Getting videos into the mix can add extra oomph to a business owner's blog.
In helping entrepreneurs make the most of their websites, I've generally found that visitors to a blog with videos spend twice if not triple the time on it than they would with a site that's only text and pictures.
The videos make the site more personal for prospective customers because seeing you in a video is more like meeting you in person.
You also don't need to produce video daily like a written blog. It can be something you do once a week or even once a month. The whole idea is to create excitement and expectation around the video because it's going beyond the usual 300- or 400-word written blog post. It's not just a yada, yada post for the day. You'll also likely be more excited about what you're talking about.
It doesn't take a lot to start using video in blogs. A good high-definition video camera can be found at an electronics store for about $200. Record a video and then upload the video file to YouTube. You can then insert the YouTube link into your blog post. Embedding the URL instantly turns it into a video box you can work with.
Here's a video I recently recorded and uploaded onto YouTube.
I'm explaining some things you need to keep in mind to ensure your video looks professional:
- Know how your camera works.
- Write a list of the points you want to make so you can stay on task.
- Make sure your surroundings are well-lit.
- Be aware of ambient noise and try to minimize it.
- Watch how much you move around.
- Make sure your eye contact stays on the camera.
- When you're done, watch the presentation with a critical eye toward detail. Make sure, for example, your cat isn't in the background.
Ensuring the video looks acceptable is just the first step in making sure your video blogging is meeting the needs of your business. Here are some other important things to consider:
- Know your audience. If your customers are mainly bankers, it's probably best to wear a suit and be more straight-laced. If you're in the sports equipment business, then it's probably no holds barred. Think about who your customers or prospective customers are, and proceed accordingly. If you already have a written blog, look at which posts are most popular and interactions with readers when deciding the personality of your video blog.
- Don't be boring. A video needs to be faster paced and a lot more interesting than a written post. Get others to critique your videos, and, when you're starting out, record the first one three or four times and choose the best one to post.
- Make it conversational. I've done public speaking for 15 years. But when I started video blogging, I definitely had a drone going on. To give myself an audience to talk to, I made a little cartoon figure and pasted it on the top of my screen above my camera. I found that I had more voice inflection, and the pace picked up.
- Keep it short. A video blog post should usually be three to five minutes maximum. If you're going longer, cut down the length of the presentation and consider elaborating by pairing the video post with written posts about different points. You can also plow forward and do that 15 to 20-minute video, but it better be something really interesting. Otherwise, it will likely be the last 20-minute video your visitors ever watch.
- Don't be pushy about what you're selling. Avoid repeating all the time that you have great prices, or that you have great customer service. Demonstrate your expertise in your industry. If you talk about product features that benefit customers, they won't mind that you're telling them about it. Ideally, they will see who you are and decide they want to buy from you.
John D. Leavy is president of InPlainSite Marketing, a Divide, Colo.-based digital-marketing strategy company, and author of Outcome-Based Marketing: New Rules for Marketing on the Web (Entrepreneur Press, 2011), a finalist for Marketing & Advertising Book of 2011 by USA Book News. Connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/JohnDLeavy.