At Firm Media, we’ve been producing videos for our clients for years. These promotional videos have performed fantastically in the search engines, thanks in part to Google’s Universal Search feature. But there’s another, more important facet to our video marketing efforts that has helped differentiate our video content from the literally hundreds of millions of videos on YouTube, Vimeo and Metacafe.

The key ingredient: production value.

We work hard to produce videos that look and feel like the real thing—because they are. We call our videos “Internet commercials” and we finesse and polish them so they’d shine next to the ads you see on cable television. And so far, it’s paid off. Our clients love shooting them and potential customers love getting to know these businesses on an intimate level before they even pick up the phone. That’s why we’re taking it to the next level.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with an excellent, but small video production team. The results we’ve achieved by working with a creative director, editor and camera crew have validated the merits of professionally produced videos. We are confident that we can not only repeat the returns we’ve enjoyed in the past, but multiply them by transitioning to a full production process. We’re investing in better equipment, taking time to write scripts and storyboards and dramatically stepping up the quality of our videos overall.

It’s a significant investment, but it makes a difference. True, this is the YouTube generation, where digital camcorders cost less than $100 and are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or the back of a cell phone. From five-year old ukulele heroes to the video blog of a senior citizen, it’s clear that anyone can shoot a video and share it with the world. But while a 3-megapixel shooter is perfect for capturing spontaneous slapstick physical comedy (see: the driving force behind America’s Funniest Home Videos) or self-shot confessionals, it doesn’t quite translate when it comes to advertising professional services.

Translating promotional messages into new multimedia formats has been an ongoing struggle for marketers. The first websites were nothing more than digital business cards—the business version of “Hello world!” Today, websites are so much more. They are interactive interfaces, highly social communities and genuinely immersive experiences. When it comes to Internet video, we see marketers making the same kind of misstep. We’re seeing a lot of “talking head” videos (and we don’t mean “Burning Down the House”), where the president or communications director simply tells the camera pretty much the same thing as they would’ve told you in writing. So many missed opportunities!

Dr. Jakob Nielsen, the long reigning “king of usability,” gives this advice to Internet marketers: “avoid using video if the content doesn’t take advantage of the medium’s dynamic nature.” After conducting an eyetracking study of a 24-second clip where a newscaster simply spoke into the camera, he found that the viewer’s attention tends to dart all over the place—the subject’s eyes would fall on alternate headlines, the video playback controls, a sign and trash can in the background of the scene, and, most critically, the “close this window” button. And all of this distraction occurred in less than half of a minute.

By contrast, take a look at one of our favorite videos: our Sunday Brunch San Bernardino video for Pancho Villa’s Mexican Grill & Entertainment. Their tagline is “where celebrating becomes an experience” which is very apt for this hidden gem of a restaurant. But just saying those words doesn’t give you the full impact. That’s why we shot this video—we wanted to bring the experience of Pancho Villa’s to life for the Internet audience. In this short clip, you meet the staff, you meet the satisfied customers, you see the food, the colors and the costumes. The vitality is so palpable you can almost taste it. It’s a full sensory experience with scenes, characters (actual employees and customers), a score and a script. We could’ve had the general manager sit in an office chair and explain all of this while we recorded it in iMovie, but somehow, we don’t think it would’ve had the same effect.

What it often boils down to is this: when users turn to the Internet to research a business, they come to the web with a series of questions. What’s your office or clinic like? What is the staff like? What are the professionals who will be helping me with my surgery, my dental work, my divorce case or my business like? Are they kind, knowledgeable, articulate, personable, humorous, professional, laidback, fastidious or serious?

These are the questions that can be answered with video. And by taking our Internet commercials to the next level, we at Firm Media are helping our clients respond to every one of these important questions with an answer that knocks it out of the park.

For more details on how the next generation of video marketing can bring your business to life, be sure to catch our free webinar on video marketing on September 14 at 10 AM PST. Visit  www.firm-media.com/webinar to sign up.