What It Takes to Make Video an Effective Content Marketing Tool
Yes, even a small business can use video effectively to communicate with its customers online. However, as we amateur carpenters doing home repair know, you can wind up with a mess instead of a masterpiece unless you understand how to use a potentially powerful tool well. In that spirit we’re happy to share with you six terrific tips for using video successfully.
6 Tips to Video Success for Small Business:
1. Make sure that you are telling a compelling story. There is a danger in using video to share the same boring statistics or data that handicap effective print communications. Instead, think like your audience and come up with a compelling angle that illustrates the successful use of your product or service in a way that is relevant to them. This approach lets enthusiastic customers make an engaging case for the real-world benefits of your products and services.
2. Be concise. Keep editing down, down, down. Folks don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting for you to get to the point. Kathy notes that, with rare exceptions, your video should be no more than 2 to 3 minutes long. If you go beyond that point, you risk not capturing or losing your prospective customers attention. A slightly longer video – 3 to 4 minutes – can work when the product or service involves an imotionally significant part of your audiences life, their kids for example.
3. Use real interviews of your company team members or third party individuals / customers. Don’t shoot a video of people who have memorized a script and then read it word for word. This comes across as stilted and less than compelling. Instead, do a real interviews which enable your subjects to be more natural, to exhibit their real personalities, and to be believable when they’re talking about your company and your products.
4. Don’t skimp on good audio production values. A small investment in good quality audio equipment will pay off in providing professionalism this to your video. A simple, but important, touch is the use of a wireless lavaliere microphone on your interviewee’s lapel. Doing so, you can improve sound quality dramatically versus using a camera microphone of questionable quality. Quality sound is a key in representing your company in a light consistent with the quality you bring to your product or service.
5. Be aware of the quality of lighting and your cameras limits. Professional and prosumer video cameras have an ability to shoot in lower light conditions than say, a Flip camera. When using low level digital cameras, shoot in natural light, or go outside rather than try to shoot near a window whenever possible. If you’re not careful, the folks you’re interviewing may look washed out or display the dreaded raccoon eyes. If shooting indoors is a must, and your using your Flip or other lower end digital camera, using proper lighting equipment is best and a relatively modest investment. This added investment lets you put the very best light on your company, its products and services.
6. Unless you are skilled in, or are willing to learn each of the five previous elements, seriously consider hiring an outside expert. It is difficult enough to use content marketing effectively in a more traditional verbal and static visual context. When you move into an unfamiliar world, like video, you will benefit from the expertise of someone who is a trained storyteller and is able to craft a story quickly and compellingly. Doing so alleviates worry regarding technical issues, and more importantly can bring an outside perspective to your stories in a way that brings real value to video and how your audience views it – as relevant and authentic to their needs and interests.
Biggest mistake to avoid: Don’t use a bad video just because you spent time, effort, and money to shoot it. The last thing you want to do is show your staff or an important customer, or yourself for that matter – in an unflattering performance. Wait until you’ve got it just right to go live online.
The Bottom-Line: You have only one opportunity to make a great first video impression. So, be sure to make the effort in time, equipment, story development, and talent so that your customers watch, respond, and share your online video. Just like any other potentially powerful tool, video will work best for you when you learn how and where to use it right.