online videos come in all shapes and forms: some are great, many are awful, others are boring, and a few go viral. Fortunately, for the small business, you need not create the World’s Greatest Video for yours to be effective. Rather, what you need to do is create video content that can be easily consumed, which is useful, video that is somewhat memorable, and video which puts your business’s best foot forward.
Yours should contain some or all of the following elements:
Great Content: The phrase is not “content is prince” or “content is duke.” No, they say “content is king” for a reason — because it is.
For your video content to be worth someone’s time, then it needs to be worth someone’s time. You have to put some forethought into it and consider what it is that you think your customers, fans, and followers would find interesting. What is it you can offer in video format that your people would like? If you have some specialized knowledge, that of course would work. If you can be humorous, great. What about a product demonstration, or tour of your facility, or an introduction to your team?
The important thing is that you present the information in your video in a way that is accessible and which promotes your brand to the best extent possible.
Not too long: Not only are we are living in a time of short attention span theatre, but in particular, people have come to expect that videos online will be no more than a few minutes in length. Longer, generally, and people generally tune out. This means that your videos need to be short and snappy for the most part. How short? It is normally accepted that about three minutes is an ideal length for online videos. Yes, four minutes can work, but five is usually pushing the limit.
Make it accessible: Fortunately, in this era when it seems that anyone and everyone is creating some sort of online content, your content need not be perfect to be useful. Videos in particular can be fairly informal, and that offers you a great opportunity to make a great impression.
How often do you get someone’s undivided attention for three minutes online? Rarely. If you make your videos stiff and formal, you are probably missing out on an excellent opportunity to bond with your viewer. So consider making your videos
Of course, you will want to come across as smart and knowledgeable too, but to the extent you can be less formal, it probably behooves you to do so.
Break it up: If you ever analyze a television news segment (and for our purposes here, I suggest you do), what you will notice is that there are many edits and cuts; the action rarely stays on one subject for more than, say, 30 seconds or so, and most cuts are just a few seconds long. The same is true for TV shows and movies — the action moves (unless, of course, you are watching Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but I digress.).
Keep that in mind as you consider the video(s) you will be making for your small business. For instance, people are not used to watching someone speak into the camera non-stop for four minutes. They will surf on long before that. What works, what keeps people engaged, what holds their interest, and what makes you look like a pro (even if you are not one) is to break it up.
All of this may sound difficult, but it is not. Computer technology and software make editing videos a breeze these days. Even if you can’t do it, your teenager daughter probably can. Or hop onto Craigslist and find a pro. You can likely get someone to shoot and edit your videos for a couple of hundred bucks, or less.
Brand it: On all of your videos, be sure that the name of your business and/or URL is obvious. You never know who may see it or where, but you want them to be able to find you when they do. So be sure to insert your vital info in the beginning, or as a watermark in the middle, or as an ending credit.
Videos are a great way to beef up your online presence and get noticed. Isn’t it time you joined in?
Today’s tip: Finally, it is true — there is no need to spend a lot of money to create a video. What you need is a good (but not necessarily great) digital video camera, some lighting, and some editing software (versions of which come pre-installed on operating systems now). A few hundred bucks and you are good to go.