It’s time for business to free their web videos

Posted on May 4, 2007 3:00 pm by | Edge Content | Video | Web

David Kiley, writing in BusinessWeek’s “Brand New Day” blog, likes the way Shell Oilteased him from a snort commercial on MSNBC to the company’s website where he watched an appealing nine-minute video. The tease approach has been effective before: Remember Nike’s cliffhangere commercials that required a visit to the website to see how they ended? But there are other ways to seed a video.

Business usually takes a while to catch up to the rest of the web, but I’m surprised that companies haven’t embraced YouTube’s embed model. If Kiley liked this video so much, why wouldn’t Shell let him show it on his blog where he was talking about it? Why force people to decide whether they should follow the link or just skip it? If the video were right there on Kiley’s blog with a big “play’ button in the center, far more visitors would be inclined to click and watch.

I suppose some lawyers—and even some marketers—would oppose the idea that the company’s content should be allowed to reside on the edge. After all, your video could appear next to an ad for a competitor’s product or even wind up side-by-side with some truly unsavory or objectionable content.

Ultimately, though, organizations are going to have to give in to the notion of edge content, which lets people experience your content wherever they happen to find it; consumers will be increasingly unlikely to want to make a special visit to your website. Widgets are one sign of the growing recognition of the importance of the edge. (Did you see that eBay now offers an embedded widget that lets you display any current auction on a web page? take a look at the demo blog to see how it works.)

Between RSS feeds, widgets, and embedded video, content is moving steadily to the edge. Companies like Shell would do well to consider freeing their own content to be offered and viewed wherever people want it, exposing those videos to a far bigger audience than the one that will make a deliberate trip to the corporate website.



  • 1.Shel,

    It is beyond me why companies would not aid and abet the reposting of their videos on blogs, web sites and elsewhere. For the record: if you're reading this, feel free to use Ragan Communication videos on your blog, on your web site, on your Intranet. Pretty please?


    mark ragan | May 2007 | chicago

  • 2.I'd love to, Mark, but you don't have the embed code for the videos ready for me to cut and paste onto my own page!

    Shel Holtz | May 2007 | Concord, CA

  • 3.Right!!

    I'm all over this on Monday. You see, I learn from you, man.

    Thanks for the great tip. Now all I have to do is persuade my IT department to take this on quickly..but wait a minute, I'm the boss!


    Mark Ragan | May 2007 | chicago

  • 4.There's a much easier way to do this, Mark. Just upload the videos to YouTube and give them solid tags and descriptions.

    Shel Holtz | May 2007 | Concord, CA

  • 5.Of course, duh? What was I thinking?

    Afterall I am already distributing all of my baby videos on You Tube.

    I think three-month old Juliet has more "views" that Steve Crescenzo's blog (not yours of course).

    Go check her out Shel.

    Search: "JulietSR" on You Tube....or you could try: "Caitlin and Juliet" and then view videos by "this user."

    Fun stuff...and until now, hadn't really thought of doing it with Ragan-produced videos, though we are using You Tube to link to videos produced for others and relevant to the Ragan audience.

    See you in Chicago next week.

    Mark Ragan | May 2007 | Chicago

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