Video is a great addition to virtually any content mix. It’s highly engaging, a great way to humanize your brand, and can provide incredible value to your consumers, to list just a few benefits.
But for small businesses, producing video content can be challenging for several reasons.
Hiring a production house is expensive.
Self-shot video can lack the quality and polish of professional video.
A lack of experience makes the thought of producing video content nerve-racking.
All of these reasons are valid, but none should deter you from producing what could be amazing video content. So, how can you produce killer video content for your small business?
Here are 10 steps to get you started:
1. Dive in
Arguably, this is the most important tip I have to share. Just dive in and commit to producing video as part of your content mix. If you’ve never produced a video before, this will be the biggest barrier.
2. Figure out how you can add value for your consumers with video
Probably the worst thing you can do is not having a plan for how you can add value for your consumers with your video. You’ll need to educate, entertain, or provide utility for your viewers, so before you get going, figure out what your approach is going to be and what the basic subject matter of your video will be.
3. Script what it is that you want to convey
To ensure your video tells a cohesive story and adds value in the way that you’ve planned, do yourself a favour and write a script. If you’ve never written a script, not to worry.
An easy format to follow will be to create a document with two columns and write your dialogue or audio in the left hand column, with corresponding video in the right hand column. This format will allow you to map out what the finished video should sound and look like.
4. Get your equipment in check
Chances are that you already have a few equipment options for shooting a video in your possession. Virtually all digital cameras have a video recording function, most smartphones are recording video in HD these days, and a huge number of computers are equipped with webcams. Each device has its own pros and cons, but which is the best choice for your early videos is up to you, though they’ll all probably do the trick.
5. Determine where and when to shoot
This can be really important. If your video requires shooting on location, then you’re set. If your video is an educational piece that could be shot anywhere, choose a location that is well lit and quiet with little to no ambient noise so as to not interfere with your audio. It’s pretty bad when a video that relies heavily on audio can’t be heard.
6. Set up your camera
A tripod can be your best friend. If you don’t have a tripod and you’re just getting into shooting video, try setting your camera up in a stationary location so it doesn’t shake around, which can result in jittery video that’s difficult to watch. Desks, shelves, tables, stools, and ledges are everywhere – take advantage of them.
7. Test shoot, review and optimize
If you haven’t shot video before, or are using new equipment, you’ll want to consider shooting a short segment and reviewing the resulting footage before filming your entire video.
Take a few minutes to check your footage to ensure everything looks great, the framing is as you envisioned, and that your audio is crisp and clear. If any adjustments are required, you’ll be thanking me that you made them after reviewing a short segment of footage rather than when you’ve invested more significant time to complete your entire shoot.
8. Hit record and go for it
No need to look back now. Just hit record and go for it. Anyone appearing in your video should be comfortable and confident with all of the planning and preparation that has gone into this, so there’s no reason for them to be anything but. Not only will being confident make your shoot go more smoothly, but it will be picked up on in your final video and result in a better "performance."
9. Review and edit
When your shoot has wrapped, review your footage to ensure you’ve captured everything required and begin editing. Even if your entire video was shot in a singe take, there are some basic things you’ll want to edit. For instance, cut dead footage at the beginning and end of your video so that when your consumers press play, your video gets right to it. You might also want to optimize your audio levels, add a title, or include a call-to-action that will work toward your objectives.
This is the best part: you get to share the fruit of your labours with your consumers. Publish your video to the social media networks that your community is actively engaging on – YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google+, and on.
If you have any tips for how small businesses can produce great video content, or you’re doing it yourself, tell me all about it in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial.