In part one I introduced the basic concept of the video white paper, and in part two, I covered the details and benefits. The central idea is to use the methodology for writing and developing good white papers and applying it to online video. So now let’s look at getting started.
Infomercial, Info-Kill, or Info Product
If you have a penchant for wearing hideous sweaters, a bad rug, or shoulder-padded dresses from the 80’s, you might want to consider infomercials. Bad acting, combined with spastic hosts and products not available in stores has been proven to be a viable business model. But you already have a business model, and a good video white paper is not an infomercial. If it’s more commercial than info, it won’t work – at least as far as getting leads.
The video white papers I did were for engineering related fields. That meant lots of technical stuff. But unless you are targeting technical customers, too much technical detail can be overkill. Be sure to balance the information you provide with the expectations of your audience. The better you know your niche, the more targeted the video will be. This is where your clearly defined target customer will come in handy. You’re making a product for a specific demographic and your knowledge of those folks will be invaluable.
This brings us to the real value of a video white paper – as a free information product. Like a traditional white paper, or other information document, a video white paper can both provide value to your audience and demonstrate your expertise. Viewing this from the point of a product, rather then a commercial, will make your results much more effective. Your goal is to fill a need or solve a problem, and deliver that solution as a professional, well designed production – adapting the best practices of white paper development to online video.
Doing it Right
With the proliferation of broadband and video being a more common way to share information online, the opportunity to deliver video white papers online is ripe. A good example of what can be done is Tubetorial. The creation of Brian Clark and Chris Pearson, Tubetorial is a site that is “… delivering free step-by-step video tutorials in a quick and easy serial format.” Though not called video white papers, the basic concept is the same. Useful content intended to educate, that also provides a marketing platform for related products or services. We’re not talking about commercials here. I’ve watched more than half of the videos there, and I learned something from every one. I also checked out some related products, and plan to buy at least one.
So if you’re looking to create a video white paper here’s what I recommend:
- Get to know and understand the premise of a good white paper.
- Get your hands on Presenting to Win by Jerry Weissman and The Story Factor by Annette Simmons to understand the power of the story in presenting and marketing.
- Take a look through Tubetorial to get an idea of what others are doing.
Now let that all blend together and marinade. Then, move on to some tools…
- Camtasia Studio is one of the best tools available for screen recording or screencasting. It’s also $300. Some tools that I’ve used as an alternative, but that aren’t as feature-rich (but free) are Wink and CamStudio.
- For video editing, there are tons of tools available. Honestly, I haven’t found one I like well enough to recommend, but I’ve heard good things about Jahshaka. I’ll be playing around with it on an upcoming project. Rick Broida has a nice post on Lifehacker called “Video Editing 101” using Windows Movie Maker 2. The comments also have some great suggestions.
- For audio, nothing beats Audacity in my opinion. It’s free, open source, and easy to use. I’ve actually bought a couple of commercial packages, but keep coming back to Audacity.
- For simple, less expensive alternatives to Flash for animation and presentations, take a look at SWiSH or KoolMoves.
The Wrap Up
To sum this series up, in a single sentence…
Take the practices of white paper development and story-based presentations, and apply them to online video, to create a product your customers will want.
The main goal is to give your customers and prospects a taste of what you can do. Everyone loves free samples – especially when they fill a need. By showing folks that you know your stuff, while helping them out or educating them in some way, they’ll think of you when they need your type of service.
It’s all about expertise and value – provide both, and you’ll have all the business you can handle.