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Going Viral with Video, Part 2

Planning and shooting your marketing video
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Once you’ve settled on what you want to accomplish in your video marketing, it’s time to consider your budget and what you’ll need for your video clip in the way of lighting, props, actors or models, etc.

Your budget will be determined by the type of marketing videos you want to make, says Ana Breton, the Salt Lake City-based filmmaker we met in Part 1 of this series.

“How elaborate do you want your video to be? Will you be making a short commercial in your home, or will you be producing a longer video on a set? Will you be hiring a crew to help you make your video?” she asks. “Once you have your budget planned, you can start focusing more on the ‘create’ side of your video.”

Sketch it out

Begin by brainstorming ideas for your clip. Glen Gabe, an online marketing expert, recommends grabbing a white board and writing down all your ideas then grouping them into categories like comical, serious, educational, etc. As you ponder these ideas, consider how hard these ideas would be to convey and edit. Will you be able to get your point across? Can you keep it simple? And don’t forget to ask yourself, “If this wasn’t my video, would I want to see it?” You have to reward your viewer for checking out your clip, so they’ll come back for video No. 2.

Similar to following a recipe, once you have an outline, producing the video becomes much easier to do

Keep in mind, too, that a video marketing clip should convey the features and benefits of your product or business, but be short enough that viewers will watch it to the end. In a product listing, aim for no longer than three minutes.

Now start developing your concept with a script and storyboard. There’s a reason why big-budget films use these: They help you stay on track and focus your idea.

“A script is crucial because it’ll act as a blueprint for your video,” Breton says. “This is where you’ll write down what images you want to see in on screen as well as the voiceover/speech you’re looking to include in your piece. Having a script is extremely important while making a video because if you get sidetracked or feel like your video is going longer or shorter than expected; you can always refer back to your script. You wouldn’t make a complex cake without a recipe, would you?”

Auctiva Interactive Media Coordinator Steve Swim has a very similar take on scripts.

“For any video, one should make a script or an outline of what they want to show,” he adds. “Similar to following a recipe for cooking, once you have an outline, producing the video becomes much easier to do.”

Take your time with both. Ensure your storyboard clearly maps out the flow of your video and that the script tells you, or the actor(s), exactly what to say and gives an outline of what should be happening in each shot.

Getting the shot

Now it’s time to shoot your footage. A list of shots you’ll need for your film will help you stay organized and not miss something important, Gabe notes. This means not only thinking about what you’ll capture on film, but also how you’ll capture it, i.e., what angles you’ll need. We suggest keeping these simple until you get a little practice under your belt, then you can experiment a bit.

As you’re filming, shoot for steady shots and don’t be afraid to use a tripod, Swim says. You can buy or rent these fairly cheaply. Make sure to keep your sets uncluttered and professional. Also be sure to take note of the lighting. You may even want to review your footage after the first shot to see if everything shows well on the camera, or you need to adjust the lighting.

And, while video is a visual medium, pay attention to the sounds you’re creating as well.

“Always consider audio quality, as it really can make the difference between a decent video and a great one,” Swim adds. If the audio is coming out too muffled or low, consider buying or renting a microphone to make sure viewers will be able to hear the dialogue.

“As for editing, most computer systems now come with a default video editor that is ample for basic video needs, such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, so they’re not hard to find,” Swim says.

Remember to keep your video brief. If you upload it to YouTube, your footage can be up to 10 minutes long. But trust us, people don’t want to watch a video for that long. Stick to the three minute rule, Breton recommends.

And finally, when you’re uploading your video, don’t skip the area where you can add a description of your video. This will really help your video’s SEO, so fill it with good keywords.

With the amount of user-friendly video programs today, you really don’t have to be an expert to create a video

Finding the right camera

If you don’t already have a camera to work with, you can get a good one for a relatively low price. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $200, Breton says, “Especially when you consider that most point-and-shoot cameras have video installed in them nowadays.”

And, again, don’t let intimidation get the better of you.

“Anyone can make a video,” Breton says. “Think back to family vacations or reunions. There was always the uncle or cousin with a video camera. You can make a commercial with that same equipment. Today there are smaller cameras that can do the trick. I recommend the Flip video, which connects straight to your computer.”

If you worry about not being able to produce a good video, don’t be. You will be able to notice if your film needs some work when you go over it. “A good film speaks for itself. It isn’t boring or lacking in production value,” Breton explains. “If you can tell it’s unprofessional, people will know it right away. The beauty of it is, video is a trial-and-error process. If your video lacks interest, then simple retouches in editing or re-shooting can do the trick, but as always, plan, plan, plan!”

If you’re a little more advanced, you could add a logo to your video during the editing process so customers, and viewers in general, will become familiar with your brand, notes Amy Porterfield of SocialMediaExaminer.com.

That’s a wrap

Once you’ve finished editing your video, you’ll need to post that footage. YouTube is the go-to place for video hosting, but there are a number of other free and paid sites that cater to online sellers. Embedding marketing videos on YouTube is fairly simple and just requires a YouTube account.

Once you’re done there, don’t forget to add the video to your listing, blog, online store, etc. to let the world see your creation. And once you’re done with your first video marketing project, get doing on your next one.

“Like many things, I think the intimidation factor comes from unfamiliarity,” Swim notes. “Once a person has made a video or two, their comfort level goes up, exponentially. With the amount of user-friendly video programs on the market today, you really don’t have to be an expert to create a video, and one that is of good quality.”

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.