Lab Report: Strategies for Using Multimedia

Most web firms own one or more websites where they can play around and experiment. Ours is FreshPlans, a teacher resource site where we share lots of free stuff for k-12 educators. TroutFishing in America 18 wheels on a big rig

The internet is a fantastic resource for education, but most sites for teachers don’t make full use of the medium. Math sites in particular are disappointing. So we decided to do our best, with the very limited time and money we invest in it, to make our site a really jazzy one, with lots of good stuff for math classes.

Along with this plan to do good for the community, we also wanted to find out how best to use multimedia from the point of view of SEO.

We always have two or three videos on the homepage. We’ve had a few downloadable pdfs, including an e-book on working with data and a variety of worksheets, some screencasts and slideshows, music videos, and two Flash animations for math, including the one above, created by Sean Sallings for Pi Day. We also link to and embed videos, PowerPoint presentations, interactive sites, and worksheets elsewhere on the web.FreshPlan ebook

For us, multimedia takes longer than text. If you need to hire people, then anything that takes longer costs more– and of course when we use our own time, there’s an opportunity cost. That makes multimedia more expensive. We think it’s worthwhile, but we certainly want to get the most bang for our buck.

So how do we make sure that we get the most out of our multimedia, and how can you do the same?

  • Plan ahead. Our Pi Day video was planned way ahead to coincide with Pi Day, March 14th. We create all our FreshPlans multimedia to support specific posts and pages, and often time things to fit in with holidays (yes, Pi Day is a holiday) when we know our target market will be searching for seasonal things. Here at Haden Interactive, we’re more likely to create a video simply because it seems like a good way to explain something we’re already talking about, but we could probably do better. The main thing is to have a good place to put your multimedia and a good connection between it and the rest of the content at your site, as well as a good connection with your overall marketing and media plans.
  • Spread the word. We posted “18 Wheels on a Big Rig” on our website, and then we tweeted about it at Twitter and posted it at Facebook, on our page and also on the page of the band that recorded the song. We’ve found that videos we mention on social media invariably get more viewers than those we don’t. This isn’t true of text posts, but for videos, it definitely is.
  • Follow up. Once you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of creating a multimedia element, it’s an asset for your company, and you should use it. We’ll be putting “18 Wheels” onto YouTube and spreading it around, and we’re also discussing with the band the idea of their linking to their song at our website. We had emails from several other educational music bands suggesting partnerships of various kinds, and we’ll work to come up with advantageous plans for those opportunities. We gave our e-book away to subscribers during Back to School last year, and we’ll make a similar offer for the coming academic year. You’ll have your own creative ideas for how to get the most mileage from your multimedia elements — just be sure to use them to the fullest.

Track your results so you can decide how much of an investment you should make in multimedia for your site.


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