Tips for Making a Promotional Video

By Gregg Schoenberg Monday, October 15, 2012

Recently, we’ve been exploring lots of different ways to promote your small business—from social media to flash sales to press releases.  The promotional video is another great low-cost tool that entrepreneurs can use to tell their stories and spread the word about their companies. In order to produce a professional-looking video you’ll need to focus on two things: engaging content and strong production values.

The content for your video needs to serve a few different purposes. It should give viewers a quick overview of what your company does, how it helps your customers and why it’s better than the competition. And it should also reflect the unique culture of your firm in order to form a personal connection with the viewer.

Because it should be only about two minutes in length, it can be helpful to think of the video as an extension of your elevator pitch. No matter how polished that pitch is, you’re going to need a written script that you stick to before you’re ready to sit down and shoot your video. As you’re writing that script, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that 150 written words equates to about one minute of video.

The bulk of your video will probably be composed of you or a spokesperson talking about the business, but you can make it more engaging by leaving a bit of time for a few cutaway shots. These are quick snippets that show your business in action and help to illustrate what you are talking about in your script.

No matter how good your script is, your video will reflect poorly on your company if it looks unprofessional. Luckily, it is now fairly easy and inexpensive to shoot and edit a polished video. If you follow these five simple rules, your audience should be happy with the results.

1.) Use a tripod – This is the easiest and most important thing you can do to make your video look good. Nobody wants to watch shaky hand-held footage, it looks amateurish and even makes some people queasy. So get a tripod and use it every time you shoot a video.

2.) Shoot in high definition (HD) – Because high-def cameras have become quite affordable, shooting in HD is now mandatory for anyone who is even semi-serious about making videos. Standard definition looks cheap and dated by comparison, so don’t use it.

3.) Light the room properly –Try to use soft lighting from a variety of different angles, with a particular emphasis on lighting your subject from the side.

4.) Quiet on the set – Make sure your shooting environment is free from any distracting background or ambient noise such as outside traffic or the humming of computers and electronic equipment.

5.) Follow the rule of thirds – This is a timeless rule from still photography that also applies to making videos. Placing your subject in the left or right third of the frame, rather than dead center, makes for a more pleasant viewing experience.

You’ll probably need to shoot several takes of your dialogue and the cutaway shots in order to get the raw footage you need to complete your video. Watch each take after you shoot it, and don’t call it a wrap until you’re happy with the results.

The final step is to edit the footage into a cohesive piece and maybe add a title, and some music and/or graphics. If you’ve got a Mac or a PC then you should have all the software you need to make this happen.

When your video is complete, you’ll want to post it to your company’s website as well as  its Facebook page, You Tube page and any other social media outlets that you use. Once it is live, you’ll have the advantage of being available to promote your business twenty-four hours a day to anyone who chooses to click the play button.

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