courtesy of some time, high-profile leaders across industries have used video to power their brand and build visibility. If you’ve spent any time in the online marketing community, for example, you probably recognize Rand Fishkin from his Whiteboard Friday videos at Moz.

Now, new research is showing us that online video is among the most common and effective tools used by high-visibility experts to build their reputations. So how are they using it, and how does video fit into the toolkit of today’s fastest-rising experts?

Understanding Visible Expertise

At the Hinge Research Institute, we recognized a rise in the importance of high-visibility experts. We knew professional services buyers were seeking out noted expertise – but we wanted to dig deeper. Why were clients looking for these high-profile individuals who we dubbed Visible Experts? How did these experts benefit their clients and their firms? And how did they cultivate their status as a Visible Expert in the first place?

To find the answers, we studied over a thousand buyers of expert services and 130 high-profile leaders in their fields. The results were wide-ranging enough to fill a book, but some of the most revealing insights centered on the toolkits used by today’s Visible Experts – where online video figured prominently.

The Tools of the Experts

First, we wanted to get a feel for the tools that high-visibility leaders actually use. So we asked them. It turns out that the list is pretty extensive.

Figure 1. Percent of Visible Experts Using Marketing Tools

Percent of Visible Experts Using Marketing Tools

Experts utilized an average of 15.9 tools and the most commonly used tool was LinkedIn, with almost universal adoption. And 71% of Visible Experts made use of online video. In aggregate, we see that a diversity of marketing channels is a cornerstone of Visible Experts’ personal brand strategy. Furthermore, it’s important to choose tools capable of reaching a wide variety of the right people.

Next, we asked our experts to rate the level of effort they put into each tool – how much time and energy they had to invest to make it work for them.

Figure 2. Visible Experts’ Level of Effort for Marketing Tools

Expert's level of effort for marketing tools

In general, scores of 6 or more represented the most intensive efforts, with full-length books on their areas of expertise topping the list. Note that online videos rank relatively low.

Finally, we asked experts to rank the impact of each tool. From here, we were able to calculate each channel’s return on effort. Online video’s high impact and relatively low effort requirement made it among the top tools for an effective return on effort, along with newspaper articles (which are similarly low-effort, but lack video’s reach) and books (which take much more effort, but also produce a very high impact).

So with this data in mind, how can rising leaders leverage online video most effectively to establish their expertise and build their visibility?

Building Visibility with Video

First, consider the contexts in which you use them. The Content Marketing Institute notes studies that have found that email campaigns with integrated video perform better, with respondents reporting higher click through rates and likelihood to buy.

Like other forms of content, online video is often at its most effective when it’s instructional, not promotional – particularly when it comes to building expertise. Remember Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays? Those are educational, and that’s one reason they’re so popular.

As you consider how to make the most of video, think about:

• Who your videos will target: Is your audience made up of executives? Mid-level buyers?
• Problems your audience is likely to face, or major opportunities in the field.
• The right tone and style for your content and audience. Should you be humorous or straightforward?

With these factors in mind, create tutorial (or otherwise educational) videos that address your target audience’s needs. Remember: your video production values don’t have to be extraordinarily high. Today, it’s cheaper than ever to shoot HD video. In fact, you can record webinars or speaking engagements and make them work even harder for you, turning those one-off events into video content that lasts.

As you set out to build your visibility as an expert, identify topics that you’re uniquely qualified to educate your audience about, and then leverage a wide range of channels – including online video – to establish your credibility. If you can accomplish this, you’ll be well situated to grow your reputation.

Lee Frederiksen