When I decided to start this blog, I also started a YouTube channel. Having never considered myself any good in front of the cameras I thought I’d give myself the challenge and do it anyway, see how it goes. Spoiler alert: this is not a story about how I became a YouTube celebrity (well, not yet anyway).
At first, the experience of watching back the videos I recorded was painful and cringing. I noticed everything: my frizzy hair, the lighting, the way I moved my mouth too much, the long pauses I took while I spoke. I hated it all. I was tempted to just delete it and stick to what I’m comfortable doing.
It took a lot of bravery to share it with some friends and family for feedback, and luckily they were way less critical than I was. Not a single person pointed out my messy hair; they all focused on what I was actually saying. Turns out I’m the only one who was paying attention at appearances over substance.
The more I record, the more confident I grow. I learned how to edit my own videos and picked up a few tips on how to make the videos slightly more engaging. Trust me, I’m no Spielberg and I’m still miles from where I’d like to be but I’m no longer embarrassed by the end result (which is definitely progress).
Even if speaking to the camera isn’t right for you or your business, video is definitely a type of content you should include in your marketing strategy. Whether you use videos to showcase your products and services, share your customer stories, explain technical concepts or just entertainment, the most important thing is that your video should offer value to your audience.
Why should you try videos?
- Videos are more memorable: you retain 95% of what you watch but only 10% of what you read. (You probably already forgot most of this sentence.)
- Videos are shared more often on social: videos generate 12x more shares than image and text combined.
- Customers enjoy it: whether it is an explainer video or just showing off a product, most customers prefer videos over long texts. In fact, 86% of consumers would like to see more video content from brands.
What about the format?
The format you choose will depend a lot on the message. As a rule, shorter is better but I for one have watched hour-long videos online when the content was good.
Short vs. long videos: Who said you need to choose? You can definitely do both. If you need to deliver very complex content that requires a longer video, you can create snippets of that video for other media. You can, for example, host the longer video on your website or on Youtube, and then create shorter clips from the long video that you can publish on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other channels.
Transforming long videos: If you’re creating a short version of a long video, pick only one point per video. In general, aim for videos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. You may need to adopt different lengths for different channels to follow their guidelines. One long video may give you enough material for several short videos that you can promote on social media.
Editing: Your video doesn’t have to be fancy or overly edited, it just needs to deliver value to your audience. The value could be that they will learn something new or it could be that they will have a bit of a laugh and feel more connected to your business. Creativity trumps overproduction any day of the week.
Recorded vs. live: Live videos generate great interaction, especially if you have a decent number of active followers. However, doing live videos doesn’t mean you can just “wing” it. In fact, they require more preparation. You should have a plan of all the content you’d like to cover to ensure you grab the audience’s attention and that they stay with you until the end. Promote the dates you will be live in advance to give your audience a chance to tune in and engage with you.
Just do it
Before you come up with a whole list of reasons why you shouldn’t do a video, just go ahead and give it a go. It won’t be perfect at first. Learn from it and carry on. See what formats and channels work better for your audience, if they respond better to short-form or long-form video content, if they prefer humour or a more serious tone. If nothing else, you will learn what your audience likes and that’s always a good thing.