Thu 03 Feb 2011


The free video hosting site receives a staggering two billion views a day and accepts twenty-four hours of new material every minute.  Ninety-four of the top one hundred businesses in the world by advertising spend run campaigns on it.

Of course, the number one search engine is Google which happens to own YouTube and gives a particularly high ranking to its moving picture partner’s listings when searches are conducted.  The two feed each other and are streets ahead of everything else on the Worldwide Web.

The static text-only website is as much on its last legs as the printed paper catalogue.    Moving pictures enable a business to demonstrate products, show real people – its customers – speaking real words in testimony to its products and services.  They put a name and face, a person, to a company.  They can illustrate a business’s wonderful facilities and hardworking staff.  Moving pictures allow you to show off anything whatsoever to do with your business in a more engaging and convincing way than a text-only site ever can.

As this column has often reminded its readers, Public Relations is the art of managing and improving reputation.  It is the process of making sure people know about a business and that they believe good things of it.  Customer testimonials, product demonstrations, “How to guides,” – all of these are better illustrated in video than text, and all, if properly conceived and produced, add to that reputation.  Anyone who has ever dealt with Search Engine Optimisation will know that “stickiness,” the encouragement given to a viewer to stay as long as possible on a particular site, is crucial.  Videos are very sticky because people do like to watch them. 

Most  international big brands have caught on to this in a big way.  Coca-Cola, Deloitte, General Motors, Thomson, Nat West are just a few of the companies which have their own (free) channels on the site attracting many millions of views.  In fact you would be hard pressed to find a big high street name which is not represented. 

At the time of writing a search on YouTube for “Shopping Milton Keynes” brings up a number of videos, the most relevant of which have more than fifty thousand views.  A video posted today from a local business which included the same description in its tag words (the words the person uploading the pictures uses to describe the piece) would very soon be appearing under the same search terms.  If fifty thousand people have already found films responding to that search, it is fair to assume that thousands more will continue so to do, and your film can sit there for years, being there every time anyone looks.  Quite a thought!   

Of course there is no reason why the same film could not be embedded on a company’s own website, or in as many different sites as possible (YouTube has smaller rivals like and where they can also be placed usefully).  But the value of videos doesn’t stop with the internet.  They are also a valuable tool for internal communications, particularly for larger businesses with more than one site, and as part of a wider communications plan to customers, suppliers or the general public.

Finally, if you are still not convinced of the value of having some moving pictures of you, your business and your customers online, take a leaf out of the Facebook of Premiership striker, Tuncay.  The Turkish international striker has posted an eleven minute compilation of his best goals online, as an advertisement for any clubs which might be tempted to buy him from Stoke City. 

To ever-so-slightly misquote the great psychologist, Steuart Henderson Britt, “Having a website without using moving pictures is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."

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