In the past, the use of video in the corporate space was purely for training and informational purposes. If you’ve ever worked for a reasonably large organisation then there’s a good chance that you’ve had to sit through at least one of these. Video in business tended to be dull, with actors fulfilling often badly written parts and subject matter never really capturing the imagination (with a few exceptions, I’m sure.)
Fast forward to the present day and the use of video in business has changed beyond all recognition. Now, companies are coming up with more creative videos all the time to boost marketing activities. No longer limited to training and information, the kinds of video that are produced today are interesting and don’t rely on actors as they did back in the day. Now, graphical elements are also used and the result is that producing a video can really enhance your online presence, especially if it goes viral.
In fact, a recent study found that 95% of B2B companies believe that video marketing is valuable and important to their firm and it’s thought that by 2018, around 79% of all internet traffic will be video. It’s now so simple and affordable to create video content that a huge 81% of businesses are producing a video for their website.
Video Marketing Budgets on the Rise
It’s no wonder then that many companies are apportioning more of their budget to video marketing now, especially since it’s one of those things that consumers love to watch on mobile. Tailoring content to suit a variety of devices and keeping firmly in mind how content is consumed is always going to be a winning strategy.
If you’ve never produced a video though, it can seem a little daunting, but it needn’t. It’s not like it was in the past, video is simple to produce without the need for huge bulky cameras and sound equipment. Graphical video is a little more complex of course and it’s useful to employ a designer if you’re going to attempt this, or it could end up looking amateurish and cheap.
So how do you go about producing your first video, what tools and skills are you likely to need?
Plan Your Content First
Before you begin, think hard about what kind of video you want to make. What do you want to get across to your audience and what will they be interested in. Of course, the video should really concern your niche and it should be grabbing. Don’t be tempted to make a video just telling people what you do, as it’s unlikely to be of interest. Instead, think about how you can solve the problems your audience might have.
For example, if you have an online clothing store, then you could create a video on fashion tips, or perhaps on caring for clothes that are somewhat high maintenance. Think about your buyer persona and what their interests are and you’re halfway to creating a video that will be watched.
If you’re looking at creating an advertisement, then graphical video is a good way to go as people tend to be more willing to accept these than a talking head extolling the virtues of a product.
Also think about:
- The script – are you capable of writing this, or will you need to get a professional writer to craft it?
- Where you’re going to be distributing the video – are you just going to go for YouTube or will you be using other channels.
- Equipment – you don’t need a lot of pricey equipment to create a good video, but it’s worth looking at editing software.
- Marketing – what’s your strategy going to be when it comes to marketing?
- The ‘face’ – it doesn’t have to be the business owner presenting the video, not everyone is comfortable with it and this will show. Ask around the staff to see who would like to be the face of the company and you’ll probably be surprised to find hidden talents! If it’s just you, then consider collaborating with another business to come up with something really special.
- Your goals – think about what you want to achieve with your video.
Firstly, get your ideas down on paper and discuss them with the team, if relevant. Hold a creative brainstorming session and let the ideas flow freely so that you can come up with something special.
Once you’ve done this, get a script together – one page generally equates to one minute of video time if it’s formatted as a script, rather than just a block of text. Keep the script tight and don’t waste words, get to the point quickly as you have around 8 seconds to grab the viewer’s attention so you should pay particular attention to the start of the video and craft the script around it.
Take your time with the script and don’t rush it, have other members of the team look it over too so that you keep those ideas flowing.
Depending on where you’re posting the video, you could use a smartphone to produce it but it’s very unlikely that the quality would be very good. Since you really don’t want to come across as being cheap and amateurish, then it’s a good idea to invest in a video camera. It doesn’t have to have all of the bells and whistles that a professional video producer would expect and it doesn’t have to break the bank (plus it should be user friendly, if you haven’t used one before). However, it’s worth putting a little time into research to ensure that it’s going to produce a video that’s of a good quality.
Read reviews, decide on your budget and ask around, there are plenty of enthusiast sites online that can help you to come to a decision. Think about audio too, many cameras don’t have a good enough microphone built in, so it’s likely that you’ll have to purchase an external one.
When it comes to video editing software, then there are plenty of open source options available if your budget is limited. If you’ve no experience with software such as this, then it’s a good idea to give yourself time to learn or you could end up very frustrated trying to get it right.
Remember too that the attention span for some types of video is limited, around 12-15 minutes is more than plenty – video is becoming shorter and shorter as apps such as Vine are used more.
The object of the exercise is of course to gain views, so do make sure that you optimise your video description and include relevant keywords if you want to get picked up in search. You should also share the heck out of it through your social channels.
If you’re not sure how well the video will be received by your audience, then why not also pick a section of your mailing list (those that perform a lot of opens on your newsletter would be a good choice) and first send it to them. Tell the recipients that you’re looking for their honest feedback and offer them something in return, such as a discount on their next order. If they don’t like it, don’t be downhearted, do something about it instead.
Think hard about just uploading to YouTube – Facebook videos get an awful lot of views, something that’s probably helped by the auto play function in the newsfeed. With that in mind, really think about how the video can grab the attention within those all-important first seconds for the site too.
Beyond Video #1
Once you’ve posted your first video, repeat the process and aim to post reasonably often. This will attract subscribers and encourage a loyal audience. One of the best forms of video content that always seems to do well if it’s put together well is tutorial video. You can show people how to use your product, or how to perform simple actions in SEO, design etc. You can even create a tutorial using screen capture software that allows you to show instead of tell. Video tutorials are something that every business should consider where at all possible – people love to learn.
Video marketing is something that every online marketer should consider, it’s far too valuable to dismiss. It’s not particularly difficult and there are now plenty of outlets for successful distribution. As a species, we’re consuming an increasing amount of video content each year, so if you don’t produce video then you’re not making the absolute most of the modern marketing opportunities that are available to you.