Too many years ago in a college far, far, away, I had a friend who pronounced video as “the coming thing.” That was a different era (anything pre-2000 is a very different era) but with one pronouncement this guy hit the nail on the head more than once, first with the music video explosion, and now with the universal application of video as a marketing communication medium.
Video marketing works better than most other electronic tools because it hits two senses simultaneously (sight and hearing) where most other media only titillate the eyes. There is a reason thousands more humans watch TV rather than read. So, it should not surprise you that visual entertainment is the most productive form of marketing engagement available today. Ask yourself: Would you rather click on a video or a white paper?
Why should small businesses focus on video?
It has great ‘bang for the buck’:
- Video allows you to express your passion for your work better than any other medium
- The critical success factor is the story line, not the production quality
- It has become pretty cheap to produce videos that consumers will accept
- Ragged “home video” rough-hewn visual quality has an edgy appeal, and is not the turn-off you may think it is
- Expensive equipment is no longer critical, as digital cameras have massively improved in quality
What is the best affordable approach?
- Get a professional writer to work with you in crafting your script (Trust me, this will save you time and money)
- Keep the script relatively unscripted, to capture that “I’m a real person, not an actor” appeal. (This not as hard as you think)
- Get a video production person to direct your work, so that you do not have to wear two hats, and can focus on delivering your message strongly and passionately
- Be selective in what you shoot: Emphasize only those aspects of the setting that present you in the best light (if shooting a home for sale, for instance, show only the best features of the house; If showing off your factory, show only the well-kept, up-to-date parts, and so on)
- Pay close attention to your environment. What is going on in the background? Should it be minimized, or does it add authenticity
- Minimize background noise
- Get a great microphone. The only quality that cannot be edgy or handheld is the audio. You must be heard! No static; clear bell-like tones only!
- Maximize lighting – but choose a setting with indirect lighting to avoid shadows under noses and squinting performers. There is a reason film directors like Woody Allen shoot outdoors scenes only on cloudy days
- Do a bunch of videos in one shoot
- Plan ahead so that you can shoot multiple segments quickly and efficiently. Don’t get too creative on the set, especially if you are renting a studio for a day. Do all that brainstorming before you start paying by the hour
- Keep each one short. Shoot for 2 minutes or less, and never go over three
- Example: When you shoot testimonials, invite participants to a studio by appointment, and film ten in one day. Pay them for their expenses, including mileage, and feed them
- Practice! Work the script. Listen to practice recordings. Breath and project your voice. Work with a voice coach ahead of time if you don’t naturally fill a room with your voice
- Relax!!! Enjoy the process. Be a star! You are sharing good news about something you feel passionate about
Use your videos everywhere. Make them easy to find:
- Put them on YouTube and other sharing sites
- Put them on your website (in rotation on the front page, and embedded in appropriate subpages)
- Add links in every e-mail communication you send
- Post them to your corporate Facebook page, and have that tied to your Twitter account
- Place QR codes in printed materials that link to relevant videos
With great planning and good scripting, you can spend a few days creating a lot of effective video that can last you for months before you have to head back into the studio for a refresher.
If you think you can’t afford this, think again: You can’t NOT afford it. If your competitors are using video, you need to keep up. If they aren’t, you need to get ahead of them.
Source: Written by Kern Lewis for Forbes