Today, online video has become as prevalent as text on the web was more than a decade ago and is now being used as an effective marketing tool for businesses small and large alike. In a recent article in the New York Times, Kermit Pattison highlighted the growing trend of businesses using video as a low-cost way to reach to sell their products, connect with customers for deeper conversations and communicate their brand. The barriers to creating and distributing professional-quality video have been eroded with the development of affordable content creation tools and the solutions available from online video platforms.
- SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS – Online video may be the best way to demonstrate a product. Customers can see the actual product and make purchasing decisions based on what they see rather than having to request a sample.
- CREATE A DESTINATION – Having an online video spokesperson in your video adds that human touch that no other marketing tool can duplicate, short of being there in person, and when you add that element to your company website you create a reason for customers to keep coming back. Your website can become your company channel full of useful information that connects with your customers and you’ll be seen not as pitching products, but as customer-friendly experts.
- USE ANALYTICS AND TOOLS – All video platforms, including: YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Blip.tv, and professional platforms like Brightcove, Ooyala or Kaltura, offer tools that allow you to measure the effect of your videos. The ability to measure video traffic beyond “views”-including audience dropoff, what sites and search terms are referring viewers, and audience geography-offers content publishers deeper insight into both the viewing habits of their audience and the extent of your video’s reach.
- BUILD A BRAND CHANNEL – One way to get the attention of customers is invite them to become your video producers — especially if they jump off cliffs, ski down steep powder ridges or do somersaults on BMX bikes.
- ADVERTISE WITH VIDEO – YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google (which owns YouTube) and represents a huge audience of potential customers. It offers a dozen advertising options, including banner ads, promoted videos that appear on top and beside search results, and “preroll ads” that appear during other YouTube videos much like a conventional TV commercial. YouTube recently announced that it was displaying more than three billion ads per week.
- OFFER INSTRUCTION – Pictures are really worth a thousand words and video multiplies that equation with 30 pictures a second. Online video makes it easy to follow the adage “Show, don’t tell.” Many businesses have turned to video for instruction manuals and how-to guides.
When I decided to create a Pocket Video Marketing course some people said to me “What is there to learn? You just hit the record button, it’s simple!” Wrong! A Pocket Video Camera is a powerful communications tool, it’s more than just hitting the record button and shooting yourself against a white wall in your box room.
You can easily make bad Videos that look and sound bad or drag on to long or are devoid of creativity. But making good Videos is a skill that I think every Marketer should have as part of their Marketing toolbox.
A quote I love is this: “It’s not about the Bow and Arrow, it’s about the archer” (Andy Jenkins – The Video Boss). It doesn’t matter what camera you’ve got if you have great ideas and some technical skills, you can make better Videos than 99% of the planet and good Videos will get your products noticed.
So with that in mind here are 3 ways I think you could use your Flip, Kodak, Iphone4 etc. to boost your Marketing efforts.
1. Come out from behind the powerpoint.
If you’ve watched any of the recent Big Internet launches the common thread is you see the Marketer on screen. People connect with people and Video does a brilliant job at
building a bond with your prospects.
I’ve just viewed a new Jeff Walker launch Video. If you follow Internet Marketing you’ll know Jeff’s multi-million dollar earner Product Launch Formula. The first Video was almost entirely real world footage. What I mean by that is you saw him at a whiteboard and then it cut to an on camera interview where he was sat next to one of his successful students talking about how much he had earned from his own launches.
There was nothing in the Video that couldn’t have been done on a Pocket Video Camera and it was much more engaging than a back to back Camtasia presentation.
Don’t get me wrong I think screencasting is very powerful I just think that breaking it up with real world footage is a great way to engage your buyers even more. Put it this way the Big Marketers test like crazy and they wouldn’t go for the ‘on camera’ route if it didn’t work for them.
You don’t need a lot of gear to make these Videos look great, in fact over on my training course page you can see footage that I shot with a Flip camera in a tiny room in my house with lights that cost around £100 a pair!
2. Be a Pocket Video Paparazzi!
Take your Pocket Video Camera everywhere. You never know when you will spot something extraordinary. If you do then it could prove a hit on YouTube and you can link it back to your most relevant product. I also advise people to get into the habit of filming their business and personal life. So if you give talks stick the camera on a tripod and get some shots of your presentation to an audience. If you are making good money on the Internet and spend your weekends on your shiny new sailing boat (!) film that.
Build up a library of clips and you can use these to make a Video where you show your prospects proof of what you do and how your success effects your lifestyle.
If you go to events in your niche, shoot on the fly interviews with participants, upload to facebook, friend your interviewee and use the Video ‘tag’ function to highlight that they feature in the Video. This means the Video will also appear on their wall and get seen by their friends which exposes your brand to new eyeballs.
If you target an interviewee that runs a blog even better. You’ll often find that they will embed the Video in their blog too, as it’s so quick and easy for them to do so and beats writing a long post.
3. Get creative with customer testimonials.
We all know the power of Customer testimonials, but if you want to take them to the next level offer you audience alternative angles. So say you have a customer, Jane who bought your Marketing product and is happy to record a Video testimonial for you, break it into shorter clips.
For example Jane on: “How the product helped me get organised”, “How the product or service made boosted my buisness”, “Why the Webinars were so valuable”. That way you get extra Videos for your YouTube channel and you give visitors to your site a sense of control over the content. Another plus is you avoid making an overlong 10 minute video where you try to pack everything into a single clip.
Even better, go the extra mile and show footage of how Jane has benefited from your product on camera to edit over the interview clips. If we get to know Jane more through Video we’ll trust her judgement even more.
So let’s see Jane working away at home whilst being able to keep her eye on her baby and winning extra clients all at the same time. That way your Video will stand out from the average customer testimonial and your viewers will stick with the clip right to the end.
These are just 3 tips but I hope you can see how powerful your Pocket Video Camera can be. I’ve no doubt, if used well, you can repay the cost if buying it many times over.
This post covers the basic tips for shooting video interviews. There are a few golden rules to follow to achieve good results and better looking and sounding video. The specific areas you should focus on are: Camera placement and movement, Lighting and Audio. Also, knowing your location and having plenty of time to reduce distractions is particularly important, to advert any audio and video issues. It’s better to get it right when you shoot your interview, to save yourself from “fixing it in post”. The following presentation serves as a tutorial to help you get started.
Camera placement and movement
- Use a tripod
- Avoid zooming and panning of camera
- Get physically close to your subject
- Place your camera at eye level of your subject
- Frame your interview to give your speaker with enough head room
- Select a neutral background for your interview
- Make sure you have enough light for a good quality picture
- Do not place your subject in front of a window (avoid backlight)
- Close curtains, blinds and turn on room lights
- Don’t mix daylight and indoor lighting
- Avoid distracting background noise (HVAC, TVs, music)
- Stay close to your interview subject
- Use an external microphone when possible (clip on lavaliere microphones)
- Use headphones to monitor microphone if possible
- Be a quiet, active listener (be empathic, nod, don’t talk, no “uh huh”)
- Allow subject to complete answers before speaking (no crosstalk)
- Ask interviewee to phrase your question in their answer (for context)
Know Your Location
- Do a site survey (Look for and reduce lighting and ambient sound issues in advance)
- Reduce distractions
- Make sure you have directions
- Lots of time (for retakes)
- Sweat the small stuff
This post was originally published on Larry Kless’ Weblog: How to Produce Flip Videos that Inform, Engage and Entertain Your Employees – Update from Ragan Communications Webinar, May 14, 2010 on May 22, 2010.
I was a featured speaker recently on a webinar hosted by Ragan Communications on, “How to produce Flip videos that inform, engage and entertain your employees.” I wore my day job hat for this event, as a multimedia professional for Kaiser Permanente, and was joined by my colleague Elizabeth Schainbaum, a staff writer in our Corporate Communications department. We discussed how we’re using Flip and Kodak pocket video cameras to capture important employee news to post on our company’s Intranet portal. Liz shared her experience as a writer turned video producer, who really hadn’t used a Flip camera before but was charged to produce a short video, rather than write a story about how one of our medical team’s from South Sacramento were conducting a trauma response training at our Sidney Garfield Health Care Innovation Center. The medical team ran a series of simulations on how to respond to gun shot wound victims and other severe injuries to prepare for the opening of Kaiser Permanente’s first Level II trauma center. Liz’s manager thought it would be a great opportunity to use video to tell the story.In preparation for the video shoot, Liz asked me for a few pointers on how to capture the story using a Flip camera. Her boss handed her a Flip without any instructions and only about a day or so to prepare. I had previously led a Flip 101 training session for some of her colleagues in Media Relations and Corporate Communications, who also were given Flip cameras as part of KP’s growing use of social media within internal and external communications.
Liz and I had a brief hallway conversation, and I shared a few important tips that I thought would help her produce a better end product – such as, use a tripod or hold the camera steady, interview a few people, make sure they introduce themselves and keep their answers concise, also have them include your question in their answer for context, try to have an interesting background, stay close since the microphone is built in, shoot some B-roll so you can edit in some cut-aways, just to name a few.After her video shoot, Liz worked with one of our Sr. Web Developers to both edit the video and post it to our Intranet website.
The topics we covered included:
- How to frame an interview to give your speaker enough head room
- When to use a tripod and why you should avoid zooming
- How to select the best background for your interview
- Tricks to make sure your video is always sharp and in focus
- What kind of lighting conditions you need for good picture quality
- How to avoid producing grainy video
- Ways to light your subject, without buying expensive equipment
- How to avoid distracting background noise
- Why you need to stay close to your interview subject
- When to use an external microphone
- Why shorter is always better
- Types of free software you can use to create your video vignettes—and optional equipment you can buy if you want to kick it up a notch
- A step-by-step process to edit your Flip video, including transferring the video, creating a timeline and uploading it to your intranet or YouTube
How to produce stellar employee videos:
- What types of stories are best told with a Flip camera
- How to produce videos that your audience will want to watch—over and over again
- Why clips produced on a Flip can be more engaging that polished, professional videos
We were also joined by CEO Mark Ragan during the Q&A, who shared some tips of his own on how you can use a Flip camera at events to record simple “man (or woman) on the street” interviews. At a recent conference in London, he shot an number interviews with attendees ad asked them all the same question, “What British communicators hate about jargon?”. He was able to get a range of spontaneous and often humorous answers. He also recorded a brief introduction of himself to give it some context, by handing the camera to the last person he interviewed, then edited it all together in Windows Movie Maker on the plane ride home.
- When you’re shooting your video don’t forget to get a variety of shots as good B-roll.
- Anticipate any action, take charge and remove any obstructions that are in your way, rehearse your interviewees and do a couple takes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask them to start over if you need a shorter take or if they say too many “Umms”.
- If you’re using a Flip, try to use a back up audio recorder that has an external microphone. There’s a slide in the presentation with a few makes and model numbers you can try, or if you have more than one Flip, set one closer to your subject and splice the audio together when you’re editing.
- What’s important though, is to have a compelling story that can be told in 90 seconds or less, good audio and lighting, and a steady camera. That will help not only hold your audiences attention, but also as the title of the webinar says, inform, engage and even entertain them.