By Neil Davidson, founder of My Web Presenters.
If you’ve ever struggled to get the results you want for your business, it’s probably because you’re trying to seduce your customers with text. But without a punchy writing style and something important to say, text can be dull and difficult to relate to. And that’s what people want – something they can relate to.
Why Video Works
Video is a powerful medium. There are numerous reasons why it’s so effective, but it all stems from one simple element: Connection.
People want to feel connected, and video is the perfect medium to allow it because it features body language. Body language communicates so much more than the written word: it communicates emotion that words can’t convey, it builds rapport, it allows people to see the real you and it gives them someone to relate to. Someone to trust.
Figure Out How Your Video Will Help Others
There’s no point in throwing a video about cats together if it doesn’t somehow help your viewers. Your video must be relevant to your business and provide value to your audience. It must impart information the viewer doesn’t already know or enhance their life in some way. If it doesn’t do this, it won’t help anyone: not your audience, and definitely not you.
Providing value through your videos will portray you as an expert in your field, meaning you will be the one people turn to when they need what you have. Providing useful content is a win-win strategy.
Determine What You Want Your Video to Achieve
How will a video help support the overarching goal of your business?
Are you hoping to get more traffic flowing to your site? To increase brand awareness? To boost conversions? Figure out exactly what it is you’re hoping to achieve and nail down some specific, measurable targets so you have something to shoot for.
Perhaps you want to increase monthly visitors to your site by 25% or to generate 100 more leads. Whatever it is, get it down in writing so you can point to it and say, ‘Yes, this video has been worth its weight in production costs!’
Having specific goals will help you determine what you need to do to achieve them. If you decide to create a video for the hell of it, it’ll be impossible to come up with an effective action plan and difficult to tell whether it’s actually accomplished anything worthwhile.
Budget Accordingly & Draw Up Your Business Case
Now you have a good idea of what you want your video to accomplish, you need to get down to the specifics. Summarise the precise intention of your video – whether it will help boost traffic, convert more leads, improve your brand image, or whatever else you hope to achieve – and how this will be done. The more compelling your business case, the higher the budget will likely be, so be as detailed as possible. Once your budget is set, you’ll have a better idea of how to get your production started.
If your budget is low, perhaps you’ll need to put the video together in-house. This will require an upfront investment in decent equipment, including a camera, tripod, microphone and lighting. Do your research and buy the best equipment your budget allows.
If you can afford it, consider hiring a professional company to produce your video. Consult your contacts to try to find a good referral. If nothing comes up, resort to a good, old fashioned Google search and be sure to do some comparisons – don’t just go on price. Try phoning a few companies to have a chat about your plans – if the person on the other end doesn’t sound particularly engaged, they’re probably not the best bet. On the other hand, if they’re enthusiastic and lively and contributing to your plans, they could be the one.
Plan the Production
Regardless of whether you’re shooting it yourself or hiring professionals, you’ll need to take some time to plan your video.
First and foremost, you need a script. You also need to decide on the location or set: will you shoot the video at an outdoor location? In a studio? A combination or the two? If you’re shooting in more than one place, you’ll also need a shooting script, which breaks down the entire script into its separate locations.
You’ll also need to write up a shot list, which details each individual shot needed for the video. You’ll need to figure out who’s going to star in your video, too. It could be yourself, an actor, a trained presenter or somebody hired by the production company.
The final step is to edit the video, ensuring it fits with your original vision. If there are outsiders working on it, make sure you stay as involved as possible to keep things moving along the right tracks.
Where to Publish Your Video
YouTube is the place to start when publishing your video. It has the most users of any video publishing platform, and therefore the widest reach. It also makes it easy to share videos, which is key to your overall marketing strategy.
For even wider reach, consider setting up an account on TubeMogul, which distributes your videos across a number of other, smaller video networks. It requires some initial legwork to set up accounts on all the individual video platforms you’d like to use, but once it’s done – you’re golden. Each time you create a new video, just upload it to TubeMogul, which will take care of the time-consuming distribution for you.
Once your video is uploaded across the web, you still need to get it in front of people. Just uploading it and letting it gather dust won’t do any good. You need to push it out into the world, get people to pay attention and – most importantly – to share it.
One of the easiest (but often overlooked) ways to get people to share your content is simply to ask. If people like your video, they will happily oblige. Just including a simple, ‘If you liked this video, please share it,’ at the end will do the trick. Otherwise people will watch the video, think about how wonderful it was, and move on to the next thing.
How to Market Your Video
Obviously, you should put your video up on your own website. YouTube makes it easy to embed videos, often just by pasting the URL of the video straight in – no fussy code required.
Then there’s your social networks to think about: if you have an active presence and a large following on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, those are great places to share your video. The more eyes you can get your video in front of, the more shares it will receive and the bigger impact it will have on your business. Of course, if you don’t have a large social media following, that’s something you should work on if you want to boost your marketing results – but that’s for another article.
Bookmarking sites should be your last port of call. Digg, reddit, StumbleUpon and other similar sites are a great way of making your work known to new viewers, adding an extra punch to your marketing strategy.
Sharing your video across numerous platforms and encouraging others to do the same is a sure-fire way to have maximum impact, but only if you’ve created something worth sharing. Always remember, the main point of your video should be to add value to other people’s lives. Following the steps laid out above won’t help if you don’t have a worthwhile offering for the world.
About My Web Presenters
My Web Presenters are a leading Video Production specialist. They are the pioneers of video web presenters and have developed the leading technology for this type of web video. They work with businesses of all sizes to create compelling and emotive video that helps them to communicate with their specific audience. Call them on UK: 0845 003 8359 or US: 0800 475 7599.