Video is a very powerful form of content, and it’s arguably the best for demonstrations of a product’s use, side-by-side comparisons, testimonials, facility tours, bios and much more. The ability to combine visuals, action, audio, and sound effects or music makes it highly engaging and helps illustrate almost any point you’re trying to make.
With small, hand-held video cameras and fairly user-friendly editing software available today, it’s simple to put together a video that broadens your content library and communicates in multiple dimensions. Prospects are demanding a quick way to consume important information. Video already accounts for more than 50 percent of Internet traffic, a number that Cisco projects will grow to 90 percent by 2014.
Here are some basic tips to think about as you consider putting video into your content lineup:
1. Keep it short. Most topics need less than 2 minutes to cover – any longer and you’re asking too much of your audience.
2. Follow a format. Presenters often use the format “tell the audience what you’re about to tell them, then tell it to them, then tell them what you told them.” It works well for video, too. Your intro should give the viewer an idea of what they’re about to see; your wrap-up should be a quick recap of your most important points and a call to action.
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3. Mount the camera to a tripod. Holding the camera while you tape can add some interesting dimension to your video, but unless you’re really good at holding steady as you control and choreograph movements, the result is nausea-inducing.
4. Tape from more than one angle. If the topic is long enough to warrant it, use 2 or more camera angles to tell your story. This is especially important if you have one person on camera speaking throughout the video, as you would in a testimonial. Switching where you position the camera halfway through taping will eliminate a viewer/subject “stare-down,” and add to the overall professional feel of the piece.
5. Shoot twice. Shoot the video twice so you have plenty of footage to work with when you’re editing. In the second version, use different angles than those captured in the first version; that way you create “movement,” even when taping something fairly static.
6. Carefully consider your background. Some topics will require you to shoot in specific locations, like a production line or physician’s office. When you do have a choice, avoid shooting against a wall. Instead, choose a location with something in the background to frame your subject. For a customer testimonial, as an example, shoot the person standing in the doorway to his or her office, capturing the office interior in the background.
7. Take advantage of natural light. The best places to shoot are where natural light is streaming in. There’s a good chance you’ll still need support from a desk lamp or overhead, but there’s no substitute for the warm, diluted effects of ambient light.
8. Mic everyone with a speaking role. A lavalier microphone costs as little as $30 and is worth the cost. Cameras like the Flip videocam have built-in microphones but tend to produce audio that’s tinny and remote. Plus people just look cool wearing a lavalier.
9. Don’t rely on a script. Memorizing lines is not a good idea, and if your on-camera people know the topic well, there’s no need for one. Memorizing results in delivery that’s stiff and awkward because the person reciting lines is thinking about what they’re saying, not how they’re saying it. Approach taping as a conversation: the person operating the camera should ask questions of the subject in front of it. You’ll get much more genuine and relatable results. The cameraperson’s questions can easily be edited out later.
10. Leave room for post-production edits. Adding words on screen can help reinforce what you’re showing onscreen or highlight what your subject is talking about. To do this, position the person left or right of center as you tape so you have room to edit in bullet points or highlight words later against the background.
If you don’t have the manpower or skills needed to write and produce a basic video, ask your Inbound Marketing agency to help you. Video is a great way to diversify your content, add energy to a topic and showcase your product or service in a highly engaging way. And it’s not the extravagance expense it used to be.
Want to know more about using social media like YouTube to give your brand a shot in the arm? Take a look at Weidert Group’s free download, “Enhance Your Internet Presence With Social Media.”