Video can showcase your business or venture with ease highlighting your most valuable message by way of pictures, motion, and video voice-overs. A picture is worth 1,000 words, as they say, and video is worth 1,000 pictures if you can take that further. So, you can literally portray your message in only seconds or minutes with the right video presentation. People really connect with video. It is social proof all over the internet and that’s why I am so excited about video and what it can do for your business marketing strategy.
Getting Started with Video
Make sure that you do the best video possible for your business and get things in order, right up front so that you don’t have the frustration and worry about doing things over and over again. There are a lot of things to consider, and if you get all of these correct in the beginning, you can make everything a lot smoother and a lot more enjoyable. There are actually 14 points to look at and incorporate and do properly throughout the whole process. So, let’s have a look at those right now.
There are: The Equipment and the Props, the Camera, the Microphone and Audio, Lighting, Editing Software, the Setting, your Film Crew, the Message (or what you are trying to say to your audience), the Type of Video, Customer Benefits, the Length of the Video, Preparation, the Producer and the Website Platform (or the median it is going to be sitting on).
The first point is Equipment and Props.
When you look at equipment and you are going to be doing a video, face to face with a camera on you, you need to consider what props you are going to be using and holding in your hand (which will be synonymous with your business). You need to be sure that it can fit in with whatever your business is. If you are a builder for instance, you would want to have a hammer, and a hard hat, some sort of work attire that looks correct, and that sort of thing. Now another prop or equipment is clothing. You need to make sure you dress properly for the occasion. If you are a health practitioner, you do not want to be wearing shorts and shirts. That’s not really professional. You would want to be dressed in something smart or casual and even have some sort of white shirt on, which may represent health and cleanliness.
Another prop you should be very aware of and careful of using is animals. If you are going to use animals in your story or your video, then make sure that you time this correctly because animals can be very difficult to work with – they do their own thing, they do not listen, they can be noisy, and they basically do what they want to (which is totally different to what you want them to do usually).
Just realize that the props and the equipment do not make the story, they only enhance the story. This includes the props around you, the props that you hold, and the animals that might be used in your story as well.
The next point in video production is the Camera. You will be using some sort of digital camera and you have to be sure that it is suitable for what you want it to do. There are many different types you can get. There are expensive cameras, big cameras, small cameras, and very inexpensive cameras. You can do so much even with a smart phone and the quality of camera in these gadgets is fantastic! You can literally film yourself using your smart phone and get away with it rather well. You can also look at these things on whether it is a mid range or whether it is an HD camera. I do not recommend you go out and buy the most expensive camera. What I do recommend is getting one which is suitable for your story. If you are going to be incorporating yourself in a video, then make sure that you are not going over the top. You might even only be on the video for 30 seconds or for 30 minutes to an hour, and that’s fine. Just make sure that your camera suits your needs.
I personally recommend you use a mid-range camera like a Flip camera (which can cost you $50-$100). It might also be an HD camera, provided that you use it correctly.
Now the other aspect is whether you’ll be doing close ups and portrait shots or whether you are doing landscape shots. If you are doing close ups then you want to make sure that it is rather clear, so perhaps an HD camera might be a bit more suitable. But if you are doing landscape shots, which are far off in the distance or perhaps of you walking several meters away, then a mid-range flip camera is going to be suitable as well. Do not get too hung up on the cameras though.
The next main point we are going to cover is the Microphone and Audio. When you are doing your filming, you have to consider the background noise. You are going to make sure that you speak audibly. Is your voice clear? Are you using proper diction? Is the microphone picking you up well enough? You can go get a specialized microphone and use it quite fine, or you can use the microphone on your video camera, which might be quite suitable. You have got to consider what noise is in the background and there are two things to consider here, whether it is an omnidirectional microphone, or a unidirectional microphone. A unidirectional microphone picks up the sound unusually from one direction. A lapel mic, or a hand-held microphone (which is unidirectional) picks up the sound from you only and you might have to have a wind sock on it if it’s windy. Whereas an omnidirectional microphone (which is usually in your cameras) picks up sound from all around. The worry about that is, you might be getting a lot of background noise. And even if you are in a shut closed room, you might get some noise from outside. It might be some birds chirping or some dogs barking or a noisy car driving past. An omnidirectional microphone will pick that up. So just consider those things and once you have done the filming, have a good listen afterward. Turn the sound up and see what you can hear. It’s quite alarming. You don’t notice it at the time until you go back and listen afterward.
So there are good sounds, and there are bad sounds. Just realize that afterward you can edit a lot of the sounds out as well, it just is more time consuming and takes a lot more work so it’s best to get it right the first time up.
The next aspect that we have to consider in video marketing production is the Lighting. Now, have we got the correct lighting? Can they see your face? Do you have a lot of dark shadows everywhere? Is there casting shadows behind you? You have got to consider the fact that what you see on the replay is what your audience will see as well. You might need to set up some extra lights to shine on your face to balance the light from one side to the other. You might need some extra professional lighting, or you may need to bounce some lighting off some other walls, to balance it all out. I find that the best lighting to have is natural lighting. If you’ve got a lot of natural sunlight coming through the windows, it really does help out. It shows your face very well, and it highlights your expressions very well.
Don’t get too hung up on lighting as well. As long as you are clear and you can see yourself, then that should be sufficient. You have got to consider that if it is cloudy or dark can they see your face? The lighting spectrum is another aspect as well you have to consider. And that is, do you have a lot of yellow light in your picture or a lot of white light? A balanced natural light is always the best. If you have someone filming with you, they can see this through the camera view as well. You don’t necessarily have to re-tape things over time. So balancing the light is very, very important. If you want to have a great video, then use all of these criteria.
Number five is Editing Software. Now you can do your filming and your shots all the time, and that’s fine, but at the end of the day you have to edit it. You have to chop out the bad bits or merge it and transition it, crop it, put in some extra bits and pieces here and there, and you need editing software to do so. Editing software can cut, crop, edit, splice and transition, do screen capture, do all of this stuff all in one. And there are many different types you can get. You can get the free stuff, which may have a few hang ups, but you can still use it rather well, or you can get the paid versions as well.
On the PC you can have Movie maker or on a MAC, iMovie or Camtasia. It is a cross platform system as well that you can use on PC or MAC and allows you to capture things on your screen. It can also shoot and capture your face and you can join the two together, mix your pictures in later, transition, fade in and fade out, and all those sorts of things.
It is very important to get the editing software correct, but whatever you do, make sure it is simple to use. Easy to use is definitely the way to go. If you use something too complicated, you will get bogged down in time and you won’t actually have the time to do it properly. You will do yourself an injustice.
Number six is the Setting. When you’re filming yourself with video, you have to make sure that your settings are correct. If you are doing a business video, you might want to go outside of your business place. You might want to film outside of your business building, you might want to film inside of your business building surrounded by your colleagues or your work station, or if you are a builder, you might want to film right outside of your work site with some construction equipment around. You just have to check that you can actually film in certain areas. You might be restricted by certain lights or certain times of the day, but the point is, your business setting should suit your business and you have to be careful of noisy environments. You have to be careful of what’s in the background because you might be filming yourself and think you have a great video. But then, some other crazy stuff might be happening in the background, which you are not aware of at all. If you are beside a busy freeway then people will hear that coming through the video, probably a lot louder than what you expect. If you are under a flight path at an airport, or something like that, you might get planes flying overhead. It’s all a matter of picking your site. Now, just because you are filming for your business, it doesn’t mean that you have to film outside of your business. You might use a setting similar to your business, that has a nice garden or a nice building in the background, nice people around, or in the city square somewhere by the water. Whatever it is you don’t have to film outside of your business, just realize that on film, people are fixed by this. So you can maneuver your film around to capture one aspect of your background only and that is very important.
If your business video is all about screen capture and you are just filming what is happening on your computer screen, like websites and slide shows and that sort of thing, then you need to make sure that you have everything else out of the way. You do not want distractions. What you see on your computer screen, others will see as well. You need to make sure that it is clear, it is not distracting, and that people are not going to look over here when you want them to look over there. So, zoom in a little bit closer so people see exactly what you want them to see.
The setting- it has the aspects of lighting, night or day. You can film before work starts, or before all the people start to come in. Whatever it might be, be sure that you pick the setting correctly.
The next big aspect we’ve got is the Film Crew. Now this might seem a little bit strange but it is very important. If you understand that you are going to be the film crew, with no one else around, and you are just filming yourself, then you will be rather restricted on what you can do with your camera. You sort of have to stand in one spot. You can’t move around too much because you will go out of focus or you will go out of the view. So consider that when you are filming. But if you have a film crew or a camera man to actually film you properly, then you can move around and your camera can pan around and follow you as well. You don’t necessarily have to stand still. You will be in focus a lot more of the time. Knowing exactly where to stand and how to stand is another aspect. And your film crew can help you with these things as well. I always suggest on someone else filming you because they can see what is going on a lot clearer. And of course, use a tripod.
The next aspect to look at is your Message. What are you trying to say? Have you set the points out so that you remember what to deliver in the whole message? If you don’t set the points out then you will really start to wonder here and there. You need to make sure that your message tells your customers exactly what you want them to hear. That’s why it’s always best to write them out. You also have to use the language of your customers. If you are speaking to children, you can’t use sophisticated, educational language. If you are talking to academics viewers, you can’t use kiddy language. You gotta have the language suitable for the customer base, that way they can understand what you are talking about. When you make you make your message, it should be short, sharp, and to the point.
Don’t baffle on about this and that. Make it clear and concise. So, when you talk, make sure you use proper diction and you pronounce your words properly even if you have to round your mouth to make sure that you are clearly speaking. Whatever it is, make sure that your message is clear, direct, and to the point, and that you are speaking directly to your customer. Not to the camera. You are not speaking to the camera; you are speaking to your customer. And that is very important to remember. At the end of the message, make sure to have some sort of call to action that you want them to do, whether it is click over here, download a product or just to visit another website, or to come in and visit you in your store. Whatever it is, you should have a call to action. Make it very clear and concise.
The next major aspect we’ve got is the Type of Video. Now what type of video are you going to make? Before you go out and start this, you should have an idea of what you are trying to achieve. Are you making a training video? Are you putting together a lead capture video, a sales video, an ad, or an introductory video? They all have different meanings and they all do different things. If you don’t understand this then you’ll be proceeding at your own peril. You might be going into some sort of introductory video about your business, telling the customer all the benefits about your business, and then all of a sudden you start to go into sale, sale, and sale! Introduction has nothing to do with sales. They all have different meanings and they should be structured accordingly. If you get it wrong, your message will not come through strong enough, so it is very important that you get your type of video correct from the beginning. The structure for each of those has to be correct as well.
The next point is Customer Benefits. Every type of video needs a customer benefit. Even if it is a simple free product or free training, it should have some sort of customer benefit. The customer should feel number one, that you are doing this for them, and that they understand that they are going to get something out of it. There is a little saying that I heard recently and it is ‘What’s in it for me?’ or the ‘WIIFM Factor’- Whenever you or your customer clicks on a video and has a look or opens up a CD or some sort of DVD, they are going to get some kind of benefit out of it. They want to see that they are gonna get some type of benefit out of it. Even if it is just pleasure, even if it is learning something, or finding out some new information, that’s a benefit. How it can help them. How it can solve their problem. How it can help their emotion. You should remember the ‘What’s in it for me’ factor- the ‘WIIFM’ Factor. If your customer sees the benefits, they are more likely to take up the action that you want them to do. Just remember that customer benefits are not the feature. Features are totally different from customer benefits. Features are about the products, benefits are about the customer. Get this right and you will really, really do well.
Another aspect we have to look at is number 11- The Length of the Video. A sales video will be totally different from an introductory video which will be completely different in length from a training video. And you gotta look at the different types of videos before you think about how long it is gonna be. And that is so your message has to be portrayed right through the video; succinct, clear, and to the point.
In other words, an introductory video should only be 30 seconds, or 1 minute to 2 minutes at the absolute maximum, with you just introducing something. Look over here, look over there, we are doing this, come check us out, and that is the end of the video. That is an introductory video. A lead generation video may be only 30 seconds to a minute as well or 2 minutes at the max. You just go over a few of the benefits, why they would want to join your list or why they would want to listen to you and what they will get out of it. Just remember the ‘What’s in it for me factor.’ Once you have covered that, that’s the whole video.
A sales video on the other hand, will have a call to action as well. A sales video will be a little bit longer. You need to go through the customer benefits, the pain that the customer might be going through, and how you are going to solve those problems. It might seem a little bit strange, but you are not selling a product, you are selling a solution to the customer, and your product happens to be there as a part of the solution. So just remember that the length of the video is synonymous with what you are saying. You should say your whole message and nothing more. So a sales video can be anywhere between 2 minutes and 10 minutes long.
A training video on the other hand can be 10 minutes, it could be 30 minutes, or it could be 2 hours. Just be wary about 2 hour videos; people’s attention span can be very short so you might need to cut it down into chunks. Chop it down into 30 minute intervals. It is very important to know that people’s attention span is short, so the length of the video is very important. You need to bring them in with a hook, but you do not want to give them too much information, just enough to tell the message.
Number 12 – Preparation. This is very important, we all need preparation. You have to have some sort of list of what you want to say. You have to have notes. You cannot just expect to jump in front of the camera and say blah blah blah blah, you need some practice. If you can jump in front of the camera and go blah blah blah blah, it is because you know your message. You know it very clearly and you have probably practiced it many times before. So to have a smooth video and a smooth process, you need to practice these things and be prepared. And being prepared might only take a minute, or it might take an hour or 2 hours. It means you need to spend time preparing your equipment, your props, your setting, the sound equipment, and the lighting. You need to make sure your notes are correct, what you want to say, and what is your message. Make sure that your preparation is in order before you even start. If you are doing a screen capture on the other hand, you need to prepare these things and have all relevant windows open and ready to go. Even if they are sitting in the background when you are ready to record, you can go ‘OK, now we are going to go to this website,’ click and you are up and running. You do not have to wait for the download issues and those sorts of waiting times. Being prepared is very important, whether you are doing face to face, landscape videos, or even screen capture. Preparation is the key.
The Producer is number 13. Who’s calling the shots? Who has the final story line in their head even before you start? They understand the whole message, the setting, the actors, and what and where you are. That is the job of a producer. He can see things even before it starts, he knows where the video wants to go, and he knows what direction to head in. The producer also knows the mood of the video, whether it is happy, somber, upbeat, professional, fun, or whether it is direct and to the point. If on the other hand, you are the producer, and you have no one else to help you, then you need to make sure that you are well prepared. You need to know what shots, you need to know what direction you want to head to have your video go into, and there are examples as well. If you have an example to follow for a lead generation video, then you can follow that system. If you’ve got an example sales page video, then you should follow those steps as well. It is important that the producer knows the beginning and the end before you even start.
The next point we are going to look at is the Medium or the Platform. This is the final major point. You can’t fit a 2 hour long feature film on to a CD, it just doesn’t fit. You can’t put a lead generation video, which is 30 seconds long on a DVD. It is overkill; it just doesn’t suit. If you are going to put a lead generation video or an introductory video on the internet, then where do you put it? If your audience is only one person, then that would be totally different than if you had 1,000 watching it over time. You might just be doing a video for your staff or the members of your company. In that case you might want to just send out a CD or a USB. So the questions that you need to ask yourself, who is your audience, how many is your audience, and what frequency will they be downloading it? It might be suitable to put these things onto YouTube and if it is a sensitive video where you only want a select free to see, you can actually change the settings on YouTube to make it not public, but private. You might want to host it on your website. Just be very careful about hosting videos on your own website because if too many people watch it, it sucks up your bandwidth (in which case it can crash your video or your website). There is specialist on website servers out there for this. Like Amazon, YouTube, and the Cloud. Amazon Cloud is one that I use and is great. You have to consider the medium you are going to be putting your video on. Is it a CD, DVD, or an online platform? Either way, if you get these correct, it is a lot easier to understand how you are going to be producing your own video.
All of these aspects will be used right through your video production. And it is all these 14 points: your equipment, the props, the camera, the audio and microphones, the lighting, the editing software, the settings, the film crew, the message, the type of video, customer benefits, the length of the video, preparation, and the producer. Now these all work hand in hand and you can’t leave any of them out. So business video marketing strategies incorporate all of this information.