Video is a very powerful marketing tool and it’s easier than you think to harness that power. You can easily make a “commercial” or video testimonial for your business, product, organization, service or event that you can share with all your social media channels via Youtube and you can do so using tools you already own and my not have thought about. Your computer came installed with free software that you can use to edit and publish a video. OR, if for some reason it didn’t, no worries… you can download it for free. Chances are, your smartphone or iPhone records HD video and if you don’t have a smartphone, your point and shoot camera will also record video. (Most newer cell phones and camera’s also record video…and many of them record great quality HD and the audio isn’t bad either! )[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmERK3sqzkM&w=560&h=315]
I created this video in about 30 minutes for my client RaceHawk to promote one of their upcoming events, The Tampa Bay Lightning Bolt Run. (Event Link: http://lightning.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=84574) It was published and shared within one hour of starting the editing portion of the project. I used my cheap, old, beat-up Sony Cybershot camera (that also records HD video) and free software that came pre-installed on my PC called Windows Live Movie Maker. (MAC users also have access to free software.) For more complicated or professional videos, I use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit and a professional quality camera and microphone…but for this exercise, I just wanted to create something as simply and quickly as possible, using tools the average person has access to or already owns. You won’t be creating any Academy Award winning broadcast-quality videos with this software and your iPhone or Android, but you’ll be able to produce a very effective and professional-looking video that you can publish on Youtube and share through your other social media channels for FREE.
At a recent event, while recording photos and video to use for live and post-event marketing via my client’s social media channels, I took advantage of a great opportunity to use a friend of mine who was attending as my on-air talent. I needed to also create a promo video for the Tampa Bay Bolt Run and wanted to kill two birds with one stone. My good friend, George LaBanca, graciously agreed to help. I fed him the “who, what, where, when, why and how’s” that I needed him to say, placed him in good lighting, against a nice background and turned on the camera. We shot three takes and luckily he’s a ham, so all three takes were good. ( My rule is always record three or more, even if you THINK you don’t need that many. Shoot a minimum of three.)
Back at my computer, I transferred the video from camera to computer, opened up Windows Live Movie Maker and imported (added) the video. I cut/split the video where I wanted it to start and stop, deleted what I didn’t need and imported a few pre-made graphic slides for the front and back ends. I added captions , transitions and dropped in an audio track. I edited the audio to fade where I needed it to fade so you could clearly hear my talent and then…”Voila” I had a commercial ready to go and published within an hour of starting the project. Windows Live Movie Maker is SUPER easy to use and offers all kinds of transitions, animations and effects that you can add with a click. ANYONE can use this software with just a little practice.
Finally, I previewed the video, tweaked a few things that bugged me and then saved the movie as a Windows Media File (WMV). I uploaded it to my client’s Youtube channel and shared through multiple social media outlets. From start to PUBLISH in less than an hour.
It’s that easy.
- Keep your script short and sweet and stick to the details you want your audience to remember. I try to keep my promotional videos/ Youtube commercials between 30 seconds and one minute. (Or shorter)
- Your on-air talent should smile, be articulate and upbeat. (Unless the mood of your video needs to be serious or boring)
- Shoot a minimum of three takes, even if you think you don’t need that many. When you are first starting out, shoot more. Trust me.
- Record away from distracting background noises and find a well-lit area to shoot in. ( Not direct sun-light…squinting is bad)
- Always include a link, contact info or actionable item in your video to help you drive behavior and help people find you. If you forget to add this important information in the video or on a graphic, be sure to add it in the text when you SHARE it and in the description when you are uploading it. (Whether it’s a link to a website, social media channel, #hashtag, etc…always include a way for people to find out more and drive behavior.)
- Music always makes videos better. Be sure, however, to adjust the audio so that you can clearly hear what your talent is saying. If it’s too loud, it will just be annoying and people won’t watch it. I find that for most projects, it’s best to use instrumental music, unless I have a jingle or song I want at the beginning or end of my video that adds to the mood, branding or effect.
Here’s a link to a helpful Youtube tutorial on how to edit video using Windows Live Movie Maker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co2Db504vhk )