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Online video guide for small businesses: Part 1

creating video for small businessesThe top three things you need to know before you get started creating your own videos

For small businesses creating video is a double edged sword. You know how effective video marketing is these days, but you may think video creation is expensive and takes too many resources. Perhaps you’ve tried in the past but the cost turned out to be too high, or you’re re-evaluating your video strategy.

In this series for small businesses, I cover the basics of what you need to know about creating video from planning to hosting your videos. This blog is part 1 where I’ll cover the top three things you should know before you get started creating your video.

It shouldn’t take a lot of time

Creating video doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It’s your business put on video so you naturally want it to come out perfect. You may also feel like you need to keep making video frequently or on some regular basis. Neither is true.

While the video will be representing your business, the most important thing is to make sure it is error free in terms of content – your company name is right, the script doesn’t say anything that isn’t true, and the words should match the images (don’t show a toaster if you’re talking about baking cupcakes). But don’t worry about getting just the right music, or graphics for the introduction. People don’t usually pay that much attention to those things anyway. There are many little nitty things you could get stuck on forever. For example a search for just the right image, angle, or setting. Once you’re stuck, you may never finish. So pick something and keep going. Remember you can always edit the video more later. But finishing the video should be the goal, not perfection.

You don’t need a lot of videos either. Don’t feel pressure to do a new one every week, month or even quarter. Just create something and do another one when you feel inspired or have cause. Plan for it, but don’t let the thought of planning, or the fear of the time it will take, keep you from doing it at all.

Cheap is ok

Many people think creating video has to be expensive. That’s just not true anymore. You can use inexpensive video cameras – or even a smartphone camera – along with an average computer with open source editing software. Ask around. You might even find someone on your staff has a kid who’s a wiz at video and is willing to work for pizza. If that approach sounds unprofessional to you, try to replace the word “unprofessional” with “personal”. If you don’t have a big budget for video, then go the other route and make them personal (more about this in part 2).

The basic point is technology has made video creation easy to do. There are many options including slideshow videos, animated videos, and of course the smartphone or video camera. Once the video is captured there are many free or low cost video editing suites available that run on virtually any computer. If you don’t feel you have the technical skills (and don’t want to learn), there is always the option of finding someone with the skills that isn’t a professional (yet anyway). Besides employee’s children, you can try asking around at technical schools or film schools for volunteers. Any of these will have likely have the basic skills to create a simple video.

Keep it simple

You might be thinking your videos need to have the catchy music, big video introductions, or fancy graphics to go along with whatever you’re talking about. Or maybe you think you need cool transitions between different scenes in the video. All these things can be done, but don’t get hung up on them. Sometimes the most simple, straightforward and authentic videos do the best. Just get started creating video. Later, once you’ve got your feet wet in the video creation process, you can think about adding some of those elements in if it turns out you still want to.

And if later on you do decide to do something like a branded introduction, you don’t have to pay someone a fortune. You can go to places like Fiverr and get great graphics created for you really cheap. You can even get voiceovers, video editing, and a full video introduction created. Always check reviews and samples before you buy though. The services may be cheap, but there’s no need to throw money at a service provider that doesn’t have great reviews and examples for you to look at.

Just remember your objective in creating video. Is it to win an award for best small business video, or to use the video to generate traffic, leads or sales? You’d be surprised how well “quick and dirty” videos can perform if the content is good. They do even better if it is entertaining.

Are you convinced you can get started creating videos for your small business? Come back to read part 2 for ideas on what kinds of videos you can make yourself. Then in part 3 I’ll share some suggestions on how to take your video using just a smartphone and share some great examples for inspiration.

Oliver Burt

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