10 Tips for Creating Effective Business Videos

10 Tips for Creating Effective Business Videos
Image credit: Hero Images

The following excerpt is from Wendy Keller’s book Ultimate Guide to Platform Building. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

If you’ve decided you want to create a video to promote your business, you need to ask yourself a few questions before you get started:
  • Will your video be used to post on your branded YouTube channel, your website or another site in hopes of attracting more prospects?
  • Will you use a video as a freemium to attract people or as a pre­mium to incentivize people to buy?
  • Will you use it to train or teach someone how to get more out of your product or service?
  • Do you want to create video blogs (called “vlogs”)?
  • Will you use the video as an intro for new customers? For instance, will it be a welcome video that tells them how to access the informa­tion they just bought while giving them an opportunity to see your smiling face?
  • Do you want people to pay you to view it, as one would for an online training?

Once you’ve decided the purpose of your video, creating it will be easy.

Related: How to Brainstorm Great Content for Your Marketing Plan

Follow these 10 steps to successfully film your video:

1. Recording decisions 

Decide how you’ll record your video. You can do it on your cell phone and even pick up a cheap selfie stick so you can hold your phone further from your body than you can with just your arm. The fancy ones come with a plug that makes it easier to press the on/off button while recording. I have a client who does several videos a week with just his smartphone and a selfie stick. If you decide to do it that way, you can skip several of the next steps.

2. Equipment (camera, lights) 

If you plan to do a lot of videos and you want high quality, buy a good video camera. If you choose to buy a camera, also buy a lapel microphone with a 25-foot cord and a tripod.

You also want to get yourself a three-light kit that has square lights. The three-light kits, which vary in price, are called “soft boxes,” and they come with a cover that you can put over the bulbs. This will save your eyes and make the lights easier to adjust to so you get just the effect you want.

There are many excellent tutorials online about how to set up the lights and background. Look at some of the most popular videos on YouTube, and you’ll see the variety of ways people light themselves, how far they stand from the camera lens, and how much they move (not much in most cases!). Once you’ve figured out what lighting works best in your space, diagram the positions on a piece of paper so you can easily replicate what you have learned.

If you’re not using a light kit, film in the daytime near a window. Put the camera between yourself and the window so your face is illuminated but it’s not so bright that it’s hard to see you. You don’t want to look washed out, and you don’t want the shadow of the camera to be on you or your background. Viewers want to be able to look in your eyes to judge your sincerity. The more that your audience can read your micro-gestures, the more you’ll prove your authority and sincerity.

3. Where to film 

Decide where you want to film. Indoors? Outdoors? In a formal studio you create or rent? In front of something symbolic? Think about the background your audience will see. Is it interesting but not distracting? It’s better to not be flat against a wall, or to have anything reflective right behind you, e.g., a piece of framed artwork. Even though you may not see the glare, the camera will, especially if you’re using lights. It’s difficult to record outside, where your viewers will be hearing barking dogs, airplanes, cars, sirens, children and other people talking and because these same sounds may distract you. Unless it’s part of your brand to be outside, it’s probably better to do it inside a quiet space where you can control the ambient noise.

Related: 3 Steps to Writing and Selling an eBook

4. What to wear 

Think about the impression you want to make. The rule of thumb is to never wear stripes or small patterns (because they’ll show up blurry); solid bright red or orange (because it will wash you out when you add the effect of lights); or glittery eye shadow or lipstick. The clothes you choose will immediately convey a message.

Light-skinned people should wear a dark contrasting color, especially near your face, especially if you’ll be filming against a pale or white background. Blue is always good. Consider adding a splash of a bright color, like a politician with a red tie. Darker-skinned people should consider pastels to highlight and attract attention to the face. The colors will show up slightly different on different computers, laptops, smartphones and other viewing devices.

5. How to prepare your content 

Are you an off-the-cuff speaker who can talk passionately after just seeing some notes or bullet points? Or do you require a script or maybe even a teleprompter?

I’m in the former group, so I take a gigantic white board and write in large letters the main points I want to cover in the video. I hang it just a little higher than the camera on the tripod -- in the place where the eyes of the cameraman would be if there was one. Then I just glance at it to make sure I cover all my intended points in the right order. You could also use those flip charts that have sticky backgrounds and put them as cue cards on the wall behind your camera.

You can rent a teleprompter (expensive) or set up your laptop or iPad to become one. There are many different apps and software programs available to do that. No matter what, the important detail when using notes, flip chart pages, a white board or a teleprompter is not to move your eyes back and forth as you read the lines.

6. Countdown to action 

Look in a mirror before you start filming. Pretend you’re on your way to the most important meeting of your life. Do you look “right”? No sparkly stuff? A dab of makeup will cover that razor nick you got this morning or that pimple you were hoping wouldn’t happen. Do your eyes look awake? Take some deep breaths. Practice smiling widely.

7. Camera settings 

Plug in the microphone, and turn on the record function. Get into position. I mark my position on the floor with a piece of tape, record a few moments of talking, replay it and check to be sure my background and I are both lit properly and focused. Delete the trial video to save space on your memory card, if you’re using one.

8. Get ready to record

Turn on the microphone again. Get in the right position again. Take at least one slow deep breath. Smile and count to five slowly in your head. Look right into the camera or slightly above it. Start talking. If you flub somewhere, just go back to the last point you remember and start over. Remember to smile and count before you begin again. This will make it far easier to edit.

9. Call-to-action

Be certain to end with some kind of call to action. It could be, “Go to our website at www.[whateveritis].com to learn more” or “Get your free copy of my ebook [title] by clicking here now..." Or “To find out more, call the number on your screen.”

10. Polishing and profiting from your video content 

Now you can transfer the video to a computer or a thumb drive. When you’re done, you can render the video through a variety of programs. We use a simple editing program called Wondershare. I found it very easy to learn and use.

If you feel nervous or don’t want to attempt film editing, I suggest you place an ad on www.Fiverr.com, www.UpWork.com and on www.Craigslist.org for an experienced film editor. Check some samples of the editor’s work. When you’ve found the right person, you can give them the file and have it properly edited without learning any new software yourself. Note: Always make sure you keep the original file for yourself, just in case.

Related: Creating a Podcast That Bring in More Business

Now upload it to the server so the public can see it. We host our videos on Vimeo, then take the embed link and stick it on YouTube, in our Wishlist component on one of our WordPress websites, on LeadPages or actually onto a page on the website, depending on how we want our customer or prospect to see it.  

This is how you can easily create video content. Now you can use and repurpose it however you desire.