How To Make Video Work for You
In my last post, “Video: The Marketing Strategy You Can't Afford to Ignore,” I shared some amazing statistics that explain why video is influential, irresistible, and on the rise. I also spelled out the five key questions at the heart of every effective, thoughtful video marketing strategy. Check it out if you haven’t already.
If you’re persuaded that video is worth your effort and you want to use your in-house resources to get it done, then this post is for you. You’ll want to do your own additional reading, but it all starts with these basic principles.
Establish Your Tone and Point of View
The unique power of video lies in the direct connection it facilitates with viewers. Don’t shy away from this golden opportunity! Your video content should be authentic, humanizing, and original. Your viewers don’t expect perfection, but they do want to know you.
The more natural and conversational your tone, the better. And ideally, your video will be memorable. That could mean using humor or some big, splashy concept, but it could also mean simply being real.
People who take the time to watch a video do expect to come away with something useful. Your video should answer a question, provide a new insight, or explain something to your audience. Videos that break down a complicated idea or process and make it accessible are especially sticky.
Don’t worry about making a video that’s all things to all people. In fact, the more specific your intended audience, the better. When you have an ideal viewer in mind—the type of customer or prospect you’d most like to reach—you’ll have greater engagement, more clicks, and more conversions.
So that’s some of the theory behind video. Now let’s dive into how it works in practice.
Shoot, Edit and Post: Bringing Your Ideas to Life
In recent years, we’ve seen a revolution in video technology that has put powerful, affordable tools at our fingertips. However, there’s still a learning curve to navigate. To get the most from these tools, learn from the success of others and keep these tips in mind:
Broadcast-quality cameras can cost thousands, but you already have a high-end camera capable of capturing beautiful footage: your smartphone. Get familiar with consumer-friendly features like exposure adjustment and focus lock, and you’ll be shooting great video in no time.
A tripod, a light or two, and simple microphone are a few affordable tools that can dramatically improve your video.
Gone are the days when shooting video meant using big, hot, electricity-hogging lights. Today you can use small LED lights or even a camera-mounted ring light to give your subject a flattering look. Don’t place your subject right below a ceiling light—this will give them “raccoon eyes.” You can also get good results using natural light. Try placing your subject next to a window, and use a piece of white posterboard to “bounce” the light onto your subject’s face, filling in the shadows. Experiment!
Sound quality is a key consideration—and it’s often neglected. Viewers won’t stick with a video if the sound is poor—but if the sound is good, they’re likely to keep watching even if the video quality isn’t the greatest. When shooting with a smartphone, using a “real” microphone as opposed to the built-in one on your phone is the best way to ensure quality sound.
Even if you get a perfect take, some basic editing (e.g., trimming the head and tail and adding a title card) will make a big difference. Get to know one of the many user-friendly editing programs, like Apple’s iMovie or Adobe’s Premiere Elements. You can graduate to pro software as needed. To give your video some added appeal, try adding…
B-roll and Music
B-roll footage is great for adding visual interest and invaluable for covering up edits and camera transitions. You can shoot your own or buy it from a source like pond5.com or istockphoto.com. Similarly, music makes a video much more compelling and sticky. You can find royalty-free music at bensound.com and many other sites.
Animation can help you engage with a wider audience, opens up endless possibilities with your storyline, and lets you pack in a ton of information while keeping things fresh and interesting. And it’s easier than you might think. Check out this tutorial on how to incorporate animation into your DIY video: link
Be concise: Videos under 90 seconds result in better engagement and a higher retention rate. As a rule of thumb, always try to keep your videos under 3 minutes.
When it’s time to share your video, meet your audience where they are by choosing the right platform. YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have their own mechanisms for uploading and sharing video. Whenever possible, use the native platform of a website or app rather than simply linking to another source. You’ll get the most engagement that way.
You may already be eager to bring video into your marketing strategy, or you may be just starting to think about what video can do for your business. Either way, you’ve seen for yourself how video has, in a few short years, made huge inroads on the internet and become the fast lane that companies use to take their message right to the hearts and minds of the people they want to reach.
For a quick look at the science that explains why video is such a powerful marketing tool, and how Jute Creative crafts comprehensive video-based strategies for our clients, watch our short animated video. And then let’s talk.
Kari Olivier worked in various corporate marketing roles before migrating to the agency side. Kari is a writer, workshop facilitator, marketing strategist, and advisor to leaders at Fortune 500 companies and SMBs. She is co-founder of Jute Creative, a branding, marketing and communications agency in Portland, Oregon.