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Top Reasons Why You Should Be Using Video Captions

Video Captions: Not Just for Watching CNN at the Gym

Top Reasons Why You Should Be Using Video Captions

Top Reasons Why You Should Be Using Video Captions

These days the idea of making your content “mobile friendly” is top-of-mind for many of us in the content-generation business, but are you also thinking about making it as “people-friendly” as you can? You probably already know that as a best practice you should strive to make sure that your content is accessible to as many people as possible, but you may not be considering captions as part of that accessibility strategy. Here’s why you should.

Who Will Benefit From My Video Captions?

The Hearing Impaired

According to the National Association for the Deaf, there are somewhere around 36 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing — that’s a lot of people who you may not be reaching with your multimedia content if you miss out on captioning. I’ve heard first-hand the frustration from hard-of-hearing friends when they encounter a popular video post which they’re not able to get the most out of because the captions are nonexistent. By removing this barrier for people with hearing impairments, you expand your audience and make them more likely to engage with your content.

Non-Native Speakers

Also, consider those who may not speak English as a first language. If you’re anything like me, even if you speak a second language moderately well, native speakers can still sound incomprehensible when talking quickly, using slang, or even when they have a slight regional accent. Captions can help those in your audience who might not otherwise catch 100% of what you’re trying to convey.

The Public At-Large

Finally, you’ll reach those of us who just can’t be bothered to turn up the volume. I’m one of those curmudgeons (you may be, too) who nearly always has the volume turned down on their phone or laptop. The huge number of websites with autoplay videos has turned me into someone who will only un-mute if the content is *extraordinary* (or if it promises an adorable laughing baby). Plenty of people consume content everywhere they go, but not every place is conducive to playing audio — nobody wants to be that person on the bus, the one who you know for a fact is watching a movie trailer because. you. can. hear. it. from 30 feet away. Making sure users can read your content as well see it is much more practical in today’s mobile world.

OK – you’ve convinced me. I should be using video captions.

But Cori, you ask, what about automated captions? We’re living in the future, a magical time when I can ask the invisible lady inside my phone questions – do I need to manually sit there and type out every single video?

ABC – Always Be Captioning

I won’t pretend to understand the bond you have with Siri, but I will tell you that YES you should be manually creating your captions rather than relying on auto-transcription capabilities, and I’m going to tell you why. Anyone who has ever tried decipher a Google Voice auto-transcription or struggled to get their phone’s voice-to-text function to accurately record their thoughts will know that, while word-recognition and transcription technology can be impressive in some cases, it’s got a long way to go.
If your video has any sort of music, background noise, or features colloquial language, multiple speakers, or even a speaker who has a mild accent, relying on auto-captions can lead to confusion. You might not think it’s a big deal… until you discover the auto-captions have transformed your video touting “the cutest dress” into an ad for “acute distress” — not exactly the image you want to be conveying.

Video Captioning and SEO

Of course, if my arguments for creating accessible content haven’t swayed you, there’s one more great reason to caption your web videos: SEO. And you’ll be glad to know that user-created captions — on YouTube in particular — are indexed by search engines as they crawl for content. And, you should know that, if you’ve ignored my advice and are relying on auto-generated captions, you’re missing out on another source of traffic, since those automatically generated subtitles are not currently indexed by Google.

Do you have any captioning software recommendations? Any success stories? Horror stories? Let us know!

How to Use YouTube for Content Marketing

How to Use YouTube for Content Marketing

How to Use YouTube for Content Marketing

When you hear the phrase “content marketing,” chances are written text comes immediately to mind. However, blog posts and articles aren’t the only types of content you can use for content marketing. You can also create, publish and share your content in video format. YouTube provides a fairly easy-to-negotiate and definitely well-known platform for doing just that.

Why should you consider video content? The answer is simple. Many people find watching a creative video much more interesting than reading simple text on a page. And if you can be creative and attentive to your audience’s interest, YouTube can become a vital tool for fulfilling your content marketing plans.

Before you begin, here are three critical questions to ask yourself.

1. Is your business right for content marketing on YouTube?

You can do well with YouTube content marketing if you have a product or service you can video-tape and show off visually. For example, if you’ve created a product that solves a problem, you can show it at work. Likewise, if you provide a helpful service, you can show yourself in the act of providing the service. If you clean carpets, you can create a video of you or your employees taking a section of carpet from filthy to pristine. Some services, such as consulting, can be difficult to show off this way. This doesn’t, however, mean you can’t do it. You’ll just need to be very creative to pull it off.

2. Do you want to educate, inform, or entertain?

YouTube is a good choice for each of these purposes, but it’s important to consider which one you can accomplish. Informational and educational videos can be the easiest to make. An informative video just provides details about your products, company, or related topics. Educational videos, on the other hand, typically provide insight into how something works or how to accomplish a task. Both educational and informative videos provide value for your audience, but they can seem dull and boring if not carefully planned and well-executed. You’ll need to put a lot of thought into their creation to keep your audience’s interest.

People tend to flock to entertaining videos, and if done well, they often go viral. Unfortunately, these videos can be hard to make. You need a great idea and equally spot-on execution. If you can make them work, however, they can do a lot for your business. Just make sure that the video you create shows off your business’ personal style and doesn’t detract from its image.

3. What is your goal?

Do you want to use YouTube to get new customers? Are you planning to use YouTube to provide support for the people who currently buy from you? You can use YouTube for both purposes. To attract new customers, you’ll need to create videos that make your prospects want to learn more about you and what you offer. Then, you can provide the link to your site in your video as well as in your video description. If you want to provide support to your current customers, you can create how-to videos and question-and-answer content that help your customers get more out of your offerings.

Now that you’ve decided you do want to publish content via YouTube, it’s time to consider how you will make your content appealing to your audience. Creating video for video’s sake simply won’t help you meet your goals. Instead, it’s critical to develop a plan for your video content that not only speaks to your audience’s interests and needs but also effectively tells your story, and when desired, compels your audience into action. Here are 6 tips for creating video content that sings.

1. Be Interesting: The mere fact that you’ve created video content won’t capture your audience’s attention. There are many other video marketers out there trying to accomplish the same thing. To stand out among them, use different perspectives, include movement, incorporate color, and add music where appropriate. Focus on creativity and personality.

2. Try It: Often, people hold off on creating video content, spending too much time thinking about it and not enough time acting on it. Go ahead and plunge in with creative content, and try not to worry about perfection. Use your first few efforts to gauge effectiveness and reaction. Then, use what you learn from your initial efforts to tweak your approach and create even better video content.

3. Publish Regularly: When someone sees your video content and likes what he sees, chances are he will check to see if you have any related content. Don’t be a one-hit wonder. Publish regular content so that your audience knows what to expect from you and looks forward to viewing and sharing your videos.

4. Create Video Tutorials: People are always looking for how-to information, and many prefer video how-tos. Fulfill this need by making your own video tutorials. You can use questions your customers asks as topics or search the Internet to see what burning questions your target market has.

5. Tell Your Story: You’ve probably heard this suggestion when it comes to written content, but it’s important for video content too. Some people just prefer digesting video content instead of the written word, so don’t limit yourself. Go ahead and tell your story in a video, or a series of video content as well.

6. Create Video Contests: You can use video contests to engage your audience and obtain more video content. Run contests that ask consumers to submit videos or video clips. Set guidelines for submissions, and offer attractive prizes. Use the best video on your site or make a new video that compiles the best of the video clips you receive.

So you’ve begun creating high-quality, informative, entertaining videos? That’s a great start, but unfortunately, it isn’t enough. You’ll also need reliable ways of getting the word out and securing the right kind of attention for your videos. Here are 5 free ways and 1 paid way to promote your YouTube content:

1. Use Your Blog: Your blog gets a study flow of customers, prospects, and curious visitors. Make it your first stop for promoting your YouTube content. When you create a new video, be sure to promote the video on your blog by describing it, detailing the whats, whos, whens, and whys, and telling your audience members why they’ll definitely want to check it out. Then, make it easy for them to view your content masterpiece. Embed it in its own post.

2. Share With Your List: Don’t expect the people on your email list to come to you for interesting, valuable content. Go ahead and take the content to them. Craft a relevant, helpful message and email it to your list along with a link to your video. If you have an email newsletter, be sure to include it there as well.

3. Create a Custom Channel: This can be the difference between having what looks like just a bunch of video content and having a series of credible, interesting, valuable videos people want to see and share. A custom channel lends your video collection credibility, makes it look more professional, and helps you to create a more cohesive message.

4. Apply Your Social Media Know-How: Share your videos via your social media accounts. For example, tweet about your video and include links, create a status update with a message about your latest YouTube video and embed the video, and pin your video to your pinboards. Take a look at each social media account and figure out where and how to share your video content. Don’t forget to share your link on social bookmarking sites as well, adhering to the posting rules of those sites, of course.

5. Spread the News: When you create newsworthy, or particularly helpful new video content, look to news outlets that can help you spread the word about them. Write a press release and include the link to your video. Also, contact relevant news outlets about your video by phone or via email.

6. Pay to Promo: You can also pay to advertise your videos. If you have the budget to do so, consider the Google Adwords for Video opportunity. It’s a pay-per-click program for promoting videos on YouTube. With this program, you pay when someone views your ad rather than when you place it.

With time and effort, you can make video marketing a successful part of your content marketing campaigns. Use the above tips to get started. Then, be sure to come back and let us know how using YouTube for content marketing works for you.

5 Tips for Brands Using Periscope

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Getting acquainted with Periscope and learning what it does was an important first step. Now, however, you have to figure out how to use this innovative new social media tool for your brand. Don’t worry. We have you covered with five tips brands can use to make the most of Periscope:

1. Promote

Promote your broadcast before, during, and after your event. The more you promote, the more people will actually view your broadcast, and even better, share it. Use all of your social media accounts to let your audience know what you have planned. Shout it from the rooftops while you’re live too, even if this means assigning someone else to promote or schedule posts/tweets in advance. And once your broadcast has ended, it would be a mistake to fall silent. Your broadcast will remain available for 24 hours, so make sure your audience members know they haven’t missed out, even if they couldn’t tune in when you were live.

2. Vary Content

There’s nothing worse than all promo, all the time. While you do want to promote your awesome products and services some of the time, you don’t want to turn your audience off by trying to sell your brand at every turn. Fortunately, Periscope lends itself to such varied content as educational videos, tutorials, FAQs, announcements, interviews, focus groups, and surveys as well. You can even use it to provide VIP access, customer support, and product demonstrations.

3. Engage

Just because it’s a different type of social media doesn’t mean all of the best practices you’ve learned fly out the window. Your attention-grabbing broadcast is a great start, but you still need to bring it home by engaging your audience. Post questions on Twitter to get your audience not only thinking about your content but also talking about it. Get involved in discussions about your broadcast and take the time to respond to comments.

4. Share Reviews

Without question, great reviews can work wonders for your brand. According to a study by Dimensional Research, a whopping 90 percent of purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews. Now, combine that with the appeal of not just video, but live video. Use Periscope to ask your customers for feedback and use it again to share live video reviews—good reviews, of course. You can’t lose!

5. Build Trust

Consumers are much more likely to buy from and return to brands they trust. Use Periscope to provide a new level of transparency by allowing your customers to see your face (or your employees’ faces) and listen to your voice as you answer questions about your brand and products. And as much as possible, keep it unscripted so that your message comes across as natural and genuine while showing off a bit of your personality.

Periscope isn’t just the latest hot thing. It’s a valuable tool for reaching your target audience, getting its attention, and boosting engagement. Use the above tips to incorporate Periscope into your brand’s marketing plans.

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5 Reasons Your Brand Should Be on Periscope

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No brand can afford to rest on its laurels, thinking last year’s, last week’s or yesterday’s marketing is enough to keep its audience interested and engaged. You have to continually market, finding new ways to gain exposure and get the right people paying attention. One exciting new way to do that is with Periscope.

What is Periscope?

In February 2015, Twitter made a bold move by purchasing a live video streaming mobile app called Periscope. Twitter launched the app in late March, and it’s been hot, hot, hot ever since. It’s still a fairly new tool, which lends quite a bit to its hotness, and it’s an excellent way to gain more exposure for your brand. Fresh out of the gate, Periscope had a cool million users just 10 days post launch. By August, it boasted 10 million active users. And guess what else? It’s still growing.

Here’s why you need it for your brand:

1. You Can Reach Your Audience Live

Periscope allows you to use your mobile device to do something fabulous—broadcast live. This means you can allow your audience to join your broadcast, tuning in to your live streaming video and audio from virtually anywhere. And with Periscope, you aren’t limited to just seconds in which to get your message across. You can not only say everything you need to say, but also give your audience a much better experience.

2. Your Audience Can View It Now and Later

Your audience can view your broadcast message the moment you make it and up to 24 hours later, replaying it and commenting as often as desired. It’s real-time marketing at its best. And as if that’s not enough, you also get access to all kinds of useful data, providing insight into such things as how many viewers watched your broadcast and for how long.

3. Amazing Communication Options

You’ve probably heard a great deal about FaceTime, and maybe you’ve even used it to communicate one-on-one with your friends and family members. Periscope allows you to communicate directly with a potentially huge audience. It’s taken an intimate type of communication and transformed it so you can communicate with everyone.

4. It’s Social

Social media is a critical part of any marketing plan. With nearly 80 percent of Internet users considering social media content when making purchasing decisions, your brand needs to be where your audience gets social. Periscope provides yet another social avenue for reaching your audience and not only makes social sharing through Twitter simple and easy but also helps stimulate discussions and encourage feedback. It even includes location and notification features.

5. Access to More of Your Target Audience

You know the deal. If a large percentage of your audience is on a particular social media platform, you want to be there too. If your audience goes looking and only finds your competition, don’t expect that to help your bottom line. In fact, Periscope could even provide access to a demographic you haven’t reached before. Keep in mind, too, that Periscope is a new, innovative tool. Those who aren’t there now will likely use it later as more and more people learn what it can do and how to use it.

As a brand, you have to keep up with marketing trends in order to effectively reach your audience. By doing so, you demonstrate that you care about communicating with your audience while dramatically increasing your exposure. Periscope is a fantastic way to do just that.

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