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Screencasts As A Marketing Tool

Nov 9, 2007
Rather than images and static text, it is much easier to describe a service or a product, using video and audio. Over the past few years, the use of online video has increased, especially with respect to the use of video to provide clear descriptions of software and software-related services.

The decision cycle for making a purchase can be decreased with the help of effective screencasts. In this way, these can also lead to those who have purchased a service or a product, effectively becoming users within a shorter period of time.

Product support problems can be reduced, sales of services or products can be increased and web content that is unique and can generate traffic for websites, developed, by making use of screencasts.

Even as screencasts have been around for many years and are not really a recent development, these have become a significant part of the Internet with the availability of newer and more advanced tools.

In the same way that a picture of a user's screen constitutes a screenshot, when a movie is created out of a series of visuals on a computer's monitor, along with an audio component, a screencast is created. This is done by video screen capture i.e. making a digital recording of the screen output, along with the addition of a narration that describes the screen activity.

Information about almost any conceivable topic is available on the Internet, in the form of web pages that number in billions. Providing information has been the primary aim of the Internet, from the very beginning.

However, most of the information on the World Wide Web is being provided in the text format, even at present. So, one often has to go through several pages of text to understand instructions for tasks that are quite simple, otherwise.

This can be and is being changed through the technology that produces screencasts.

The users can easily grasp information that is video-graphed. If it is in the form of instructions, they can comprehend all that is required to be done, by watching it being done.

There are no problems regarding compatibility with the digital player that the user might have, since screencasts are increasingly being published in the flash format.

Even in the year 1993, applications like Lotus ScreenCam were being made use of, though it was only in 2004 that the term screencast came into being. The products that were available in the initial days had very limited scope for editing and the files produced as output were really large in size. Audio, mouse movement, changes in sequence, etc., can be managed much more easily with formats like flash, nowadays, which also support file formats that are much more compact.

Screencasts can be put to use for other purposes, as well.

For instance, these can be put on to compact discs that are menu driven, so that it is possible to view the screencasts on Macintosh as well as Windows-driven computers, in addition to being accessible online on various sites.

This implies that a software product's user guide can be prepared in an audio-video format, by including screencasts in it. Similarly, instructional videos can also be prepared.

Also, movies that are easily comprehensible can be made and posted in the place of answers to questions from users on discussion forums. This can be far more effective than typing out a text reply or even including static images, especially if it happens to be quite technical in nature. A screencast can also be created within a shorter span of time than it would take to prepare a reply, otherwise.

Screencasts can also be created out of seminars recorded in the digital video format. These can then be made available to those who were unable to attend the seminar or could not afford to do so, on account of the fees being too high for them. This can help to make the content available to a much larger audience than could ever be possible in the case of a live seminar.

The following are important considerations, for preparing a screencast:

1. The content should be genuine

2. The needs of the potential clients or consumers should be looked into and targeted content should be prepared

3. The content should, as far as possible, be compelling and unique

4. RSS feeds should be made available, besides the video being posted on the website

5. The video should be posted on to appropriate social networking sites, so that it reaches the target audience

6. Feedback should be sought and used for improvement
About the Author
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