People like watching stuff, I don’t think that’s any surprise. More and more, people are watching stuff on the Internet, and I don’t think that’s a big shock either. Video is a great way to entertain, educate and inform. If you’re very lucky, you can do all three with the same video. Tell me, have you taken a look around recently at what some of these companies are doing when they’re launching a new product or a new service? For instance:

Did you hear that Google has this new thing called a Chromebook?

Since Delicious is kind of in a weird, post purchased state, maybe you’d like to try Diigo. Never heard of Diigo? Well…

Thinking about getting an iPad? You should really check out this awesome app called Flipboard. Here’s some info.

You can have page after page and bullet points all around, but nothing tells someone about something like a video can. You can show them your product or service as you tell them about it. You can show how it works, how people can get it, where they can get it, and how it will improve their lives. I don’t want to sound like an advertising executive here, but the fact is that, if Google and Diigo and Flipboard can easily reach their audiences and customers with a two minute video, then surely libraries can too.

And getting into online video has never been easier or as inexpensive as it is now. I recently had the pleasure of shooting a video for my library’s Summer Reading Programme. Sure, it’s basically an advertisement, but there’s a snag. We’re a library. We don’t really have money for advertising. We can’t just buy air time on the television. We don’t purchase thirty second radio spots.  That stuff is expensive. Thankfully, there’s this one place I know of where we could possibly reach millions of people and pay next to nothing.

I like to call it “the Internet.”

Look, here’s the video I shot, edited, and produced.

I did that with a US$100 camera, a $550 laptop computer, another $100 or so in sound equipment, and $80 for the video editing software. That comes to a grand total of $830. Less than a thousand dollars got me the setup I needed to make a commercial that thousands of people can watch, that the library can put on their website, or their Facebook, or tweet about. And the thing is, that $830 is all that’s needed. I mean, the same equipment I used to shoot this ad can be used to shoot more ads. It’s not like we have to buy more stuff.

And the thing is, that’s all my stuff. Well, the microphones and stands I used for audio aren’t. But the library already had those. So of the $830 in equipment, I already owned around $700 of it.

The video took two hours to shoot. We used staff members who are young enough to look like teenagers. The song you hear in the background was written and performed by another staff member. The script was written by a staff member. We shot it at one of our libraries before we opened. So, in other words, the entire thing from scripting to editing to music and production is 100% in house. All it took was some time.

I can’t wait to shoot and produce more videos like this, and I hope I’m given the opportunity because, frankly, I feel this stuff is important. If you have a decent video, something a little bit exciting, and something fairly regular for people to watch? People will watch it. Then they’ll talk to others about it and, hopefully, that gets other people to watch it. It’s not costing them anything and it’s getting your message and service out there in a fun and entertaining way.

I think that’s called a “win/win situation.”