If you’ve got a smart phone, you’ve got all the recording equipment you need.

I’m a late convert to video.

I like words. I like to read. When I watch a screen, I want to be entertained with a Saints win, a TV show, or a movie.

One of the critical rules in writing is to “kill your babies.” That means that the witty bit of prose you love that doesn’t help advance your point – delete.

The same rule applies to marketing – you have to remove yourself from your personal likes and dislikes and figure out what works for the audience you want to reach.

A quick look at your social media feed – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – will show more video this year than last year.

Video creates engagement. It’s personal.

Many people are visual learners.

“But video is hard” you might be thinking to yourself.

Let’s set some expectations here – none of us here are Spielberg. Think local TV commercial – there’s our level. A Spielberg movie is fantastic, but you also remember the more memorable local commercials – whether that’s the screaming furniture/used car guy (legally required for every local market) or a local lawyer (Better Call Saul), you remember them, right?

Better yet – you don’t need a script beyond what you already know. You talk to your customers and prospects every day. All you need to do is share that information – only record it so you can expand your reach. YOU can only talk to one person or a small group at a time – your video is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Before telling you how you can get started shooting video, why should you?

Why You Should Care About Marketing Videos

A year ago, my washing machine was leaking. My wife went to YouTube, searched for our brand and problem, and found a video showing how to fix the problem. An hour and one lost screw later, we had fixed the issue.

We saved money. We saved time. And we were able to continue washing our unmentionables.

Your customers are looking for answers to their questions and don’t always want to read them. Copier dealers – instead of answering simple customer questions like “how to change the toner” or “how do I scan to email” wouldn’t it save you time if they could self-serve and answer the question themselves by watching a video on your site?

Managed IT providers – IT makes customers nervous, just putting a face to your program can help you begin to establish trust, even before you set foot in your prospect’s office for an assessment or conversation.

Video can:

  • Increase conversions – that means more leads
  • Increase organic search traffic – that means more people on your site who can become leads
  • YouTube is a de facto search engine by itself – loading videos to a company YouTube channel is another chance for you to be found by prospects
  • Web visitors spend more time on sites with video – achieving “stickiness” is a goal for every website, the longer a visitor sticks around, the more likely they are to become a customer
  • People retain more of your message in video than with text – that means they remember you

In a nutshell, the Internet is nuts over video. It’s no longer just cat videos (it was never JUST cat videos). Think about some of the common questions every customer or prospect asks.

Those are the ones you start making videos of.

Don’t Overthink, Just Start

You need a little bit of a plan, but overthinking can be the death of video.

Over and over (and over) again, I’ve seen companies want to do video, say that video would be great for their customers (and maybe even prevent service calls!), have the expertise to do video, but not do ANYTHING.

Perfection is the enemy of the good.

Your first videos won’t be perfect. Two years from now, you might look at your first videos and cringe.

That’s better than looking back two years from now at zero videos.

Nike has it right: Just Do It.

How to Get Started

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Commitment
  2. Your smart phone
  3. Someone willing enough to be recorded (notice I’m writing this post – irony)
  4. A plan for content and placement and using the videos
  5. Editing software – iMovie works fine. There are free and low cost video editing tools you can use for Windows
  6. A call to action

I’ll go through each of these quickly and then wrap with a few tips on how to shoot.

Commitment. Critical, of course. Commit to producing a few videos each month. After the first month, do more in the second month. Lather, rinse, repeat.

A Smart Phone. Maybe someone on your team turns out to be a whiz at video. Awesome. You aren’t there yet. Your phone records at a high-enough resolution and sound quality to begin creating videos.

I once gathered 60-second testimonials and seven sit-down interviews over the course of a 3-day conference using an iPhone 6. We used those videos for emails, online, on landing pages, and in other spots for a few years. Your phone is probably better than the iPhone 6 I used.

A Victim. Er, that is, someone with expertise and the willingness to do this. I recommend that subject matter experts do the appropriate videos – service technicians or your trainer for copier how-to videos; your managed network expert to talk about the assessment process, etc. It’s best when the person on the video is also the person talking to the customer.

A Plan. Create a YouTube channel, if you don’t have one. Embed those videos in a resource page, self-help center, or some similar name on your website. Over time, you can use videos on different areas of your Web, in marketing and sales emails, on social media, etc. (I’ll revisit this topic in a separate post.)

Editing software. Use iMovie, it works. Don’t have a Mac? Search online for video editing software.

A call to action. At the end of your video, what do you want them to do? Contact you with service requests? Sign up for an assessment? Meet with your salesperson?

Excellent! I’m Ready. How Do I Shoot a Video?!?!?

Once you’ve identified your talking head and have your list of topics, set aside a time to knock out a few at a time. We’ve seen that trying to do them one at a time essentially means they never get done, so step number 1 – put it on your schedule.

  1. Schedule a time to shoot the videos
  2. Write down your script – or at least a few bullet points. Rehearse your delivery a few times.
  3. Video should be 60 to 120 seconds – a few seconds longer or shorter is fine (over time, you can experiment with longer videos – stats will lead the way)

How to shoot:

If someone has a high-quality camera that can record video AND captures good quality sound, use it. Otherwise, your camera phone is perfectly fine.

  • Wear what you normally would on a customer visit. If that’s a suit, fine. Polo shirt with logo, whatever.
  • Find a quiet room/place – we don’t want background noise.
  • Shoot a few seconds and replay to check for echo – if there’s an echo, find another location
  • If there’s a spot you can shoot with your logo in the background, perfect. Otherwise, try somewhere with natural light. You want yourself to be well-lit and not backlit.
  • Turn your phone sideways when recording, if using your phone. I did a series of interviews in 2014 at a conference. I didn’t turn my phone sideways – this is what they looked like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUSEP_T9Z-4. Someone told me before my last interview to turn the phone sideways, can’t find that video though.
  • Stand or sit up straight and take a deep breath!
  • Whoever is filming, align the person speaking to the left or right of center of the frame. If you’re doing a how-to video, focus on the action, not the person.
  • Press “record”
  • Pretend you’re talking to your customer. Look into the phone.
  • Talk naturally. Try to minimize ums and ahs – a few are ok, too many and I’d recommend a retake
  • Go for no more than 2 minutes. Let’s say you’ve shot 2/3 of the video perfectly and then misspeak/have a coughing fit/fire alarm goes off/whatever, keep shooting, recompose yourself and start over from where the interruption happened. It’s simple to edit a large chunk of a video out.
  • Review
  • Happy with it? Load it into our shared Google Drive. This one only works if you’re a client, otherwise, happy editing!
  • Unhappy with it – take 2!

One last thought, we always recommend Wistia as the video platform because you can embed a call to action that your audience can click on – you can’t do this with YouTube. Here’s the short version of how this works: Edit the video, once finished, load to Wistia and create a clickable CTA. Use that video’s embed code for your website and social sharing efforts.

You still want to load your video to YouTube because people will be able to find you there, but YouTube videos are a dead-end for your audience. You can only click to another Google property, NOT to your website. A Wistia video allows your audience to use the video to access an appointment form or to download a whitepaper.

There’s MUCH more to creating video than this post, even though it’s longer than I intended so I’ll boil down to the critical takeaways:

  • What questions are your customers asking?
  • Answer them via short videos
  • Use your phone to start (get fancy later)
  • Don’t overthink.

Just. Go.


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