Most of us realize that the Internet has enhanced and in many ways changed how businesses are marketed. No longer are they limited to print ads and paper brochures.
Now, Internet videos are a useful tool businesses. While the idea of using video as a marketing tool is not new, in the age of YouTube most people are now accustomed to seeing ordinary people talk about themselves — sharing their knowledge and expertise, or creating their own short form ’reality TV’ show. The benefit of these self-promotions is that potential customers get to hear from you — the business owner — not an attractive/distracting actor/model. You could also use this same technique for announcing new products and services.
A promotional video is great for nearly any type of business owner; including attorneys, accountants, web designers, physicians, realtors, dentists, mechanics, restaurant owners, and contractors.
Before you read about how to create your own promotional video, check out for free some of the sample videos posted on WhoToView.com. This is, I think, the best one. There are several examples on YouTube, including this one.
How To Create a Promotional Video
If you have a video camera, a tripod, and access to some editing software, such as iMovie for Mac or Movie Maker 2 for Windows, you can create a video yourself or find someone in your local area with the equipment and knowledge to help you do it.
Step 1: Prepare and Script
The contents of a 1-2 minute promotional video should be very clear and direct. If you as a business owner regularly attend networking socials or meetings where you are asked to explain your business in one minute or less, then you probably have what is needed to write a script.
So basically you might write a script that includes:
- Your business name
- City and State
- What you/we do
- What you/we do that’s better than everyone else
- Why potential customers should contact you
- Example client names
- Business name again
Even if you can talk about your business without a written script, it’s a good idea to write it just so that you can tighten it up and see how long it will be when speak in front of the camera.
Step 2: Cutaway Shots
You can easily create a promotional video in which viewers only see you talking, but an even better video includes what is called cutaway shots. These brief shots illustrate what you’re talking about in presentation. So if you’re a web designer, you might include cutaway shots of samples of your work, and/or you working at your computer.
After you complete your script, look for places where you can incorporate, if possible, cutaway shots. These shots will be taken after you record your presentation. They are later edited into your video (step 4).
Step 3: Shooting Your Presentation
As someone who has shot lots of videos, I can guarantee you that your video will look a lot better if you put the camera on a tripod. You have no doubt seen those horrible videos on YouTube where the camera is constantly moving, making the content very difficult to watch.
Secondly, it’s a good idea that your video be shot in a well-lit room. You don’t need expensive lighting equipment. Just make sure the white balance of your camera is set correctly and they room is well-lit. Read your camera’s manual about the white balance settings. Some cameras will attempt make these settings automatically.
If need be, you might want to write your script on a large poster board and have someone hold it up for you to read from. Of course, you should read the script over several times for timing and clarity. If you have an iPad, you can download a free teleprompter app called iPrompt Pro [iTunes App Store link]. Copy and paste your script into the app and you’re good to go.
For a self-promotion video, an on-camera mic might work okay. But a dedicated lapel mic works better. More importantly, make sure you’re shooting in a quiet place — no fan blowing, computers humming or people talking in the background.
When you’re done shooting your presentation, watch it while it’s still in the camera. Typically, you will need to reshoot the presentation a couple of times before you are satisfied — making sure the timing is right and that you voice is coming across clearly.
Finally, shoot any cutaway shots to edit into your video. Shoot more than what you need. Each shot should be at least 10 seconds long. You can shorten it in the editing process. Experiment with panning and zooming in order to provide some movement in the shot.
Step 4: Edit Your Production
Now bring all your video into the editing software. Create an opening and/or closing title card that includes the name of your business, or perhaps start off with an enlarged image of your business card.
Use a fade-in transition for the opening of your video, and a fade-out for the closing. When you’re telling viewers how to contact to you, you can add a fade-out from you and then show a title card with the contact the information. This way viewers hear and see what you’re saying.
Refer to the manual of the video editing software to find out how to add in cutaway shots. Also read our MakeUseOf article for more tips on shooting and editing video and additional tutorials posted on the net.
Finally, if you have a copy of Apple‘s iLife suite (iMovie, Garageband, iPhoto, etc.), you can select background music from the Jingles folder found in iMovie ‘09.
Step 5: Post Your Video
Now for the easy part. Once your video promo is like you want it, post it on your website. Of course, posting your video on YouTube and embedding it in your website is a great way to get instant Flash support which can often make it easier to download, plus it means that your video can be viewed on mobile devices like the iPhone, and it will also be picked up by Google‘s search engine.