Last month in the article The Small Business Video Marketing Advantage, we looked at the value that videos can add to your small business marketing. In this column, we'll show you an efficient video production process to ensure that you get the results you want -- and not the digital equivalent of film piled on the cutting room floor.
Once you decide that your business can benefit from using video, it's time to start creating content. If you plan to make the videos yourself, or to be involved in any way, you need to structure your involvement in detail. If you're well organized, then the video will be relatively easy and straightforward to put together. If not, you can waste hours, if not days, editing the video to create something even remotely usable.
A Great Small Business Video Starts with a Plan
If you want a successful video, you need to plan your video. This may seem obvious, but many people often overlook this crucial first step. First determine the purpose of your videos: for example, to illustrate your website FAQs, to showcase products, or to train your staff. Whatever function you choose, you need to be very clear about the videos' specific purpose.
Write down the exact goal, and then write down the topics for each video. These should be small, discrete topics that you can cover in 4-5 minutes at most. The more you narrow the topic, the easier and faster it will be to create your videos.
Break Each Video into Steps
Once you know the topics for your videos, outline the steps that each video needs to address in order to complete its purpose. In a video that answers a FAQ, for example, you need to pose the question, and then step through the answer for the viewer. A training video should demonstrate the task you are explaining, and then outline the steps necessary to perform that task. For product videos, start with an overview of the product, and then showcase its most important features.
Figure 1: Make sure to script your videos tightly so you don't waste time recording and editing them.
ow that you've outlined the steps, you can go ahead and script the video. This involves writing down the words you or the on-camera "talent" will say during the video recording. As a rough rule of thumb, you need between 400-600 words for a 5-minute video -- less if you need to allow for time to demonstrate a product or task.
When you are starting out, it's important to script your videos very tightly so that your talent not only knows what to say, but also so they won't start talking and never stop. Writing a tight script will help keep your videos short and concise so that they get their point across very simply.
Rehearse the Script
Very few people get a good result if they have not first rehearsed the content they want to present. Your talent should read through the script a few times to become familiar with it. Then set up the shoot location, complete with camera, and have the talent rehearse another couple of times without recording anything. Only when they're ready and comfortable with the content should you record the video.
Record the Video
Make a test recording before you record the "real" video to ensure that your equipment works. If you are recording both sound and visuals, check to see whether the microphone on your camcorder or digital camera is sufficient, or if you need to use an external microphone.
If you're capturing a computer screen as you speak, a noise-cancelling headphone will let your talent operate the computer with both hands and talk at the same time.
If you're recording screen-capture videos, a product like Camtasia from TechSmith is an excellent choice. For recording video and audio, most digital cameras these days can record high definition video; you'll just need a big enough memory card and fresh batteries for the camera.