Tag Archives: inexpensive video shooting

6 Lines From The Godfather That Explain Why You Should Use Video

Just in time for the Oscars. Ready?

“Why didn’t you come to me first?” (Websites that use video convert visitors faster and easier.  A good category is Attorneys. Well, maybe not for the Godfather, but for our purposes – Studies show that folks will search an average of 7 websites when they are looking for an attorney.  But when there’s video, that number drops to 2. )

“Make them an offer they can’t refuse” (Video makes content they can’t refuse.  A compelling message about your company will keep visitors on your site longer. Videos can also very easily enhance your credibility. Companies with three or more videos on their website are perceived as the authority.)

“I need a man who has powerful friends” (The neatest thing about video is that folks can share it with their friends.  Make something WORTH sharing. People don’t search for, nor do they share commercials – so don’t make one. The hardest thing about video is coming up with great ideas. That’s where we can help.)

“My client promises to make that trouble disappear “ (With video you can not only show the features and benefits, but you can have your customers tell their story too. That’s called a testimonial, and man, do they work!)

“Times have changed. It’s not like the Old Days, when we can do anything we want.” (Yep.  Here in the digital age, customers are more informed. They WANT to be engaged. They don’t have a lot of time to read everything you want them to read.  So, say it and show it in a video. Or better yet, a series of videos.  Not to worry. We can have you communicating 21st Century style in no time.)

“And let me be even more frank, just to show you that I’m not a hard-hearted man, that it’s not all dollars and cents.” (Customers, especially the tech-savvy under 30s, want value. If you’re a plumber, do a video on how to fix a sink.  An accountant? What are the top deductions that many folks miss?  THAT’S content. It’s content that can be used. Content that they can’t refuse.

NOT to use video can be a website’s kiss of death.  Let that happen to the other guy. Wise up and start putting Videos On Your Website now.

Or just call us and fergitaboutit.

That’s a wrap.

There Is No Trophy For Second Place

My wife loves to read. Both of us could browse thru Barnes & Noble or Borders all day.  But she rarely buys from them. Instead, she browses Amazon.

There are some items that I don’t bother shopping for at all.  I just look on eBay.

There are many places to buy books online. Ask someone, and see if Amazon isn’t the first thing on their minds. Same with auction sites.  Same with a lot of business categories. (Kleenex instead of tissues, Xerox instead of copier, PingPong instead of table tennis).

When you’re first at something, you can pretty much “own the franchise”. And when you can do that PLUS be outstanding at connecting with your customers, you can reach that Top Of Mind status reserved for the Amazon’s, and eBay’s and Zappos.

How many of your competitors are using video? If you said none, that’s your chance. It doesn’t matter if you are B2B or B2C. Your customers and prospects are searching for what you have to say.  Video was the most added feature to websites in both 2009 and 2010.  If you don’t know whether or not your competitors are using video, find out. Do it now.

Building your authority and your expertise should be one of your major goals this year.  If you’re in a business in which customers need to place their trust, you can’t afford to go forward without shoring up that trust with all of the compelling stories you can tell with video.

Hopefully, you can be the first.

That’s a wrap.

You Never Know Who’s Watching. (The Top 5 Things That Matter)

Over the past two weeks, I won two different clients specifically because of two different videos on my website.

Someone asked me recently if quality matters for web videos. I replied that quality is the top 5 things that matter for web video.

Quality, quality, quality, quality, quality.

I just invested on a new professional HD camera with which to shoot.
I know, most websites play videos in small screen players. But there’s something that folks forget: sales of Internet ready TVs are increasing steadily.

Think about that amateur video being played on a 46 inch screen. If you thought shaky, hand-held camera shots were distracting on a small screen, wait till you see it magnified. Now, add in that low, or not-quite right light. Is anyone still watching after 30 seconds?

Major newspapers, television stations and networks are all putting video content on the web. Any poorly-produced DIY video will have to compete with that.

Quality.

Anyone can upload and share anything. It’s what is driving the explosion of social networking. It’s really, really cool. However more people want to connect with businesses and brands than ever before. Done right: with basic, well thought-out shots and a little showmanship, you can not only connect with customers and prospects, but they will stay on your website longer. That gives you more chances to convert them.

Coming soon – more about how your competition uses video.

That’s a wrap.

Quality Videos Reflect The Quality Of Your Business: Part two

Tonight, a friend passed a referral to me. I went to look at the company website – we’ll call them “LLC.com”. Their web design firm has posted some videos about what a great place this company is to work for. Now, defining your corporate culture is an excellent use of video in today’s climate. Google has done it with the Life At Google series on YouTube. The Google series is shot well, and has compelling themes.

The videos I watched tonight on the LLC site were
• Grainy – if I didn’t know better, I’d think they were shot with someone’s camera phone.
• Used the on camera microphone – a very big no no. Sound is as important as picture, and since all of these shots were extreme close-ups, to have the voice sound like it was coming from a barrel is quite rude from the position of a viewer.
• Looked cheap. One of the persons were shot sitting in front of a window. The light coming from behind washes the subject out.

Another web designer called to tell me about a client who needed video. Before I could respond, however, he called back to say the client had shot the video himself. He said the quality was just “OK”. The webmaster wouldn’t offer his opinion, and unfortunately, his client may suffer.

Producing videos for businesses is a lot more than Point And Shoot. I completely understand the DIY point of view, BUT. . .

• You have to have an external microphone, period. No discussion.

• The basics of 3 point lighting are simple to learn. So use room lamps, and buy some Perfect Daylight bulbs so at least your colors come out right, and your subjects look like somebody you would want to watch.

• Seriously consider using a professional. The expertise we bring in storytelling and getting the right message across with the right pictures and edits can make all the difference.

If you’ve made an investment in an attractive website, it’s only right to make sure your content stands out as well.

———- That’s a wrap.

What They’re Saying About Real Estate Videos

So, I starting reading one of those articles about “What Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You” and I got less than a quarter of the way thru it when the author mentioned how a listing’s photos and videos can be misleading because of Photoshopping or creative editing. I wouldn’t deny that those things take place, but not in my experience.

First of all, real estate agents are notoriously…(how shall I put this)…frugal. Many of them take their own pictures, and some even make their own videos.
Secondly, the kind of photo manipulation or video editing really takes some time to master. Many agents are known to be…impatient.

Actually, real estate videos can be rather quick to produce. Most agents simply want a walk through to show prospective buyers the layout point of view. Any additional editing, whether in amateur software or on a professional level, is an expense of both time and money. It’s been my experience with real estate videos that if the home is attractively staged, a video will do a much better job of selling the property than photos. It’s real. You don’t need Hollywood effects or deceptive editing to make it work.

It’s nice to see some popular websites for real estate professionals that agree with me: Homes.com reports that successful agents understand social media. And they add, “Video is another great way to promote your business and your listings online. After posting virtual tours or walk-thrus of your listings, start adding videos that discuss real estate trends and give advice. The better the content, the more it will be passed on.”

And PropertyGuru.com takes it one step further: “Keep your videos alive. Online video content should never be considered a final product. If the property doesn’t sell immediately, change the video to encourage new buyers and give them a different interpretation”

I have also seen actual customer emails thanking agents for providing videos, rather than just photos, in their marketing efforts. Even in the relocation forum City Data, one poster implores agents to “spend a few hundred bucks on a well shot and presented video tour and sell a six or seven figure home.”

There is a myriad of ways to sell real estate, even in a down market. But the wise agents and brokers would do well to discover the advantages of video marketing.

–That’s a wrap.

4 Times When Video Is A Bad Idea

Videos for SEO, Videos for product demonstrations, and for customer testimonials. Videos to show your expertise to prospects or build credibility. They’re all great ideas. They’re ideas that can help and grow your business.

Unfortunately, there are times when using videos can be a bad idea. This all falls under the heading of “read your contract”. Here are some real world examples. I can’t believe there are companies who actually do this, but there are.

1. The video is not created specifically for your business. Just like there are templates for websites, a producer can create a video template. This usually has a minimum amount of your information. It’s built around pretty graphics, or generic pictures.
2. You don’t own your video. Can you imagine that? Anything you planned, pictures you took, ideas you might have had – they can all vanish, because you signed a leasing agreement rather than a sales agreement. Yes, it actually happens. And if you don’t pay for another round, they’ll pull your video.
3. You do all the work, and they get paid. I know of companies who want their clients to shoot the video footage, and then send them the files so they can edit. Or they want you to write the script. I mean, if you’re paying for professionals, shouldn’t you get professionals who can give you their expertise?
4. You have no control over the final product. “Double check your work carefully”, one video contract says, “If we have to make any changes after you sign off, we will charge you.” Really?? Even in a restaurant, if you don’t like the meal, they’ll make it for you again. What’s wrong with this picture?

There are things about technology and marketing that scare some folks. But if you’re making an investment in a professional looking website, ask questions, and make sure that it’s going to be more than an online brochure. Engage your customers and prospects with compelling content. You’ll find that it starts paying for itself quickly. And it pays over and over.

— That’s a wrap.

21 Signs Your Company Is Ready To Put Videos On Your Website

It took me about five minutes to come up with this list. I like the number 21. But there are a few dozen more I’ll save for another post. Ready?

21 SIGNS YOUR COMPANY IS READY TO PUT VIDEOS ON YOUR WEBSITE

1. Your “time spent on site” analytic is less than 60 seconds

2. Visitors do research on your site, then buy from a competitor

3. Visitors read the “About Us” page then leave

4. You sell a service which is performed in your customer’s home

5. You sell a service to customers which is performed in your home

6. You compete in an industry that has a less than stellar reputation

7. You keep trying to get on the first page of search engine results, but never make it.

8. Your company president asks, “What is You Tube?”

9. Your company president asks, “What is the internet?”

10. Your Unique Selling Proposition is better customer service

11. You have to show your customers how your product works

12.You have to show your customers the safety features of your product

13. You need to show why your product is built better than the other guy’s

14. There are questions you WISH your customers would ask

15. Your company is celebrating a milestone anniversary

16. You want your customers to meet your staff

17. You want to build brand loyalty

18. You want to show off your expertise

19. You want to be the “go to” person in your industry

20. You’re getting ready for a price increase

21. You’ve just started a new business

Do any of these sound like you or someone you know? Let’s talk about it. I’ll buy the coffee. Maybe I’ll even buy lunch.

That’s a wrap.

6 Absolute Musts For Shooting Yourself On Video

I have seen a handful of vanity channels, so-called business presentations, video blogs, and all the rest, and I gotta tell ya.. owning a video camera or a web cam no more makes you a talk show host than owning a guitar makes you Erc Clapton.

I was compelled to start watching these folks because they had a headline that drew me in, they said something interesting, or because I know them. Truthfully,  I didn’t last more than 3 minutes.

So I keep coming back to something I’ve said time and time again: Either you want to be known as an expert, or you want people to buy a product or service from you, so be as professional as you know how, or the next guy will.  Online video has no excuses for poor quality.  If you’re going to shoot yourself, here’s how to do it with a little class:

  1. Find an uncluttered spot. Look at your surroundings the way the camera is going to see it. Don’t let anything get in the way of the camera’s main focus.
  2. Back Away From The Camera.  Really. All this fisheyed e-trade baby video is making me nauseous.
  3. SMILE !!!!  And hold eye contact. Put a picture of someone you care a lot about beside that camera lens.  Then talk to them.  You will be more natural
  4. Take off the headphones.  You don’t have to hear yourself. It also looks really low tech. If there are music cues or an interview you have to respond to, get an earpiece, or just set the phones down out of camera range. You’ll still be able to hear it.
  5. Don’t take five minutes to get to the content.  I don’t really care that this is your fifth show, and you now have two thousand viewers.  Acknowledge what I came to see. At least Letterman and Leno start with a rundown of what the show’s going to be about.  It’s not a bad idea for you to do that, too.  Of course, it will mean actually planning, and not talking off the top of your head.
  6. That will directly affect your “um” quotient.  Take notes, and use those notes to prompt you for the next idea.  Planning and focusing keeps the “ums” to a mimimum.  A little silence is a lot more preferable to inane babble.
  7. Keep it short and to the point.  I’m not going to watch you for an hour. Especially if it’s just you on camera.  Sorry if it hurts your feelings.  Brevity is the soul of wit. You’ll get more viewers with a shorter piece. You’ll be more focused.  Did you know that all of the network evening news shows used to be 15 minutes long?

If you can do those simple things, you’ll be surprised how better you look, and how much more professional you come across.

–That’s A Wrap.

5 Ways To Make DIY Videos Better

Of course, I’m a big supporter of using videos on your website. There are many ways to record videos for business. One way is to do it yourself. Some of these new pocket-sized cameras are making it very easy

So what’s being shown in all these videos? Not much more than talking heads.

There is so much that can make a great and compelling video: different angles, close-ups, b-roll. But it’s hard to take those shots and mix them in, because the selling point of the little micro-cams is that they will upload directly to the web. And that means no editing.

Editing is how you tell a story. Look at all of your favorite programs on TV. They have different shots, and various angles, reaction shots from the other players, location shots to establish where they are. You can do that if you’re doing it yourself. It just takes a little planning. Planning will make a mediocre video a GREAT video.

If you’re going to shoot with a microcam, here are five things that will make your videos better from the start:

  1. Make sure you have a steady platform. Use a mini tripod.
  2. You can’t see what you’re shooting with most microcams. Try not to get that “in your face fisheye” effect. Don’t be afraid to shoot it again and again.
  3. If there are going to be two or more speakers, don’t swing the cam from side to side. You’ll just make the viewer dizzy.
  4. Shoot in different locations. Use a background shot to show where you are, then in one edit, you can be moving forward with your content.
  5. Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan Plan.

If everyone’s video looks the same, these tips will set yours apart. Many folks, however, are attracted by the easy shoot and quick upload of these microcams. If you already have an expensive looking website, don’t sabotage your image with a poor quality video.

–that’s a wrap