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About Rand: Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEO software company SEOmoz. He co-authored the Art of SEO, co-founded Inbound.org, and was named on PSBJ’s 40 Under 40 List and BusinessWeek’s 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30.
Rand is an addict of all things content and social on the web, from his blog on entrepreneurship to Twitter, Google+, Facebook,
LinkedIn, and FourSquare. In his minuscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, Geraldine, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.
As digital marketing continues to evolve, smart marketers are realizing the importance of creating outstanding video content.
To learn more about video marketing from a leader in inbound marketing, we’ve turned to Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-founder of SEOmoz, to share his experiences and knowledge.
1. At SEOmoz, you’ve built an incredibly strong community of fans that tune in to watch Whiteboard Friday every week. What’s your secret?
There aren’t a lot of secrets. Like most things in life, it comes down to hard work on an ongoing basis and learning from your mistakes. We’ve made quite a few over the years, and have gradually gotten better and better. A few of the big things we’ve learned would be:
a.) Create content that speaks to what your audience/community cares about, not what you’re trying to promote
b.) Leverage the news and current events – we do a lot of Whiteboard Friday topics that tie into conversations or content that we see getting popular in the marketing industry (e.g. when Google’s Panda update launched, we did a Whiteboard Friday about it that got a lot of attention)
c.) Production quality matters, but only to about 80% of professional grade. We’ve noticed that the biggest returns come from getting the basics right — quality picture, a good lighting setup, etc. — but going the extra mile to make every detail or every pen swipe on the board perfect doesn’t make a huge difference. I think viewers actually appreciate some of the imperfections and lack of corporate polish.
2. What advantages do you find in creating videos versus writing blog posts?
From a marketing perspective, it’s certainly a better medium for creating engagement and leaving a brand impression. Written posts often get skimmed, and while videos are frequently abandoned in the first 30 seconds, those who stay have a much stronger and more visceral connection to the brand, the content, and the presenter.
3. With changes in consumer habits, can you explain how the rise of the explainer video has impacted inbound marketing?
These videos have been around a while, and the purpose is fairly clear — to provide a quick and easy way to show off a product or service. The impact on inbound marketing isn’t just these explainer-style videos, it’s the rise of video content of all kinds, and the integration across platforms in new and unique ways, e.g. video XML sitemaps in Google listings that provide higher click-through rates and the ability to rank in YouTube & Google Video search, integration with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks to make one-click viewing possible, availability of video on mobile and tablet devices, etc.
There’s far too many individual items to list, but my overall sense is that making great video that brands, converts, and earns shares is a highly valuable skill in the inbound world and will be for a long time to come.
4. What has been SEOmoz’s most successful video or video marketing campaign to-date and can you help dissect what made it so popular?
Other than the obvious answer of “Whiteboard Friday” in general, I don’t think we’ve done enough yet to have great examples there. I have a personal example, a video I did with Hackers and Founders. It has over 100K views and continues to make its way into a lot of startup and tech company marketing departments. Unfortunately, I don’t know what the catalyst was that drove that success. It likely has a lot to do with the environment of Silicon Valley and who was there that night helping to seed and spread it.
5. Since you’ve made your predictions about the future of inbound marketing in 2013, is there anything you would want to add about the future of video marketing?
It’s going to grow! That, and I think those who invest in producing more creative, high quality, and unique video content will be able to far exceed the success of their peers who only invest lightly. Like any other form of content — blogs, news articles, comics, interactive pieces, tools, etc. — there will be a few who separate themselves from the rest because they’ve chosen to make a serious investment. I’d urge those who are considering the practice to determine whether they have the resolve to try, fail, and try again at video time and again, because that’s what it’s going to take to be in that elite group.
What are your thoughts on Rand’s responses? Who else should we interview?