There has never been a better time for video producers to promote and distribute their own work. You don't have to hire someone to do it nor spend a lot of cash getting it done.
If you are a little digital-savvy, or if you already have a blog or website of your own, you can market your own video and services just as effectively as any professional marketing agency.
You have put your heart and soul into your video production - now you want the whole world to see it, but you are not sure what to do about it. The good news is that these days you have many options from which to choose. Web-savvy videographers have been inventing new markets and opening up distribution opportunities with minimal resources. You have the potential to reach millions every day using such tools as blogs, social networks, even your own website. They are your opportunity to let your work be seen by the right people and they are all as effective, if not more, than if you hired an advertising agency to do it for you.
Often overlooked by videographers, Podcasts are a great way to distribute your work. Podcasts are audio or video clips that are downloadable at no cost. Because a podcast is subscription-based, use "teaser videos" like the behind-the-scenes of your video or interviews with cast members to get people to subscribe. Once you have a significant number of subscribers, you will be ready to debut your video or film.
Video Portals and Social Networks
Video portals and social networks can establish the value of your video with like-minded people sharing common interests. Getting their attention can be as effective as meeting in person. Your profile page can serve as your website, and using their tools, you can embed video clips, launch podcasts, and even link back to a blog or a website.
YouTube is the most popular video portal in the world. Create your own channel on YouTube, upload your video and send out invitations to people interested in watching your video. Asking for comments and feedback is a great way to establish relationships. Publishing videos on YouTube has propelled some videographers to celebrity status. Amanda Baggs' video about autism caught the attention of CNN executives. Amy Walker's video 21 Accents has received four million hits and an invitation to appear on The Tonight Show.
VodPod is another social networking video sharing site. As with YouTube, you can get your very own video channel up and running in minutes. Use your video channel to power your own video site and connect your channel to your blog, Facebook, even Twitter. Take advantage of their stock templates or customize your video site from scratch.
Facebook is by far the most popular social network in the world. If you have a Facebook account, you can upload your video to your profile page and let the comments pour in. For a more professional presence, create a Facebook Business Page, just for your video distribution.
Although MySpace has lost some of its popularity in recent years, it is still a favorite among musicians. MySpace boosted Tila Tequila to celebrity status, a singer who became an overnight sensation through her MySpace appearances and singing.
Flickr is yet another social network where you can show your video to millions. Upload your video as you would a photo and make it "public."
Do you have a Blog or Website?
If you have your own blog or website, you are already ahead of the game. Use them to distribute your video. However, before you upload it to your blog or site, you need to attend to a few technical details that are necessary to ensure optimal video quality. You will need to convert your video to a web-optimized format. The most widely used video format on the web today is Flash. Any video conversion program can help you with this. You might already have a built-in video conversion plug-in inside your video editing application. Some of the more popular video converters are Handbrake, Sorenson Squeeze, and QuickTime Pro.
You will want to add search engine friendly (SEF) metadata keywords along with your video as well as to your video page so that search engines can find it and list it. Use Google's Webmaster Tools to submit your video information so they can list it on their video index.
After you have converted and optimized your video for search engines, you can then upload it to your blog or site. Every video portal and social network site has its own uploading requirements. However, they are all very similar and not hard to figure out. If you are uploading to your own website, you can use an FTP client like FileZilla to upload your video.
But what if you don't have a blog or a website, and you don't know squat about how create either one? Lucky for you there are thousands of free tools available that you can use to create a blog or web site. Here are just a few of the more popular ones:
Blogger is one of the most used blogging tools in the world, no doubt in part because it is so easy to manage and because it is free. Using Blogger, you can have your own blog in minutes. Moreover, because it is a Google product, you can easily link all of your other Google applications, like Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Gmail to your blog. These are useful tools to have for communicating with clients, buyers, and other distributors.
LiveJournal describes itself as "a community publishing platform, willfully blurring the lines between blogging and social networking." It's a virtual global community where users can interact on common interests. Using LiveJournal, you have a combination of blogging and social networking tools, giving you the opportunity to double the distribution of your video without doubling the effort.
Hire a Professional
Okay, all these services are great, you say, but you want something a little bit more customized, more professional, something that will say you are a serious video producer and you will spare nothing to get the attention your clients deserve. With so many videos on the web these days and so many "free" blogs and web sites to post them in, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. You want to make sure you stand out above the crowd.
If you are in this position, then either you can build your own custom website or you can pay someone else to do it for you. Some domain and hosting companies provide free web design services when you sign up with them. However, these services are simple, and you will end up with a web site that looks "cookie-cutter" made.
The next option is to have professional do it for you. There are countless web design companies, as well as freelance web designers, that you can commission to build your custom website. Shop around for good web designers. Ask friends or colleagues whom they might recommend. Make sure you commission a web designer who will understand what you want and what you need. Tell him or her what your goals are and what you would like your web site to accomplish for you.
Full-Serve Online Video Platforms
An Online Video Platform is a software-on-demand-based solution that offers services for the management and publication of video. The services include asset management, encoding, video players, video editing, syndication, analytics, hosting, and distribution, to name a few. While they mostly cater to businesses and corporations, the entrepreneurial video producer can also use them. Brightcove is one company that produces an Online Video Platform. When you sign up with them, you upload your video to their servers and then take advantage of their services to create your custom video website. Brightcove has various service plans, starting at $99 a month.
Another company that will do it all for you is CreateSpace. On CreateSpace, you can sell your videos for a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing, while maintaining more control over your product. Your audience can choose "Download to Own and Download to Rent" your video through Amazon Video On Demand or they can purchase a professional DVD of your video on Amazon.com, your own website or other retailers without setup fees or inventory.
So Which One Do You Choose?
No one can say that there is a shortage of opportunities for today's video producers to show their work to millions. Thanks to the web, this is now very easy and relatively inexpensive. This is probably the best time in history to be a video producer or filmmaker. With so many choices and opportunities to get your work noticed, the only thing keeping you from fame and fortune is your own talent, or lack thereof.
Teresa Echazabal is a Writer, Web Producer and Designer, Video Editor and Blogger who has worked in TV news, and network reality TV shows.