You know you need to be on YouTube and that it can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy. But alas, you believe your marketing budget doesn’t allow for video production.
For the sake of balance, I’ll present both sides.
Hiring a professional may not cost as much as you fear, and just about any web video is an excellent investment in both your business and the success of your website. Unlike advertising, you pay for it only once.
Three Advantages Of Professional Video
- Video fluency. In my experience, this is more of a stumbling block for most than technical considerations. When it comes to visualizing and distilling their message into a very tiny space, even people who are very skilled in their own industries struggle to capture what’s important simply and wind up with something that isn’t their strongest differentiator. They tend to focus on features, not benefits.
- Objectivity. Most business owners, because they’re so close to it, don’t realize that what they consider fascinating and valuable about their business may not hold the viewer’s attention for more than 10 seconds. Professionals are viewer-centric and know what’s fun to watch.
- Professional equipment and technical training. These cost time and money, which is what you’re ostensibly trying to save. Video costs what it does because these essentials are built into it.
On the other hand, perhaps you like to take risks and learn new things. You’re a natural at self-promotion, a veritable “Oprah.” For a quick video fix that you can do yourself, read on.
Shortcuts For Do-It-Yourselfers
- Use photographs, instead of actual video footage, with a voiceover. A slide show of amazing images accompanied by a well-written voiceover can be very effective, especially if it tells a story.
- Enthusiasm in a video, like other parts of life, goes a long way. If your video is upbeat and energetic—the right music helps—people will respond, even if it’s not Oscar quality.
- Reuse video footage others have made or get customers to post clips they’ve shot using your product. Hold a video contest. Get creative with videos that other people have taken of your product or services. Remember to respect copyright.
- Consider tablet and mobile viewing constraints. If you use wide shots, people will be too tiny to see. Also, while it’s convenient to use, your webcam has a wide-angle lens that will make your nose look bigger and distort the size of your head.
- If you are camera shy, shoot a quick customer testimonial with a video camera, a digital camera or even a smartphone. Vine helps you create easy six-second videos, and is now on the web, as well as a popular phone app.
- The Frugal Filmmaker forum on Facebook can help you become your own videographer. Or take courses at your local college.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do Before Posting
Get a smart and disinterested (which means objective, not uninterested) person to critique your video. Not a spouse and definitely not an employee, but someone who can be brutally honest. Ask him or her: Is it too long? Which parts lost your attention? Does it leave you wanting to know more, or does it make you want to take a nap?
What kind of shortcuts have you tried for video marketing? What’s holding you back if you’re not using it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.