How to prepare for the online video revolution

Humans are distractible creatures. Anyone who’s ever tried knows it’s a tough sell getting them to take notice of anything amongst the multitude of media that streams at them every day. It’s a hard game to play, but the good news is the rules are changing, and there are benefits to being ahead of the pack. The internet has made it easier to reach people. Social media has made it easier to keep people. But it’s video that’s made it easier to move them.

It’d be fair to say that the video business is booming. Companies the world over are using video to advertise their products and services, offer helpful tips and tricks to their customers and give people a glimpse ‘behind the curtain’ at what makes a company tick. It’s remarkable how brief a time the online video has existed and how intuitive a business practice it’s already become.

Gone are the days when television advertising reigned supreme and one-way media was squeezed through a few tightly controlled channels. Now, with an inexpensive video camera, a passable knowledge of video editing, and (naturally) a Wipster account, you can reach a potentially global audience. The only barrier left is the only one that should matter – your ability to create amazing video.

Best of all, the benefits run both ways. Beyond the eternal appeal of cat videos, users are flocking to YouTube to keep up to date with the latest trends and happenings in the worlds of fashion, sport, business, entertainment and art. Merely reading about a new fashion trend on a blog or a news site is not enough. People need sound and vision to be convinced. Witness the phenomenon of the ‘unboxing’ video, where the excitement of a first-time purchase is bottled and synthesized for a mass market. Brands like Apple have achieved the ultimate dream of having their own customers create ads for them, and these ads are generating millions of views. This is the power of video.

Beyond advertising, video is also now the great star-maker. The power that was once in the hands of a few MTV programmers is now governed by the ultimate democracy of the YouTube play count. South Korea’s sensation Psy probably would be a local star if he had only released an audio version of his hit Gangnam Style, but it was the outrageous sensory-expanding video that granted him superstar status after it punched up one billion (and counting) views on YouTube. The old guardians of popular culture are not unaware of this change, so much so that Billboard now compiles its iconic chart listing partly with YouTube play counts in mind.

There’s no way around it; this is a brave new world — one where a formerly anonymous Brooklyn DJ can take his novelty tune all the way to number one in the pop charts.

And it’s not just the scrappy upstarts of the tech world that know this. The big players are moving fast to grab the opportunity. Facebook recently announced it was moving into the video advertising market in a big way, and LinkedIn has launched a video feature for users to flesh out their resumes with.

This is happening now. Smartphones and tablets are nearing saturation level, and the network speeds that measure out content to them are growing by orders of magnitude every year. We all have to move fast to tap into a market that is always moving, always changing. There’s never been a better way to do this than with online video.

With all that in mind we’ve put together a few tips for anyone who’s ready to join the videomaker’s revolution:

  1. Content is king
    Don’t just wing it. Create useful, informative video that will help people out and tell them something they want to know. Before you go out there and stand in front of a camera, research what your target audience want and need, and create all your video content with that in mind. Remember that people have to search to find you, so give them something they might already be looking for.
  2. Use the right tools
    Video editing software is cheaper than it’s ever been, and formally byzantine products like Apple’s Final Cut Pro X have been rebuilt from the ground up to make it easier for aspiring video makers to pick-up and play.
  3. Get a Wipster account
    Good lord, why wouldn’t you? Nobody creates truly great work in isolation, and with Wipster you can communicate with all your collaborators right where it matters, on the video itself. The first 10 minutes of storage are free and sign up will take you 30 seconds tops. Just saying...
  4. Keep it short and snappy
    This is a biggy. Remember that your audience’s attention span can generally be measured in the seconds, not minutes. You have go in strong and early. You shouldn’t need more than a minute or two to give an overview of your product, talents, or idea.
  5. Link to your other material
    Seems simple, but it’s incredible how often this gets overlooked. Remember your video is the bait, so make sure you hook them in properly. It can be as basic as providing a link at the end through which viewers can access more related material. Just make sure you're ready to follow up with something.
  6. Make amazing video!
    This trumps everything else. One thing that’s never going to change is that the best work will rise to the top. So get out there and get it DONE (once you’ve gone and got yourself Wipster account of course).