Friday, 23 January 2015


Image by 'Saine' AKA Michelle Dennis via
Clearly, video is an important marketing tool for any business and there are lots of options. If you are new to video it can often be a confusing and bewildering subject. What is the best approach? How do you get the most out of it?

Well, Candy Jar Films is here to help with an insider guide to making video work for you.

First of all, you need to consider what kind of video you want to make. There are many kinds of videos you might want to consider making to help promote your business. Here are five to start you off:

1. Animation
People love short animations that give a punchy message backed by some funky music. This can be done with simple use of dynamic text or you can become more sophisticated by employing such techniques as stop-motion or timelapse. Depending on what you want will affect the cost significantly as animation is quite time consuming and potentially expensive. The upshot is that animation is a popular type of video and can make a big impact on the audience, especially if the idea is quirky, original and fun.

Pros: Eye-catching animations are great marketing tools
Cons: Can be costly, but not if you keep things short and simple

2. Corporate Promo
Don't be put off by the title. Many businesses get great attention from these kinds of videos. Typically centred around a story or theme, various employees and/or customers are interviewed, accompanied by shots relevant to the business. A fast-paced approach to the edit, including upbeat music and perhaps some graphics, helps to keep the potential customer interested. You can do a lot in terms of communicating what kind of business you are in two or three minutes. One key lesson from marketing is that 'people buy from people' and if you come across as friendly, approachable and trustworthy then you've already gone a long way toward convincing someone to spend their hard-earned cash with you.

Pros: Communicates your business well with a broad brushstroke
Cons: Might seem a bit familiar, so you need to be creative!

3. Drama 
This might sound a bit off-the-wall, but a short drama can create a real emotional connection that other types of video may struggle to do. It requires a lot of thought and planning, but the payoff is great. Bear in mind that a lot of TV adverts use actors to tell a story about the product all the time. Take the famous Sainsbury's 2014 Christmas Advert featuring soldiers from the First World War. It was a two-minute movie with cinematic shots, detailed sets and period costume. You don't, however, need a Hollywood budget these days to create something just as powerful.

Pros: Eye-catching and memorable, making you stand out from the crowd
Cons: Can be expensive, but as with most things a bit of planning and creativity can keep budgets low

4. 'How to' Presentation
You may have seen these on YouTube: people demonstrating how to do something in a simple step-by-step guide. For example, if you're a gardener, you could shoot a video that explains how to prepare plants for the winter. If you're a mechanic, you could show how to change the fan belt in a car. Such videos help to show your customers that you have good subject knowledge and help to give a little glimpse into your personality as well.

Pros: Cheap, quick and easy to make
Cons: You might enjoy doing them so much you end up doing loads of them!

5. Talking Heads / Green screen
Similar to the Corporate Promo video, this is a simpler version with key people talking on camera about the business – either the business owner or customers or both. If you shoot in front of a 'green screen' you have the ability (with the right software) to choose whatever background you want and, most importantly, change your mind at the last minute! Also, in the edit, you might cut away to photos of your business or product.

Pros: Cheap, quick and easy to make

Cons: Can be a bit unexciting, but there are ways to liven things up

People these days are known for having short attention spans. A 2013 study declared the average person's attention span to be about eight seconds long! With this in mind, it's worth considering keeping your video short and snappy. There's not a huge amount you can fit into eight seconds, so chances are your video will be anything from one to three minutes - but as the saying goes 'less is more'.

Getting it made
Put simply, you have two options: make it yourself or get the professionals in.

If you choose to make it yourself, make sure you know what you're doing. 'Amateur' videos can do more harm than good to your business reputation. Shaky camera angles, poor sound quality and unnecessary edits will give the wrong impression and could easily cost you sales. You don't have to spend a fortune on kit (most smartphones these days can shoot pretty decent video footage), but you will need access to editing software and a way of getting your video out to your customers via sites like YouTube and Facebook. There are plenty of tutorials online that show you the basics – learn as much as you can first and when you're ready, get out there and start filming!

The only downside with making a video yourself is that it can be time consuming and, if you're new to filmmaking, bewildering too! Hiring in the expertise of a video production company can save you a lot of headaches in that area, and ensure the final piece is of a professional quality. It's worth bearing in mind, however, that as with most things, you get what you pay for.

Make sure you're hiring an individual company who has a track record of making the kind of videos you want to make. It may even be worth getting recommendations or testimonials from previous clients before committing to the work.

Like any project, you want to make sure you have thought it through and planned everything meticulously. All sorts of unforeseen happenings can delay things and add to the cost. Obviously you can't anticipate every eventuality, but planning effectively will minimise the impact of these unfortunate happenings!

With a good production company on your side, you'll be guided through the process from scripting/planning to the shoot right through to the edit, and at the end have a funky new video to share with the world!

Channels – where to show your video
So now you've got your shiny new video, where do you show it? At the very least you must have it on your website. You can host the video yourself or embed from other sites (see below), but whatever you do make sure it's visible on your site (preferably your homepage) and that people can easily watch it.

Most businesses can't afford TV adverts, even though the cost of production has reduced significantly over the years. If you have the budget though, you might want to consider buying some airtime. Major channels such as ITV or Channel 4 can be very pricey for most businesses, but some smaller satellite channels will be more affordable – just remember that the viewing figures will be considerably lower.

If TV ads are beyond your reach, the most obvious avenue is to upload the video to YouTube. In fact, you HAVE to upload your video to YouTube. Seeing as it's the number one video-sharing website on the entire planet, you can't afford not to! As YouTube is not the only site of its kind on the web, you might also want to consider using some of the other video-sharing sites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion or Vine. If you don't already have a Facebook Page, Twitter account or Blog you need to set these up ASAP. You can then link to your video on all of these social media sites, helping to make your video visible to as wide an audience as possible.
Online video may be all that marketeers talk about these days, but don't forget the value of the 'physical' world. There's also potential for using your video in other settings:

- Trade shows: If you've hired a stand, make sure you bring a big screen to play your video on a loop. People will be more likely to stop and look than if all you've got is a poster or stack of leaflets.
- Presentations: Had an invite to speak at a business breakfast or seminar? Show a video as part of your talk and people will be more likely to remember what you said.
- Business Premises: If you have a physical business location for trading e.g. a shop, install a TV screen in your window and play the video. It's free advertising that can potentially work for you 24/7.

What next?
With your video taking prominence on your website, YouTube channel and Facebook page, potential customers will now be able to quickly see what your business is about. If you want to see the video getting lots of 'hits' you will need to put in a bit of work to get it out there amongst all the noise of the internet. You may get lucky and find the video goes viral – in which case, you can sit back and watch the hit counter sky-rocket – but that is dependant on large numbers of people sharing a link to it. Once won't be enough though, and you'll need to keep sharing over a period of time (but don't go overboard – people hate spammers!) over as many different channels as possible.

Now that everything is done, it may be that you are happy with the video – it's on your website and it does the job. It's out there for people to see it if they want, and that's good enough. There is a case to argue, however, that one video isn't enough and that to really make good use of the medium you need to engage with it on a regular basis.

YouTube channels only thrive if they continue to be updated, whether it's monthly, weekly or daily. It might be impossible to upload videos this often but keeping your video channel fresh (just like your website) is an important part of any online SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy.

Ideally, you want to build up a following of YouTube subscribers keen to watch the next video instalment. That can be a boon for any business that relies on having a decent online presence.

In Summary
Whatever way you decide to approach video, it's important to recognise its value and how getting it right is key. As with most things, budgets can dictate what we plan to do, but with the right amount of thought and planning you will be surprised at what can be achieved.

Key things to consider:
- Decide what kind of video you want
- Do it right, either by yourself or getting professionals to help
- Plan things thoroughly!
- Get the video out on the web in as many places as possible
- Think about following up with more videos

About Candy Jar
Candy Jar Films is a video production company based in Cardiff, South Wales. We are able to produce videos for a range of clients and budgets – big or small – anywhere in the UK. Need some help or advice? Contact us to get talking!

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