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Video Marketing

The Complete Guide to Creating a Video Marketing Strategy

Brands need a video marketing strategy — this idea isn’t new. What has changed is how important video has become on every platform and channel. It’s no longer just one piece of your overall plan. Video needs to play a central role in your outreach and campaign efforts.

Video is here, and it’s here to stay. Consider this: A Facebook executive predicted that the platform will be all video in less than five years. And while a focus on optimizing your content for Google is a smart play for any marketer, you’re missing out if you’re not considering how to get found on the world’s second largest search engine — YouTube.

According to an upcoming report from HubSpot Research, 54% of consumers want to see videos from brands they support in comparison to email newsletters (46%) or social image (41%) based content. We also found that video content was the most memorable (43%) in comparison to text (18%) and images (36%).

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In addition, video production has become vastly more accessible to marketing teams of any size. Production equipment is more cost effective than it once was, and now even smartphones can shoot in high-quality, 4K video. Plus, for most social videos, the more simple and raw the video, the more authentic the content — and that’s what really matters to your audience.

Continue reading this guide to learn more about video marketing or use the links below to jump to a specific section:

12 Types of Marketing Videos You Should Create


Before you begin filming, you first need to determine the type of videos you want to create. Check out this list to better understand the options:

1) Demo Videos

Showcase how your product works — whether that’s taking viewers on a tour of your software and its use cases or unboxing and putting a physical product to the test.

2) Brand videos

Brand videos are typically distributed as a part of a larger advertising campaign, showcasing the company’s high-level vision, mission, or products and services. The goal of brand videos is to build awareness around your company and attract your target audience.

3) Event Videos

Is your business hosting a conference, round table discussion, fundraiser, or another type of event? Produce a highlight reel or release interesting interviews and presentations from the gathering.

4) Expert Interviews

Getting internal experts or thought leaders in your industry to do short interviews on camera is a great way to build trust and authority with your target audience. Find the influencers in your industry or those with a different point of view and get these discussions in front of your audience.

5) Educational or How-To Videos

How-to videos can be used to teach your audience something new or build the foundational knowledge they’ll need to better understand your business and solutions.

6) Explainer Videos

This type of video is used to help your audience better understand why they need your product or service. Many explainer videos focus on a fictional journey of the company’s core buyer persona who is struggling with a problem. This person overcomes the issue by adopting or buying the business’s solution.

7) Animated Videos

Animated videos, such as the below one we created to promote a key theme from the 2017 State of Inbound report, can be a great format for hard-to-grasp concepts that need strong visuals or an intangible service or product.

8) Case Study and Customer Testimonial Videos

Your prospects want to know that your product will solve their specific problem, and one of the best ways to showcase this and build trust is by creating case study videos that feature your happy and loyal customers. These are your best advocates. Get them on-camera describing their challenges and how your company helped them meet their goals.

9) Live Videos

Live video is a great format for giving your viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Stream interviews and live presentations, and encourage people watching to comment with questions.

10) 360-Degree & Virtual Reality Videos

With 360-degree videos, viewers can see in every direction by scrolling around to see the content from different perspectives. This spherical video style is suited best for allowing viewers to experience a location or event, such as exploring Antarctica with scientists or meeting a hammerhead shark. Virtual reality allows viewers to navigate and control their experience. These videos are usually viewed through devices such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard.

11) Augmented Reality Videos

In this style of video, a digital layer is added to what you are currently viewing in the world. For example: You can point your phone’s camera at your living room and see how a couch would look in the space.

12) Personalized Messages

Recording a video can be a creative way to continue a conversation or get the attention of someone who has not responded via email or another communication channel. Record yourself recapping an important meeting or giving personalized recommendations using a tool such as Loom or Soapbox. These videos will be a delight moment for your prospects and can drive them further down the purchasing funnel.

How to Create Your First Video


Before you press record, start with a conversation about your video’s purpose. Nearly every decision during the video making process will point back to what action you’d like your audience to complete after watching the video.

And of course, without a clear purpose agreed upon by the team, you’ll find yourself in a whirlwind of re-shooting, editing, and frankly, wasting a lot of time.

Start by creating a questionnaire to answer the most crucial unknowns. Build it in a survey tool such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and pass it along to the stakeholders of the project. No need for it to be long, but definitely don’t overlook these key questions:

Who is your target audience? 

What buyer persona are you targeting? This may be a segment of your company’s typical buyer persona.

What is the goal?

Increase brand awareness? Sell more event tickets? Launch a new product? Ultimately, what do you want your audience to do after watching the video?

Where is the video going to live?

Facebook? Behind a landing page form? Repurposing videos for other channels is great, but you should begin with one target location in mind where you know your audience will discover the video.

When is the due date?

Always start with a timeline. A video you have a few months to work on will have very a different budget and creative scope than a video someone needed yesterday.

What is the budget?

Simply put, video can be expensive. Do your research and set realistic parameters, especially before you dream too big on the next question.

What are the creative requirements?

With your budget, skills, and resources in mind, think about the creative roadblocks that might arise. Do you need a designer to create lower third graphics? Are you going to create an animated video or a live action video?

What will constitute success for the video?

Choose several key performance indicators that correspond with your video goals.

Scripting Your Video

There’s a time and place for videos to be off-the-cuff and completely unscripted. You have tear-jerking documentaries, vlogging rants, and of course, the holy grail: cat videos.

That said, most business videos need a script.

If you skip this step, you’ll find yourself editing more than you have, releasing a video longer than it should be, and probably losing your audience along the way.

Start writing your script the way you would begin a blog post: with an outline. List out your key points and order them logically.

Do all of your drafting in Google Docs to promote collaboration and real-time commenting. Use the “Insert > Table” function to adopt one of television’s traditional script writing practices: the two-column script. Write your audio in the left column and insert visual ideas along the way in the right column.

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Don’t make the viewer watch until the final seconds to understand the point of the video … I promise, they won’t stick around. Similar to a piece of journalistic writing, include a hook early on that states the purpose of the video, especially for educational and explainer videos. Notice in the example below, we don’t let the audience get past the second sentence without understanding what the video will be about.

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As you begin creating videos, you’ll notice a key difference between scripts and your typical business blog post: the language. Video language should be relaxed, clear, and conversational. Avoid using complex sentence structures and eloquent clauses. Instead, connect with your audience by writing in first person and using visual language. Keep the language concise, but avoid jargon and buzzwords. For the “Little-Known Instagram Hacks” example, note how a section from the original blog post could be transformed for the screen with less words by relying on visuals.

Blog Post Version:

When someone tags you in a photo or video on Instagram, it's automatically added to your profile under "Photos of You," unless you opt to add tagged photos manually (see the next tip). To see the posts you've been tagged in, go to your own profile and click the person icon below your bio.

Video Script:

The bigger your following gets, the more people will tag you in their posts. You can find all of these under the “Photos of You” tab on your profile.

Speaking of concise language, most video scripts are short. In fact, probably shorter than you think. Keep a script timer handy to check your approximate length as you write and edit. For example, a 350-word script equates to a video that is nearly 2 minutes long.

Once your script feels ready to go, there’s one more step before you break out your camera: the table read. Words on paper can sound a lot different than they do out loud. The point of a table read is to smooth out the kinks of the script and nail down inflection points. Have a few people (writer and talent included) gather around a table with their laptops and read the script multiple times through. If you accidently say a line different than what the script prescribes, think about why and consider changing the language to make it sound more natural.

Understanding Your Camera

Too often fear and uncertainty surrounding equipment keeps businesses from testing the waters of video marketing. But learning to shoot video doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

It’s likely you have a great, easy-to-use camera right in your pocket: your iPhone.

Shooting with Your iPhone

If you want to put your iPhone’s shooting capabilities to the test, first make sure it has enough storage. Then, remember to enable your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature to avoid distracting notifications while filming.

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Once you open the iPhone’s camera, flip your phone horizontally to create the best possible viewing experience. Then, move close enough to your subject to avoid using the zoom feature — it often makes the final video look pixelated and blurry.

Your iPhone does a great job of finding the subject to focus on when you take photos. But when it comes to video, the camera will continue adjusting and readjusting as you move around the scene. To solve this problem, lock the exposure while you’re filming before you press record. Hold your finger down on the subject of the video until a yellow box appears with the words “AE/AF Lock.” 

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Prosumer and Professional Cameras

While iPhones are great for filming on the fly or getting acclimated with video, at some point you may feel ready to graduate up to the next model. With all the digital cameras on the market, there are a ton of choices to pick from. Below we’ve identified a few options to simplify your search.

Your first choice will be between getting a professional camera and what’s often known as a “prosumer” camera. In short, professional cameras, like DSLRs, give you fine control over the manual settings of shooting video and allow you achieve the shallow depth of field (background out of focus) people rave about. While they’re primarily used for photography, DSLRs are incredibly small, work great in low light situations, and pair with a wide range of lenses — making them perfect for video. However, DSLRs do require some training (and additional purchases) of lenses.

Prosumer cameras are considered the bridge between basic compact cameras and more advanced cameras. They’re perfect for someone interested in creating more video but want the option to just press record. Most have a fixed lens to keep things simple.

If you’re interested in going the prosumer route, take a look at the Canon PowerShot ELPH 340. The GoPro HERO5 is another fun option for adventurous shoots with lots of movement.

Considering the expense of a DSLR camera, research your options and read plenty of reviews. Top of the line options (from most expensive to least) would include the Sony Alpha a7SIINikon D810, and Canon EOS 5D Mark III. For a more cost effective option check out the Canon EOS 7D Mark IICanon 80DNikon 3300, or Canon EOS Rebel T6.

Understanding Manual Settings

If you choose a DSLR, there are a few settings you need to understand before your first shoot: frame rate, shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and color balance. Definitely keep your camera nearby as you read — manual settings can seem quite abstract without testing them for yourself.

But before we dive in, a caveat: this is a high level overview of each setting. If you find yourself geeking out at any time, dive in and research more. There’s plenty to learn about how to manipulate multiple of these settings in conjunction with each other to create different looks. 

And of course, for every model of camera there will be a different method for adjusting these settings. Always refer to your camera’s instruction manual.

Frame Rate

First up, frame rate and resolution. As with most things in video, there are a bunch of customization options. But for now, know that the main choice you have is between shooting your video at 24 frames per second (fps) or 30fps. Video experts often credit 24fps with a more “cinematic” look, while 30fps is considered more common, especially for videos that need to be projected or broadcasted. Rule of thumb: Ask whoever will use the file in the end and shoot based on their preferences. Then, be sure your resolution is at least 1920 x 1080 to maintain quality footage.

Aperture

Once you’ve set your frame rate and resolution in your camera’s settings menu, it’s time to determine your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Before we jump in, turn your camera to manual mode to control these settings. While we’ll define each of of these individually, know that these three variables are meant to work in tandem with each other. In fact, many photographers use the term Exposure Triangle to describe how they relate to light and how it interacts with the camera.

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Aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens. Like a human eye, a len opens and closes to control the amount of light reaching the sensor. Aperture is measured in what’s called an f-stop. The smaller the f-stop number, the more open the lens is, while a larger number means the lens is more closed.

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What does aperture mean for your video? When a lot of light comes into the camera (with a low f-stop number), you get a brighter image and a shallow depth of field. This is great for when you want your subject to stand out against a background. When less light comes into the camera (with a high f-stop number), you get what’s called deep depth of field and are able to maintain focus across a larger portion of your frame.

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Shutter speed

To understand shutter speed, we first have to talk about photography. When taking a photo, shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Think of it as how quickly or slowly the camera blinks. If you’ve seen a perfectly timed photo of a hummingbird seemingly frozen in time, you’ve witnessed a very fast shutter speed. Meanwhile, an image of a rushing river with the water blurring together was probably taken with a slow shutter speed.

Shutter speed is measured in seconds, or in most cases, fractions of seconds. The greater the denominator of the fraction is, the faster the shutter speed. So, 1/1000 would be faster than 1/30.

But what does shutter speed mean for video? We won’t go too deep into the science of shutter speed, but to pick the adequate setting you will have to do a little math. First, multiply your frame rate by 2. So if you’re shooting in 24fps, that would be 48. This number becomes the denominator of your shutter speed fraction. Since shutter speed is only available in a few increments, you’ll need to round 1/48 up to the next closest setting: 1/50.

Here are some common shutter speeds and how to calculate them:

  • 24fps, 24 x 2 = 48, 1/50
  • 30fps, 30 x 2 = 60, 1/60
  • 60fps, 60 x 2 = 120, 1/20 

Remember, this process is just a guideline for choosing shutter speed. Traditionalists stick to these calculations, but there’s always room to tweak shutter speed slightly to achieve a desired effect. In the case of video, rules can be broken —  as long as you have a good enough reason.

ISO

Last in the Exposure Triangle is ISO. In digital photography and videography, ISO measures the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. On your camera, you’ll see the settings referred to with numbers in the hundreds or thousands (e.g. 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc). 

The higher the number, the more sensitive your camera is to light. The lower the number, the less sensitive. ISO also affects the graininess of the image. Low ISOs produce a crisp shot, while high ISOs make a more noisy shot.

When choosing an ISO, consider the lighting. If your subject is well lit (for example, if you were outside), you can get by with a lower ISO, ideally around 100 or 200. If you’re indoors in a low-light situation, you’ll need bump the ISO up — just be careful of how noisy it makes your shot.

This is where you can begin to see how the three factors of the Exposure Triangle work together. When you have a low-lit situation, for example, you may choose a lens that can shoot with a low f-stop to let more light into the camera and avoid making the shot too noisy with a high ISO.

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If you’re just starting with manual video settings, don’t get overwhelmed. Understanding the ins and outs of the Exposure Triangle takes time and a lot of practice. Here are two tips to beat the learning curve: 

Start with photos: You may not have aspirations to be a professional photographer, but by switching your camera off video mode, you’ll be able to see the relationship between aperture, ISO, and shutter speed a lot faster. Take a ton of photos and change each setting incrementally. Over time, the numbers will be less intimidating and switching between settings will become muscle memory.

Form a process: Every videographer has their own method, but we suggest setting your shutter speed first according to the math described above. Then adjust aperture according to the depth of field you want to create. Then, ISO. Finally, circle back to shutter speed for any fine adjustments.

White Balance

While aperture, shutter speed, and ISO may be the three main pillars of manual photography and videography, there is a fourth piece of the puzzle that’s just as important: white balance. 

White balance tells your camera the color temperature of the environment you’re shooting in. Different types of light have different colors. For example, incandescent bulbs (like what many people put in a lamp) have a very warm color. The florescent lights (if you’re reading this in an office, look up) are a little bit cooler. Daylight is cooler yet. Before you begin shooting, you have to adjust your camera’s white balance according to your setup.

The exact settings on your camera will depend on the model you have, but there’s likely an auto option, a bunch of presets (daylight, cloudy, tungsten, etc.), and custom. Avoid auto white balance at all costs and instead opt for a preset or custom. If you have a top-of-the-line DSLR, there may also be an option to manually set the color temperature of the room, measured in Kelvin.

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To help you understand the importance of setting your white balance, consider the difference between these two photos. The environment is lit with yellow florescent lights. You can see how the appropriate setting looks natural, while the daylight setting adds a blue tint to the scene.

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Focus

Focus isn’t one of the key settings of shooting, but it’s definitely important to keep in mind. With a DSLR, you have the option to shoot with autofocus or manual focus. It depends on the camera and lens you have, but typically autofocus is not the most accurate.

Instead, flip your lens to manual focus. Use the (+) and (-) buttons to enlarge the viewfinder and move in close to your subject’s face. Then, adjust the focus on the lens. For shooting a stationary setup like an interview, make sure the subject’s eyelashes are in focus — that way, you can be certain your footage is clear and sharp.

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Setting Up a Studio 

When you begin building your in-office studio, the purchases can add up quickly. Not only do you need a camera, but the more you read, the more you realize you need tripods, lights, microphones, and more.

Take a breath. With a little bit of know-how, building your studio doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are plenty of cost effective choices and DIY hacks to make sure you or your talent looks great on camera.

Basic Equipment

Above all else, shoot with a tripod. It should go without saying, but the handheld method you use for your Snapchat story isn’t going to cut it. Tripods will ensure you maintain a steady shot and hopefully not break any expensive equipment in the process. 

Tripods range tremendously in price, and the quality of your tripod should depend on the level of camera and lens you have. If you’re shooting with your phone, you can get by with a table mount like the Arkon Tripod Mount or a full-size tripod like the Acuvar 50” Aluminum Tripod. For a DSLR, Manfrotto makes a variety of trustworthy tripods starting with the Manfrotto BeFree and increasing in quality and price from there.

Along with the tripod, stock up on camera batteries and SD cards. Recording video will cause you to run through both much quicker than taking photos.

Setting Up Audio

If you’ve begun testing out your camera’s video capabilities, you’ve probably noticed that it has an internal microphone to record audio … don’t use it.

If you set up your camera at a reasonable distance from your subject, you’ll quickly learn that the internal microphone isn’t powerful enough to adequately record audio. Instead, you should begin investing in a few pieces of quality sound equipment.

When you’re shooting with your iPhone, there are a ton of microphone options that are all easy to use and decently cheap. For example, the Movo MA 200 Omni-Directional iPhone microphone will give you a plug-and-play solution for capturing audio on the fly.

Opinions vary greatly among sound engineers on the best method and equipment for recording audio with a DSLR. You’ve likely seen many videos that use a lavalier microphone — the small piece that clips below the collar of the talent’s shirt. Lavaliers come in both wired and wireless options. However, lavaliers can be a bit obtrusive both for the talent (who has to awkwardly have a wire threaded down their shirt) and for the viewer (who has to see a microphone for the entirety of the video).

Instead, if you know you’re recording in a controlled environment (like a conference room in your office) we suggest recording with a shotgun mic. They’re reliable, remain out of the shot, and record background noise in a natural sounding way.

To create a shotgun mic setup in your office studio, you’ll need a shotgun mic like the Sennheiser ME66, a shotgun cliplight standXLR cable, and Zoom H4N recorder. The Zoom recorder will allow you to record audio separately on an SD card and adjust the gain for the environment you’re shooting in.

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We admit, these audio purchases may sound like a lot. But a shotgun mic setup is a worthy investment that will last your company years. If you’re looking for a more cost effective solution, look into the Rode VideoMic that mounts on top of your DSLR and plugs right into the camera body.

Setting Up Lights

You have a camera. You have audio. All that’s left is lights.

 To equip your studio without breaking the bank, head over to your local home improvement store. Pick up extension cords and a few clamp lights with bulbs. You’ll also need three light stands, available on Amazon. 

The traditional setup of video lights is known as three-point lighting. As you might guess, it involves three lights placed strategically around the subject, wrapping them in light and creating appealing shadows on their face. 

First, you’ll need a key light. Place this at a 45 degree angle to the left or right of the subject. Lift the light above their head and aim it down. As the name suggests, this is the key light and should be bright enough that it could be the only light in the scene. 

Next, place the fill light at 45 degrees on the other side and lift it close to or just above eye level. The purpose of the fill is to soften the shadows created by the key, but without getting rid of them completely. Therefore, the fill should be dimmer than the key light. If you have to use the same type of light for both, scoot the fill back and diffuse it by clipping a clear shower curtain onto the clamp light with clothes pins. 

Finally, the backlight will add a third layer of dimension. Scoot your subject away from the background. Lift a light above the subject’s head and place it behind them and off to the side so it’s out of the frame. The light should be aimed at the back of their head, creating a subtle rim of light and separating them from the background.

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Building Your In-Office Studio

Now that you have all of your equipment, you’re finally ready to build your office studio. While you could always grab a closet to store your equipment in and lug it out for each shoot, why not go big? Claim a conference room. 

You’re serious about video marketing. By having a designated studio, you’ll save loads of prep time for each shoot. Just make sure the conference room isn’t too empty. Bring in a couch, chairs, or blankets to minimize the echos in the room.

Speaking of sound, pay special attention to the hum of the air conditioning. Find a room with minimal noise or turn down the fan during recording. Consider purchasing photography paper to create a background that’s a little more appealing than the white conference room wall.

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When it comes time to shoot, clear out unnecessary people from the room and turn off the overhead lights. With your three-point lighting setup, there will be no need for those harsh fluorescents. When — and only when — everything is set up, call in your talent. There’s nothing worse than being nervous, and then having to anxiously watch as lights are turned on and the camera is tested. 

Preparing Your Talent

If you have experienced, confident actors in your company, you’re lucky. Video talent is a rare resource. But with a little bit of coaching (and a fair share of nervous laughter), you can help your teammates thrive in front of the camera.

No matter if it’s your first video or your fiftieth, remember that getting in front of the camera is scary. Schedule plenty of time and give your talent the script early — but make it clear they don’t need to memorize it. 

Instead, place a laptop below the eyeline of the camera. Break the script into short paragraphs and record it section by section until you capture a great take of each. If you plan in advance when the final video will show b-roll (supplementary footage or screenshots), you can have your talent read those lines directly off the laptop like a voiceover.

During the shoot, your job goes beyond pressing record. First and foremost, you need to be a coach. Balance critical feedback with support and be quick to give encouragement after each take. This is why conducting a table read during the scripting process is so important: It’s easier to give feedback when there’s not a camera in the room. Remember, be a little silly during the shoot or your talent will be on edge and uncomfortable — and it will show in the footage.

But while you’re maintaining the fun level on set, remain vigilant. It’s your job to pay attention to the little things, like making sure all of the mics are on or noticing if the lighting changes. Record each section many times and have your talent play with inflections. When you think they’ve nailed the shot … get just one more. Options are great and your talent is already on a roll. 

Finally, circle back to the beginning of the script at the end of your recording. Chances are your subject got more comfortable throughout the shoot. Since the beginning is often the most crucial part of the video, record that section again when they’re feeling the most confident.

Composition Basics

There are some films that are simply beautiful. It’s not the story or even the picturesque setting. In fact, the scene might take place in the dingiest of sets, but somehow each shot just feels right.

That’s the power of composition. When objects appear where they should in the frame, the quality of your video increases exponentially.

For video, the rules of composition are similar to what you may have learned in a photography or art class. First, consider the rule of thirds — the idea that you can create a sense of balance by imagining the canvas with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Key elements should occur at the intersection of these lines. 

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For example, if you are shooting an interview or a how-to video, the subject’s eyes should align with the top horizontal line around one of the two intersections. For this “talking head” shot, you can also improve your composition by leaving enough (but not too much) head room. This is the empty space above the person’s head.

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Image Credit: Hubspot Customer Success Story Featuring Parlor Skis

Possibly the best way to improve the look of your video is to include b-roll. B-roll is the supplementary footage included as a cutaway. This might include shots of a customer service rep talking on a phone, a designer editing your website, visuals of your office, or even screenshots of your product. The key with b-roll is to make sure each and every piece helps to enhance the story.

When you’re collecting b-roll, include a mix of shots from varying angles and distances. In fact, film professionals use different names to describe these variations:

  • Establishing shots: Wide shots that allow the viewer to see the entire scene. These are great to use when introducing the scene at the beginning of a video
  • Medium shots: Tighter shots that focus on the subject or just a portion of the scene. Your classic interview shot could be considered a medium shot.
  • Close ups: Tightly cropped shots zoomed in to show detail. This might be someone’s hands typing on a keyboard or pouring a cup of coffee.

If you’re up for a challenge, trying telling a story with your b-roll and plan out a shot sequence. For example, your subject might open a door from the hallway, walk into their office space, sit down at their desk, open their laptop, and begin typing. Seems simple, right? But a shot sequence showing this 10 second scenario might consist of six or more different b-roll clips. 

Here’s where the final lesson of composition comes in: continuity. Continuity is the process of combining shots into a sequence so that they appear to have happened at the same time and place. Part of continuity has to do with making sure the ancillary objects in the scene (for example, a cup of water on a desk) stay in the same place (and with the same amount of water) throughout all of the shots.

The other half of learning continuity is match on action. For the scene described above, you’d want to record the subject opening the door and walking in from both inside and outside the room. In post-production, you could then flip between the clips at the exact right time to make the cut seamless.

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Shooting for the Edit

In the world of video, some people are more about shooting, while others are better at editing. But no matter which side you claim, you need a feel for the process and pain points of each.

For instance, as the person behind the camera, you may believe you collect ample footage and ask all the right interview questions. But to the editor, you may actually be shooting too much of one type of shot and missing out on some that would make their job a lot easier.

Filmmakers teach a valuable lesson here: shoot for the edit. By remembering the footage you record will be edited later, you can make smarter decisions and save countless hours in the editing room.

The first step in adopting a shoot-for-the-edit mindset is remembering to leave a buffer at the beginning and the end of each clip. There are called handles and can save editors from the headache of a cut too close to an important word.

In the section on preparing the talent, we discussed how to record your script in short sections. If the editor were to place each of these sections side-by-side, the subject’s face and hands might abruptly switch between clips. This is called a jump cut, and for editors, it poses an interesting challenge. Thankfully, you should have b-roll not only to enhance the story, but to mask these jump cuts.

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Example of a jump cut

As a producer, your job is to get plenty of b-roll to make sure your editor is never in the position of running out. Create a shot list of more b-roll ideas than you think you’d need, and mark them off as you record them.

To mask jump cuts, you can also shoot with two cameras, especially if you’re recording an interview without a script. Camera A would be the traditional, straight-on shot. Camera B should be angled 30 to 45 degrees to the side and capture a distinctly different shot. The editor could then flip between these two views to make the cut appear natural.

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Example of switching between interview angles

One note about shooting with two cameras: Your editor will need to sync the footage between the different views. Right before you ask the first interview question, clap your hands loudly in the view of both cameras (yes, just like an old fashion clapboard). Modern editing software like Premiere have auto-sync features, but this loud clap will help you line up the clips initially.

Finally, mark your good clips. Even if you’re recording a scripted video, you might have to record each section 10 or more times. Once your subject nails the take, wave your hand in front of the lens. That way, the editor can scrub directly to this visual cue and save a lot of time while reviewing the footage. 

Hand2.jpg

Organizing Footage

Yes, file organization is boring. But in the case of video editing, it just might save your project.

Video poses some unique challenges for your computer and file organization habits. And if you’re one of those people who work off a cluttered desktop — you know who you are — you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. 

First, video files are incredibly large, so it’s very unlikely you’ll want to store any of them on your internal hard drive. You will quickly run out of storage, and your computer’s processing speed will begin lagging under the weight.   

Instead, invest in an external hard drive like one of the Lacie Rugged models. External hard drives come in a variety of sizes and port options (Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, etc.). Multimedia creators will use the phrase “working off of an external” to describe storing all of their project files on this hard drive. This method also makes it easier to collaborate with teammates because you can easily pass off the drive.

Second, video editing programs are very particular about where you keep your files. We’ll cover software options more in the next section, but for now know that if you don’t stick with the original file structure, you may find yourself buried in error messages. 

On your external hard drive, you should create a separate top-level folder for each project. Within this folder, there should be a prescribed set of buckets to store your video footage, audio, design assets, and more. Create a template project folder that you can copy and paste for each project using the image below as a guide.

video-file-storage.png

When you import your footage from your camera, place it in the “footage” folder on your hard drive. 

For both the project folders and your editing files, follow a consistent naming structure. For example, you could start each name using YRMODA (year-month-date). So a video on Instagram Hacks might be named “170625_instagram_hacks” if it was started on June 25, 2017.

Even if you have have a perfectly organized external hard drive, you’re not out of the weeds yet. You need to back up your files, or even back up your backup files. It’s not uncommon to have an external hard drive you work off of, another external for backups, and a third set of backups in the cloud via a service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Editing Tools 

Okay, you’ve filmed all your video footage. Congrats — you’re halfway there! Now it’s time to talk about editing. We get it, video editing can be confusing. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at first, especially when you see software price tags! Luckily, there are many options for video editing depending on your skill level, operating system, and budget. There are even free programs and mobile apps! Let’s go over a few options: 

Intermediate: Apple iMovie

iMovie is Apple’s video editing software. Compatible with Macs and other iOS devices, iMovie is simple, user-friendly, and free on all Apple products. iMovie allows you to create and edit your videos by cutting together clips, adding titles, music, sound effects, basic color correction, filters, and special effects. The program even provides helpful templates that make editing a breeze. The platform supports high quality clips like 4K video footage and makes it easy to share your work directly to a video hosting platform. While a lack of access to advanced color correction and editing features mean that it isn’t commonly used by professionals, iMovie is a great option if you’re just starting out.

Advanced: Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is a leading video editing software program used by amateurs and professionals alike. With a customizable interface and numerous advanced editing tools, the platform is often named the industry standard for video editing and has been used to edit major Hollywood movies like Gone Girl and Deadpool. Premiere makes it easy to collaborate with other editors, organize your material, and sync with other programs in the Adobe suite like After Effects and Photoshop. The platform supports high quality footage (4K and higher) and includes advanced, built-in color correction and grading tools that set it apart from cheaper or free options like iMovie. The only downside to Premiere is the cost. A year long subscription to the latest Premier Pro CC comes in around $240. If you’re new to video editing, you may want to experiment with a cheaper option like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements before investing in the Premiere Pro. On the fence? Check out some Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials here.

Choosing music 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about video? I’m guessing the actual video footage. While it’s important to concentrate on your video footage, don’t forget to factor music into your overall plan and budget. Music is a powerful tool that can alter your video’s mood and tone — just watch the videos above! Choosing the right music can often make a video go from an amateur project to a professional piece of content. When used properly, it can help keep your viewer’s attention, evoke emotions, and help define your overall editing style.

Before your start filming, set a music budget and research your local copyright laws. Copyright law can be very difficult to decipher, especially when you’re dealing with digital content. Bottom line: Most music isn’t free. If you use another artist’s music without permission or proper licensing, you risk having your video removed and legal action. In order to avoid copyright infringement, you’ll need to find royalty free tunes or pay a composer to create an original score. Royalty free songs aren’t free to use; they’re quality songs available for a single flat fee. This means you don’t have to worry about paying additional licensing fees or royalties in the future. YouTubePond5, and PremiumBeat are all great sites to find royalty free music.

Next, consider your audience and the overall mood for your production. Are you targeting a small audience that will appreciate the newest, underground hip hop track or do you need something that will appeal to many demographics? Are you creating a practical product tutorial or an upbeat event recap? Be sure to choose music that enhances the overall tone of your video.

In addition to considering your audience, be sure to contemplate the purpose of the music. Do you need background music or something with real impact? Will you be narrating or speaking in the video? If so, don’t let the music get in the way of your content. Sometimes the best music is the music you don’t remember at all.

After you’ve determined the type of music you need, it’s time to start analyzing potential songs. Consider the song’s pacing. Songs with a steady rhythm are easy to change to suit your video style. Hoping to include your favorite, top 40 hit? Popular, radio songs are usually structured in 4-5 parts and can be difficult to transition. Try to choose simple songs that are easy to loop. If you’re looking for an instrumental song, be sure to find something that was recorded with real instruments. Songs made with digital samples can make your video feel unprofessional and out of date.

Finally, consider adding intro and outro music. Intro and outro music, or bookends, can serve as a theme for your content and is a great choice if you don’t need music throughout your entire video. Bookend music can help set the tone for your video, naturally split your content into chapters, and leave your viewers feeling complete. While some videos feel unfinished without background music, others just need a little to tie the project together. Pay attention to videos that have a similar style to see how others utilize music.

Voiceover 

You have your video footage and music — now it’s time to chat about voiceovers. A voiceover is the separate narration in a piece of content that is not spoken by the shown speaker. Voiceovers are an effective tool that can help make your content more relatable, emotional, and fluid.

It’s important to remember that video audio is just as important as video visuals. The good news is that you don’t have to be the next Don LaFontaine or hire a professional to record a great voiceover. Below are a few tips to capture audio on a budget:

  • Find a Location: First, find a spot to record. If you can’t go to a professional studio, try to pick a quiet room away from distracting external sounds like sirens, opening and closing doors, and people talking on the phone. Read your script aloud, and pay attention to the room’s acoustics. Does your voice echo or sound muffled? If so, consider recording in a different space or adding furniture to fill in the room.
  • Prepare: Practice makes perfect! Before you record, read through your script a few times and take note of any difficult pauses, transitions, and words. On the big day, be sure to stay hydrated and avoid wearing noisy clothing or jewelry. Also, use a stand, laptop, or teleprompter while recording so you aren’t rustling through your printed script.
  • Test and Listen: Think you can record the perfect voiceover is just one take? Think again! Invest in a good pair of headphones and keep an eye on your audio quality throughout the recording process. It’s easier to get a new take of audio than trying to fix it during the editing process. We recommend running through your script a few times, especially the first few paragraphs, to ensure that your voice is fully warmed up. If you hear popping or hissing sounds, try standing further away from the mic or invest in a pop filter.
  • Relax: Be sure to read slowly, pause, and take breaks while recording your voiceover. Sometimes all you need is a sip of water to get back on track!

Hosting Your Video


Alright, you’re ready to publish your video. You shot the footage, edited it together, added music and a voice over, and exported it for the web. The next step is to get your video online so your audience can start enjoying it. You have several options for hosting videos online, and in this section, we’ll talk about some of the best ones.


YouTube

When you ask your friends which online video platform they use, the answer you probably receive is YouTube. For good reason too! YouTube is the largest video hosting platform, the second largest search platform after Google, and the third most visited website in the world. Every day people watch over 5 billion videos a day on YouTube. To top it off, it’s free to upload your videos to YouTube and optimize them for search.

In addition to their massive audience, YouTube offers several other features that make the platform a good option for hosting your video. Because YouTube videos are hosted on individual channels, the platform allows you to build a dedicated audience of subscribers. Users who follow your channel are more likely to see additional videos you upload. Within your channel itself, you can also organize videos into playlists which makes it easy for your audience to search between different types of content such as testimonials and product videos. Because YouTube is a social platform, viewers can also engage with your videos by liking and commenting on them, which allows you another chance to interact with your audience. YouTube also offers a variety of advertising options for more sophisticated targeting.

Although YouTube offers the benefit of reaching a large audience with no cost to upload and host videos, there are several downsides to the platform. While video ads can be a great tool for promoting your own content, the amount of ads on the platform from other advertisers can detract from your viewer’s experience. YouTube is also — surprise — highly addicting. Once viewers are on the platform, they usually stick around to watch another video … or 20. This can make it difficult to drive traffic back to your site from the platform. Despite these barriers, YouTube is a great platform for hosting videos and growing your audience.

Vimeo

If your friends didn’t answer your earlier question with “YouTube” then they most likely responded with Vimeo, the second largest video hosting platform. While Vimeo’s audience is significantly smaller (715 million monthly views) than YouTube’s, there are many benefits to using this niche platform that make it a favorite for content creators and viewers alike. Among these are a simpler, cleaner, user interface that make it easier to navigate the platform. Unlike YouTube, Vimeo has very limited ads and commercials that are unlikely detract from your viewers’ experience. The quality of videos uploaded to the platform also tend to be higher quality than YouTube, and the audience on the platform is more likely to be more professional.

Vimeo offers several different premium account options to better suit businesses. The premium accounts provide additional storage, advanced analytics, customer support, player customization, access to lead generation tools, and much more. In additional to premium accounts, Vimeo also partners with businesses to produce quality marketing content.

If you’re looking to showcase high quality, artistic content, Vimeo might be the platform for you. Its engaged audience and beautiful aesthetic make it a great place to host creative videos. However, if you’re focused on quantity over quality and increasing your reach, you may want to explore other platform options.


Wistia

Wistia is a video platform built specifically for businesses. Unlike other video hosting platforms, Wistia helps drive traffic back your website instead of back to its site. This is extremely helpful if your goal is to get the viewer to complete an action on your website.

Wistia is highly customizable. The platform allows users to customize the player interface and video settings to fit their brand identity, collect leads using custom CTAs, and utilize in-depth viewer data for better optimization. It’s also integrated with marketing automation tools such as HubSpot.

Overall, Wistia is great for businesses who are looking to pay for a fully customizable, premium experience. However, Wistia is not a video discovery platform. If you’re creating a large brand campaign and are hoping to increase conversations about your content, this might not be the best platform for you.

How to Use Video Throughout the Funnel


Too often, companies jump at the opportunity to create their first video. They spend tons of money on an explainer video for their homepage, but as soon as the project is complete, all future video ambitions screech to a halt.

On the other hand, plenty of businesses churn out a slew of social videos. But since they’ve simply replicated fads they’ve seen, there’s little substance and next to no regard for their audience’s challenges or habits.

Considering the time, money, and resources involved, video marketing can’t be an impulsive guessing game. Instead, you’ll need to create a comprehensive video marketing strategy that spans the length of your marketing and sales funnel. This means thinking in the context of the Inbound Methodology.

The Inbound Methodology is the marketing and sales approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful. Each video you create should acknowledge your audience’s challenges and provide a solution. Looking at the big picture, this content guides consumers through the journey of becoming aware of, evaluating, and purchasing your product or service.

InboundMethodology-4.png

In the following sections, we’ll cover the types of videos you should create for each stage. To start, plan to create at least two videos for each and remember to include call-to-actions to lead your audience down the funnel. Over time, you can improve based on conversion rates and the content gaps you discover.

video-marketing-funnel-1.png

Attract

The first step of the Inbound Methodology is to attract, or turn strangers into visitors. Consumers at this stage are identifying their challenges and deciding whether or not their goal should be a priority. Therefore, the videos you create should empathize with their problems and introduce a possible solution.

Ultimately, the goal of a TOFU video is to expand reach and build trust. Because you are looking for shareability, your video will likely be more entertaining than educational. But you should should still provide enough information to associate yourself as an authority on the topic.

Examples of attract videos include snackable social videos that show off your brand’s personality, thought leadership videos that establish you as a source of industry news and insight, brand films the share your values and mission, or explainers/how-to videos that provide relevant tips for solving your audience’s pain point.

For any TOFU video, avoid speaking about your product too much. Instead let your brand values be your north star. Finally, because these videos can live on a variety of channels, keep in mind the strategies of each platform. For example, a Facebook video might have a square aspect ratio and text animations for soundless viewers.

Convert

Now that you’ve attracted video viewers and website visitors, the next step is to convert these visitors into leads. With most inbound marketing content, this means collecting some sort of contact information via a form. Video can aid this process by visualizing a solution to the buyer’s problem, whether that’s before the form on a landing page or as the offer itself.  Overall, the goal of a MOFU video is to educate.

Convert videos may include a webinar filled with tactical advice, product demos sent via email, landing page promotional videos, case studies, or more in-depth explainer/how-to videos. For example, while a TOFU video might provide a quick tip for nailing a sales pitch, a MOFU video could be an animated explainer video that breaks down the inbound sales methodology.

Close

You’ve attracted a new audience with your videos and converted the right visitors into leads. Now’s the time to close these leads into customers. Yet, as important as this stage is, BOFU videos are often the most overlooked by marketers and salespeople.

At this point, the consumer is weighing their options and deciding on the purchase. Therefore, the goal of a BOFU video is to make your audience visualize themselves using your product or service — and thriving. There’s a reason 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Videos are able to display functionality and leverage emotions in ways a product description never could.

Great BOFU videos include testimonials of customers with relatable stories, in-depth product demos, culture videos that sell viewers on your quality of service, or even personalized videos that explain exactly how your product could help their business

Delight

A purchase may have been made, but there’s still a lot video can do to leverage the post-conversion stage of your funnel. During the delight stage of the Inbound Methodology, your goal is to continue providing remarkable content to users in hopes that they’ll tell their connections about their experience or upsell themselves. Therefore, the goal of a delight video is encourage your customers to embrace your brand and become brand evangelists.

Your first opportunity to delight comes directly after the purchase. Consider sending a thank you video to welcome them into the community or an onboarding video to get them rolling with their new purchase. Then, build out a library of educational courses or product training videos to cater to consumers who prefer self-service or simply want to expand their expertise.

Defining Your Goals and Analyzing Results


Okay, you know how to create a video and where to host it. You’re ready to get started, right? Maybe not. Before you dive in, you need to define your video goals and identify the best metrics for determining whether you’ve accomplished those goals.

Before launching any marketing campaign, it’s important to determine your primary video goals. Your goal could be to increase brand awareness, engagement, or even conversions for a free trial! However, it’s crucial to pick out just one or two goals for each video. When you have more, your video will seem unfocused, which makes it difficult for viewers to determine what they should do next. 

When thinking of your goals, be sure to keep your buyer persona and target audience in mind. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? How do they typically consume media? What stage of the buyer’s journey are they in? All of these questions can help determine what type of video you should make and where you should post it. For example, if your target audience is not familiar with your company, you probably want to make a video that focuses on brand awareness before producing an in-depth, product video. You’ll also want to host your video on a site that already has a large reach like YouTube.

So let’s talk about metrics so you can better understand how you’ll measure your success and set goals. When you post a video, it’s easy to get obsessed with one metric — view count. While view count can be an important metric, there are many others that may be more relevant to your campaign. Below are some popular metrics to take a closer look at: 

  • View Count: View count is, as you could probably figure out, the number of times your video has been viewed — also referred to as reach. This metric is great to track if your goal is to increase brand awareness and have your content seen by as many people as possible. However, it’s important to remember that every video hosting platform measures a view differently. For example, a view on YouTube is 30 seconds while a view on Facebook is only 3 seconds. Be sure to read the fine print before reporting on your video view count.
  • Play Rate: Play rate is the percentage of people who played your video divided by the number of impressions it received. This metric helps determine how relevant or appealing your video is to your audience. If thousands of people see your video, but only a handful of people play it, it’s probably time to optimize your content.
  • Social Sharing and Comments: If you’re on social media, you’re probably familiar with sharing and commenting. Social shares and comments are good indicators of how relevant your content is with your target audience. If a viewer watches your video and takes the time to share it with their network, you probably created a great piece of content. Social shares are also important because the more times your video is shared, the more it’ll be viewed. If your goal is to reach to reach a lot of people, social shares is good metric to track.
  • Video Completions: If you took the time to make a video, you probably want people to watch the whole thing. A video completion is the number of times a video is played in its entirety. This metric can be more reliable than view count when trying to determine your video’s success.
  • Completion Rate: Completion rate is the number of people who completed your video divided by the number of people who played it. Completion rate, and other engagement metrics, are a great way to gauge a viewer’s reaction to your video. Do you have a low completion rate? Are people all dropping off at a certain point? This might be a sign that your video content is not resonating with your target audience.
  • Click-Through Rate: Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of times your CTA is clicked divided by the number of times it is viewed. CTR is a great indicator of how effective your video is at encouraging people to take your desired action. If your CTR is low, consider revising your call-to-action’s design or copy.
  • Conversion Rate: Conversion rate is the number of times visitors completed your desired action divided by the number of clicks on your CTA. If your goal is to have your viewers complete an action like signing up for a free trial, try adding a video to your landing page to see if your conversion rate increases.
  • Bounce Rate and Time on Page: Are you thinking about adding a video to a web page? Take note of the page bounce rate and the amount of time people spent on the page before you add the video. Be sure to check the metrics after you place the video to see if changes the way people interact with your other content.

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Conclusion


I’m guessing you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Video editing and marketing can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice and patience, you can produce high-quality content that is unique to your brand.

With 71% of consumers watching more video online than a year ago, brands can no longer ignore its growing popularity. Thankfully, creating great content has never been easier! Try turning a written blog into a video or create a product tutorial. Using video to showcase ordinary information in a new, interesting way is sure to delight your audience. Pick up a camera, start filming, and watch your engagement levels increase. It’s time to make video a key part of your marketing strategy!

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Created By

  • Alicia Collins
    Content Strategy @ HubSpot
  • megan-conley
    Megan Conley
    Content Strategy @ HubSpot
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