Video basics for your business: Here’s where to start

Before coronavirus was ever in the headlines, it was already old news that video was outperforming pretty much every other marketing tool online.

In early 2020, 92% of marketers say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy. This has grown from 78% in 2015, which shows the importance of video is only growing. And now, an unprecedented number of eyes are online all the time. In our eighth week of social distancing, most of us have thrown screentime caution to the wind.

Now’s the time to get started with video

If you are thinking about starting to create videos for your business, or if you haven’t created any in a long time, now is a great time to launch this content marketing project.

Let me start by being very clear here: I am not a video expert. What I am is a scrappy entrepreneur who is willing to learn pretty much anything that interests me and will move my business forward. I’m sharing what I’ve learned in the past year of making videos so that you can skip over the basics and jump right in.

I started creating weekly live Facebook videos shortly after rebranding my business as Sparkr Marketing in August 2019.

Following are some benefits of creating weekly marketing videos

  1. Videos bring new clients: When I first launched Sparkr, all my new clients came from my network of friends, former colleagues and even distant relatives. Among these new clients, were people who I haven’t seen since I was a kid. My content is what lets them know about my area of expertise. Now, nine months later, my clients are a healthy mix of word of mouth and others who find my content on social media.
  2. Videos drive other content: Committing to show up live on Facebook every Thursday (join me at 10:30 CT!) means I am forced to create weekly content. This video content drives the rest of my marketing content, including social media, blog posts, emails, downloadable freebies and shorter videos for LinkedIn. The more I create, the more ideas I have for content that can help my audience.
  3. Creating videos are easy: Once you get past the fear of creating videos, it’s actually easy. I spend at least an hour to write a blog about a topic, but a video only takes a few minutes. Confidence on video only comes with experience, so the way to create great videos is by diving right in. Live videos sound really intimidating to most people, but now that I do them, I actually find live videos are a lot easier. Prerecorded videos require a polished product, with concise content and editing. To go live, all you need is your phone, good advice and a smile.
  4. Authenticity is the trend now, which makes video easy: A few years ago, a video wasn’t considered professional unless it was created by a videographer. Now, though, audiences are used to getting access to teachers and famous people, who simply talk into their phones. There’s no need to create a really polished product if the content you’re sharing is good. The bar is low for production now, as long as your audience likes you and what you have to say.

Tips for setting up your marketing videos:

Get a set up that works: The right set up for videos is easy, and getting this right can significantly improve the viewers’ experience. I recommend the following:

  • Use your phone over a computer camera because your phone typically has a more sophisticated camera.
  • Spend a few bucks on a ring light and a mic, which significantly improves your sound and lighting.
  • Set your phone up at the right height so you are looking at the camera eye to eye. Don’t stand or sit too close to the camera and be sure it’s not aimed up your nose.
  • Record in a smaller room, ideally with carpet. This will help your sound.
  • If you’re creating a video with a friend, make sure only one person is in the camera at a time, unless you’re having a conversation back and forth. Avoid having one person quietly sitting there while the other talks. This feels and looks totally awkward.
  • Film in front of a simple, clean and pleasant background. Because, duh.

Sounding natural on marketing videos

When you first start creating videos, no doubt you’ll feel awkward. Push through it because it gets easier each time. One of the best ways to feel comfortable on video is to record yourself without an audience. Most tripods and ring lights come with a portable clicker, so it’s easy to shut yourself in a room alone.

Whatever you do, it’s really important to speak naturally on a video rather than read a script. I recommend creating an outline with brief points to discuss and then just go for it. Viewers will tolerate a video with ums, likes and uhs if your content is really good, but no one wants to watch a video of someone reading from a paper. As you get better and more experienced at creating marketing videos, you’ll reduce or ideally eliminate these breaks in your flow.

For pre-recorded videos, I recommend keeping them under 2 minutes, especially when you’re just getting started. If you have longer content, consider breaking it down and creating a video series on a topic.

Stay tuned for my next blog on this topic, which will include how to come up with ideas for video content. If you have more questions, join my Facebook group, where I go live every Thursday and answer questions on digital marketing content daily.

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