An effective content marketing strategy should include using all formats of content — text, image, audio and video — but the data is now clear that video is the most effective.

Here is a small sampling of the data showing the positive impact of video content over text:

  • 53 times better chance of front page Google ranking
  • 1,200% higher share rates
  • 3 times more in-linking
  • Two minute longer site stays
  • 96.4% higher click-through rates
  • 64% higher likelihood of making a purchase
  • 6-30% higher shopping cart sales

The reality is that video is rapidly replacing text as the preferred online communication medium.

“With online video quickly becoming a key means for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, businesses that fail to include it in their Internet marketing strategies will do so at their peril. Video is the future of content marketing. That is, if it’s not the here and now.” The Guardian – January 14, 2014

With the use of online video becoming a requirement for most businesses, the question is how to best manage this medium with its large file sizes, multiple formats and wide range of applications.

Video Management Options

Here the basic steps for getting a video displaying at an online location:

  • Shoot the video using your webcam, smartphone or other video camera (video recorder)
  • Move the video from your recording device to a computer or online video platform (video uploader)
  • If needed, get the video edited (which often requires moving the video to another computer)
  • Transcode the video to reduce its file size and get it into the multiple file formats required for viewing across the Internet (video converter)
  • Upload the video directly to each location you want it to display or use an “embed” code to stream the video to a location (video player)
  • For embedded video, resize the file so it displays appropriately

Obviously, this process is much too complicated for almost any business.

Luckily, there are tools available to simplify this process.

YouTube

The most widely used tool is YouTube, with over 300 hours of video uploaded to its servers every minute (further evidence that video is becoming the preferred online communication medium).

Due its over 1 billion unique viewers per month, most businesses should be uploading some of their videos to YouTube to gain the broad exposure this platform provides — just as they should be uploading some videos to Facebook (4 billion daily video views) and other social media accounts.

However, it’s a major mistake for businesses to use YouTube to manage all their video assets, for these six reasons (see Why Not YouTube for a more detailed explanation):

  1. Lose Control Of Your Content — review YouTube’s terms of use
  2. Too Many Distractions From Content and Brand — ads, comments, related videos
  3. Limited Applications — a lot of the things you should be doing with video just aren’t possible using YouTube (see below)
  4. Not Accessible — widely blocked
  5. No Audio-Only Player
  6. No Customer Service
  7. Complicated — multiple steps to post a video to your website

Private Video Hosting

An alternative to YouTube are the private video hosting systems, such as Vimeo, Wistia and Vidyard. They offer a video uploader, video converter and video player, but no video recorder.

These systems address some of YouTube’s issues (1, 2, 4, 6) and offer additional functionality (e.g., more extensive analytics, marketing features, control of player look) — but they still don’t enable many important applications of video (see below), no audio-only player is available, their monthly subscription price can be out-of-reach for many businesses and they’re complicated and time-consuming to use.

However, they do offer some great features in terms of data analytics (video viewing stats, click-through behavior, video sharing behavior, geographic location of viewers) and marketing features (marketing automation integrations, embedded call-to-actions, auto-pause, share-gate options). Yet, many businesses don’t need these more advanced features at the level they are offered.

Still, for businesses with the necessary financial resources and technology staff, these private hosting systems may be a good solution, as long as other video applications — not supported by these systems — aren’t needed.

Online Video Platforms

The third alternative to YouTube is an enterprise-level online video platform (OPV) like Kaltura, Brightcove or Limelight, which are used by such companies as Walmart, NBC, Kohler, Zappos and Direct TV. These systems have a wealth of features — including a video uploader, video converter and video recorder and the capability for advertisement pre-rolls — but are much too expensive and complicated to be used by other than very large organizations.

In summary, if a business is just looking for an online video hosting solution and related functionality, there are three options: YouTube, private hosting system, OPV.

Of these, YouTube has far too many problems for use as a business video-asset-management solution and only very large organizations have the resources to use an enterprise OPV.

Therefore, for the vast majority of companies, the only viable option is one of the private video hosting systems — but only if the business has the financial resources and technology staff to manage it. For most companies, even these systems are too expensive, feature-rich and complicated.

Single-Purpose Video Applications

The bigger problem with the private video hosting systems is that, for businesses to take full advantage of the marketing power of online video, they need far more than just an online video hosting solution. That’s why so many single-purpose video applications have been introduced.

Here is a list of the single-purpose applications for online video that aren’t addressed by the private video hosting solutions (with a sampling of some of the companies offering a solution).

  • Webcam video recording (MS Window, Apple OS)
  • Smartphone/tablet video recording (SocialCam, iOS, Android)
  • Video and audio email (BombBomb, Talk Fusion, Jive Systems)
  • Customer-generated content e.g., testimonials, video reviews (Bravo, Vidrack)
  • Video distribution to multiple locations (OneLoad, Traffic Geyser)
  • Video podcast hosting (Libsyn, Blubrry)
  • Time-shifted video interviewing (Montage, Harqen, Take The Interview)
  • Large file sharing (Hightail, WeTransfer)
  • Screencast creation (Telestream, TechSmith)
  • Video marketing feature add-ons (PressPlay, Easy Web Video)
  • Syndication of video to a network of local websites
  • Video integration with other applications (some of all of the above)

Most of these offerings have a monthly subscription price ($25 to hundreds of dollars per month) and they all have unique user interfaces with various levels of complexity.

No Good Options

Therefore, if a business wants to take full advantage of the marketing power of online video, no good option exists.

Sure, they could cobble together a solution consisting of a private video hosting system and multiple single-purpose apps — but, without the financial resources and technology staff to manage the complexity of a solution like this, it would not be viable.

In addition to the challenges with managing online video, there are similar issues with managing online audio. YouTube and most of the private video hosting systems are not an option. However, due to significantly smaller file size, audio files can often be uploaded directly to a website’s server and played with the assistance of onsite plugin.

But, even so, single-purpose applications have been developed to meet the needs for online audio management (e.g., Audio Generator, Audio Acrobat) and audio podcast hosting (Libsyn, SoundCloud), which creates another level of complexity.

Then, beyond the complexities of managing video and audio, there is the challenge of having to log into multiple accounts (website, social media accounts, iTunes, etc.) to upload content. In response, services like HootSuite, SproutSocial and Shoutlet have been developed. However, they only enable text and image submissions (no video or audio) and they only distribute content to social media accounts (no website distribution).

This creates yet another level of complexity for the content marketer.

To summarize, to manage an effective content marketing effort using video, audio, text and image, you would need the following tools:

  • Private video hosting system (video uploader, video converter, video player, but no video recorder)
  • Selected (depending on your needs) single-purpose video apps
  • Private audio hosting system (or embedded website solution for audio)
  • Video and audio podcast hosting system
  • Social media management tool

Again, it’s certainly possible to manage a system like this, but it wouldn’t be easy nor affordable — and, as a result, it’s not be a viable option for the vast majority of businesses.

What’s Needed

What’s needed is a system that enables all applications of online video/audio and simplifies multimedia content distribution — with a feature-set optimized for small to midsize businesses.

That system is Content XLerator (see History).

This system enables content authors — using a smartphone, tablet and computer – to record/upload video, audio, image, file and text content and have the submitted content automatically publish to multiple online locations (website locations, social media accounts, marketing emails, custom applications).

Content XLerator addresses the three primary challenges of content marketing:

  1. Need to produce lots of content cost-effectively, including customer-generated content (see Content Types)
  2. Complexity of using video and audio, the preferred content marketing media
  3. Hassle of logging into numerous online accounts to broadly distribute your content

Content XLerator Overview

Here are the main features of Content Xlerator:

  • Supports video/audio recording and uploading via a smartphone, tablet or webcam (video recorder)
  • Provides private hosting for all media types, including podcasts (video uploader, video converter, video player)
  • Sends multimedia content (video, audio, image, text) to multiple locations (website, social media, email, apps)
  • Enables collection of customer-generated content, such testimonials, stories, reviews – in video, audio and text formats

Here are the technical elements:

  • Supports video, audio, image and text – eliminates the complexity of managing online video and audio
  • Displays distributed content on any browser – automatically converts video to multiple file formats
  • Works with all internet-connected devices – all smartphones, tablets and computers are supported
  • Provides multiple methods of implementation– web client, WordPress plugin, iPhone/Android app (apps in development)
  • Enables content approval before sending– submissions can be approved before distribution
  • Syndicates video (and all other media types) to a network of local sites – add content to scores of sites with a single submission
  • Integrates with other applications via an API
  • In development: data analytics and marketing feature add-ons – optimized for small to midsize businesses

As a result of the above, here are the many applications for Content XLerator:

  • Simple recording of video or audio using a webcam, tablet or smartphone
  • Collecting customer testimonials/stories/reviews in multiple media formats
  • Simple, fast and easy distribution of multimedia content to multiple locations
  • Simple addition of multimedia content to your blog, member site, LMS or eCommerce system
  • Video and audio email
  • Large file sharing
  • Syndicating multimedia content to a network of local affiliate sites
  • Training applications, such as for online learning and recording of live demo role-plays
  • Time-shifted communication applications, such as video interviewing

Content XLerator is the dream of any content marketer – but, specifically, for those within SMBs.