Video marketing has exploded in the last few years. A survey conducted by comScore, a digital analytics provider, revealed that 100 million Internet users watch online videos each day. That’s a lot of eyeballs. If that’s not enough to pique your interests, consider this: 90 percent of online shoppers said they found video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.
Although video marketing is powerful, not everyone is buying into the hype. A report by BIA/Kelsey discovered that only 22 percent of U.S. small businesses plan on posting a promotional video to YouTube in the next year. If your company isn’t among that percentage, it’s time to start thinking about making your big screen debut. Here are six steps that will help you get over your stage fright and get you on your way to your first video.
Step #1 – Equipment
Many small businesses may assume that a camera crew with expensive equipment in tow is necessary to create a marketing video that is worth posting, but it’s not true. There are several inexpensive filming options that you and your team can use to create a great video. A simple camcorder, digital camera, web camera, smartphone or tablet and a tripod is all you need to begin filming
Tip: It may be wise to purchase an external microphone to ensure your audio is clear. A simple microphone that attaches to your shirt (called a lavalier or lav for short) is relatively inexpensive and can be found at an electronic retailer.
Step #2 – Content
Many companies jump on the video bandwagon only to come to a screeching halt when they try to decide what they should say to viewers. The first thing to remember is that these videos are not meant to serve as low-budget commercials. Instead, your clips should enlighten your customers. Look to questions that you frequently receive for inspiration. Maybe your customers would enjoy an overview on how your product works or a how-to video to help them troubleshoot common problems. Not only will you be able to educate your customers, but you will present your company as a credible source for information.
Tip: Once you find out what you want to talk about, write it down. Whether your on-air talent prefers a script or simply requires bullet points, it’s important to organize your thoughts so that you don’t leave anything out.
Step #3 – Set Up
There are a few small adjustments you can make before you start filming that will make a major impact on the end result of your video. Take lighting for example – it’s one of the most noticeable elements that amateur videographers overlook. Fortunately, there is an easy fix.
To capture the best lighting while filming indoors, you should avoid overhead lights as they tend to cast unflattering shadows on the face. Instead, film in an area that has soft light. You can create soft lighting by placing your subject in front of a window or light covered with a towel or sheet. An overcast day will also serve as a decent light source if you plan on filming outdoors.
Tip: Make sure your subject dresses for the part. Anyone who will be on camera should avoid clothing with loud patterns, high contrasts between clothing and skin tone and bright colors such as red or orange.
Step #4 – Shooting
Before you begin filming, make sure you correctly frame the shot by using the rule of thirds. This means that your subject should be situated one-third or two-thirds of the way up or across the frame instead of in the middle. By correctly placing your subject, you will create a more interesting and visually pleasing image for viewers.
Next, give yourself some wiggle room before and after your subject speaks. Simply press record and silently count down from five with hand gestures before your subject begins and film a few extra seconds after he or she finishes speaking. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally clip the beginning or end of your subject’s monologue.
Tip: Before you film, check to see if your camera has an audio jack that will allow you to plug in headphones and listen to the audio live. This can help you avoid a headache later if your subject’s microphone picks up background noise or if there is a problem with the sound.
Step #5 – Editing
It’s likely that your computer is already preloaded with a simple video editor – iMovie for Mac users and Windows Live Movie Maker for Windows users. Both of these programs give you all of the basic editing functions you will need for a short video such as trimming capabilities, transitions and the ability to add music. You can spend as much or as little time as you like editing, but at the very least, you must remember to trim the beginning and end of your video (where your gave yourself wiggle room earlier).
Tip: If you’re in a pinch, you can utilize YouTube’s editor for basic edits. Simply upload your video, add it to the storyboard and click the scissor tool to clip the video.
Step #6 – Upload
There are a couple ways you can upload your video to the Web, but the most popular and user-friendly of the bunch is YouTube, the largest video-sharing platform in the world. Setting up an account on YouTube.com is quick and easy, but sharing your videos is even easier. YouTube offers one-touch share buttons for several popular social networks, custom codes that allow you to embed your video on your website and shortened links for quick sharing.
Tip: If you plan to do a video series (i.e. how-to videos or question and answer segments), consider utilizing YouTube’s playlist function. This will allow your viewers to easily find and watch related videos on your channel.
Now that you’re armed with these six simple tips, you are ready to create the first of many videos for your company. Have fun with the process and we can’t wait to see your big break in video marketing!
This article originally appeared in Security Nation, 2014, Vol. 4.