Why Use Video?
Video is like a personal greeting. Viewers see your facial expressions, hear your voice, and feel as though they are meeting you.
People use video for a variety of reasons: a resource to learn something new or storytelling.
As a rich media learning tool video is easier than reading long text.
YouTube is the real biggest search engine. Video is content. What is interesting about live streaming is people joining as an audience. Then you engage with people, record that exact moment and that exact feeling and still have that transmissible to others.
Is YouTube really the biggest search engine? Surprisingly, it’s the amount of time people spend on YouTube. People may spend time searching on Google to get an answer, but people spend an entire evening searching through YouTube, searching for all their favorite artists and pop songs and playlists. They search for a tutorial on how to use a new piece of software or a new guitar technique.
More and more, Google tries to include a YouTube result in their search results. So you have the Google search on top of that actual YouTube native search. By far, YouTube is the biggest search engine when you combine the two different ways of getting there.
YouTube has experts working away to make people want to spend more time and see more videos. If your channel has videos that are going to suit them, YouTube is actively promoting that.
Some people may want to do the logical search on the website and other people might want to branch over into the video. Definitely cover both of those bases and make sure you have content that talks to both, because you don’t want to lose the audience in either direction.
Make good use of text when you’re uploading the video, when you’re setting up the description, make sure that you have links to your homepage and links to anything you cite in the video. Cover all the bases, make sure it’s really rich media.
Video is Easy to Produce
People are resistant. Most people hate the sound of their own voice. And, most of us aren’t that comfortable with how we look on video. It’s not how you would like to be seen. That’s hard for a lot of people to get over. But, people aren’t there to see how pretty you are, they want to hear what you have to say.
Concentrate on the message because that’s what people want. Once upon a time, the game streams ruled it all, and comedy was the first really big hit. But now, most of it is infotainment. There are so many entertainment channels, that’s where the real money is now. Home Inspection quality video is infotainment. It doesn’t have to be dry, doesn’t have to be boring, but it definitely has to be informative and succinct. Not a time-waster.
Think of your market. If you want to work with sellers who might have to fix the things you find in an inspection, doing a series across what’s involved in making fixes that are suggested, repairing the floors. That’s gold to them. Because you can help them get it right at the right price.
In this series, you’ll see this is a running theme of providing content. Provide service. Provide recommendations, recommendations to other people if it’s not a fit for you. That has to be a running theme in your business as well. Putting out these short friendly, helpful videos of where to go to next, what’s the best. What’s the best brand, what really cool places you saw, the best resource in your area for supplies or repair items.
Just get to it. You interface with people all the time and talk to them: realtors and buyers and sellers. You’re already on stage. It’s just getting over you’re just not wanting to see yourself. People watch you every single day. They talk, they communicate. They already understand that they like it. it just gets shown they like your business, that you do a business. They care about it. So present that and add the value. See how much just by just providing that discovery, you get connections and you get business from it.
In the time of COVID, put these videos out now. That’s an easy way to get your message out simply. People spend more time watching YouTube now because there’s so little else to do. Just the fact that video is easily reusable. You can expand it into other stuff. You can put it into your social media. Use it inside an article. Link to other videos within your video engine. That’s where your real strength lies.
House video on your website. Then have everything like your social,your YouTube, and your Facebook, and your Instagram actually go to grab it from your website. Let your website serve as the house repository.
The best place for any article is on your website. You link to it from other places or you cite paragraphs in other places to link to your site. Your site is your brand that you’re trying to build up. This is your commercial property. That is your real estate.
So even if you do use Instagram as your main platform, augment that by having a good website.
The website is always a solid investment. It’s a business property that you own. Whereas, if you get a listing on Yelp, that’s great. But if it one day they go under, where have all those reviews gone? Your website, you own that. One of the best things to do is to duplicate your reviews on other platforms onto your website, citing where it’s from. That way, you’ve got the best of both worlds.
Don’t forget your listing on Inspect.com includes reviews and a link to your website.
A lot of creatives have problems on YouTube as far as monetization. If you use it as a monetary platform, it can be hard. Your competitor can choose to promote their videos based on people who are looking at your ads, your video, your channel, so bear that in mind.
If you have good content and you created the video and you get the value out of it, and you use it for another purpose already, there’s definitely no harm in housing it over on YouTube as well for discovery.
Keep a copy, but house your video on YouTube, because of your links to it on YouTube. If it’s a YouTube video it is a signal to the algorithm that that is a good video on YouTube, and in Google search results when it’s putting out videos.
The most important thing is creating a video that is unique, that’s going to keep people watching, and coming back to see what you are up to next.
You’re not really at that point like a creator that needs to justify the money and making it there, you’re just utilizing the platform and the algorithm, to get value out of how it treats that content, but you’ve already monetized it and realized your return and are just using it for something else. Try to find your useful content and use it that way to leverage it. You’re using the platform for discoverability for your content.
For every video on YouTube, remind people to subscribe and hit the notification bell, so they will receive an alert for your next videos.
When To Use Video
What’s the point of video over other content? And obviously, the first answer is obvious, but so true, when the content is visual. When the content is going to be suitable for video, then that’s when to use video. If you need something that people have to get back to like writing an instruction manual, don’t do that in a video. Do it in text because it’s easy to bookmark, to come back to places to try that paragraph again.
Video is tricky to search for. Anyone who’s had to timestamp videos knows how much of a chore that is. Keep videos to bite-sized chunks is usually best. It’s okay to go up to an hour if it’s a really in-depth thing that people are going to want to sit through for an hour. 30 minutes is sometimes better. 20 minutes is sometimes even better still. That’s a good segment length. It’s a bit like broadcasting. Broadcasting is 10 to 20 minutes.
I want to see the one-minute videos. Google wants those one minute or under videos as part of their emphasis, to make sure that we understand. Get to the point. Have a specific point get to it. Don’t let it drift all over the place. Make your point move on. Then, if you really want to have a longer discussion, you can start to integrate some of those one-minute videos into a playlist that can talk to a bigger theme.
How do you take an idea, parse it down into smaller little segments, and assemble all that?
Sometimes what you do is you create the footage. Take as much footage as you need. And then you go through it to collect the really rich stuff, the nuggets. If it’s like this detail panel discussion, pick out subparts of the conversation that deal with a specific point. Create a separate video that links back to the main one.
As a home inspector, if you’re looking at a deck or balcony configuration you’ll have multiple finds with an elevated platform and rails and you’re starting to see a lot of construction defects like the ledger board is not well-fastened to the house and the whole thing can pull away from the house, or the stairs are very poorly built, and they’re steep, and they’re crooked, and they’re small, and they’re treacherous and there are no rails, or it doesn’t have diagonal bracing so it can lean in. I’m going to document all that in video. Then break it down where to talk about a topic like how a ledger board should be fastened properly to the house. Another video might be about diagonal bracing to make sure that the structure. And a third video about stairs. Capture all that video, and then edit it later.
Once you’ve got the footage, you can take as much time as you like to get just the basics. Sometimes you’ll find things you hadn’t thought were going to be in there until you watch the replay.
Live streaming is documenting your brand, taking people along in real-time. You don’t have the ability to control the situation, but it’s about what’s happening right now. Once you’ve got the equipment, you’re good to go. If you’re starting to build a following or community, live stream is fantastic for really putting together the Q&A (question and answer) engagement.
For home inspectors, being under the house fascinates people. It’s highly visual. And don’t forget the things that really trigger people, as well. You find a huge spider’s nest, you film that thing because that will be shared.
Face to Face
Face to face is one of the times that if you’re really good at doing business face to face, then video is one of the better ways of creating contact. There are a lot of people who are better at face to face than they are with written stuff. Why be knocking yourself out trying to do written stuff if video is going to be the better format for the way you work? And the way your mind works?
The connections are very real. It develops a real bond. It is something that’s hard to quantify but people really feel a deeper sense of connection. It’s not hard to build an audience. That’s all it really is. It’s not hard to build an audience up into the hundreds.
Be yourself. Find your voice and be yourself. Inject humor, if that’s your style. Be dry, if that’s your style. Be okay with being yourself, because that’s how people will connect with you.
When it’s a presentation, that’s perfect video content. Tutorials and how-tos work well in video. Explain how things work the same as you do to a person. It’s valuable and does really well. For home inspectors, it’s the perfect medium to show people what to do and what not to do.
You might take something for granted, but it’s new information for people who don’t understand home construction and safety. Maybe you’ve got a part of town which is all Victorian style architecture. Some of those properties have old sash windows, which most people look at today and just have no idea how to be dealing with. So, how to fix such windows or what they need to be aware of when examining whether sash windows are in good condition or not. That’s great content for somebody who has sash windows. And you know that’s a built-in market in your area.
Don’t be afraid to niche down because then people start looking it up, they’ll find a great piece of advice on the topic.
Jeff Bond has a 30-second video on a mobile home skylight. He gets little one-offs on how to stop a mobile home skylight from leaking or fixing mobile home leaking skylight. It all stems back to this one evergreen article. People come in from 1000 different directions but they have a skylight in a mobile home. They know it’s leaking and they want to fix it. Different tangents come and arrive at this video, and it actually answers that question nicely. And it’s just a 30-second video.
People who are repeat customers could be people who fix up properties. Talk to a segment where you’re looking at various extensions on different videos. Talk about the kinds of roofs used and what were the advantages of this rather than that one. What was more difficult? What requires more maintenance? That kind of stuff can bring some of these people to be repeat viewers.
You don’t have to hit the jackpot on everything. Just put that content out there. If you put the content out and then in the future, all of a sudden it’s important. For instance, you create a video about mobile home leveling and earthquake stability and safety. Then three years later there is an earthquake. That video is of value because your content has been out there, on point, for three years. All of a sudden, you are a real complete authoritative source. Video can be evergreen the way written content is evergreen.
Don’t be afraid to follow up, as we talked about talking about tornadoes or earthquakes or tsunamis or whatever. When you had one of those guys do some video that shows the aftermath and shows the damage and what can be done about it, you’ve got content that will come up again. People will be looking at what they can do to prevent that kind of damage in their life to show them what the damage looks like before, and show what should have been done before. It doesn’t have to be a well-produced video, just create the content.
Sound is crucial in video. Especially if you are going to be outside, use a good microphone. But you can do surprisingly well simply concentrating on how you speak. Make sure there’s no background noise. There’s so much you can do with just a mobile phone with a built-in mic. Take your time to be clear.
Try things out before you happen upon something, because, if it’s not something that’s going to be staged, you’re going to be ready to have your camera out. Be ready to film and know your capabilities.
There are lots of opportunities for things to happen that provide good value. It can be a plumbing leak or an electrical item. There’s always a lesson to be learned and the consequences that can be avoided. Together they make very compelling stories.
How To Use Video
On Location or In Situ
This is one of the great things about video. You’re actually right there. You can tell people about being there. Video gives you the feeling of me and me. You’re talking about it right now. You’re showing me. You’re telling me. I can hear it. We’re talking about the damage to the stone. I can see it. That’s a really powerful piece of video content that you do not get in writing.
Social Media Live Streams
If you’re starting to build a following, capitalize on that by rewarding people with some exclusive content. Social media live streams are a great way of doing that.
Try creating a theme for the week and that can be the live stream. This week we ran across grout problems and here’s how to make sure that your grout is sealed. If it’s behind a backsplash and a roof. You can create these theme-based live streams that people will want to come back to. You’re uniquely positioned where you can capture that content.
Q & A sessions are really powerful. If you have a group of people that keep asking certain questions, put it up on video. A lot of that is the kind of questions that people ask in search. Often Google doesn’t have a full set of media for it. There are articles that mention it. But when a video comes up that answers that exact question, there’s a really good chance that video will get the results.
That’s also something you can use if you are in a group or have created a group. You can put that video up there in the Q&Q if you want it to be rewarding your viewers.
Advanced Use of Video
Within Articles and Blogs
Use a video you’ve created as the seed to create longer content. Or if you’ve already created an article, use the video to illustrate rather than just an image. Then embed the video into the article. When Google finds that article and sees the video, makes the video show up more often on YouTube videos, in search results. It means that video is more likely to show up in search results a bunch of times as well. So, don’t forget to embed it. It makes the article, much more multimedia, rich media.
It’s the way news media works these days embedding the video news in the written article so both formats are there. Plus, the article has a bit more background information that wasn’t in the two-minute video. Use that technique.
Search Result Sniping
This is pure guerilla marketing. There are lots of searches that drive traffic to your business. You’ve heard people say, that’s how I found you on Google. There are tons of things where there is no video. There is no video in those search results. Google likes video search results the same as they like some image searches. That is telling you, easy content, where you could create a video and instantly get page one coverage for that term. Not all things. There are some things where it knows that written content is preferred.
When people are looking for reviews of home inspectors, that’s going to go through to a listing type site, most of the time. They’re more concerned about inspectors because you actually want a category, not a single inspector. But anything with video is an unexplored means of content. Just having the right type of video can get you a ton of free advertising on Google, which in turn is advertising for your business and your website because you embedded those links.
That’s getting your name out in front of a random audience. It’s a straight numbers exposure game. But you could make that scale.
There are a lot of property areas where people regularly search for new properties to buy. Very rarely is there a video walkthrough of that area. What is it like? What’s the drive to school like? Where the nearest coffee shop? What’s that bagel shop on the corner like? Give a tour of the neighborhood that a lot of people move into. That’s getting you known to people who are going to be buying property and may need an inspector to check out a house they’re thinking of buying.
Keep track of the video watch time on your YouTube videos. Go back and look at your videos. You can literally watch that people watch it in real life. Watch the patterns of when people drop off. Having a bunch of useful videos helps YouTube suggest more videos to watch.
On YouTube have one channel. It’s one identity. Then create separate playlists for different types of content on the channel. It’s one identity. Separate playlists, different content
on the channel. This is about you and your business and your brand. It’s one identity. Your driving views to one place, your channel.
The only time you want a separate channel is when you don’t want those viewers connecting you with this thing because the opposites detract from the message.
Create your videos, then get a listing on Inspect.com to amplify your web presence.
The eighth in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States. He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing. He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status. Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.