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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