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How Well-Stocked Is Your Video Toolbox?

I should have bought that socket wrench.

That's the conclusion I came to recently when, after discovering that I had no more hot water in my apartment, I found myself on my back, covered in diesel, clutching a pair of 30-year-old vice grips and screaming obscenities at my hot-water heater at five o'clock in the morning.

The cause of my frustration wasn't that I'd run out of fuel (that was my fault). It wasn't that my favorite pajamas were now irreparably saturated with fuel and soot. No, the cause of my frustration was the ancient set of vice grips I wielded like an angry toddler with a rattle. Specifically, the cause of my ire was this tool's ability (or lack thereof) to perform the task of loosening the bleed valve on the fuel line leading to the hot-water heater.

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Anyone familiar with hot-water heater maintenance and repair is asking the question, "What the heck were you doing loosening a bleed valve with vice grips? That's why they invented socket wrenches."

Correct. That is precisely why they invented socket wrenches. But the last time I was in the tool aisle of my local hardware store, I looked at the socket sets and said, "You know what? I know I need one of these, but I really can't think of a single thing I'd use a socket wrench for."

So again: in retrospect, I should have bought that socket wrench.

Why am I telling you this story?

To make this point: you never know the true utility of a tool until you find yourself without it at a critical moment. This is true of any tool, including the tools marketers use to engage prospects.

A good video marketing arsenal is overstocked at all times. You need to have the tools to deliver a video email to a target audience at a moment's notice, to push a video out to your social network in reaction to some game-changing event in your industry, to inform multiple departments of product changes, and so on. There are lots of tools that specialize in each of these things, and there are appropriate times to use them. But in order to use these tools, you must first own them and be familiar with their operation.

Let's test your toolbox.

Let's say a small band of over-caffeinated interns created a quirky one-off music video about one of your products. (In my head it's set to Men At Work's "Down Under," but your results may vary.) You think this video has viral potential. So what tool do you use to get it there?

Did you answer YouTube? Well, that's a start. But remember that "viral" means widely viewed, and as ubiquitous as it has become, not everyone browses YouTube -- especially not for B2B videos, if that's your market. In order for this video to spread effectively, you'll need to push it out to as many different online video platforms (OVPs) as you can. You can do this manually, or you can use a service like Brightcove's to equal effect. In either case, you need to have accounts with as many different OVPs as you deem necessary -- each of them needs to be a tool in your toolbox.

Viral video can also be shared directly through social media, so you have to make sure you possess and can use social media tools as well. For our purposes, the most important of the social media outlets is probably Facebook. Like all tools, you need to understand how video sharing on Facebook works in order to make it work for you.

People underestimate the viral potential of email, as well. Yes, people still forward emails to friends and colleagues. Heck, chances are that you have a forwarded email in your inbox right now. To not avail yourself of this targeted method of video distribution would be pure folly. If you don't have a viable video email solution, get one. If you do have one, learn how it works.

There are a variety of other tools that can help your video content do whatever you want it to do. The point is that in order for video marketing efforts to be effective, you have to possess these tools and know how to use them. Otherwise you'll end up covered in fuel, screaming obscenities at your hot-water heater.

3 comments about "How Well-Stocked Is Your Video Toolbox? ".
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  1. The digital Hobo from TheDigitalHobo.com, April 27, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.

    worst column on media post ever.

    EV-ER.

  2. Matthew Shaw from Flimp Media Inc., April 27, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.

    Maybe you could help me understand your objection a little bit better, Hobo?

  3. Steve Noble from VideoAdMan.com, May 14, 2010 at 5:33 p.m.

    Catching up on my reading today. I just wanted to say this is a great article. My clients have a group of videos to use (but never enough) and I advise them of this regularly. Thanks for your insight.

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