By Christoph Cyrol, Senior Product Manager, Corel

The rise of video has perhaps been one of the most dramatic ways in which the online world has impacted the way we live and work. More than one billion unique users visit YouTube each month and more than six billion hours of video are watched each month — almost an hour for every person on Earth.

The use of video in business has also grown at an astonishing rate and the reason for this is simple — it is a hugely effective communications channel for any organisation. Recent research by Forbes showed that when given the choice, 60 per cent of business people would view video before text on a website and online shoppers that watch video are 64 per cent more likely to buy than those that haven’t. People increasingly want content in a more visual format, they want to be shown information, not told.

Video content is everywhere and a majority of bigger business now use it as a key tactic in marketing, HR, sales, PR and more. Smaller businesses are consistently told of the value that video can offer, but it can be daunting for those that aren’t familiar with it. What type of content should a SME use? What is the best way to produce video content? What should be done with your video once it is complete?

Getting started with video
There are several options to consider when an SME embarks on producing and utilising video, one of which of course is to hire a professional. Any SME that wants to do so should use a local firm or freelancer to get the most competitive rates and should also have a good idea of how they are going to use their video. With such a significant investment, few businesses can afford to sit on their video and not be certain of how it is to be deployed.

So unless a business has significant cash to invest in video content, they would be best advised to produce their content themselves. The good news is that it has never been easier to do so, producing content that presents a business in a visual and compelling way. The days are long gone when you need expensive kit and extensive time in the edit suite to produce quality content and for time-pressured SMEs that feel they lack the required skills, it is neither a long nor complicated process.

There are many good quality video cameras available at prices that won’t break the bank. But in fact, most smartphones in 2013 have cameras of sufficient quality to use to record video. The only drawback is in the editing. This is where you turn your video into something slick, professional and suitable for sharing and the software on phones is too basic to achieve this.

It’s all in the edit
There is a wide range selection of choices in video editing software and for an SME that isn’t familiar with the market it can be bewildering. Whichever option they choose, any SME should be looking for the following:

Free trial — whilst good video editing software is relatively inexpensive you do not want to be paying for something that you don’t use. Make sure there is a ‘try before you buy’ option, just to ensure you are going to get value from your outlay. For example, we offer free trials for both our video editing product lines: Corel VideoStudio and Pinnacle Studio.

Training, templates and tips — it is more straightforward than you think to turn your video content into something special but there are times when you might get stuck. Make sure your software has training and tips so you can get issues resolved fast and a good selection of templates if you want to follow a format that is already there.

The right features — these are what will make your video stand-out, whether it is screen capture, adding visual effects, a soundtrack, voiceover or subtitles.

Get social — great video content is one thing, the next is getting people to see it. Make sure that your video content can be easily uploaded to YouTube or embedded in your website. This requires html5 capability and means your content can be embedded without using additional video streaming platforms and also allows you to direct a viewer to a website whilst watching your video.

There is no denying the potential of video for any business. Whether you want to use it to engage your staff, develop a customer case study that showcases your products or services, as part of wider marketing campaign or as an additional sales channel, it can achieve all of this and more. It takes minimal investment and you can be up and running quicker than you could ever have imagined.

Video is an essential tool in modern business; make sure it is one that you are using in your organisation.

About the author
Christoph Cyrol is Senior Product Manager at Corel, which supplies a variety of software and services to businesses all over the world.