Videos Help Financial Publisher Get Heavy Engagement

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Scroll about halfway down the homepage of Cabot's Investing Advice, and you'll come to a video titled Cabot Weekly Review. Today the video features Paul Goodwin, chief analyst for Cabot China emerging markets report. Charts flash colorfully behind him as he goes through his good buys of the week.

At BIMS, Linda Vassily, VP of marketing for Cabot Investing Advice, talked during a session about the impact that video has had for Cabot. 

"[People watched] 53,143 minutes of our video in October, up 20% from the previous year," she said. "That gives us 1,786,626 minutes and 432,000 views in the last three years. We use video analytics to measure viewer impact."

They use two people for video—Goodwin and fellow chief analyst Mike Cintolo. (A page on their site contains videos and descriptive paragraphs going back five years.) The videos are 10-minutes long. "We have them transcribed," said Vassily, "which costs about a dollar a minute." Here's a link to one that's transcribed.) 

Links to the video "routinely get 1500-1800 clicks," said Vassily. "[The videos] are advising people on stocks to buy—that's what brings in money. They are action and decision-oriented. Our audience is large and growing, and this is exceptional content. These are free; we talked about putting them behind the paywall. We have great free stuff, but we need to better monetize our content." 

Cabot does sell a "video bundle" from their Investors Conference. They post a complimentary session and then offer 16 more sessions—8.5 hours of video—for just $99. They also have something called Cabot Chart School Stock Market Video.

They use a small, in-house studio to film the analyst videos. The analyst stands in front of the camera, and stock charts are brought up behind him on a screen. It takes 10 minutes to film and about another 20 minutes to load, said Vassily, who uses Final Cut Pro to edit. (I've read that iMovie is also good.) "Having a dedicated audience is important to us." 

At the session, Denise Elliott, senior VP and COO, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc., suggested a new, video-creation platform called Wochit. For about $2500 a month you can do around 100 videos. "Because of the mobile traffic, we've ramped up our video," she said.

A recent Salesforce survey of marketers reported that just 35% are using video—but of those 35%, 88% reported overall effectiveness in terms of engagement. The survey also showed how important it is to integrate video in your mobile strategy. Businesses that use video on a social channel judge it to have 81% effectiveness in reaching readers, second only to when you "tag" them. 

In ranking the top obstacles, only 23% of businesses listed budgetary constraints. "Shortform video does not require deep pockets to be effective," said Tony Lorenz, co-founder and CEO of bXb Group, speaking at June's SIPA conference. He suggested and as two resources. "It has to be mobile first...Production specs have relaxed...Dynamic planning will ensure you get the most out of your video. And then metrics will evaluate engagement." 

You're even seeing video shot on an iPhone now. A movie titled Tangerine has gotten some Oscars buzz and was totally shot with an iPhone. If you do this, it's suggested that you get a Steadicam hand-held support called a Smoothie. "These phones, because they're so light, and they're so small, a human hand—no matter how stable you are—it will shake. And it won't look good," said Sean Baker, who wrote and directed the film.

A couple advantages to using the iPhone: the people you're filming may be more natural, and you may be able to go places you couldn't with a bigger camera. However you do it, the obstacles to using video seem to pale compared to the benefits. Start—or keep—shooting.

SIPA provides niche publishers and media providers with best practices and trends five days a week through its SIPAlert Daily newsletter. Contact Marija Milivojevic to sign up today. 

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…