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How to Distribute Your Video Content
You’ve shot your video on location, edited together, and now you’ve got a finished product to show the world. The question now becomes… how do you get people to see it?
It’s a question with more than a few answers, but it starts with the most basic question: Who’s your audience, and what do you hope to achieve with it? Sometimes, especially with extremely narrow audiences, that will hold your answer. Say, for example, your target audience is elderly consumers; in that particular situation, it likely makes more sense to put your video on some form of viewable media, rather than on the Internet.
In most cases, however, you’ll have to take a multi-pronged approach to reach your entire audience; different demographics and groups can only be reached using multiple distribution methods. But that’s no bad thing: There are more ways to reach more viewers than ever before, and often the more channels you use, the more focused your audience and the more likely they are to watch your video. It’s just a matter of deciding where and when you want to reach them.
Start with your budget. Costs can add up quickly with certain distribution methods, and you’ll have to think about every aspect of distribution. Sticking with the elderly customer example, you won’t just need to create the DVD; you’ll need to burn the discs; you’ll need to create sales materials for the case; and you’ll need to pay to have it mailed. Do you have the budget to distribute with the method you’ve chosen?
Once you know what you can afford, make a list of the distribution methods you want to use. Be detailed: Don’t just say “The Internet,” write down the individual websites you’d like to post your video to. Each website will have different requirements and you’ll need to track each of them: If you want to put a video on Facebook, you’ll be limited to 1GB or twenty minutes, whichever is smaller. Also consider the tools each method offers you: If you’re mailing physical copies, you can include printed materials as well, or if you’re using social media, you can leverage shares and likes to have your audience serve as your best advocates.
That, in turn, will bring you to the biggest issue of distributing video: Compression. One minute of 1080p video can be as little as 420 MB for a Blu-Ray sized file or as big as 18 GB for the highest quality files. For short videos, this may not be as much of an issue, but for longer ones, you’ll need to work out how, exactly, you’ll compress the video. The more you compress a video’s file size, the lower the quality of the video will be, and there may be sacrifices in quality you’ll have to make to use some distribution methods.
Ultimately you’ll need to strike a balance between reach and quality. If a video doesn’t look good, it’s unlikely to help you achieve what you’re looking for. But however you distribute, put your audience’s needs first; after all, the goal is to get them to watch the video.