Video Is (Still) Your Chance To Be A Pioneer

The following is a guest post written by Future Buzz community member Melissa Woodson.

A few years ago, it was noted that producing online video was your chance to be a pioneer. It may be hard to believe, because digital video isn’t really new, but this is still a huge opportunity.

Due to the efficiency of the web we’re dealing with each other less on a face-to-face basis and more through emails and chat windows. But concurrently, sites and services like YouTube, Vimeo, Veoh, Google+ Hangouts and Socialcam are pushing people to interact via video in real-time, as well as produce video content to be consumed later.

Sure, they don’t offer direct, person-to-person interaction. But they bring people together all the same, depending on what people do with their channels. Some use video sharing services to export comedy, while video bloggers, or vloggers, have also begun using the form to affect social and political change or build connections with clients.

There’s a real opportunity here for those of us who have something to share. And let’s face it–who among us doesn’t? But it begs the question, what should you do to get your message out via video? There are a few factors to consider when constructing videos and posting them to video-sharing services. Things like the design and purpose of a site, the kinds of videos that are uploaded, and how those videos function in relation to other established forms of social media are all-important factors to take into account.

Most importantly, be sure to consider the following before diving into video sharing:

Have a point of view.

Nearly all successful vloggers have defined points of view or purposes for their web-based content. Comedy is one of the most popular functions of video sharing. Some, like Wong Fu, import a cultural message by giving opportunities to actors who are not often a part of mainstream TV and film, while others, like Liam K. Sullivan, do sketch with a quirky satiric bent. The gay community has seen itself represented in high numbers online, with legions of LGBT vloggers discussing everything from Glee recaps to the It Gets Better project.

All this is to say that if you want to maximize your video-sharing potential, you need to know what kind of content you want to make and what niche you can serve. This is because the Internet is geared toward servicing niche culture and concerns and without a point of view, you won’t go far.

Know your audience.

Audience is everything to vloggers, and it’s something that’s difficult to build and sustain. There are a few reasons why. As previously mentioned, Internet culture is niche culture, and that means that interests are diffused over a wide variety of sites and platforms. Using data to understand audiences also plays a big part in getting something off the ground, simply because it’s hard to predict in a vacuum what content is going to have crossover appeal.

You can maximize your audience potential, though, if you have in mind what kind of people will be interested in your content and have done some initial research. Are the kind of videos you’re interested in making targeted toward people of specific backgrounds? From certain occupations or lifestyles? If so, it’s easy to seek out corners of the Internet where you can reach and connect with potential audiences.

Once you’ve got a plan in mind, today is the day to start executing and ride the incredible wave of online video growth.

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, a Master of Laws offered through Washington University in St. Louis that is considered a premier LLMinUS Law. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

image credit: Shutterstock