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The Globe and Mail

Now that video’s hot, four ways to keep yours on the boil

This week, Google was named the most shared social video brand of 2012, with 5,982,608 total shares. With video content at an all-time high, consumers are clearly demanding it and brands are supplying more of it.

A recent report by video tracker Unruly Media revealed video sharing through social media increased by 67 per cent in 2012, largely due to faster video streaming and a growing number of consumers using tablet computers. The study also revealed that people who enjoy an online video from an advertiser are 97 per cent more likely to purchase the product.

As more and more businesses are starting to embrace video content, especially video not directly linked with advertising, marketers are looking for guidance in terms of what is, and is not, working.

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Here are a few things marketers need to keep in mind when creating video content that can be shared:

Have a plan

It's important to establish clear goals for the video prior to production. If you're making a commercial, prepare a budget and schedule that allows for quality. Brands must also factor in the post-production process. Having a plan before you start can eliminate some of the time and cost associated with edits and review.

Be authentic

Authenticity goes a long way these days. While it is important to have a plan in place, a perfectly edited final product shouldn't always be the end goal. Instead, offer consumers a unique perspective, show them something new and telling it through a story.

Videos that have gone viral offer proof of this message. More often than not, they are lower-budget videos reflecting an authentic voice. Consumers can connect with the content and want to share through social media; this is the key to their success.

Be timely

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Producing relevant content means working on a tight schedule. Sometimes projects that might normally take weeks or months to complete must be finished within a few days or hours to meet deadlines. Not everything should be treated with a fine filter or you will never produce timely content.

There are two important content timelines that brands must keep in mind: proactive and reactive.

Proactive content is planned and strategic, and typically requires a larger budget. Reactive content is more time-sensitive and can involve videos that respond to consumer voices or cover a last-minute event.

Offer value beyond advertising

It's not about selling; it's about creating content that can be shared. Most of this year's top 10 viral YouTube videos were not direct advertisements. Instead, they were videos with which consumers developed an emotional connection and wanted to share with friends.

Two great examples include Kony 2012 and Gagnam Style, Whether it's inspiration or humour, the videos that get shared are the ones that appeal to consumers' emotions.

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Consumers are smart and have many options to choose from these days. Tell an authentic story from the first frame and you're well on your way to creating content that can be shared.

Branded online video content is as engaging as display advertising when brands do it right. Companies need to be less afraid of it and more willing to trust content creators to help with the process.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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