Publisher Uses Video to Create Excitement and Drive Site Views

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Videos draw eyeballs. (Jim Sinkinson has said just having "video" in a subject line triggers a huge jump in clicks.) And for well-done videos, the heavens can be the limit. Links to videos at SIPA member Cabot Heritage Corporation draw 1500-1800 clicks when I last asked.

T. Steel Rose, editor of new member Abide Media, said that their website statistics "went way up" after their Technology Minute videos started to be posted on their CPA Magazine and Collection Advisor homepages. "People look at them on the site," said Rose. "It has been more work, but it's kind of fun."

The work comes when Rose goes to a trade show and has to set up the sound, lights, camera and action. They'll interview advertisers like the excellent video I just watched of Angie Noll of Norita Co. The question was, "How does technology help a CPA practice?"

"Today's CPAs have the opportunity with technology to be advisors instead of bookkeepers," she said. "As a bookkeeping firm ourselves we're realizing the huge impact of technology... in the accounting industry. So the days are gone when we are worried about talking to the customer, reconciling their checking account... [now] we finally get to have the fun of being advisors to our clients, talking about the profitability..."

On the Collection Advisor site, Rose (on the right) and Joshua Fluegel (left), the managing editor, spend a minute going over what to do to prevent hackers and viruses. It's informational, entertaining and packs a lot in. Fluegel said that they work on these inbetween the trade shows they attend. In another impressive video, Rose interviews Laurie Nelson, chief compliance officer and general counsel of PaymentVision. He stays off camera, allowing her the floor. But he's happily back in the picture for an informative interview with Russell Fujioka, president of Americas at Xero.

Traveling around the country, Rose will interview his freelance columnists for the video segments. He told me about taking the train to White Plains, N.Y., once to do an interview. "It can be crazy with all the equipment and set-up." But he knows how valuable these videos are. "They're very educational and may evolve into webinars"—and give the site an identity.

For example, columnist Sidney Kess is interviewed about tax professionals and ObamaCare. "Being a challenge it's also a wonderful opportunity for accountants," Kess said. "When something new is enacted, everyone is in the dark as far as the operation of the provisions. You have to study it and start to learn a whole new ballgame. Those of you who take the time to study it and stay abreast of the latest developments, attend meetings, this can be a wonderful..."

Some monetization takes place from all this amazing content and video work—banner ads, new print and digital advertisers—but Rose knows much more can be done. Staffing is always an issue for a small company. "On a good day there are five of us," he said. The outside writers fill much of the magazine space. They still rely on print and are advertising based, with CPE courses also available.

Angie Rose, publisher of Abide Media, said that they try to "put faces to the [accounting and collection] profession." The videos accomplish that. It is also accomplished in the magazine. The cover of the September/October Collection Advsior magazine features the 25 Most Influential Women in Collections. What a great idea, and the cover is designed beautifully! It also looks like something most niche publishers could do and monetize.

CPA Magazine has also featured CPA all-stars—like baseball trading cards—and famous golf holes in places CPAs might travel. "A hit on the covers one time was dogs," Rose said. It featured a "brilliant columnist" and his dog in his office. "Dogs can calm people down from things like high-level estate counseling," Rose said.

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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…