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Harnessing the Power of Education in Online Video

Posting how-to or educational videos is one of the most powerful ways a company can create a relationship with its customers using online video. People are hungry for valuable online content, so it's a perfect way for companies of all sizes to share their expertise and forge relationships. Those relationships don't end when you post videos -- that's only the beginning.

At the recent Vimeo Festival in New York City, filmmaker Philip Bloom and motion designer Nick Campbell joined an on-stage discussion on building an audience, one that looked at the role of educational videos. Training is so in-demand that Bloom said he now spends at least one-third of his time teaching.

Not surprisingly, Campbell said he got his appreciation for education from his own teachers, and is happy to play that teaching role for someone else.

"The internet allows us to do these incredible tutorials and stuff, and people can work at their own speed," said Campbell. "They can pause it, they can rewind it, they can ask a question in the comments if they want to continue."

Vimeo is a terrific resource for those looking for educational online videos. Discussion host Blake Whitman, Vimeo's manager of content and community, noted that the Vimeo Video School, a section of the Vimeo site that offers online video instruction, was a hit from the day it launched. Vimeo's staff took instructional videos that site members were already making, added their own videos and text, and created lessons.

Educational videos are more than just a tool to communicate with the audience; they offer a way to engage viewers and create a real relationship. Bloom noted that having a two-way relationship is crucial.

"You have to reply to people," said Bloom. "The moment you stop talking to people -- if they write comments and tweets and you don't reply, then what's the point? It can become hard work and it can become frustrating, and you get asked the dumbest questions you've ever seen, and you have to bite your lip."

It's hard not to be sarcastic sometimes. Fight the urge.

"It requires patience. You have to realize that a lot of people don't know a lot of stuff," added Bloom. Patience is important.

That can be difficult when viewers write in and expect instant replies, as Bloom has found.

"You've got to reply and you've got to engage and you've got to be patient and polite, as much as possible. There's always going to be times when you snap, because you're human," said Bloom. The important thing is to keep the communication going and build relationships one viewer at a time.

To view the entire discussion, watch the video below (used courtesy of Kaltura).

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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