Video content has become an important marketing tool in 2014. Online video content is easy to make and gives you a chance to quickly tell your story. With the high-quality video cameras available on today’s smartphones, everything you need to make a decent online video is likely in your pocket right now.

Why you need to add video to your marketing program

Video content gets you on YouTube. This is important because the site is now the second-largest search engine in the world. Even if your content doesn’t become an overnight sensation, your videos become virtual salespeople available 24/7/365 for your company. Over 1 billion users visit YouTube each month and 40% of those views are on mobile devices. Some prospects will do their research early in the morning before work or late at night on a weekend. Videos give you a great way to connect with a potential prospect when it is convenient for them.

Things to think about before your first shoot

Make an effort to learn your “visual grammar.” While we’ve all consumed countless hours of video content over our lifetimes, switching your mindset to creating video content is harder than you may think. Effective visual storytelling is a skill you can learn. A great starting point is to review the “Five Shot Method” created by Michael Rosenblum to train journalists at the BBC and the New York Times.

Dig into the Creator Hub on YouTube. YouTube provides a wide range of free tools you can use to improve your work in their Creator Hub. You’ll find free audio sound effects, royalty-free music tracks, expert how-to videos and more.

Write a script before you start. Writing a script will help organize your thoughts. Once you have everything on the page, start to turn your script into a list of key bullet points you’d like to cover. Avoid memorizing things word-for-word so your performance will be more conversational. Keep in mind you’re only going to get between 120 and 160 words per minute according to Toastmasters International. This entire blog post is just shy of 500 words, so it would clock in at around four minutes.

Get right to the point and keep it as short as you can. Anything that goes over two minutes should be compelling content that just cannot be covered in 120 seconds. Research shows that you’re going to see a drop in viewers after the first quarter of your video, so think like a journalist and make your opening the most compelling part of your video.

If you find yourself getting up around 10 or 15 minutes, look to break things into chapters. A series of shorter pieces lets your viewer pick and choose what is important to them and gives you multiple marketing assets for the price of one. A set of five shorter videos could be shared over an entire week on social media and they multiply the potential SEO benefit of your content.

Ready to get started in online video production?

Marathon has started producing video content for our marketing program and for internal training, so check back next month for a nuts-and-bolts post about the inexpensive lighting kit we are using, other tips to make your videos stand out and a chance to view some of our first efforts.

Photo credit: Studio In The RAW: High Key Set-up by Illusive Photography (CC by 2.0)

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