How To Make an Online Video for Your Business
It’s as easy as picking up your phone and pressing record right? A professional-quality marketing video can make all the difference when it comes to attracting customers through social media. It also helps your potential customers understand your business better. When you get that traffic to the site, you’ll convert more customers into buyers and your buyers will be better prepared to do business with you. Just hitting the red button on your phone isn’t always enough. Here are the five essential steps of a professional video.
Start with the right ideas!
What is the story you’re trying to tell? Your brand and your stories are what make your business special. Understanding what sets you apart ultimately makes a difference in how your video plays out online. There are a few ways to come up with your bright idea:
Establish the right tone for your business video:
Is your business serious? inspirational? funny? Here at Hot Dog Marketing, we can get away with posting funny dog videos to try to illustrate a point. But your law firm or non-profit might need to get across a different feeling.
Is your story best told by the owner, its customers, or a combination of both? Sometimes a story is best told by the happy customers you’ve already had. Testimonials videos are strong statements for a business and one of the most popular choices. If your business hinges on your personal brand, like accountants, attorneys, real estate agents, it may mean more to have you speaking directly to the camera to talk about your mission.
Know what you’re trying to say before you plan your video shoot. Narrow in on the message you’re trying to get across so that your video doesn’t hit the wrong notes when you start recording. Make sure your customers’ testimonials speak to the areas of strength you want to convey and make sure your script is “on brand.”
Get the Right Equipment for Your Video Shoot
Your iPhone is an amazing tool and takes great video. However, you are limited on space with your phone and its built-in audio quality is the mark of an amateur video. Here’s what you really need to create a quality video for your business:
A Microphone – If you’re using your phone, make sure to get a lavalier lapel microphone at the very least. If you’re using a DSLR, invest in a proper pre-amp and boom mic set for professional audio to match the professional quality of your video. If you’re using your computer’s camera, invest in a USB microphone. Built in microphones on phones, cameras, and computers catch noise from the whole room. On a windy day, you’ll hear the wind and not the subject. In an office, you’ll hear the echo of the space. You need a directional microphone to ensure a professional feel to your video.
A Stand for Your iPhone or DSLR – Wobbly videos may cause motion sickness to your viewers. Don’t make them sit through accidental shaky cam. Give your arm a break by investing in a tripod or at the very least, these super cool octopus phone stands. They can go anywhere!
Set Aside Some Time for Editing Your Business Video
The go-to standard for a professional video for us is the suite of Adobe products: Premiere and After Effects. This is because most of our branding and design work is done inside other Adobe products like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. These tools all have similar workflows and it makes it easy to take a business’s visual brand from one project to another.
Other film editing buffs use Final Cut which is an industry standard in the film industry. There are professional audio mixing and advanced tools built into the program. Many pros will use Adobe programs and do their final editing in Final Cut.
If these all seem like investments you’re not ready to make (or take the time to learn), Apple computers come with iMovie which allows you take your phone’s videos and photos and edit together a video or slideshow with music and text.
Don’t have an Apple computer? Try YouTube’s online video editor. You can upload clips to your YouTube account and use their drag and drop Flash-based editor to put your final video together.
Add Finishing Touches to Your Professional Video
Music and Audio Mixing – Sound quality is the first indicator that a video isn’t professional. It’s not a detail that should be overlooked. A little music and audio manipulation to make sure the background noise is minimized and the subject is heard clearly without too much bass treble gives a video the polish you’ve come to expect. For music, you need to make sure to license the tunes you use from a reputable music provider.
Do not use music from your iTunes account for your commercial project! If you try to upload a video to unlicensed music, YouTube and Facebook could block it from their sites. Instead, go to a site like Pond 5 and find background music that fits the tone of your video and purchases the file there. This will ensure your license to use the music is on file with a reputable company so you can use it across the web and refer to it in case anyone asks.
Titles and Logo – A program like Adobe After Effects gives you a ton of fancy ways to handle what we call “lower-third titles”, or the text that appears below the subject of a video explaining who they are. Most programs will offer text for you to add to your video or to add to your final “call to action” screen. When choosing how your titles appear, make sure you pick the colors and fonts you use with the rest of your marketing materials to ensure visual brand consistency. When adding your logo, make sure to use the highest quality file you have so it appears well on all different screen sizes.
Upload Your Video and Show It Off to the World
Social Media – When you can, upload the highest quality version of the video you have directly to each individual social media platform. Try to resist the urge to just upload the video to YouTube and then drop the link to YouTube everywhere. By uploading your video directly to each platform, you’re giving your video the best chance at rank and visibility. If your social media platform offers closed captioning, take the time to add that too since many mobile users watch videos with the sound off.
YouTube versus Vimeo – There’s a place for both. Both platforms offer a place to host your videos and create opportunities for public viewing. YouTube is great for marketing – it’s the most popular video search engine in the world. You definitely need to host videos on YouTube. However, for hosting clips and embedding on your website, we recommend using Vimeo. There aren’t ads running on the videos and you can customize what “auto-plays” after your video is shown. It’s worth paying an annual fee to host your videos on Vimeo before embedding the videos on your website.
Website Videos – Reach out to your website administrator about embedding your video on a page on your website. Most website programs make it fairly easy to add the embed code from Vimeo or YouTube onto a page. Both platforms use iFrame code to place a box on the page that plays the video from YouTube or Vimeo. We recommend doing a video this way because uploading a video file to your website and using a media player that’s installed on your site will slow your site speed and take up your server’s resources.
Those are the best steps to take when making an online video for your business. If this all sounds like way too much work for you, then it’s best to look for a reputable business video partner to help you through all the steps of the process. Every minute of professionally crafted video typically has 8-10 professional hours of work invested in it. Making a quality video on your own could take two to three times as long. If you’re ready to get started with professional video creation for your business let us know!
Neil helps our clients tell their brands’ stories with photography and video. He comes from a long career as a multimedia producer working in corporate and high-tech environments. He’s turned his experience in audio and visual media and creativity into a valuable resource for Hot Dog Marketing’s small business clients.