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Making good use of video: Before you start

It seems like everyone is using videos to market their products. So what are you going to do to keep up with the competition and make effective use of online video?

It doesn’t take much looking to realise that there are hundreds of millions of videos available online, mostly through YouTube.

In fact that estimate is almost certainly wrong, as more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

And it’s not all funny cats or amusing dogs or people falling over; a large proportion comprises instructions, tutorials, CPD material and information about companies and products.

It used to be said that one picture was worth a thousand words.

That cliché has since been updated to say that one minute of video is worth 1.8m words – and that was back in 2009!

Instant gratification

Moving pictures are engaging and, if the content is right, make it easier to explain possibly complex things speedily.

People are increasingly happier to click on a video link than to make the effort of reading pages of text, whether that text be on your website or in your literature.

“The cost of making a video has fallen dramatically and you no longer need to be a technical expert to use it”

Instant gratification is the norm and that applies to professional construction audiences as much as to anyone else.

Instant answers provided in a simple and sometimes entertaining way will beat hard work any day.

But how practicable is video for smaller businesses? And what content is it worth putting online?

The first answer is that the cost of making a video has fallen dramatically and you no longer need to be a technical expert to use it.

So once some pertinent advice is followed, almost every company can do it.

As to content, almost everything involved in your company is worth considering.

You can create educational stuff such as how-to presentations covering, say, installation and maintenance, CPD webinars, answers to common questions.

You can put more subtle expert opinion pieces online, interviews with experts, reports from site installations.

“Your online video channel is a part of your brand identity. It will be disastrous for your reputation if your video is not useful to your target audience”

You can even put straight sales presentations online as well as testimonials, or a tour of your factory, as well as promoting special offers and events.

It’s probably worth mentioning apps such as Vine, which provide the opportunity for businesses on a limited budget to have a go – just don’t try to cram too much into its six-second maximum length.

Content and quality

Never ever create a video just for the sake of getting a video online.

You want your viewers to come back and check out what you’ve been up to after an engaging and informative previous visit.

Your online video channel is a part of your brand identity. It will be disastrous for your reputation if your video is not useful to your target audience.

It’s even worse to post low-quality video: poor production with inadequate lighting, indifferent camerawork or unsubtle audio will drive your customers away and they may never return. 

So start planning your video now, see what other people are doing and research the areas you want to start off in.

Over the next few weeks we’ll deal with what to consider while you’re making your videos, putting them online and how to track how well you are doing.

Rick Osman works for Highwire Design, an agency that specialises in collaboration and development solutions for the construction industry, see www.construction-standards.com, as well as being a CIMCIG committee member and a judge for the Construction Marketing Awards. You can find out about more about marketing in construction and relevant events at www.cimcig.org

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