This article is by guest writer Catie Foertsch from who has a lot of experience producing video of many types and formats.

video camera
  1. Start with a script.  If you don't, you'll turn on the camera and find yourself tongue-tied as you try to think of what to say. Unless you're using a teleprompter, bullet points are better than paragraphs. Develop a list of bullet points and then rehearse your way through them a couple times, honing what you want to say just like you do when you're rehearsing a power point presentation. Remember that people are trained to watch video as story, so frame what you say with a beginning, a middle, and an end. (More about the end later.)  And - while you might want to say a whole lot about your business, boil it down. Don't overwhelm your viewer with detail.
  2. Don't try to impress your audience by channeling someone who impresses you, like maybe Seth Godin. People have a very, very sensitive authentic-meter, and can tell immediately if what they're seeing is faked or forced. Remember the old maxim about doing business with people we know, like and trust? Video is a great way to let people connect with you in all three ways but it only works if their authentic-meter tells them they're watching a real person. So be yourself.
  3. Don't use the camera's built-in microphone.  Buy a wireless lavaliere mic and clip it on your lapel.  You can pick one up for short money, and the difference in the professional quality of your video is huge. To find one, Google lavaliere mic. Just make sure that the one you buy has the right connections for your camera.
  4. Be vigilant about your lighting. This is one of the easiest ways to make your video look good. Don't shoot against a window because your camera will adjust to the outside light and you'll be way too dark. Don't place yourself directly under an overhead light because you'll get very nasty raccoon eyes, as the light casts shadows from your brow. Do point a light source directly at your face, to counter shadows from overhead light. You can take the lamp shade off a table lamp so the light shines on your face, or point a desk lamp at yourself. Don't place it so close that you blind yourself, just use it to fill in the light on your face. It'll make a big difference. And, if you have dark skin, do not shoot against a light background as the camera will adjust for the background. Place yourself against a darker background so the camera adjusts to your face and not the white wall behind you.
  5. Frame your face well. If you're placing your video on your website it's going to be relatively small, so if your face is small in the video it will be very difficult to see on your website. Why does the size of your face matter? Because we want to watch your face as you talk. And beware of too much head room. Head room is the space above your head in the frame, and too much leaves lots of empty space and too little you. So - bring your head very close to the top of the frame. Aim for a head-and-shoulders shot without a lot of headroom and you'll look great.
  6. End your video with some kind of call to action. This is because people watch videos to watch a story, and every story must have an ending, and the most effective ending for a marketing video is a clear communication of what the person should do next. Here's an example: "Bankruptcy is not easy, but we have the experience and the know-how to help you through this. So call us, right now, and let's get started."

What's the bottom line? Communication-wise, video is the sharpest tool in your toolbox, and making good video isn't hard. So why not start using video to communicate your message? 

Photo by danny.hammontree

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Originally published Aug 22, 2008 9:15:00 AM, updated March 21 2013


Video Marketing