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Skaer Tactics: YouTube Could Provide Exposure

July 28, 2008
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Mark Skaer

Yes, I am still pushing for getting an HVACR-related TV show on the air. I believe it is still possible, but I also realize it will not happen overnight. It’s going to take time, but it must be attempted. I’m encouraged by some of the comments and suggestions that keep coming from readers. For instance, Kelly Williams of Absolute Climate Control, Frankfort, Del., called to say Mike Rowe could be what this industry needs to get more young people interested in this industry. Kelly may be right.

For those in the dark, Rowe hosts the Discovery Channel series “Dirty Jobs.” By serving as an apprentice to everyday men and women who perform the jobs no one else wants, Rowe has found a hands-on way to pay tribute to a nation of unsung heroes, and get more than a few laughs along the way. On this show, Rowe has had the opportunity to clean up toxic bird poop, dive for golf balls in alligator-infested waters, and assist in the artificial insemination of a horse.

If Rowe can honor these occupations, why not have him assist an HVACR contractor in a hot attic, or get him in a tight installation space on a commercial project? There are plenty of dirty jobs contractors do. For Kelly’s sake, I’ll try to get in contact with Rowe, but no promises.

There might be a slight flaw here. Do we really want to show the dirty side of this industry? Wouldn’t that be counter-productive?

BETTER WAY?

This is where YouTube might be a better answer.

Again, for those in the dark, YouTube (www.youtube.com) allows people to easily upload and share video clips on the Internet. If you have never viewed the site, please do.

There are some crazy videos, but young people flock to the site to see what’s on it. According to the site, users go to YouTube weekly or more often, and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues.

Isn’t this a great opportunity to get HVACR exposure? Through three-minute videos, we can show the world – particularly the young – how important and exciting this industry is and can be.

If you ever wanted positive Internet exposure, now is the time to purchase that economical digital video camcorder (such as a Flip video, in the $150 range) and begin shooting company projects. The problem may be editing down the material to a three-minute-or-less show that would grab the attention of a bunch of grade school-, high school-, and college-aged kids. No one said this would be easy.

I know a 20-year-old who is to start his second and final year of HVACR training. I have not approached him yet, but I plan to use him as my actor for some videos I plan to put together and get placed on YouTube. It’s worth a shot. You don’t know until you try, right?

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

I don’t want to be alone here. I ask contractors and techs to inform me what their Top 10 list would be - meaning, what 10 three-minute videos would provide the best information about this industry. In my estimation, a little humor should be inserted in the filming process or edited in later.

After all, we are trying to reach the young crowd, and they do like their entertainment. Since these films are earmarked for YouTube, there has to be some entertainment value or else, I’m afraid, they will not be viewed by the young and restless.

At the end of the film, maybe we could direct viewers to a different site, which could contain more serious industry films (www.achrnews.com). Not telling you anything new here in that contractors and techs must have a great deal of mechanical and electrical knowledge.

Each is responsible for knowing how to diagnose and repair problems with systems. Each must have an understanding of motors, thermostats, compressors, fans, ducts, pipes, wires, and pumps. This needs to come across in these serious videos for the proposed serious site.

In truth, the stakes are high. As reported last time here, roughly 40 percent of the industry is eligible to retire in the next decade.

During this same time period, the HVACR service industry is set to grow by 18 to 26 percent. If these numbers hold true, we will need to recruit and train 66 percent of our current industry workforce in the next decade.

Get those video cameras rolling. Pass along your Top 10 list of must-shoot videos. Let’s keep the momentum rolling.

Publication date: 07/28/2008
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