Growing Your Busines with YouTube in Just Ten Minutes! – Part 2
In the previous article of Tips In Ten I started talking about online video and how it offers some benefits to you: It’s potentially more viral than written content, it can potentially appear higher in search engines, and (depending on the type of video you produce) it can be faster and cheaper than sitting down to write something.
I’m also predicting that you finished the issue last week with plenty of highly productive “research” in which you watched tons of videos. (Sorry about that).
In this article of Tips In Ten I want to go over some of the nuts-and-bolts of creating and producing an online video.
What should your videos be about?
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what you want to share with people. Do you want to share an ongoing video series? Or maybe just occasional content? Or just do one video? If you just want to do one video, grab the nearest camera and go for it. Try it out – even with the web cam on your computer – and see what happens. Are you comfortable in front of the camera? And, more importantly, are you comfortable with other people watching videos of you?
Getting serious about video marketing
If you want to do one video to try it out, that’s fine. But if you want to do some serious video marketing then you will probably want to do more than one video. (After all, you’re putting in the effort). And, if you’re going to do more than one video, you might as well go out and invest in a good camera, tripod, and microphone.
Choosing a format
As you think about your video and put together a plan for it, consider what format you want to go with. I recommend that you pick just one format. People like predictability and it will be easier for you to do a good job over and over if you just stick with one method. It might be tempting to try different things, and you can do that in the beginning to see what works, but plan to find a format and adhere to it as soon as possible.
In choosing a format, find something that fits your personality and your brand and, of course, your budget. If you don’t have a very high budget, you’re probably better off to go for an information-heavy video. It can still be engaging (like the “In Plain English” videos) but information is going to be your key selling point. If you do have a higher budget, you’ll be able to produce entertaining video that could be well received (like the “Will it Blend?” series). What I recommend strongly against is producing a low budget video in the hopes that it will be entertaining. Often, it tends to miss the mark.
I suggest that you get creative. And you can, even with a talking head format. Have fun with whatever format you choose and make sure that it fits your brand. Don’t shy away from a particular format just because other people are doing it. You can build up your own audience and potentially do a great job with a similar type of format. Consider the “In Plain English” videos. Those are cheap to produce. They are just whitepaper images and whiteboard drawings with some stop-motion animation and a little bit of post-production. The idea of printing stuff out and drawing on a whiteboard isn’t new. But these videos take those well-known concepts and make them engaging. So it’s not a surprise that they have become popular. Can you do something similar? (I don’t mean similar to the Plain English series; I mean similar in a creative reinterpretation of something well known).
Making the right investments
Even if you’re on a tight budget and/or a tight production schedule, just go with the talking head format – either an informal hold-the-camera-yourself style or a newscaster style. It’s simple, direct, it connects the audience with you, and it doesn’t require a lot of elaborate set-up.
Depending on your format, you might need a set. I know of one popular video marketer who has turned a spare bedroom of his house into a set. If you’re really serious about producing fairly high quality content, and if your video format requires it, use a spare room as your set and put foam around the walls. Paint one wall as a background. Create a bit of stage and add lighting. This doesn’t have to be expensive but the more professional you want to seem, the more you’ll need to invest. At the very least, and I can’t stress this enough, get yourself a half-decent camera with a microphone.
Beginning production and creating video content
Once you have your format chosen, create a “production calendar” just as you would create a publishing calendar for a blog or for article marketing. Select the topics that you are going to speak about. Don’t just sit down and film whatever comes to you because that is going to drive your audience crazy and then it will drive them away. You can be informal and even seem unscripted while still sticking to a point.
As you create content for your video, consider how it fits with the rest of your online marketing. For example, if you blog short snippets of insight, maybe your video offers longer versions of the same thought. Or maybe your website seems really impersonal and you want to have a bit more of a personal touch so your video is an interview format where you and a guest sit in armchairs and chat with each other.
Figure out what you want to say and consider writing out a script and practicing it first. (Don’t read it onscreen and don’t memorize and deliver it verbatim from memory, but get comfortable with it). If you need some visual cues while you are filming, consider writing out bullet points on a big piece of posterboard, but be careful that your eyes don’t track across the sentence while you’re speaking. While writing your script, start with a basic opening that introduces you and tells people who you are and what the video is about. Then do the main portion of your video. Then close quickly. You’ll want to give a really quick one-sentence introduction and/or bio in every video because videos can often be shared or embedded so they don’t have the context of other videos to help people know who you are.
Getting your ideas into video
Once you’ve written your script and gotten comfortable with it, practice a couple of times in front of the camera as if you were filming. When you’re ready to film, have someone help you by holding the camera, zooming in and out, and pressing the record button. Then do a couple of takes. Maybe do two takes entirely close up and two or three takes from a distance, splicing your takes together to create the best finished copy. That way, you can cut back and forth to keep the visual a little more engaging.
As for any post-production editing, there isn’t much for me to tell you because it depends on the camera you’re using and your budget and the format of video (some video won’t require any post-production and others will require a lot). I would encourage you to first figure out what kind of format you want and let that influence what kind of camera to buy and let that influence what kind of editing software you use.
Getting your video online
When you post it on YouTube, you can just post it in the general content but as a user you get your own “channel” and you should run with that idea. Don’t just think of it as your user account but your channel, like a specialty channel on cable TV. A YouTube channel is a dedicated place where you can upload your own videos and do some minor styling and branding. You may recall that I gave you a video last week of Chris Brogan (one of the talking head examples). He has his own channel on YouTube.
I like this method for people who are serious about marketing their business with online video because it gives you a central, brandable place to put your content and it’s almost like a blog where followers will click back to regularly to see your latest video.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have a high budget. You can still produce good video. However, in setting your budget and in planning your expenditures, don’t scrimp on the camera equipment. Get a good quality camera and a microphone. And, to reduce the echo that you frequently get in amateur video, get a lapel microphone and consider creating a studio out of a spare room or closet by putting foam around the walls and reducing the sound-reflecting surfaces.
- If you add sound or images, be careful about copyright infringement. YouTube is under a lot of political and social pressure to monitor copyright closely and it is not unusual for a video to be pulled for infringing on someone else’s copyright. If you’re going to have a soundtrack (which is a good idea), consider buying an inexpensive audio file from a site like Royalty Free Music as your soundtrack.
- It’s a good use of your time to write a few videos, film them at once, and publish them over time. The reason I suggest this is because you’ll minimize your set-up/tear-down time and your preparation time, and I think there’s some value that comes from being in the mindset of filming.
- Comments can be a tricky. They are a way for people to interact with your video, which is good. However, they can attract a lot of less-savory interaction (and, for some reason, YouTube comments tend to attract more than blogs and I’m not sure why that is). You can turn off comments so that might be something to consider. It really depends on your brand. If you don’t care, or if you thrive on a little controversy, then let the comments roll in!
And now, the big question you might be asking:
“How does this only take ten minutes?”
Well, from end-to-end it takes more than ten minutes. But, I think you can divide the effort up easily into 10 minute segments: Give ten minutes for writing a 1-2 minute video. Give ten minutes for practicing it. And give ten minutes to do a couple of takes.
Video marketing is not for everyone. It can be a lot of work to set up (depending on the format you choose) and it can cost money (depending on the level of quality you want and whether your format needs a set) and it can cost a lot of money (if your format requires a lot of set-up or excessive post-production). But it doesn’t have to be. It can be affordable, fast, a lot of fun, and very, very effective.
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