A 5-Step Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing

device for viewing slides 8Video marketing: You’ve heard the experts talk about it, the gurus blog about it, and your business peers rave about it, but how do you get started?  What is the first step to creating your own engaging video content, and how can you share your videos with the world?

If you’re not taking advantage of video and want to know where to start, here are five steps that will start you down the path to an effective video marketing campaign:

Step #1: Understand your needs and set a goal.

Like any other marketing strategy, you need to start with a goal. What is it you are trying to accomplish: more traffic to your website, longer time on site, increased sales conversions, link building, product promotion? Video can certainly help in those areas, but you need to have some sort of goal in place. This will allow you to measure the success and ROI of your campaign, and will actually help you form the concept for your video.

Before anything else, spend a few minutes thinking about where you are in your marketing efforts — and where you want to be.

Step #2: Evaluate your resources.

Next up is understanding your video production capabilities and limitations. Are you going to be creating your video in-house, or do you plan to hire a firm? Do you have access to professional video production equipment and software, or are you using a smartphone and online editor? No matter what your resources are, understanding what you have to work with will help you plan the scope and scale of your video. Knowing your equipment will also help make the filming and editing process go much smoother.

Step #3: Come up with your concept and put together a script.

The next step is figuring out the type of video you are going to create. Refer back to step #1 and think about the best type of video to fit your needs and goals. It could be a product demo, service overview, office tour, customer testimonial — the options go on and on.

Once you know the video format you’re going with, create a storyboard. A simple way to do this is to get a pack of note cards (yes, 3″x5″ paper note cards) and on each one write or draw the scenes in your video. Using paper cards allows you to easily organize and visualize your scenes, discard ones you don’t like, and add new ones quickly.

Be sure to have answers for simple questions like, “Where does your video start?”, “What happens in the middle?” and “How does it end?” Simple questions, but if you wait until you’re actually filming to figure this out then you’re going to be left with a video that looks disjointed and hastily put together. Spend some time on this step because the work you put in here will dramatically affect the success of step #4.

Step #4: Film and edit your video.

It’s time to make this thing happen!  Get together your equipment and crew (if needed) and start filming.

First, a few no-brainer filming tips:

  1. Make sure the batteries in your camera or smartphone are charged before you begin filming (a shoot lasting a few hours can drain them quickly).
  2. If you’re incorporating other people, make sure they know their placement and roles before you start filming (this will save you re-shoot time).
  3. If your business normally gets a lot of foot traffic, consider filming after hours or making a sign to divert traffic (this will also save you re-shoot time).
  4. If you’re doing a product shoot, gather all your products and props in one place before you start shooting (you don’t want to have to run around and search for them during the shoot itself).

Since you’ve done the work developing your concept and creating a storyboard, filming should go relatively smoothly.  But always be prepared for unforeseen delays.

Step #5: Share your new video.

Once your video is finalized, it’s time to share it with the world.  There are many options when it comes to places to host and share your video online.  The method you choose is entirely up to you, but some have certain benefits over others:

  1. Host your own video content. Pros: You have full control over your video and you can drive traffic right to your website, instead of to social media sites. Cons: It might be difficult to create a “viral buzz” around your content because it’s living on your website and not a social website (such as YouTube).
  2. Post your video on YouTube. Pros: Your video will have the chance to be in front of the most people (YouTube currently gets about 1 billion unique monthly viewers), and your content has a better chance of being indexed by and ranking highly on Google, which own YouTube. Cons: With so many videos on YouTube, it may be difficult for people unfamiliar with your brand to find your video through all of the clutter.
  3. Post your video on Vimeo. Pros: Vimeo has a cleaner video player and offers more customization options (such as allowing you to brand the player with your logo). Cons: The Vimeo audience is much smaller than that of YouTube, and many of the best features are only available with paid accounts.

Once your video is posted online, share it with your network!  Link to it in your company emails, post it your blog, share it across your social media networks, and encourage others to share it as well.  You have spent time making this content, so put in place methods for getting it out to the world.

How to Use Video as Part of a Broader Marketing Strategy

A very important factor in the success of your video marketing efforts is to make video marketing a part of your overall marketing strategy. Video can be used to enhance an email marketing campaign, PPC campaigns, PR efforts, and more.

Chances are, a handful of videos will not set your business on the fast track to success, but a smart and sustained effort to create video content that is engaging and valuable is a proven way to generate leads, increase conversions, and engage with customers.

This post originally appeared on the author’s website.

A modern renaissance man, consummate multitasker and entrepreneur Michael Mogill has been relentless in tackling new challenges and ventures, turning his passion for media into a diverse portfolio of businesses. On any given day he may be developing digital media solutions for clients of Crisp Video Group, coordinating his fleet of ATL Nightlife photographers, or working with artists on the Reboot Music label—all companies Mogill founded.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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