At BrandHive, we design ways to get more people to interact with our clients online. One of the best ways to do this is with videos, but if you’ve spent any time on YouTube you know that not all videos are created equal.
To enhance your online presence with videos about your business, follow these seven steps to ensure making a solid impression.
This may probably obvious, but take some time to focus in on your goals for the video: Is it educational? Is it to promote interaction on your website? Thinking about the big picture also helps you understand what type of time and financial investment you’re willing to make. Come up with project expectations. How big of an audience do you want to hit? How will the success of your video be measured? Most importantly, keep in mind that all viewers have one goal of their own: to be engaged. Of your handful of objectives for your video, be sure that viewer engagement tops the list.
Plan the Shoot
With goals in hand, decide how to execute the project. Draw a stick figure storyboard on a napkin. Write up the discourse or voice-over. Choose your talent and subjects. Find a quiet location with bright natural light and see what time of day is best for brightness without direct light. If you only have one shot at your shoot, be sure to check your equipment, have back-up batteries, extra memory, and make sure everything’s charged ahead of time.
And here’s the part that has a giant impact but rarely happens: have your talent practice. Most people become uncomfortable when you put a video camera in front of them, but knowing exactly what to say and how to deliver it ahead of time is a sure way to build confidence.
Now you’re really having fun: set up the camera and do a practice run. Put the camera on a tripod or even just a stack of books to steady the shot to help viewers concentrate on the content. Have someone sit in front of the camera to get an early feel for the shot. If your natural light is not bright enough, try adding some lights. Do a test shot with your actual subject and check it on your computer to ensure that the footage is properly lit, focus is crisp, your subject looks good, and the audio is as clear as possible. Use multiple video cameras to get different angles, zooms and other creative effects.
The moment everyone has been been waiting for: Action! For the shoot, you’ll probably want to have help so different people can focus on different tasks. One person can keep the camera focused on the subject while someone else adjusts lights and another watches to make sure the take is appropriate. Take multiple takes, shoot from multiple angles, and take more footage before and after the shot than you think you’ll need. Have someone behind and in line with the camera so your subject can make eye contact with them. If you’re going to edit your footage, have your subject take longer pauses between thoughts to help ease your edits. Finally, remember that it’s always best to have too much footage in the editing stage as opposed to the alternative.
Dim the lights and break out the popcorn. Save your footage to your computer and be sure to make a back-up before you start editing. Get familiar with your footage so you can make the best cuts with confidence. Remember the goal of engaging your viewer? Keeping your video short is a great way to do this. If you can, brand your video with your company logo, colors, images, and design elements. Add titles, descriptors, and B-roll footage that helps expand on the content. Finish the film with a call to action: visit our website, watch our other videos, share this with your friends, etc. Think of the very last frame of your video as your calling card. When you think you’re done, show the video privately and gather feedback to help inspire you for your final edits.
Once you have as many thumbs up as you need, it’s time to go public. Luckily, many editing apps have tools to publish your video directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more. YouTube is an incredibly powerful tool to ensure great accessibility and to promote engagement with built-in community and user tools. With your video hosted on YouTube, you have a single place for all to interact with your content that you (and other users) can easily embed and share on websites, blogs, and beyond.
“If you build it, they will come” might work for baseball fields, but I wouldn’t count on it for web videos. Hit your video out of the park by promoting it. Announce the video to your social media outlets and in an email campaign to your contacts. Have your PR team distribute the video to online publication outlets with relevant and strong digital presences. If your content is truly engaging and you’ve taken careful steps to ensure that it reaches the right audience, the video will take care of itself from here.
Putting a video together for your business is a great way to get organized and focus in on your online goals. While your video may not get as many views as “Very Angry Cat” (84,767,208 views and absolutely not worth watching), you will likely increase traffic to your website and enhance the online experience of your visitors. And besides, getting more views than someone’s old cat shouldn’t be that difficult!