Online video: 10 tips to creating effective business video content

Online video has become an efficient power tool for business, and as with any tool, serious injury can result if not handled carefully.

Internet video has shifted from a popular demand to a consumer expectation. Many people turn to web video for news, entertainment and education. Businesses of all sizes use web video for advertising, employee communication and staff training. FaceBook, Twitter and similar social media sites have catapulted online video sharing to a new height.

Ease of production, low cost and public demand for online video has led many businesses to this efficient, effective communication solution. Here is where the serious injury warning applies.

Regardless of the message, online video must come with a high level of professionalism, attention to accuracy and include well planned goals. Handle online video carefully, otherwise your company’s image could be badly damaged. Here are 10 tips for anyone in the director’s chair:

1. Define your concept. You’ll have an overall idea and goal. Consider how to apply it. For example, if your video aims at introducing your business, decide whether to focus on the entire operation, or a few key services and products. For corporate messages, consider whether a one-on-one video interview with an executive might be more compelling than simply videotaping a speech or statement.

2. Focus on content. Determine what visual elements will help communicate your message. Graphics similar to PowerPoint slides are helpful. Besides an on camera speaker, close-up images of items being discussed can offer clarity. Photos can be integrated with video. To present a meeting or event through online video, consider how you’ll capture the key elements using one or more cameras.

3. Think in segments. If you have multiple products, services or points to highlight, single short videos about each one may be easier for viewers to appreciate compared to one long video.

4. Keep it short. Effective online videos should be brief, often under two minutes. Some websites including YouTube limit videos to 10 minutes. Plan for ways to keep your video short. For longer presentations, consider breaking your video into separate segments at logical points.

5. Call for action. Whatever your video message is about, include a call for action. If relevant, promote your other online video content, or direct viewers to a page at your website. Provide a contact name, phone number and email address for additional information if appropriate.

6. Aim for professionalism. Regardless of the message or audience, there’s nothing more important than professional appearance. Be sure the camera is placed on a tripod for steadiness. Use a well lit room. Place a microphone near the person speaking and be sure there is no distracting noise nearby. Ensure that editing, graphics and supporting material are correct. Once online, check to see your video displays correctly.

7. Consider an expert. While not every online video calls for a production company, hiring an expert will provide a professional look and can save money. Locate a video production company specializing in website video production (enter that phrase plus your city in an Internet search). Ask whether they help guide your project or simply shoot the video. Explain your project and discuss their capabilities. Ask if they provide graphics and web uploading. Watch their online examples and consider the other clients they’ve served. Prices depend on your project and may be quoted as “full day,” or “half day,” rates or as a flat, all-inclusive fee. Hiring a qualified video production company is often more affordable than purchasing your own camera, editing software and investing an employee’s time to handle production.

8. Make it multipurpose. Online video can be used elsewhere. Besides using it on your websites and social media sites, encourage employees to do the same on their pages if appropriate. Make copies available on DVD or jump drives and ask employees or sales associates to play your latest video at staff meetings or in client presentations if relevant. Promote your video investment as an added service element to customers or employees.

9. Optimize. When placed correctly online, video can boost your online presence through search engine results. It’s critical to select an accurate title for your video, write a thorough description of the content and include relevant tags. Consider sharing your video on several social or friendship sites. There’s a creative art to Search Engine Optimization and proper placement for online video, which is best guided by a video production company or a creative expert familiar with website video.

10. Reinforce, don’t replace. Video should not replace your existing website content. Use it to reinforce key elements, highlight unique features, showcase your people, offerings and accomplishments. Online video can strengthen site design by cutting down large blocks of text, adding interactive service elements and providing a more meaningful visitor experience.

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