Rob Yandell

Editor, Publisher, Events

Live Feeds, Vlogs and Online News – Is Video The Comeback Kid?

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If beards and Christmas jumpers can make a comeback, I suppose anything is possible. Online video appeared to be losing its lustre but seems to be making a comeback – will it last and is it being used well?

I heard the term ‘vlog’ for the first time a few months ago and it made me cringe; it made me feel the same way the day I heard the phrase ‘staycation’. A vlog, for those of you who don’t know is the shortened name given to the video blog, something we’re seeing more and more of as publishers, brands and ordinary folk all over the world create more ways to be heard and engaged.

Watching YouTube on a mobile

Have people got bored with written blogs? Or is it simply the need to share our marketing messages/inner-most ‘private’ thoughts in new ways?

But just like written blogs, vlogs come in all shapes and sizes. I picked up this YouTube channel from Emily Hart via the rather good e-newsletter from Cedar, a content marketing agency. I recommend you check out its Blog (yes, the old kind) and sign-up if you like what you see. Emily’s on-going video blog did raise a smile and with nearly 150,000 subscribers to her channel there’s more than a few people interested in what she has to say.

I have watched a number of video blogs (including the Press Gazette Editor Blog) and so far I haven’t been engaged enough to share or comment, which is surely the point. I certainly haven’t subscribed. I’d be interested to know if you’ve seen a great vlog (Oxford English Dictionary here we come) so do add your comments and views below.

Video is now easier to produce and edit than ever before and can enhance an online blog, news story or article. I often watch video accompanying a story I’m reading, which should be short but not necessarily polished. An article on The Times website about the new Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard was enhanced by the journalist taking simple video footage of the room, its views and his impressions. There was no microphone or lighting enhancements but it was more than enough to lift the story.

Live video feeds are springing up, taking TV channels way beyond the boundaries of a flat screen in the corner of your living room. Huffpost Live now aims to create an on-going live stream with social at its heart. They’re not the only one and expect a lot more to follow.

You don’t have to buy-in expensive camera/sound equipment and a editing suite any more. A tablet and iMovie will suffice and you’re away. I read a good piece about ‘How 3 publishers are innovating with online video‘ which is worth a read.

Increasing dwell time is great but damn you autoplay

Of course, high quality video on sites such as the BBC and Sky can increase engagement and dwell-time but video can also infuriate.

How many times have you heard a faint sound when you’re surfing the net and have multiple tabs open? Yes, auto play is intrusive and one of my pet hates. The user should always choose when to watch video and you should avoid disrupting the journey unless for a very, very good reason.

video cassette

Is pre-roll advertising a good buy?

Advertising that sits on the pre-roll before you watch the content you’re looking for can also be frustrating for the user. Not only this but I am simply not convinced that it’s money well spent on the part of the advertiser.

Like me, I am sure you’re only waiting for the ‘skip’ link to appear to watch what you’re actually interested in, not paying attention to the video ad at all. There are other ways to monetise online video, such as custom windows and screen frames that complement the visual experience and yet still provide a non-intrusive message.

Humour can also help brands in the video-sphere if they get it right. Content marketing continues to evolve and video can play a big part in its development, giving companies the opportunity to create something of value to the audience that’s really shareable and yet pushing the brand and message at the same time.

Video is evolving quick but taking a step back and asking yourself ‘why’ is always a good idea. It can work wonders but thought before pushing any (editing) buttons to think about how it fits into your strategy is the first step.

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Author: Rob Yandell

Editor, publisher, event organiser.

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