How to Make Awesome YouTube Videos for Your Small Business

by Marcus Sheridan

As you all know, I’m a big fan of YouTube marketing for small businesses. Along with strong textual content, a company’s website and brand can be greatly enhanced by using this powerful medium. Unfortunately though, many businesses are not even utilizing this excellent marketing/web 2.0 tool, which is a topic I covered in-depth in a recent post.

But this article is actually written for the small business that wants to produce not just videos, but good videos. And frankly, as many of you who have seen YouTube videos before already know, they have a tendency to range just a tad in terms of their professionalism ;-) .

Also, what I don’t want this post to be is an in-depth video/editing/special effects/ production blog. Rather, I want small businesses to understand that one does not need a monster marketing budget to produce quality videos. But just adding a few simple components to your videos, your business will stand out from the crowd and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the inevitable results.

I feel strongly that in order for a small biz video to be effective, it should be:

  • Highly Educational/Informative
  • Sincere
  • Fun

Now you may be thinking ‘Duh Marcus’, but the reality is that most of the small business videos I’ve seen on YouTube and other mediums are done pretty poorly. Most are quite choppy, robotic, and not even very lucid with their information. And although I’m certainly guilty of producing my share of boring and lame videos, I do always strive to be informative, sincere, and have a little fun while I’m at it. But the idea is that with persistence and practice, you will soon understand how to produce excellent videos and your company and brand will benefit greatly because of it.

This being said, here are 7 tips I suggest you utilize to produce effective video.  As you read about these techniques, as well as watch the video, contemplate how you could do a similar production for your business and your products. And ask yourself: Is this video educational? Does the person recording come across as sincere? And was it fun to watch this or was I nearly falling asleep?

YouTube Preview Image

Music, music, music:

Have you ever seen the movie Top Gun? How about Dirty Dancing? (Yes, you can tell I’m an 80s guy) But seriously, when you think of those movies, what scenes come to your head? Chances are the scenes you most remember are the ones where music played a major role. Simply put, music has a powerful effect on the mood, pace and tone of any video production, whether it is a 10 minute YouTube video or a 2 hour Hollywood blockbuster. That’s one thing you’ll notice right away with the video that I’ve embedded here into this article. This 10 min piece (make sure you watch it ‘cuz otherwise this stuff won’t make nearly as much sense) was recently produced by my business partner Jason Hughes and he did an awesome job integrating everything I’m going to mention here in this post. Jason once told me he always wanted to produce a fiberglass pool installation video with awesome music in the background, which, as you will clearly see and hear, he definitively accomplished his vision.

Start with a Preview

You’ll notice in the video that Jason started with a very brief preview of the scenes the viewer was going to see. This technique is an excellent ‘hook’ and does a very effective job in giving the viewer just enough visual information to want to stick around to find out how everything unfolds.

Website Information

Although most companies will put their information in the end during the credits, I always suggest you put your company and site name at the beginning. Why? Because just about everyone that pushes play will get through the first 30 seconds of a video, but many will not make it to the end. You’ll also notice that Jason mentions the website throughout the video in conjunction with the different scenes of the pool’s installation as they happen. Again, this is an extremely effective example of real-time web-branding.

Pop Ups

Ever since the 1990s and VH1’s ‘pop-up videos’, this technique has become a staple of educational videos. And the great thing about adding pop-up text (or pop-down in this case) is the fact that it allows you, the producer, to add text you may have missed while recording the actual video, which is exactly what Jason did with his production. Consumers love facts and information (we are in the information age in case you were wondering) and pop-up text is the perfect technique for fulfilling this need.

Use Humor

Obviously, humor can be a great way to lighten the mood of a video and lead to a viral-like viewing as well. For businesses it is usually a very good idea to have a little humor in every video if possible. Jason did an excellent job of this with his ‘Pita’ comment when referring to the dog in the video.

Involve Customers

As I’ve mentioned over and over again, social proofs are a critical element of any effective marketing plan (see every infomercial ever made for proof of this), which is why businesses should utilize customers, especially happy customers, whenever possible in their videos. This is why Jason successfully integrated the boy into the video and asked him a question about his new swimming pool, as well as the cute pop-up text afterwards.

Integrate Still Shots and Slow Motion

Just as music does a great job changing the pace of a video, so do still shots and slow motion. This technique is especially effective at the end of the video to tie everything together. Again, Jason did a great job of this in the end by showing what the final product, in still-shot form, will look like.

So there are 7 techniques I suggest you implement into your next YouTube video. And if you haven’t already chosen which flip camera you’re going to use, I’d suggest this one:Flip UltraHD Camcorder, 120 Minutes (Black)
But before I close, I want to remind everyone that by no means do your video productions have to be perfect. In fact, YouTube viewers have come to expect imperfection. It almost adds a sense of authenticity. So don’t get caught up in too many fine details and set the goal today to start leveraging the great tool of video in your company’s web and marketing 2.0 efforts.

Questions about YouTube or video integration? Comments about how you’ve successfully implemented video in your business’ marketing strategies? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason February 25, 2010 at 10:45 am

Thanks for the love bro, but the coolest thing is that you don’t have to be James Cameron to pull this off. Literally anyone can do this. You Tube is available to everyone and most folks already have movie making software on their computer. All you need to do is capture the footage and take the time to produce it.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan February 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

Exactly Jason, you hit the nail on the head. Literally, anyone can produce quality video, it just takes that initially leap of faith w/ a ‘Yes, I can do this’ mentality.

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Social Kevin July 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hi, great article. I did have a question: how do you know when you can use a commercially copyrighted song for commercial use?

I don’t want to make a sweet video for my company and then have to take it down. Is it OK if I do that just for videos that will be on Youtube?

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Marcus Sheridan July 23, 2010 at 11:19 am

Hey Kevin, and thank so much for stopping by. As far as I’m aware, Youtube used to remove all audio from any video that contained a copyrighted song because without permission from the holder of the copyright it’s considered infringement. Now they simply have a pop-up that gives the viewer an opportunity to purchase the song. This seems to be the way they have dealt with the situation. However, the only way to legally use a copyrighted song in any video, private or commercial, is to obtain permission from the holder of the copyright.

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Social Kevin July 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hey Marcus thanks for getting back to me. I am going to try and market our product through Youtube videos trying to emulate what you did. It should be pretty cool…

Thanks again

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Marcus Sheridan July 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Good for you SK. It will work, just continue to be persistent, creative, and think like a consumer. :-)

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Mathew from Video Marketing October 19, 2010 at 7:13 am

I’m glad to find your site and read fresh ideas on how to make my video marketing better. The reminder on making a preview and placing the name of the company at the start is simple but real helpful for lesser-known brands.
.-= Mathew from Video Marketing´s last blog ..Website Design Basics =-.

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Marcus Sheridan October 19, 2010 at 8:20 am

I appreciate the comment Mathew and thank you for stopping by. Keep up the great education on your blog!

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Julian Thornton April 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Hi Marcus

I am looking to produce multiple videos for different nuches which could be fine for animoto type production butr my main field of expertise is investing so I need to be able to create powerpoint style presentations with me narrating

What do you recommend I do? Any courses/resources you recommend?

Thanks

Julian

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Business Video Tips October 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

That’s true educational or tutorial videos are really popular these days. This is because internet users are now hungry for all kinds of information. And they want all these with just one click on the mouse. For the benefit of your product or service, make your videos as helpful as possible so that viewers will keep coming back to you for insights.

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Russ February 13, 2013 at 2:10 am

I found this blog about making videos for your website http://make-videos-for-your-website.tumblr.com/

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Karan Batra March 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

Which software would you recommend for making a Video Tutorial??

I want to make a video tutorial which captures the screen and also shows a small size video of the person narrating the video

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Adam June 21, 2013 at 5:30 am

Hi Marcus,

Video advertising is definitely the way to go for small businesses. We are a startup company who provide a tool for small businesses to create their very own professional video ads online in minutes. They can be uploaded to YouTube and share across social media for free! I’d love if you could take the time to check out our website and let us know what you think. We have the worlds largest collection of royalty free stock footage that allows small businesses to create video ads without the costs of production teams and time spent doing it DIY! If you have any questions just get in contact with me. We want to help small businesses help themselves.

“We’re the platform, You’re the producer”

Adam.

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