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Local Video Has Narrow But Valuable Viewership

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video production

Many local business owners believe they need to invest in local video because of the growth of video viewership.

They may read studies such as one from Pew Internet and American Life Project. It says that more than half of all adult online users have seen video on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

Unfortunately, local video often draws a small audience., no matter how much it is promoted.

Why Local Video is Challenging

The problem lies with the size of the local audience, the limited number of compelling topics and the amount of work necessary to produce video. The problem is smaller for media websites and much larger for non-media businesses.

In the case of TV stations, the labor problem is fairly small because they are already producing video for their newscasts. That said, placing video on a TV site does take some effort, and TV website audiences are much smaller (in most markets) than local newspaper site audiences. They also usually face competition from other local TV stations.

Newspapers have a different problem, which rarely have competition from other newspapers in the same market. They usually have staff photographers who shoot photos with cameras that have video capability.

But their primary task is shooting photos for the print edition. Video is a secondary priority, and it is a separate set of skills. Although the typical newspaper site is larger, the amount of effort to produce videos is greater.

Finally there is the problem of compelling topics. Millions of people may watch a video on YouTube because it is unique, entertaining or amazing in some way that leads to buzz and sharing.

The challenge is bigger for non-media businesses that don’t shoot photos or videos as a regular business task. They must make a conscious effort to do so. Realtors are one of the few non-media businesses that have photo and video production as a common task.

Why Local Video is Worthwhile

Still, any non-media business can make a small effort to shoot video or hire someone to do it and get a return on investment.

Shooting local video is worthwhile to establish a foothold in the technology and learn how to do it. It’s wise to start small and slowly, building skills and insights before committing too much time, energy and even money. For example, a 60-second video every two months that goes onto YouTube just might attract some paying customers who discover the business there.

Consider starting video efforts with feature pieces that have long shelf life, such as a business profile, owner interview or profiles of local attractions.

Build a library of such videos and track how many plays each one gets, which ones are more popular and which ones attract viewer comments. Post the videos on the business website with the YouTube embed function. The breadth and total number of archived videos will increase the sales opportunities.

Branch out into news fully expecting that some clips will draw big viewership, but that the majority will have relatively few viewers. Try regular weekly programming to get a taste of scheduled programming.

Most of all, keep trying, keep learning and keep expectations low. Video has a bright and growing future for local websites.

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