Getting Started With Video Optimization
Adding a video element to your online marketing mix is a smart move, with studies showing greater brand recall, message recall and higher purchase intent for online video spots than TV ads – making it quicker, easier and cheaper to connect with the desired demographic. Over and above the very real possibility of increasing sales volumes, online video marketing can also help reach overall search marketing goals, acting as a form of link bait and also providing a different form of optimization-ready content.
But before you can start to think about how online video can help increase your search positions, you first need to actually make the video. Although there are hundreds of video marketing specialists springing up, those on a tight budget or not too sure about the suitability of video marketing may want to get a little first-hand experience before outsourcing. Try these tips to get started…
1. Basic Equipment Checklist
A digital video camera is the quickest and easiest way to start shooting footage. It also offers much easier transfer of the film to your PC. A basic digital camera is fine to start with and if you’d rather not invest in purchasing a brand new machine, consider borrowing one from a friend temporarily or scour eBay for a second hand bargain. Some photography stores also offer camera rental so it’s also worth calling round local suppliers before committing to buying new equipment.
Along with the camera, you’ll also need a tripod. This is essential for adding a professional edge to any footage you film including interviews and static product shots, giving stability to the camera and improving the watchability of the finished product.
If your video spot includes any commentary or interviews with third parties, a decent quality microphone is also a necessary addition. Poor sound quality can ruin an otherwise great video. Not only is it annoying to the viewer, poor sound can also mean your audience misses key points.
2. Choose Your Software
As well as all of the basics listed above, you’ll also need video editing software to turn all of the raw footage into an online video complete with title screens. Windows offers basic video editing software in the form of Windows Movie Maker. This is a great starting point and useful for practicing splicing scenes and editing footage. You can also add soundtracks and title screens.
When you get more proficient, you may want to consider investing in more specialist software, which will give a more professional polish to the final video. Adobe Premier is used by several TV stations and media professionals and is comprehensive in its functionality.
3. Practice with Lighting
Great lighting is as important as good sound but getting the light balance right takes some practice. Before setting the camera rolling, learn what the white balance is and how to set it up and have a go lighting a few test shots before hauling out products or interviewees. Replay the footage to yourself and evaluate if the lighting is sufficient. If you’re planning any filming indoors, you may need to invest in a few extra lights such as fluorescent strips which you can move quickly into position when needed. Standard desk lamps may also be sufficient if you can combine one or two, depending on how much natural light the location has and whether you’re filming near a window, during the day or at night.
Great lighting is imperative for product shots as you’ll want to display your wares at their very best in all of their Technicolor glory. Experiment with different colored bulbs and wattages to get the exact effect you’re after before starting to film. Always check on screen to be sure the lighting translates well from reality to footage.
4. Storyboard a Plan
There’s little point in turning your camera on and hoping for the best. The only way a cohesive, professional quality video will happen is if you plan each shot. Draw squares to represent each scene on a piece of paper and sketch out what should be in each shot. Include bullet points about what you’ll need, what you hope to achieve and where the filming will take place. You’ll likely need to use a few different locations and may need to film several members of staff or products – planning on paper will allow you to make the best use of time and resources. It will also force you to think about the structure of your online video, giving it a cohesive focus and fluidity.
Use the four tips above to plan your first video, experiment a little with different ideas and shots, and then put your ideas to work.
Any other tips that readers have found useful for initial forays into video marketing?
Part 3 of this post, which explores some actual SEO tactics for video, will appear tomorrow.
Part 1 of this post is located here.