McCartney Taylor has a passion for beekeeping. He even turned that into a successful business with a web site, LearningBeekeeping.com, that let’s readers know anything they want about this hobby.
It’s been a thriving operation for Taylor, and what really helped his business take off, he said, was his decision to start creating videos about the world of beekeeping and posting them on YouTube. The videos took off, and he’s now posted 70 of them altogether.
“I accidentally have become the largest beekeeping video on YouTube,” he said.
Taylor says if a business is serious about reaching an audience today, YouTube is a critical way of finding them. It’s a flashy, interesting way to grab people’s attention, much more so than simply creating a web site with a lot of text on it for people to read. Given a choice today, he said, people would rather watch a funny, dramatic or exciting video than read something.
“Mass market paperbacks are $5,” he said. “You want to go buy a DVD for the same concept, it’s $25. That tells you something. Take ‘Titanic’ – the ship still sinks. But the movie is considered more appealing than a book. Video is more valuable. Rather than read a six-hour book, people want to see the two hour movie version, even though they know it’s been chopped up. Video is always perceived as more valuable.”
Taylor recently gave a presentation on “How to Create a Successful YouTube Channel,” offering tips on creating a video that grabs an audience’s attention and holds them – and convinces them to go a step further and start exploring the rest of what your business has to offer. It’s not as easy as it sounds. If the first few seconds – not minutes, but seconds – are not interesting enough to hold a viewers’ interest, they’ll tune out and move on, he said.
“You’ve got eight seconds,” he said. “You gotta use it. And don’t be afraid to use it. This is all about YouTube and videography and getting your message across.”
There will be plenty of competition, he said.
“This is about videos from the world, really,” Taylor said.
YouTube is a video sharing website that allows users to upload, share and view videos. The site was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees, and the firm based in San Bruno, California, has grown tremendously. Politicians have announced their plans to run for office on YouTube, and sometimes YouTube videos become national news stories.
“There are many video hosting sites out there, and YouTube is the granddaddy of them all,” Taylor said. “YouTube is the second most searched site in terms of search engines. Google is the most. It is a means by which you are communicating something.”
It also became invaluable for his own business, Taylor said.
“I got into beekeeping and I thought I would come back and throw some stuff up on my channel,” he said. “I had a web site to help my brand. That (first) video had a lot of appeal to a wide audience. It was a viral video with a ‘wow’ factor.”
The videos took off, and “I finally became a YouTube partner that allows them to put an ad on my site. You can’t just become a partner by asking for it. You have to earn it. But if you have a YouTube account, you can see who is watching your videos, so I know ‘Ok, my stuff is really popular in Texas.’ ”
The first step, he said, is understanding what kind of audience your company is targeting.
“You will have to know your audience,” he said. “One good entertaining video will get your message out to more people than 100 white papers, press releases, or articles. But it has to be entertaining. You have five to eight seconds to convince your audince you are worth watching. You have to apply some good concepts to your video.”
The good news, he said, is that “Video creation is no longer hard. You can do this easily.”
He recommended purchasing a Kodak Zi8 pocket video camera, and using Powerpoint, a commercial presentation program developed by Microsoft.
“Powerpoint can do some awesome things,” he said. “You’ve got to keep motion happening on your video. Use Powerpoint with voiceover.”
He also recommended downloading OpenOffice.org, a free productivity site, to assist with the development of the video.
But most of all, be creative in what you put on screen, Taylor said.
“Slam right into the exciting part of the story, then do a title page and back up and start from the beginning,” he said. “You want to have faces in front of the camera and you want to make sure it’s not shakey,” he said, recommending that videographers have a camera, tripod, microphones and an editor program like iMovie, a video editing software program.
And be sure, he added, that your sound is as good as the visuals.
“Sound is uber-important,” he said. “Crappy video is happily tolerated if it has good sound. There is great evidence of this – radio. Sound is more important than visuals. Do not short change yourself on sound.”
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