Web Video: What Marketers Need to Know

Whether used as an online commercial, education or training piece, or online support solution, video is a very useful tool.  Most marketers are aware of the value of online video. But how can you make an effective online video?

Keep It Short: Web users have a short attention span. Videos need to be kept under five minutes in length – the average length is about 2 minutes! If you have a longer video- consider breaking it up into a series of shorter videos and post them across different days or even weeks.

Here are some guidelines to ensure that your video looks and sounds professional.

1) Use a good video camera. A cheap $50 dollar camera is not going to cut it. Video captured with a phone is no good either. A good way to tell if your camcorder is good enough is if it has an external microphone jack. Consider using a professional camera and operator, who knows how to get the best look possible- it is worth the extra time and money!

2) Plug a good mic into the external mike jack. The built-in camera mics are not very good and tend to capture sound from all over the room – rather than from your expert. BETTER:  lavaliere mic that plugs into your camcorder and provides nice clean audio.

3) Make sure your subject is well lit. Dark and murky videos do not engage the viewer, and the lack well-lit video adds digital noise and degrades the overall video signal. Here is where a professional can really help!

4) No one needs fancy backgrounds: a simple pastel background with no moving components works best. Web video is all about close-ups. You can start with a wide shot to establish location, but quickly cut to close-ups.  And be sure your room is not an echoing cavern! Choose a room that has sufficient floor covering, wall hangings and plants to break up the sound waves. You will be glad you did!

5) Simple edits to your video can get rid of any glitches or mistakes. Keep the editing simple and avoid fancy dissolves, effects and wipes. Avoid fancy wipes, dissolves and transitions- as they only add to the size of your data and cause more freezing for the viewer. Straight cuts work best, with a simple fast fade-in and fade-out at beginning and end.

6) Graphics are an effective way to emphasize your points, and they need to be big, bold and readable, especially when watched on a small laptop screen or mobile device. Be sure to include your contact (Call to ACTION!) info at the end of all your videos!

7) You are finished- now what? You will want to publish the video to your website, YouTube, Vimeo and other high-profile sites. Professional video hosting services provide all the key functions like uploading, encoding, hosting, player customization, analytics and delivery. And embedding a YouTube video player on your site can help your SEO ranking. You can use a web player on your site (if your webmaster can do it!) but cross-linking from YouTube will almost certainly raise your profile- maybe even get you onto page one!

8) Watch for our new Small Business Video Packages… coming soon to this BLOG and our WEBSITE. We can make video affordable so ALL small businesses can join the Web 2.0 revolution!

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