You’re a business or a brand owner. You want to put your name and image in front of more people. As a result, your task is simple: find where people are looking and put your message there. If you want to go where the eyeballs are, then video marketing is your path. Video is by far the most popular online activity. Americans spend many hours of their lives watching educational, silly, meme, or other video content that is shared, engaging, and desired.
The largest video repository online is YouTube. With hundreds of millions of views daily, everyone is watching something. YouTube has several huge benefits for any up and coming or established content creators:
- It’s cheap (can be done for free)
- Creating an account is simple
- Publishing takes very little time
- Anyone with a camera can make a video and upload it
- There’s so much content, you’re guaranteed to find an audience
YouTube is no longer the only game in town, and the benefits apply to many of the competitors and related video apps and sites. Snap marketing is a huge potential audience builder, as is TikTok and Instagram video. LinkedIn also lets users host and upload videos, which can work for a professional audience to build reputation and authority with a business network. Vimeo and other smaller sites offer video hosting similar to YouTube in style, and they also have the benefit of being free and having few data or runtime limits.
For many businesses or brands, the challenge is keeping marketing costs down while providing customers with engaging material that captures their interest. One of the best ways to accomplish that is by using what resources you already have available or can acquire for little to no money. Video doesn’t have to be expensive to be engaging. Last year’s most popular app was TikTok. TikTok is built for rapid videos that hit large audiences and are easily shareable. It’s no wonder businesses are flocking to it: it’s potentially millions of dollars’ worth of free exposure.
Smartphones have built in cameras that have increased in quality every year. The thing the majority of us carry in our pockets daily now is a portal to a digital world filled with videos and shared reactions. It’s a wise decision, if it fits with your brand or your company image, to take advantage of this resource and make videos that can be shared to the world for no extra cost. Use Snap, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to reach broad swaths of people with your message and your name.
If you want to scale up your videos while keeping costs minimal, cameras have become much cheaper and of far better quality than they used to be. DSLR and mirrorless cameras, which run anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, are broadly available and can be tailored to any project. They are high-quality but not fussy for a newbie. They also have less of a learning curve than earlier generation cameras, meaning punchy, useful videos can be made cheaply without sacrificing quality.
Video editing software is available for free on most computers. While these apps and programs aren’t terribly robust, they serve their purpose well and can make basic edits and exports that’ll allow you to create your videos with a more professional sheen. They aren’t hard to learn, but they do take time to master. Numerous open-source and free downloadable programs also exist, ranging from editing to 2D and 3D animation software, all of which can help you make your videos stand out.
Once you have your tech in place, you’re ready to make your videos. This is where many businesses run into brick walls. It can be hard to be creative; it can be even harder to be creative consistently. Some brands just don’t have a vibe or a message that can be easily distilled, shared, and digested in a video format. Insurance, for instance, is a tough topic for a funny TikTok video. Medicine has HIPAA laws restricting content, and numerous other businesses have various restrictions and marketing structures that might make it hard to promote.
The important thing, for every business looking seriously to video marketing, is to consider what you want to say and how you want to say it. Think about how personalized video performs, and what kind of videos you like to watch:
- How can you take inspiration from those?
- What works about them for you, and how can you make your own work that way?
- What about your brand would interest people the most?
- What about your brand can be best expressed in the form of a video?
Video doesn’t have to be massive budget to appeal to people. Sometimes the simple method is the most effective. You can use videos to introduce people to your team and your office. You can film day to day activities, and you can give a realistic glimpse about the process for a customer entering your establishment. If you’re lacking people or locations to film, you can also use a simple editing program to create infographics or slide deck-type video presentations that illuminate the processes of your business or your goals and core functions. You can put together very simple videos that give detail and depth and inform your customers about needed information.
Businesses have had great success hosting webinars or making informative and how-to videos. These can be really simple and just made with a camera pointing at someone knowledgeable and filming them talking about a topic in which they’re an authority (many computers have suitable built-in cameras for this). When going for the educational or personalized vlogging (video blogging) route, keep in mind EAT: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. Come from a place of education and personal benefit for the watcher. Don’t pitch, just inform. Be yourself.
Many businesses or individuals starting out in video start from funny: how can I be funny? What’s funny? What should I do that’ll make people laugh? This can potentially create effective and humorous material, but many get too wrapped up in jokes and miss the point of making the video in the first place. If the entire video is dedicated to the jokes and the jokes fall flat, then what have you given audiences? Design and conceive videos with utility, i.e. messages or material that customers can use, and then add the jokes or find the funny angle that’ll best express it and grab their attention.
When aiming for funny, beware: comedy is subjective, and jokes can get companies and people in trouble if they’re tone deaf or inappropriate. If they aren’t funny or distract from your message in a negative way, you make people cringe and tune out. Maybe you’re not aiming for funny—maybe you want to move or warm the hearts of your viewing public. Not a bad angle! But sometimes, material designed to be moving or emotional can also backfire if the tone is out of whack with current sensibilities (think the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial). Workshop your ideas. Have other people look at them before you send them out into the world.
Once you have a video and have uploaded and shared it to the world, keep track of what your audience thinks of it. Ask yourself:
- Does this video have the potential to be a series?
- Do the benefits outweigh the costs of producing it?
- Is it feasible to make more of them consistently?
- Can you build an audience and a brand on what you film and upload?
If you’re the right juncture of talented and lucky, you might reach the rarified position of grabbing millions of dollars’ worth of name brand promotion from a cheap or free video series that connects with your audience and engages your users. While this may not be likely, if the cost of producing a video is $0 and a few minutes of your time, what harm is there in trying? Aim big! Surprise yourself.
No matter your business or your style, you can explore video as an avenue to spread your message. Video can be tailored to any budget and skill level and requires only patience and creativity to get right. If you’re looking to ramp up your current marketing or punch up a video series, now’s the best time to go for it.