digital entertainment. But it's also my responsibility to get you to think properly about how to best use online video in your business, regardless of the date. You can't do that if you're only focused on what you should supposedly be doing. Not only will you feel like you'll never be able to keep up with all the trends, you'll forget why you wanted to get involved in online video in the first place.
So start there. Ask yourself, "What do I want to do with online video in 2015?"
For one, you could consider diversifying your content's format. Did you make a lot of informational or advertisement videos last year? Try throwing in some branded entertainment for a change. Your customers will probably love it. Or, consider doing behind-the-scenes videos of your team at work, or making teaser videos of new products you're working on. Bonus idea: if you sell anything retail, including demo videos of the products can increase conversion rates.
You could also try testing out different ways to deliver video in 2015. Have you ever done a Google Hangout for Q&A with customers, or a live stream of one of your company's events, for example? Next year is the time to try it. Also, pay attention to where people can access your content. Is it just on your website, or maybe on YouTube? Put your videos in emails, which is a proven method for increasing ROI, or upload to Facebook, since the social media site now has its own native video format (and it does really, really well with generating shares).
For many of you, just getting involved in online video is your goal for 2015. You haven't yet created your first video, but you have a few ideas up your sleeve you believe your audience will love. Run with one of them, and see where it takes you. You could find your instincts (and possibly market research) was right: your audience may love what you created and want to see more. On the flipside, they may really dislike it, but that's not all bad because you can learn from their feedback. Re-group, take note of what didn't work, and try again.
While I just gave you a lot of ideas for using online video next year, pay attention to the ones you can realistically implement. It's all well and good to have goals, unless they're not attainable for your business in terms of your sanity, resources, schedule, and finances. You may not have the marketing budget of Amazon, for example, but don't let that stop you. The internet practically tripped over itself trying to watch the Dollar Shave Club commercial, and that home-made video (estimated to cost $50,000 if done by professionals) was created for only $4,500.
As for me, I just need to start making videos. The old idiom "Those who can't do, teach" is starting to feel a little bit too applicable. I graduated college with a few digital media classes under my belt, eager to start making my own films or vlogs. I did neither. That's why I'm saying good-bye to this web column (I'll still be around for the print edition), so I have time to delve into creating online video like I always wanted to.
Let's make a pact. By the end of 2015, you and I need to have made at least one new video each and published it online for the world to see. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect (it won't be), or your best work (unlikely), or even very long (feel free to use the six-second Vine app). What matters is that you and I get our video beyond the "maybe, someday" stage to the "you can watch my video online" stage.
Life is short, after all. Maybe not as short as the attention span of the online video masses, but you get the drift.
So tell me, what's your online video goal for 2015?