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Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing

Category : video marketing


Disclaimer: I’m am not a professional video producer. If you’ve read my blog for a few years you’ll know I typically embrace the latest mediums in marketing, learn them, and implement them in my teams’ strategies. While video has been a part of our mix for a few years, I’m working to utilize it more as a strategic medium to display positioning and messaging. If you’re more advanced in video, some of these tips may seem a bit simplistic.

I’m a fan of Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain on the food and travel channels. I like how their shows use unique camera shots and interesting script to make you want to jump on a plane to a new location or run out and try a new food. They’re storytellers. But, they have camera crews, the best equipment, $$$, and people to professionally produce these shows. Well, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I want to use video in marketing but I don’t have the budget dollars for a professionally produced video every time and our equipment comes in at around $1500 – $2000. I also don’t want to produce something that could negatively impact our brands due to low quality or that looks like it was produced in the basement. So, is there a middle ground?

Absolutely! Here are key steps you’ll want to consider as you get your start in producing video content:

  • Have a Strategy: Why are you producing this? What is the end goal? Content marketing is not just a buzz word, but rather a necessary reality. Content is key and video is another way to present compelling content to your target audience. But, there has to be a purpose just as there would be a purpose to writing a white paper. Every aspect of producing this video should be done with your main strategy in mind.
  • Know Your Equipment: Our equipment consists of a DSLR, a boom mic, portable light, wireless mics, tripod, and camera/accessory mount. We purchased quality equipment within our budget. We also got together as a team and shared what we know about the equipment. This was key as we wanted a systematic approach to shooting the videos as it won’t be possible to always have the video experts with us in the field as we shoot. Know your camera settings, how the equipment is setup, and know some basic sound and lighting strategies. (Yes, despite all this I still shot some key scenes without the mic on!).
  • If All Else Fails, Revert to Simple: This is important – especially if you’re like me. In my mind, I was going hit the field and BE the Andrew Zimmern of corporate video. But, in reality, I quickly discovered my limitations – both on camera and off (those guys are very talented at what they do). Don’t let that stop you. Remember, we’re sticking to our goals which is to present content, messaging, and positioning for our brands. Sometimes, extravagance can draw the viewer away from the core purpose. I’ve found keeping it simple can produce the right result. Plus, trying to produce over what your capabilities actually are only increases the chances of a less professional outcome.
  • Script It: This seemed both obvious and wrong to me. I certainly don’t want the people on camera to look like they’re reading or have memorized a script. I want to humanize our companies through personality and creativity in presentation. Not make us look like robots. But, without some outline scripting, we would be in trouble. There has to be a structure and boundaries to what is said on camera. Going back to building off of a strategy, you want everything said and done on camera to represent that core strategy. That’s why it’s important to lay out in words what you want to say and convey. Practice from those scripts until you and the team feel comfortable. Then, dump the paper script and be yourself.
  • Storyboard It: Storyboarding is the funnest aspect for me as this is where you really start to feel like you’re producing a video. This is where you sit in the viewers chair and imagine what they want to see on the screen to stay engaged and absorb your content. If the viewer is going to take the time to watch your content, they’re going to want to watch a story unfold. This means shooting secondary footage – or B-roll – to show while commentary is in progress. This means showing the viewer how you came to be where you’re at and why you’re talking about the topic. We took out a large white board and drew little pictures that represented the scenes we wanted to produce. I snapped a picture with my Droid, sent it to Evernote, and I was ready to go.
  • Be Flexible: Where you’re shooting the video will never be as perfect as what you draw up in your mind. You also don’t have an advanced crew going to stage the scene for you (if you do, you’re reading the wrong article). This is where you roll up your sleeves and turn the setting into what you need. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to practice the flexibility ahead of time and plan for anything and everything. For instance, I was in Florida recently shooting an introduction to one of our companies and we planned for the perfect opening set outside the front door framed with Florida-like trees and plants. What we didn’t plan for was the strong winds the three days I was there. The audio was going to sound similar to those crazy reporters that stand outside in the eye of a hurricane! Instead, we found a setting inside that helped support our goal which was to present the company as a high-tech company. We shot the opening in their state-of-the-art training facility which positions them as thought leaders and having the ability to train customers on their technology.
  • Keep it Short: Attentions spans are shorter and your target audience has other pieces of their day demanding their attention. I typically find we almost need to cut in half what we want to convey in the video. Remember, you can always have a Part I and Part II. I think 3-5 minutes is pretty good for a corporate video piece. Depending on your purpose and intent, there are always situations where it can be longer.

There is obviously a lot more to producing a video and I plan to expand on a few of these points in future posts. But, this should give you some things to think about as you plan the plunge into video marketing. Also, if you have tips and tricks of your own, please leave them below. I’m sure readers would appreciate more insight!

Comments (33)

[...] Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing, http://www.lonelymarketer.com [...]

I also like to browse for videos especially when there’s interesting about it. Another way to market your site is to have video marketing. I like how you explained the steps, because all of them have great basis and ideas. By the ways, thanks for the knowledge that you shared.

I like your article, it’s very informative and you really taught me on this video marketing strategy. There are a lot of strategies over the web and this is one of them. I’ll probably follow all your advices and learn more about the video marketing.

Thank you for this line: If All Else Fails, Revert to Simple. It is so simple and brilliant, I love it. Ever since I first saw the Keep it simple phrase (also known as Keep it simple stupid) I just loved it. But knowing something and really using it and fully understanding it are different things. Today I think I know this on another level thanks to you.
You see, people usually just stop doing what they are doing when all fails, but this.. This is awesome. Just do it simple! And all will be fine.
This reminds me of another great principle – the 20/80 rule. If you just do 20% of the work and effort you will get 80% of the result. This actually works in so many ways. It is great.
I recommend to everyone to stick to these two principles.

Hi Patrick, excellent advice! These tips are great, I might have missed some of the parts and I’ll start working on it. Thank you very much for this!

Hi Pat: Great tips.
I tried video marketing and it was tough. So many things to take care of: the background, the camera angle, control of your head and hand movements.
The first time you record yourself speaking, you get a shock: the voice does not sound like you, you make a lot of unnecessary head and hand movements, it looks like you are in a staring match with the camera, you make unnecessary pauses to name a few! Be prepared for more than a few retakes if you are doing it for the first time!

Agreed, John. The first time I saw footage of myself, I was mortified! Need to budget for a stand-in next year. :)

Hmm, I agree 100$ with “Keep it Short”, no one wants to watch long videos, i usually get bored after 5 minutes of watching a video.

[...] blog—and what he could do for little or no money. He has continued along this path. Recently, he made some forays into video marketing to learn the craft and, in the spirit of exploration and experimentation, to find out what can be [...]

Great advice, with the explosion of social media video and vid streaming are only going to increase as more and more people look for that more informative piece of information. And videos generate a large message relatively quickly.

Hi Patrick,

Informative post as always. For those on a budget and in need of a professional video I would recommend Video Rascal http://videorascal.com/explainervideo (full disclosure, I’m the founder). Our service enables users to create professional videos easily and cheaply. No technical expertise is needed.

thank you for your tips, it very usefull..I add 1 more:
“don’t forget to evaluate what you have done”
It’s necessary to evaluate..

Great post. As a corporate speaker, I have to rely on the a/v team to produce a good video. Usually they do fine. It ranges from a simple two camera shoot to four cameras and two floaters for audience shots. However, when I need something quick for myself, a small camera/video works well and then Adobe Premiere for editing is a breeze. Mixing a little so-so quality with super quality video, as well as still photos can work wonders. For editing, watch commercials and movie trailers – fast, informative, and entertaining.

I have a media production background, so I try to strive for the best looking and sounding media I can produce. That said, I’m VERY much in the minority. You don’t need a DSLR (although those videos look GREAT) or a shotgun mic and pro lighting to just get video out there. People are 10x more concerned about content than the way it’s presented. Even a little flip cam will do the job.

That said, I’m using a Canon Vixia 300 with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic with some basic softboxes for lighting. I love that NTG-2, btw — GREAT sound.

This is great advice for would be video marketers. I feel like if you go through all the trouble to have this high production value, you should make the story boards available on your social feeds. It’s a great way to hype the video, and if you have someone on your staff that can draw it’s a unique thing that consumers absolutely adore.

Fantastic advice and so relevant. I’m considering using video marketing and was wondering where to start / budget etc and you have set me on the right track for many points, thanks.

Those tips are great. These will really help those who are just starting. And “strategy” will really do a lot with all your competition.

I like the idea that you invest on buying video recording equipment and learning how to operate these well with the other guys.

Another (faster) option is to hire the services of a well experienced video professional to help teach best practices in shooting videos (a 2 day session will do).

Video is a best ways to present our content and niche in front of people. So, it must include some special qualities to make a sense. Considering small videos is better in case of video marketing. Lenghty videos irritates the viewers.

Great tips on producing a video. I remember the first time I created a video, i think half of the video was AWES and UM and AND’s. :-) Love your tips and great information.


My company just started video marketing, even contracting out a voice over actor and a production company.

The only thing I would find useful is a list of good places to share your video online other than YouTube to get the most bang for your buck.

Great Post!
Video marketing is really an Awesome strategy to publicize a service, company or a product. It is easy to express our thoughts in visualization rather than presenting them in words.

Great advice Patrick. Agree about keeping it simple. We’ve never really embraced video marketing but there’s no denying how effective it can be.

Great Post Patrick – there are so many guides and blog posts on marketing videos, but so few on how to make good ones to market.

I think knowing tools and equipment and how to use them, while backing a good strategy is the key to good videos.

Thanks, pretty helpful list since I’m in the exact same position: I want to use video, but I don’t have the greatest equipment. I know a guy who’s really great making something out of (nearly) nothing, a good man with a vision who does not need expensive equipment to produce great video material. But film school is keeping him too busy to produce commercial type clips for me.

[...] Must-Read Post: Beginner’s Guide to Video Marketing [...]

Great guide! I love making videos, it adds so much more value to web content. Thanks for sharing!

Hi Patrick,
The best approach to online video production is to have a strategy and then to carefully plan your video with your budgetary and equipment limitations clearly in mind. Focus on what you want your video to communicate instead of fretting over the tools and budget you don’t have. No matter how big the budget on a production, you’ll always wish you could do more. Like other aspects of your business, it’s about doing the best you can with what you have, a situation that should be familiar to every entrepreneur!

Thanks for such an informative article. I read once that even an extremely good video needs an extremely good strategy to become virus. It’s not like posting and then waiting. One should promote it properly.

really nice article and the tips are really benefits us. thank you :)

Video is the best way to express your thoughts, just we have to keep in mind that video should be clear, short and sweet :)

Hi Mr.Patrick,
I am New to blogging area and for the video marketing of our products i am new to this so i want to know little more about it please can you give more tips regarding this..This post also really helped me better and thanks

We’ve just recently started using video marketing for our company. We’re still early in the process, however we have seen some positive results so far. We definitely still have a lot to learn. Thanks for the great tips.