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By Michael Brueggemeyer

1) WHAT DO I EXPECT THE VIDEO TO ACCOMPLISH?

Will a YouTube video lead to thousands of customers banging down your door?  No.  Your video won’t cause a sudden surge of business, but it will help, over time. See, video is a great way to share the personality of your company, which marketing companies refer to as your brand.  I think of it in this way – if your company were a person, what kind of person would it be?  You can decide that, by how you make your video, and the video will be the clearest, most concise representation of that person.  Your video will be the first impression your customers will see – make sure it represents the personality of your company.

2) WHAT KIND OF VIDEO SHOULD I MAKE? (OR SHOULD I DO A WHITE BOARD VIDEO?)

First, don’t make a white board video.  They’re overdone and not compelling.  The best videos get shared, and they get shared because they are compelling. They’re funny, or weepy, or powerful, or brilliant.  Generally, they aren’t about your annual numbers or your great customer service, but about that simple, powerful story about the customer whose life was changed by your company, or your service, or your brand.  They make a bold, differentiating statement, then tie that statement to your company.  It’s not about telling your customers who you are, it’s by showing them that they are better when they team with you.  It’s not about showing your products, it’s about showing the impact your products have on their world.  Make a video that is powerful, and that power will be transferred to your brand.

3) HOW LONG SHOULD THE VIDEO BE?

There are marketing companies which will tell you that the maximum any online video should be is three minutes, because that is as long as anyone will watch an online video.  I call bullshit.  And Netflix calls bullshit too.  And The Daily Show too.  People will watch for hours, as long as what they’re watching is really good.  If your video is really good, and 45 minutes, then folks will watch a 45 minute video.  I suspect that the three-minute estimate is from watching those interminable corporate videos, where you want to tune out after ten seconds, but watch while you return emails and take phone calls, then finally click the window closed at the three-minute mark.

4) WHAT CAMERA SHOULD I USE?

The camera you already have.  If you have a wonderful, compelling story to tell– a powerful story, then any camera will work.  A film screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year, which was shot on an iPhone. At a film festival.  That means the story was so good, it didn’t matter what the camera was.  Now, your story won’t be that powerful, but if you put enough thought into the story, the camera is an afterthought.

5) CAN I DO IT MYSELF?  MY NEPHEW HAS A CAMERA.

Yes, and you should.  Just don’t upload it.  Nothing gets me more worked up than folks doing videos themselves, and realizing how bad they are at it.  Sometimes they ask me to fix their video in the edit suite, which is lucrative.  Sometimes they ask me to re-shoot their video, which I don’t really do, because I derail their bad story idea, and we start over.  Either way, you end up appreciating me more.

6) WHAT ARE THE MAJOR MISTAKES I COULD END UP MAKING?

Bad story – which I define as ‘Saying all the things you want to say about your company, without ever considering someone will be watching this video brochure’. Bad camerawork (which includes bad lighting, and yes, you need to think about lighting!)

•like that he is out of focus.

•Bad audio is so common, because folks think that having a camera microphone is awesome.

•Bad editing, like using every effect you have.

•And more than anything else, thinking that the viewer actually wants to watch all the way through (Hint – you earn their attention by doing all the other things right!)

7) ELLEN IN THE OFFICE IS HYSTERICAL – I CAN USE HER, RIGHT?

Oh dear God, please don’t use Ellen.  Ellen may be absolutely hysterical in person, but on take three, she’s a train wreck.  And you don’t want to make a video for your company featuring a train wreck, right?  It is hard to do everything right in a comedy video – look at all the TV comedies that have tried and failed – and you think you can just knock one out of the park with no experience?  Comedy is hard for the best of us,and we use professional funny people.

8) MY COMPETITION HAS A VIDEO – CAN WE DO ONE LIKE THAT?

Why not just grab their video and put it on your website?  Change your company name to theirs?  Change your phone to theirs?  Because you’re not them.  You should be looking for ways to differentiate yourself, and seeing them make a good video is a sign that you should make a good video, but not the SAME good video! Make your video better than theirs – make yours have a personality and power that connects with the audience more effectively.  Think about your audience more, connect with your audience more, and the video will do more.

9) HOW MUCH CAN I EXPECT TO SPEND?

Somewhere between nothing and a million dollars.  Roughly.  I have worked on no-budget videos that were simple and brilliant, and I’ve worked on huge budget corporate extravaganzas which ended up looking like a travelogue of all the places the executives wanted to vacation.  The more you think about the power your company has on behalf of the customer, the closer you get to the brilliant idea, and the brilliant idea can often be simple.

10) ONCE I HAVE IT DONE, NOW WHAT?

Throw it everywhere.  Put it on YouTube, email the link to your entire list, make a contest  and give a prize for the person who share it the most, have your employees share it on LinkedIn, Facebook the crap out of it, use the outtakes on Reddit, but get it out there in any way you can.

And as soon as you get your first feedback, start the process to make the next one.

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