There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about using online video for business. A lot of the ideas people have about video are rooted in the technology and broadcast venues of the past. So, let’s examine some common objections people may have about incorporating online video for their business.
Myth #1: I have to hire a professional videographer or video crew
Not long ago, video equipment was expensive and complicated. But these days, high quality, easy-to-use HD (High Definition) video cameras are available at very reasonable prices. There’s no doubt that an experienced videographer will be able to deliver a higher quality video than a beginning, do-it-yourself, self-produced video, but many videos don’t need the level of quality that many might think. If you take the time to learn some basic videography and editing techniques, you may be able to develop the skill set to produce your own videos. Remember, you’re making your video for online distribution, not for HBO. There are a lot of businesses out there who have had very good success self-producing their own videos.
iPhone app maker Smule created its early videos with a $600 video camera and iMovie, free editing software for Macs. Smule attributes online video as a key factor in its increased sales. Their Ocarina app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, due in large part to online video. Check out their videos on their YouTube page.
Home security systems firm FrontPoint Security initially outsourced its online videos to a professional, but their employees soon learned enough to be able to produce all their videos internally. Since beginning to post their online videos, monthly sales leads have increased 250 percent. You can find examples of their videos on their YouTube channel.
Now, having said that, you need to be aware that good videos take planning, preparation, and skill. These are all things that are within your reach though. Don’t expect to be able to just push the record button and then upload to YouTube. Quality counts and good content counts even more. Take the time to make the effort to learn some basic videography skills and techniques like composition, lighting, and audio and you may be well on your way to self-producing your own online videos.
Here’s a few tips and reminders about online video production from the good folks at ReelSEO.com.
If you’d like to get up to speed fast on self-producing online videos, check out Steve Garfield’s “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business.”
Myth # 2: I have to have an expensive video camera and software and know how to edit
As mentioned in the first myth, good video equipment is now very affordable. If your main venue is video on the web, then you don’t need a camera capable of shooting broadcast or Hollywood quality footage. You can achieve high quality video with easy-to-use, consumer-level HD video cameras for only a few hundred dollars. You can even get an HD Flip camera for less than $200 and achieve some very nice quality video. For proof, and corroboration, check out Gideon Shalwick’s Online Video Marketing Myths Busted shot with an HD Flip camera.
Want more examples of how small businesses are using then inexpensive Flip video cameras for business video? Aquatic Fitness Concepts shows how they install their swim spas by shooting video with an inexpensive Flip Video camera. Thai food brand Curry Simple, uses his Flip to make cooking videos and to ask customers what they think of his products.
As for editing software, whether you’ve got a Mac or a PC, you’ve probably already got free video editing software on your computer. MovieMaker comes with Windows and iMovie comes with Macs. Again, don’t just take my word for it. Listen to what successful YouTube filmmaker Freddie Wong has to say about equipment:
Myth #3: It takes too much time to shoot and edit – I’ve heard it takes an hour or more of footage for everyone 1 minute of finished video.
This may be true for professional, polished documentaries, but remember, this is online video, where the length of the video should be less than 4 minutes long and ideally only 1 or 2 minutes. It’s unlikely that you need several different camera angles and takes to show off your latest product and describe its features.
For confirmation of this, I asked a friend of mine who is using more and more videos to demonstrate his products, how long it typically takes for him to produce one of his 1 – 2 minute videos. His response:
“The script is pretty much in my head. I jot down some notes (5 minutes), do a dry run or two (5 minutes), and then we shoot. We might do 2-3 takes, sometimes from a different angle. So each one takes perhaps a total of 20 minutes. Max. Then it takes Rod another 20 minutes each to edit and tweak.”
Now if we were to do something a bit more upscale, I would figure around an hour each. That would include shooting from different angles, overdubbing the voice, etc. If you wanted to get real fancy with a script, good lighting, and more pro studio time, 2 hours each (for a 40-60 second spot).”
So, he’s taking less than an hour from beginning to end to produce a simple demonstration video of how to use his products. Here’s an example of one of those videos.
Myth #4: A video has to have millions of view on YouTube to be successful
Success is a relative term and any online video project should begin with a goal-setting exercise to identify what your goals are with online video. Maybe your only goal is to market yourself and increase brand recognition. In that case, you do want to focus on getting as many views as possible. But, there are other valid goals with online video.
Perhaps you have a product or service that is difficult to explain with text. Then your goal is to increase comprehension and showing and explaining what your product does or how it works or how to use it is the key. Though it may be difficult to measure the level of comprehension in your viewers, if you can verify that your videos are helping your viewers understand your product better, then that is a success, regardless of whether or not you get millions of views.
Hopefully we’ve explained away a few of the most common objections to getting started with using online video for your business. In a future post, we’ll examine some tips for beginners producing their own online videos. If you’re intrigued by all this and want to learn more about using online video for your business and you’re going to be on Maui on October 19, consider registering for my workshop, Using Online Video for Your Business.