Web Video: Nine Approaches for MSPs

Video, video, video. MSPmentor keeps telling managed service providers to experiment with video as a tool to promote your company. But what tools do you need, how much is Internet video going to cost you and what types of video should you shoot? I've got some thoughts, and I've also lifted some ideas from Cisco Systems' channel partner blog. Take a look.

Let's start with cost: You can get started with Internet video for less than $200. We use Cisco's Flip HD camera (about $150 to $200) and a low-cost tripod. Visit a local retail giant (in the U.S., Best Buy comes to mind) and you'll find the Flip and a long list of rival offerings. Publishing from the Flip to the Web (YouTube and more) is a point-and-click exercise that takes only a few minutes.

For a more refined approach -- and better sound quality -- you can pick up a traditional HD camcorder and wireless microphones for a total investment of about $600 to $1500, depending on your budget. Just be sure the camcorder has an input for the microphones.

But why produce video? The obvious answer is to promote customer wins and your own company's expertise. But the less obvious answer is search engine optimization (SEO). Assuming you tag everything consistently (your company name, executives featured, topics covered), YouTube and other video sites reward your terms with fantastic search engine optimization (SEO).

Example Topics

Next question: What types of videos should you shoot? Stick with videos that run from roughly 30 seconds to 3 minutes. And try to categorize your videos. Cisco Systems' channel partner blog offers the following nine video categories:
  1. Interactive tours
  2. Video notes
  3. Staff interviews
  4. Event coverage
  5. Rap videos (tongue in cheek)
  6. Video press releases
  7. Corporate culture overviews
  8. Tutorials
  9. Customer testimonials
You can see examples of each video format by visiting Cisco's blog.

Nobody's Perfect

Are all of the videos perfect? Certainly not. Some are hits, some are misses. Much like Cisco itself, MSPs and VARs need to experiment to find a video "style" that suits them best.

Check out our own FastChat video centers (across MSPmentor, The VAR Guy and WorksWithU) and you'll see how our video efforts have evolved over the past year or so. And yes, our approach continues to evolve.

Again, it doesn't take much to get started. The big requirement is a commitment to experiment. The next time your company is about to publish a traditional press release -- about a new hire, a new customer win or a new business relationship -- ask yourself if a quick video would bring the story to life. In most cases, I bet it will. And you'll certainly benefit from the resulting SEO.

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