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All Right Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready For My Close-Up

I chatted with several journalists while in Prague and London on a recent trip, among them international wire services, television, radio and online news networks, and a leading financial newspaper. Very different discussions, except for one commonality. They all want online video.

A year or two ago, it was mostly trade media requesting video for their online editions. Trade media creating online editions discovered what television networks knew decades ago. When you have a lot of time to fill, you have no time to kill. You need more stories, and right now.

What to do? Add video interviews. Get the chief executive officer, or divisional executive, or marketing manager. Or even interview your own reporters from the floor of the big trade show.

If you check out the best trade media covering your customers, look closely at how many video interviews and stories are available on those web sites. It may surprise you.

And it isn’t just trade media now. Everybody wants online video. The reason is simple. We all look at photos. But we watch video. Because video is compelling, people stop to watch.

The key word is “stop.” When you stop to watch, you’re counted as a “hit” on the web site. The more hits to demonstrate, the easier the task of selling to advertisers.

So an industries reporter for a newspaper will want video from the factory floor to accompany a story on manufacturing trends. A wire service reporter will want video to accompany a story on breaking news to subscribers including investment houses and other news media.

One result of this trend toward online video is that journalism schools are even training students in how to use video cameras because almost every news job they might pursue will require the ability to take video for online stories.

This trend rivals the mainstream media usage of social media, because where social media may bring more readers, online video may bring more advertisers. Guess who is more important.

What does this mean for you?

You’re probably already creating your own online videos to demonstrate how your products or services solve problems that face your customers. You’re probably already creating your own video interviews of your management team to reach out to employees around the world. You’re probably also already using video to respond to issues or crises, to demonstrate quickly that your organization takes seriously its commitments and responsibilities.

But this trend line toward online video among mainstream media – which still dominate our conversations about what is happening in the world and which also drive the conversations on blogs and social networks – is something different, something new.

Your chief executive officer and other senior leaders, perhaps accustomed to the occasional broadcast interview with CNBC or Bloomberg Television, now will face requests for online video with almost every single interview request at the local, national and even international level of print, broadcast and online media.

You may have to prevail upon your leadership to participate in these online video stories. It may be the only way you make the news.

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