Learning to Make Online Video Content Effective

In an earlier post I noted that companies are struggling to develop commercially effective content for their Web 2.0 efforts. Where can you find commercially effective content?

The surprising answer for video is that some of the savviest commercial content developers are those making 30 minute paid programs. That’s right, infomercials.

Wait, is that a chorus of protests about cheesiness I hear? I fully agree. There are miserably tacky paid program developers out there that you don’t want to learn from and can’t be let anywhere near your brand. But that doesn’t mean rejecting the entire industry.

We have something to learn from paid programming because infomercials only work when CONSUMERS CHOOSE to watch them. In other words: infomercial commercial content has to be so compelling and persuasive that people choose to watch it. And, they succeed at this.

We have something to learn because infomercials have maintained their effectiveness despite the advent of the DVR and on-screen program listings. Because successful paid programming delivers content that consumers want – communication about a product, how that product affects their lives, and offers insight into new products consumers don’t get anywhere else.

We have something to learn because infomercials face attention challenges easily on par with online video. Based on nearly 20 years of infomercial experience, we know that if the TV content doesn’t deliver a unique value, consumers change the channel quickly.

Among the key lessons we can learn is that if a consumer wants something entertaining, there is MUCH better content out there than that generated by companies. And that we can’t affort to create video that is no more than a 30 second spot stretched to 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes. These bore consumers.

And, after all, perhaps this is the best summary of the majority long form Web 2.0 video content: boring and uninformative – despite what it’s producers want to think.

Copyright 2010. Doug Garnett

About Doug Garnett
Growing retail based businesses through television, DRTV, and all forms of video. Doug is a strategist, executive producer, director, author, & teacher.

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