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Content is [Still] King

In an ongoing effort to bring you diverse and informative perspectives, I invited my business partner, Ross Joel to chime in on a topic he feels is important for all clients to understand and embrace. Ross’ perspective is gleaned from years of discussions on the topic of content and hours of analysis of what drives engagement with physician audiences.

Content is king! Talk about a cliché.

The better way to articulate the theme would be “Quality Content is King!" That is increasingly the expectation when it comes to video content. Hey, we’ve all been writing since grade school…some of us better than others. In theory, your marketing department is filled with really solid writers who have been trained in composition, grammar, and structure. But now, the marketplace has thrown you a curveball. The internet marketplace has developed a voracious appetite for video, and how are you going to satisfy the demand?

While your staff may be prolific producers of wonderful prose for digital publications, transitioning writing skills to video is a big stretch. You also have some really strong folks in your A/V department and they are likely magnificent at lighting, audio and shot composition but in my experience, the teammates who handle the technical side of video typically rely on a well-crafted editorial roadmap to guide their work. Marrying words to pictures isn’t easy but that is where the real magic of video comes together.

Let me give you an example. Back in the day...way back in the day...I was a television news reporter and anchor at a couple of NBC television affiliates. (If you care - I started in White River Jct., VT (205th largest USA market) and then moved to Hartford, CT (23rd largest USA market at the time). I was fresh out graduate school with a Master’s in Broadcast Journalism from New York University. I thought I had it going on! One of my first stories in Vermont was about a farmhouse fire (no one was hurt thankfully) and I wrote this epic news script that Walter Cronkite would have been proud of. I painted word pictures, describing the “roaring flames” and the homeowners “fleeing for safety from second-story windows.” It was all very dramatic and would have been truly compelling if I had been a newspaper reporter. However, my video editor reminded me that I was not a print reporter. She emphatically pointed out that we had no video of “roaring flames” or anything that illustrated the dramatic window escape that had occurred from the “second-story windows.” Doesn’t sound like a big deal...but visualize yourself watching TV and seeing a charred house with no roaring flames and one solitary firefighter standing guard on the property. You can imagine - a major disconnect. The moral of my story is that we should all be mindful of the difference between writing for video and writing for publication.

Video is a complicated beast. I mean taking home videos of your kids’ soccer games and beach vacation is not tough, but your marketing audience has developed certain quality expectations before they even show up to see your program. For some time now, you have essentially been an online newspaper publisher, and now you are having to build a “virtual sky bridge to your new ‘broadcast center’” and if you are going to commit to this whole “online video thing” (which you probably don’t have a choice about given the marketplace), you would do well to consider creating a virtual broadcasting operation that is constructed with sophisticated infrastructure and staffed/run by broadcasting experts.

First, you want an online broadcasting platform that will support the density and burden that video can place on an organization’s IT and technological bandwidth. Essentially, you don’t want your IT department telling you what you can and can’t do so don’t try and run your online broadcasting enterprise from a spare closet on your website (meaning don’t cobble together a page with a bunch of YouTube branded video players). Do it for real or don’t do it at all. That means truly investing in a high-end broadcasting platform (think about that “virtual skybridge” to a gleaming, state-of-the-art broadcast center) that is seamlessly integrated into your existing operations. Staff (or outsource) the management of your broadcast platform with real videophiles. Not just A/V enthusiasts and not just brochure writers, but staff with editorialists and content programming experts who have lived in video.

It’ll make the difference for your brand being perceived as the outfit that does Nike-caliber national ads, not the cheesy local TV commercials. The best part, it doesn’t take colossal investment, it just takes a colossal commitment to doing things right.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Peter Gailey at or tweet @peterkgailey.