In the past, having videos on a website was a hard road to hoe. Bandwidth requirements and the amount of loading time made the process more trouble than it was often worth, for both website owners and viewers.
That’s all changed in recent times – and very much to an affiliate marketer’s benefit.
While video blogging (or vlogging as it’s also known) has been around a while, it’s only relatively recently this has taken off in a big way. Consumers are now embracing this technology in ever-increasing numbers.
In fact, a report on online video data recently released by Nielsen says the total number of video streams watched increased 41% last month, compared to August of 2008.
A good example of how sophisticated video is becoming, and its rising popularity can be seen reflected in the latest Webby Awards – the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet.
The site TED won both the Webby Award and the People’s Choice award for Best Use of Video or Moving Image. Check out this home page, and you’ll see not only just how far things have moved ahead in this area, but also where they are going.
Apart from the strong demand for video content and its improving quality, there’s more good news for affiliate marketers. The technical barriers to video production have also got lower.
Both equipment and software costs have come way down, which means that pretty much anyone who has either a video camera or a video camera phone can now get into video blogging.
If you’re new to vlogging, here’s what is in a nutshell…
Basically, it’s all about making videos and uploading them on the web to get a response from your web visitors. Sometimes these are done in a series, for example, one a week, or several a month on a specific subject.
To get started with video blogging, you simply need a video camera, and a computer that has video editing software installed onto it. Some of the most popular video editing options include the Final Cut Pro, iMovie, and Windows Movie Maker programs. (Your choice will often come down to whether you’re working on a PC or a Mac.)
You’ll also need to find a hosting site, and ideally high speed access to the internet to upload your finished product.
The rapid increase in the number of video-sharing sites means that you no longer have to get stuck with huge bandwidth bills as your site becomes more popular.
Vlogging can be an effective way to add significant interest to your blog, or you can even create an entire site from this. However, getting into video doesn’t mean that you no longer blog. Many vloggers are bloggers who use video as well. In fact, you can use video very effectively in strategic areas of your site, or just for certain reasons, as we’ll see shortly.
So what you can you get out this marketing method that’s now receiving such a dramatic increase of interest?
Let’s look at a few advantages you can expect with video blogging:
Advantage 1: Get An SEO Boost
Video is popping up in search results on an ever increasing basis. The end result of this, of course, is that more traffic gets driven to video results.
Just as there are benefits to blogging regularly in terms of SEO, you can also create more awareness with search engines if you tag your videos properly.
A huge advantage of vlogging is that by search optimizing your online video content, you have the potential to achieve much better rankings.
It’s something that hasn’t yet caught the attention of many internet marketers. In fact, according to Forrester Research, less than 20% of marketers actually insert keywords into the filenames of the videos on their site. Even fewer take advantage of other SEO-boosting strategies, such as writing keyword-focused captions and annotations, or developing an online video library.
Make sure that you make the most of this SEO boosting capability on your site.
Advantage 2: Get Your Slice Of The “How To” Traffic
According to Hitwise.com, search queries seeking some sort of “how to” account for about 2.6% of total search volume.
A classic off-line example that shows the popularity of “how-tos” as actual demonstrations can be seen in cooking shows – after all, if people were only after a recipe, they could just as easily read a cookbook.
Yet trying to explain some things in just text can feel a bit like trying to give someone a haircut over the phone. Sometimes moving pictures are not only more engaging; they’re also more useful to your viewer.
In fact, “how-tos” are where video really shines!
Take a look at how this works online. Enter the query “how to tie a bow tie”, and look what comes up…
The first results that come back are ALL video based.
These video results come up at Number 4 out of 4,820,000.
Let’s try a really hard one to rank well for: “how to make money online”.
We're looking at 190,000,000 results here – no small competition.
I’m kind of surprised by this one. I’d have thought there would be more video results for this, and higher up the page. This one just scraped in with video result at Number 10 on the first page of results. (If you do a video search at Google by clicking on the “Videos” link at the top of the page and then searching for “how to make money online” (with quotes) you'll get more than 15,000 search results.)
You can see that putting together video “how-to’s” offers a great solution for all those “how-to” questions that people have, and can often rank well in search results.
Think about how using video as a “how to” demonstration could benefit your own site. For example, you could demonstrate an affiliate product and how it works, or you could outline a step by step process that relates to your niche.
Advantage 3: Fast-track A Relationship With Your Prospects
The other benefit of having video on your blog is the familiarity factor.
What do I mean by this? You may recall me talking previously of how having photo of yourself on your site can help a web viewer connect with the person behind the computer screen. By being able to see a photo of you, a viewer has an idea of who you are, and feel more comfortable in dealing with you. People buy from others they feel they know and trust – in short, those they feel that they have some sort of relationship with.
Now translate this concept to the screen. Not only can they see a picture of you, they see you in all your glory speaking directly to them. You’re “live in action”!
It’s a fantastic way for them to be able build an emotional connection to you as a person. And this wins hands down when compared to reading dry text on a page. No matter how convincing your copy, genuine emotion that can actually be seen and heard will always translate more effectively to your viewers.
By watching you on video, especially if there’s more than one of these, you can also build trust levels on an ever-increasing basis.
In fact, the more videos you have, the better your relationship with your web viewers has the potential to become. When you can actually see the live person behind the website, a blog seems to take on a life of its own.
An example of this in real life is the “relationship” people feel they have with celebrities. By constant exposure to them on the screen, we feel that we know them and their personality. We warm to them (or otherwise!) because of this on-going exposure to them face-to-screen.
Translate this to building your “fan” base as an affiliate marketer, and you can see the potential of including a fair amount of video on your website.
You could have a video introduction of yourself on your home page so that people can feel like they know you a little, as well as for encouragement to get people to sign up for your newsletter. You could also do a little “hand-holding” where it might be helpful – for example, reassuring people that they have a money-back guarantee on a product.
Have a think about how you can take advantage of the extra “familiarity” video offers and make this work on your site.
Advantage 4: You Benefit From “Blended Search”
A “blended search” is when search engines show videos, news stories, maps, images, and other sorts of results beside the usual text search results.
It’s become more and more common on the main search engines. By optimizing your videos, you’re able to take real advantage of this blended search capacity. In fact, optimizing videos is seen by Forrester Research as by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google.
What other reason do you need?!
Advantage 5: Less Copywriting Required
One of the great things about vlogging is that if you’re not a strong copywriter, or you prefer speaking to writing, video blogging can be a great alternative to getting your message across.
For example, rather than write a traditional “About Us” page, you might like to film this instead, or just part of it. This may be a much more natural way for you to communicate – you won’t know until you try!
Video Sharing Sites To Check Out
Before you race off with your video camera, take a look at some of the most popular video sharing sites. It’s a good idea to see first-hand what works – and what doesn’t!
You’ll find that these sites offer you the tools and resources you’ll need to create and upload videos, as well as useful editing tools and articles. Some video-sharing sites allow you to post your videos for all to view, while others offer you the option to keep these private.
Here are some of the places where you can upload your videos free:
The biggest and most popular video sharing site, it offers many features, and high traffic volumes.
The famous forum for easy sharing of videos online.
Google bought YouTube, but still has its own video sharing and search tool through Google Video.
Yahoo Video has everything available on other large video-sharing sites. Plus you’re also able to upload a transcript for your video, making it easier to find through web searches.
This is a site with over 35 million hours of video, and it bills itself as the world’s largest and most advanced video search engine. Not only can you can upload your videos, you can even develop your own TV show if you’re really keen!
This one’s a revenue sharing as well as video sharing web site. As a member, you can generate revenue from the advertisements added at the end of videos.
So now you know some of the distinct advantages you can get from video blogging! Not only are there significant SEO advantages if you do it properly, you’ve also got the opportunity of fast-tracking your relationship building with your web viewers. And we all know that a better relationship equals better affiliate sales!
Look forward to hearing how vlogging works for you.
Useful Video Blogging Links
These guys have got free courses and tutorials that cover things through from crafting your story through to publishing your videos online.
This group has been going since 2004, and is highly active answering video blogging questions of every description. Lots to learn from here!