I have been involved with video for over 16 years and have made video for broadcasters such as the BBC, international distribution channels such as Discovery, small businesses, large businesses and charities. I love the medium. I mean, I write a lot: scripts, blogs, pitches, storyboards, everything you can think of, but a lot of it leads to video production. What I love about video is that it can be used for absolutely anything; it is incredibly powerful, affordable and with the advent of the Internet it allows us all to speak to the world. Obviously, what I am going to focus on is video for business, which is great because that is what my professional life is all about these days. Yes, I occasionally take freelance jobs for broadcasters but I am primarily involved in making video work for businesses at Visual Communications and Marketing Inc., a full service production company in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. So while I bring my years of experience in making video, I also have unique experience in using video for content marketing purposes.
Now, I am assuming that everyone reading this has a good level of understanding of content or inbound marketing. I could do a whole article on that subject alone and I will in due course, but here I will be talking about making and using video for small businesses in order to generate, convert and nurture leads. Video is incredibly powerful, it is time for you to learn to understand it and harness it.
Why Your Business Needs Corporate Video
Video is one of the most important communicative tools your business can use and you are lucky to live in an age where you can create it and broadcast to the world. I like to think of video as a multipurpose power tool that can be used for a variety of purposes.
In the world of content marketing, creating video that provides real value for individuals is absolutely essential if you have the ambition of turning those individuals into customers, or to help retain your current customers. By providing video content that people value and that consequently brings them to your website, and establishing or reinforcing your brand, you are in essence attracting new leads, converting new leads and nurturing your current leads.
Let’s look at some stats. It is reported that:
- 53 times more likely that you would get a front page of Google results by adding video
- 71% of marketers say video outperforms other marketing materials
- 96% of B2B companies plan to use video this year
- 80% of execs are watching more video this year than last year
- 78% of people watch video online
- 81% of businesses feature video on their website
- 73% of marketers increased the use of videos in 2016
- 59% of Execs would rather watch a video than read text
- Audiences 10x more likely to engage with video than other content
- In 2014 64% of Internet traffic was driven by video. By 2019 this figure is predicted to be 80%
- Half of all advertisers are moving their budget from TV to digital video
- Through using video, marketers find that the bounce rate on websites decreases, the time on the website increases by 100% and there can be up to twice as many unique visitors
As you can see, video is an incredibly powerful tool to use for your business and you really need to explore the opportunities it can create for you. Video is a vast topic and it can take some time to fully understand it and utilize it to its full potential. It has taken us over 30 years of combined experience to fully understand and use it accordingly, and even now we still don’t pretend to know everything. What we are more than happy to do, though, is make our experience available and help you in your endeavours to try and capture the power of video.
Different Types of Video
There is no disputing the power of video and if used correctly it can be one the greatest tools to promote your business, but there are many different types of video. Perhaps all of them, but most likely some of them, will be suited to meet your needs, thus it is important to establish which ones. Once you decide on the type of video you want to make then you need to decide how to use it to the best effect.
In my opinion, all videos are marketing videos (sometimes referred to as corporate videos, commercial videos, promotional videos or web videos) in some way or another. What is more important to consider is the purpose of the videos. Often a video can fall under several categories, so when I describe the following types of video, I do not mean them to be mutually exclusive. One of the fundamental rules of video production is the ‘purpose’ of that video. You can spend $100k on the most beautifully shot video but unless it answers a fundamental question that your audience is asking, or providing real value information, it’s useless.
Reviews: Obviously, you can’t fairly review your own products and you would not want to review competitor’s products. You can show how to use your products, and this is called an explainer video, but it is possible to review products or services similar to yours that people may find interesting. For example, say your business is selling the best cookies in New York. Great! You make loads of videos, in a variety of formats, but how do you tackle the issue of the review format? Answer: think about what goes hand in hand with cookies. How about you review the best coffee to drink with your cookies, or the best tea, or the best place to go eat your cookie? What is amazing about doing this is that people will place REAL value on the content you are giving them. The bonus of doing so? The things you review positively may build back-links to your content and thus website. I could do a whole separate talk on back-linking, building domain authority, good content marketing practices etc., but we are here today just to focus on video marketing. Creating video around reviews like this and publishing it on your company’s social media also creates the opportunity for sharing the content amongst your audience.
Tutorials also known as Explainer Videos
This is pretty self- explanatory: it is a video that explains something, usually how your product works, but you should also think about how to go beyond this. For example, my business is making videos. People often come to us and would like a video made and when we give them a quote they may be shocked by the price. So we made an explainer video to show where the money goes and why.
Another important consideration is that your explainer videos shouldn’t just explicitly be about how to use your product or services. Let’s say your business is to run a team of on-call hairdressers (not sure how big this industry is but I think it’s a GREAT idea- I mean imagine the convenience of getting your hair cut at home as you watch the kids or at work where you can keep an eye on things?). Anyway, you run this team and you want to get an online presence using video. Let me tell you, 100%, that the best way would be to create a series of tutorials about basic styling tips, maintenance tips etc. etc. If you title it, ‘The Best Way To Straighten Your Hair’, how many times a month do you think people search for this either on Google, or YouTube? In creating these types of videos and creating an integrated strategy by hosting them on your website, social media channels, posting it in relevant forums and emailing it out to your contact list, people will watch, like and share your content. Your first reaction might be ‘yeah so what? What’s in it for me?’ Well it builds your brand, creates great PR, elevates you to become a thought leader and, by building in a CTA to your content (which I will talk about later), will bring potential customers to your website. When these people come to your website, you will have already held their hand on the way to making a purchase from you. All of this happens with no effort on your part after you have created and released the video. So you’re working, when you aren’t actually working, and that’s the beauty of video marketing and perhaps one of the key things I want you to take away today.
Promotional Videos: These are the most common types of videos businesses need to make. This is a video to promote your business and it is most commonly created by looking at the products or services you offer. The most important aspect here is to look at your Unique Selling Point (USP). What differentiates your business, product or services from others? Quality, price, service, warranty, or size? Decide your USP, create a video around it and use it to promote your company at full power.
Launch Videos: These types of video are promotional but focused in their approach since they try to create buzz around something new in which people have no preconceptions. Remember: first impressions do count, so launch videos need to be hinged around a whole marketing effort.
Several years ago, Johnnie Walker approached us and wanted us to create a promotional launch video for a new product they were releasing in the Greater Toronto Area. The main problem we faced was it was a new product, in a saturated market with lots of similar established items already out there with a loyal customer base. We decided to create a video that was localized and thus personalized the content to a certain extent for the consumer. We decided to focus on the Toronto Subway system which has millions upon millions of riders using the system every year and most of which are over 19 years old. In creating a video that featured the product and the subway system, people could identify with it, and it would become personal to them. Any chance you have to personalize content, which makes a viewer place themselves in a situation, is always going to be a winner.
Testimonials: this is one of my favourite types of video, since I personally believe that it is the most powerful. I shop for 90-95% of everything online, and I use reviews to guide my purchase decision. Last month, I needed a new blender. I went online and bought the one that had the best reviews. Why? Because I don’t mind paying a little bit more than I planned, or for a brand I have never heard of, if my peers rate the product. I will talk more about how to make great testimonials in a bit.
As I said, I believe video testimony is one of the most powerful forms of video and yet they are easy and cheap to make. It is within the grasp of every company to get testimony from loyal customers and only the simplest of skill level and equipment is needed to make it. They key is to ask the right questions.
What makes video testimony so powerful is the very personal and believable quality of it. If we see an anonymous review on a company website it is not very believable, but if you put someone in-front of a camera who is willing to talk about your service or product in a positive light, it will help bring in and secure sales.
Vlogs: The Internet is awash with blogs and they often follow the same format and rules, so it is hard to stand out. Video blogs really help you stand out, bring personality to your brand and help you deliver exactly the message you want. Obviously, Vlogs are informal and act as a kind of public diary so they aren’t the best way to communicate certain things or portray true professionalism, but what they are great at is bringing your personality to the business.
The great thing about Vlogs is that you have complete editorial control, you can film them when you want, and you can record them again and again until you are happy. Moreover, they are free and you can do it all in-house. So, while they lack the glossy professionalism of outsourced video, ANYBODY can make these ANYTIME. Yes you don’t need these to sell your small business locally to your regulars, but they are particularly powerful for businesses where you are core to the service (like DJ’ing, wedding planning etc.) or businesses where you send your product all over the country.
As I mentioned before, often videos can be cross-format and thus serve a dual purpose. One such example is this: last year I advised a friend who ran a plumbing business outside of Toronto and was looking to infiltrate a wider geographical area, to start doing a weekly Vlog giving quick and simple plumbing advice. The advice was stuff he knew off the top of his head, it was quick and simple and required expertise, but it would be stuff people would appreciate. So my friend had his apprentice film on site, every week, giving great practical advice. The beauty of it is that the title of his videos are the types of things people are searching for, for example: How to unblock a drain, how to fix a leaking tap, how to clean a shower head etc. His videos have thousands of hits and led to some great new business opportunities for him.
Company Culture Videos: My last employer was keen to make videos about the culture of the company. From asking staff members to film themselves at conferences or on site, to filming staff events and activities. This is cheap in-house content but serves a number of functions. It helps keep staff moral up, it attracts new members of the staff and it humanizes your company, especially when customers often do not interact directly with the company staff.
Think about it: many consumers get disenchanted with companies whose call centres are all offshore, as they don’t feel connected to them. This is where company culture videos really help bridge that gap.
Interviews: Do not interview yourself, this just looks self-serving. But let’s say you are an accountant and you have just decided to start your own firm. Never pretend you are something you are not as this will come across in your video. Instead, arrange to interview more experienced and senior accountants who are seen as thought leaders. Not only will this be valuable content for your current potential new clients but it helps build your brand and relationships with your peers. And, who knows, you might also learn something!
Interviews can be done in-house so it is cheaper; however, if the person you are interviewing is a big deal and you want to impress him or her, I would advise getting a professional to film and edit the interview. Another thing to point out is that geography doesn’t need to restrict you. You can set up Skype interviews and record them. I will talk more about this later.
Alerts/Notifications etc.: You need to get information out to your existing customers fast. What better way than with a video where you speak directly to them? This is a customer relations winner and shows you are not hiding behind a desk should there be a problem. When one of my previous clients mainframes went down and thus customers couldn’t access the information, they needed the company CEO recorded a quick 60 second video explaining the situation and what was being done about it and emailed it to all his customers. This really worked as it stopped the support desk from being swamped and showed he was dealing with the issue directly. From a marketing perspective, this was a PR win and word of mouth sales followed.
Webinars: Ok, here’s the deal. Yes, webinars are video. They are live broadcasts to a closed audience that you can record, edit, package, and then distribute as video content. They can take the form of explainer videos, promotional video, interviews—whatever you want. They are cheap to do and you have creative control over. There are a couple of different formats in terms of how the webinar is run and I will soon talk more about how you can make them.
Events: Events can take many forms but whatever type of event you have organized for your business you better record it. This is prime repurposing material, you have put so much time, effort and money into your event you need to record it and use it for a multitude of purposes. In this instance, I would strongly advise using a professional company if you can afford it because events can be difficult to cover properly but offer a deep well of great content that is incredibly pertinent to your business.
Presentations: Ok, these often take part at events, but let’s look at three scenarios here, all worthy of filming and creating content.
- You have been invited to a presentation and the speaker is a real thought leader. Why not ask if you can film it to put on your website or blog? Sometimes you will be turned down but if you get permission you have great content to package up.
- You organize a presentation. Make sure you film it and use wisely.
- BINGO! You have been invited to give a presentation. You know what to do!
IN-HOUSE VERSUS OUTSOURCING
So you have decided. Video is happening as part of your company’s marketing plan, but you don’t know where to start. As I have discussed at length, there are a number of video formats you can create and utilize. If you are unsure which format will best suit your needs, then you definitely need to speak with a video marketing company.
If you do know the format you want to use, then you need to decide if it is something that you are capable of handling in-house. There are some formats, such Vlogs, alerts/notifications or Webinars that are very easy to handle in-house because the production values are not very high. Of course, you need to spend a lot time and attention planning and executing them but people do not expect them to be Hollywood productions.
For other formats, such as testimonies, promotional videos and events, you really need to hire a professional production company. Of course ALL videos can be done in-house but I cannot emphasize enough that if you are making very important videos, such as testimonies, promos and events, their quality will really reflect on the image of your company and if they look poorly made, it will stand out like a sore thumb. People are used to, and expect, rough and ready self-made videos for Vlogs etc., but expect better production values for certain formats.
Tutorial/Explainer videos, Interviews, Speaker/Presentations and Review videos can be done in-house or outsourced. It comes down to money. Outsourcing will always look more professional but if you don’t have the budget it is possible to do it yourself.
DIFFERENT STYLES AND RECORDING METHODS FOR DIFFERENT FORMATS
– Live Action Filming: Many people think that making good video is easy. You just pick up you phone or digital camera point and shoot, right? Not quite. You need to make sure your framing is correct, your composition is interesting, your lighting correct, exposure is good, your depth of field is great, and that’s just the visuals, then there is audio: you have to make sure your dialogue is tight and makes sense, audio levels are correct, your channels sorted and most of all that the audio is clean. You can edit around bad pictures, you can’t edit around bad audio. That is why, for any live action recordings that are going towards a vital video, I would always advise you to use professionals.
– Animations and Graphics: Animations for marketing videos are great because they are fun, visually appealing and you can do whatever you want with them. The problem is they can be expensive to make and unless you have a wealth of animation experience, you will have to outsource them. Graphics, depending on how complex they are, can be great inserts for live action videos.
– Pictures: This is often an overlooked resource. Your business probably has a whole bank of pictures. From professionally shot product shots to fun staff outings pictures. Utilize them all as appropriate for each video. Often you want them to be in montages with suitable voice over, or at very least with suitable music.
– Audio: You will likely need voice over (VO) or title cards to guide the narrative of your video. The more on screen sync there is the less likely you will need these resources, but you should always use some form of music. Make sure you clear usage rights for music and if using VO be aware of the costs involved to use a professional because of usage rights. The best resource for you to have is a willing friend with a great-animated voice. If only we were friends with Morgan Freeman!
– Recording videos over the Internet: Recording videos over the Internet works for some videos, such as testimonials and interviews. Of course, the quality will be poor but it requires it. I would recommend GoToMeeting software for recording interviews. Google Hangouts and Zoom are another option.
– Webinars: For recording webinars, you probably want to use Google-Hangouts for open forum videos and GoToWebinar for a closed silent audience. Some software has a recording function; I tend to prefer using Quicktime screen record for its quality and reliability.
When recording webinars or anything over the Internet it is important to package up the content in a professional fashion and branding it accordingly using your editing software.
Hey, if you go through the time, effort and financial commitment of creating great video you want to get as much millage out of it as you can. So yes, host it on your website, post it on your social media channels, create an email campaign around it, post it in forums etc., but you should also consider how to re-use the content. For example, I have been creating a variety of content for a client for a while so decided to correlate all the material to make something new. One such item was a quick compilation of testimonials taken over the last two years. This required some editing time and some very simple title cards but created a snippy bit of content.
How To Use Testimony
So I’ve told you about the different types of video, how to make them and how powerful they can be, but they can only be really powerful if you use and deploy them the right way.
There are a variety of platforms you can host your content on and then embed on your website or within your emails, as well as obviously all your social media channels, and I include Youtube in social media channels. In creating a Youtube channel to host all your videos gives you a great presence and the ability to create a library of linkable content. The other two most common platforms to host your videos are Vimeo and Wistia. I don’t really have enough time to go into the details of each one of them, but there is one major benefit of using them: creating Calls To Action (CTA).
The single most important thing I can tell you to do when it comes to distributing your video is to make sure you add an appropriate Call To Action. What do you want them to do after they have watched the video? Go to another video? Go to your product page? Whatever it is, make sure you direct them. The absolute best way to do this is to build in a CTA. This is very easy to do within Wistia and Vimeo Pro accounts.
It is a great idea to have a video on the homepage of your website, but once you start building a library of material it is important to catalogue it in an orderly fashion so it is easy for your website visitors to navigate.
If you plan to use video in your email campaigns that is a great idea. Using the word ‘Video’ in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and the use of videos in email has been shown to more than double click-through rates. Create your video, mould a class email around it with a magic subject line and send it out to your email list.
You can also use your new videos in hard copies by taking them along to trade shows or internal visual media if you have a store or office.
What advice would you give for making great video?
PLAN– Decide the purpose of your video before you do anything. What is its purpose? What is the question it is trying to answer? Why are you making it and what are you hoping to achieve? Once you have answered these questions this will help give you the scope of your project and thus you can decide whether you can do it in-house or you need to outsource it to professionals.
What is the process of making video?
– Plan the purpose, decide the genre, work out if you are producing it in-house or outsourcing, storyboard, write the script. Is it all live action, animation or a mixture of both? Will you use VO or title cards? Decide on the equipment to be used, decide a location, tie down those appearing and finally decide on a filming date.
– This all depends on your genre. If you are hiring professionals to create your video all you have to do is sit back and relax. If you require being on set for filming then speak to your production company about this. If you are doing it in-house your production will all come down to the format of video you have chosen. See above.
– Again, it comes down to whether you are doing it in-house or not. If you are doing it in-house you will get to put your polish onto your video. How much of a polish depends on your skills and experience. If it’s something as simple as a Vlog you won’t need to do very much. If it’s a full-blown promotional video it will require a lot of work and you will probably want to include graphics and title cards. If you outsource it to a professional video production company then in most cases they will give you two rounds of revisions, so you can have the final say on your video.
I hope this article has been of some value.
If you want to know more about anything that I have touched upon today, I would be happy to answer your questions. Corporate video production is a core part of our output, so feel free to check out some of our previous projects here. Alternatively, please contact us if you have any further questions.