What Marketers Need to Know About Using Web Video

Most online marketers are aware of the value of online video to promote services and products. Whether used to as an online commercial, product education, or to provide online support in order to reduce customer service calls, online video is an exploding and very useful solution 

But the question is, how can you make an effective online video? <

Number one - keep it short. On the web everyone has a short attention span. Videos need to be kept under five minutes in length - preferably even shorter. If you have a complicated subject or the process you are demonstrating requires numerous steps, it might make sense to break the video up into a series of shorter videos.  

This is especially true if you want your audience to share and redistribute the video. The essence of all successful viral videos is brevity. 

Here are a few technical guidelines to ensure that your video looks and sounds professional.<

- Use a good video camera. You don't need professional gear that costs tens of thousands of dollars, but you do need a video camera that can capture high resolution, HD video. A cheap $50 dollar camera is not going to cut it. Video captured with a phone is not going to make it either. A good way to tell if your camcorder is good enough is if it has an external microphone jack. That's what you need.

- Use a good mike plugged in the external mike jack. The omnidirectional mikes built into cheap camcorders are not very good and tend to capture sound from all over the room rather than from your expert. It is much better to use a handheld or a lavaliere mike that plugs into your camcorder and provides nice clean audio.  

- When shooting your video, make sure your subject is well lit. Not only do dark and murky videos not engage the viewer, the lack of pixel info often adds extra digital noise and degrades the overall video signal. If your camcorder supports it, turn off automatic exposure and focus and shoot manually.   

You don't need fancy backgrounds. In fact, a simple pastel background with no moving components works best. Online video is all about close-ups. You can start with a wide shot to establish location, but quickly cut to close-ups.  

- Edit your video to get rid of any glitches or mistakes. Keep the editing simple and avoid fancy dissolves, effects and wipes. Yes, they look cool but they waste pixel information and detract from the subject of your video. Straight cuts work best, with a simple fast fade-in and fade-out at beginning and end. 

Graphics are always effective to emphasize your points. However, they need to be big, bold and readable, especially when watched on a small laptop screen or mobile device. Don't forget to include your contact info at the end of all your videos!   

After you are finished editing, you will want to publish the video to your website for the world to see.  Professional video hosting services provide all the key functions like uploading, encoding, hosting, player customization, analytics and delivery. 

Simply embedding a YouTube video and their standard player on your site is not very professional. Most online video platforms that provide hosting services for online marketers offer a wide range of players that can preserve your brand's look and feel and protect your video against competing advertisements, as well as track who is watching your video.

5 comments about "What Marketers Need to Know About Using Web Video".
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  1. Mark Walker, May 18, 2011 at 5 p.m.

    Actually using the YouTube player may be a good idea, as far as SEO goes. Check with your webmaster to be sure you are maximizing your inbound leads, and search lisitng potential!

  2. Marilyn Smith from 811media, May 18, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.

    Is this article about "using" or producing online video? Do you really want marketers to shoot their own video?? (vs. working with an agency and/or prod. co.) Perhaps this newsletter isn't targeting the brands I'm interested in after all...

  3. Randy Kirk from Randy Kirk & Associates, May 18, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.

    While some folks may make a decision about watching a video based on the length, once they are watching it is purely a matter of keeping their interest. However, on even a two minute vid, we always make sure that the contact info is all shown early.

    Good camera, sure, but I've done over 500 vids for my clients with a camera that now cost $90 on Amazon. The Casio Xslim. Can't recommend it high enough.

    The video today is only the starting point. Use the video as a post on the blog, as a permanent element in the blog, and on a video page of the website.

    I have mixed emotions about YouTube on the home page of a website. YouTube is a Fantastic brand, but ......

  4. Dustin Ashby from Vumanity Media Inc., May 22, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.

    Good article and it speaks exactly to what we're working on with Vumanity -

  5. Devita Jacobs from SunSweet New Media, June 4, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.

    Far more important than how to hold a camera is organization. What are you shooting? Do you have boards? How long do you have your location? Bells and whistles aren't necessarily required to create a great video, but wrapping a shoot only to find that you're missing 40% of the material you meant to shoot because you ran out of time, film, space on your SD card, or simply forgot can be more frustrating than not shooting at all.

    It's interesting though that there are tips for creating video in this article. I assumed I would be reading about "using" since producing is such a comprehensive topic that most marketers aren't going to get too hands on with.

    -D. Jacobs
    SunSweet Films

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