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video shootEvery so often I get involved with a project that’s just plain fun. Today is one of those days. I’ll be working with some creative partners on a new financial services video. It’s fun because I get to work with some amazingly talented people but what really rocks is the fact that the video will be good for my client’s business.

If you haven’t made video a part of your sales, marketing and communications efforts yet, you really ought to. It’s easer than you think, and the results can be dramatic. You just have to get started. Still not sure that video is important for your business? take a look at these striking statistics published by Ramp.com. Here are just a few…

  • In November 2014, 192 million Americans watched online content videos via desktop computer. (Source) Click to tweet
  • Younger adults 18-34 (39%) and males (25%) report watching more online video content each month. (Source) Click to tweet
  • 51% of people learn about original online videos through word-of-mouth. (Source) Click to tweet
  • Roughly 6 in 10 US adults say they watch videos when they visit a brand website with video content, and 4 in 10 prefer watching a brand video over reading the same information. (Source) Click to tweet

If these online user statistics aren’t convincing enough, ask yourself, your friends or your colleagues if they watch videos online. Most people will tell you they do.

Video can be used to engage first time visitors to your site, or as elements of your strategic marketing and communications strategy. The video on my website, for example, is more likely to be viewed by someone who has already taken an interest in working with me, and wants to know me and my services better.

People who have watched my videos tell me they give them a good feeling about me; a sense of confidence in my expertise and style. I’ll take that kind of positive impression every time!

So, how do you do it? How do you get from “yes, video is a good idea! I want to use it to attract interest and help grow my business” to actually being there?video studio

The short answer is hire professionals. I worked with the great folks at Gravity Media Productions to produce my videos, and I’m delighted with the high quality of the product. I wrote the script (more on that next week), and Tyson and Kagan at Gravity did the camera and sound, makeup, lights, editing, graphics and music bed. They then set up my YouTube channel and uploaded the videos for linking to my website. I also send links in my social media updates now and then.

Of course any time you engage professionals, especially really good professionals, you should expect to pay more than if you tried to do it yourself. And generally speaking if your video will be used prominently, you want high production values that only professionals can make possible.

On the other hand, if you have the time, it’s possible for you or someone on your team to create video. There are a lot of great resources online for how to use your own high res digital camera, lights and sound gear to create great looking videos. Take a look at this instructional video from Media Unlocked. This in one of hundreds of resources that will walk you through the process of equipping a “studio” and making high quality, great looking, great sounding videos.high def camera

It’s not always necessary to have high production values. In some instances, self-shot videos can be a perfect addition to a company’s existing high-quality video. This is especially true when you want to convey a sense of immediacy and spontaneity. One example might be a daily market update, where audiences appreciate the relevance of the content more than the quality of the production.

Do-it-yourself video is almost ridiculously simple, as you can see by watching this video from Australian blogger and videographer Angry Chair. He’s using his iPhone with an inexpensive microphone to make a video that I think you’ll find amazingly good – and he’s doing it while he’s driving!iPhone video

Another great way to create video is to use animation and motion graphics. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You know, those instructional videos and commercials where you’re not watching live action, but animated words and figures accompanying the voiceover.

Again, you can hire a professional motion graphics designer and a sound engineer to record your voiceover for top quality results, but you can also create your own using great online tools such as VideoScribe or Adobe Voice, a free app offered for the iPad only. Take a look at these. You’ll be impressed

Just in case you’re still not sure that video makes sense for you and your business, here are some more statistics from Digital Sherpa, with even more compelling reasons why video has to be a part of your marketing and communications mix. They even offer a small business video marketing guide.

Finally for today, you’ll need to know how to set up your very own YouTube (or other video hosting service) channel where your videos will live, improving your search engine performance and giving you helpful analytics to measure the effectiveness of your videos. YouTube, which is part of Google, makes it easy. Start by taking a look at these YouTube tutorials.video hosting companies

Now you know the how, which is really important but not nearly as important as the What and Why – Your message and objective. In other words, the story you want to tell. Next week, I’ll share some tips and best practices for developing video scripts that grab your audience’s attention.

How does your company use video? If for sales and marketing, how do you measure its effectiveness? Can you think of an industry or business whose prospective customers would not be interested in a video representation of the company and the value it delivers?

April 30, 2015
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