Tips for Creating an Effective Video Blog

October 17, 2011

Tips for Creating an Effective Video Blog

There has been a lot of discussion about the need for video in a successful marketing campaign. It’s true that you can have a successful marketing campaign without using video. But video can reach people in a way other advertising methods cannot. Video gives you a chance to communicate with a large number of current and potential customers in an essentially face-to-face way for free! What savvy business owner wouldn’t take advantage of that kind of opportunity?

Many people shy away from the idea of video because they think they need a lot of expensive equipment or a professional production crew. While those things will certainly help with the quality of your video, you can shoot a serviceable clip without spending a lot of money!

The Equipment

Oddly, it’s not the video quality that’s most important. It’s actually the quality of the audio. People can tolerate a low-quality video, but if they can’t hear you, they won’t pay attention, no matter how good your content may be.

To get good audio, your best bet is to buy a simple external microphone. Why? The in-camera microphones are usually fine, but they only record the person holding the camera clearly. The person being filmed in the video can be hard to hear, or you could pick up breathing noises from the person taping you.

Your webcam may also be a good choice if you don’t need to move around to make your video. Make sure there are no noises in your house, like an air conditioner or television in the background.

When choosing which camera to use, look for one that lets you plug in the external microphone we discussed above. Also, check to see if you’re going to need special software to convert your video to a standard format (such as .avi, .mp4, or .mov) to use in your editing software or on your website. Other than those considerations, any camera will do nicely.

One thing people have trouble with is proper lighting. You can buy lights if you want. You will only need three – one for the front of the subject, one for the side and one for the back. There are lighting tutorials on the Internet if you go this route. The easiest option is to try and take advantage of natural sunlight. Sunlight coming from the side is best. Light from behind will cause the subject to appear as a silhouette, and sunlight in front of the subject will cause reflections (or squinting if you’re filming a person).

Content without a Camera

No camera? Try a tutorial made of screen captures with an overlaid audio track.  It’s easy to make a screen capture. Pull up the page or document you want to capture and press the PrintScreen button on your keyboard (it’s near the F12 key). Once you’ve taken a “picture” open your photo editing software (Photoshop is good). Then create a new document and hit Ctrl v to paste the image. Save the file as a jpg, size it for the web (resolution of 72-90 under image size) and you have a screen capture!  Just make sure you have the right to use any images you capture. Later, in editing, you can combine your screen captures with your audio to complete the video.

Learn Basic Editing

Free, easy-to-use video editing software for beginners is not difficult to find. Many computers actually come with a video editor installed. Look for Microsoft Movie Maker for Windows, iMovie for Mac, Screenr (on Twitter) or Smart YouTube. If you need a tutorial on any of these programs, just search the Internet. There are also help tabs in most programs.

Show it Off!

It’s just not good enough to create a video and post it to your blog. It will only have a good response if it gets viewed, and it will only get viewed if you take some time to distribute it. In addition to your blog, post your video on your website, Facebook and Youtube. For more on video distribution options, please see our article How to Integrate Video into Your Social Media Marketing.

As you can see, creating a video and uploading it to your blog is a relatively easy process. Experiment with it, and soon you’ll be shooting quality videos, really reaching out to your target market, and your efforts will result in increased sales!