So you want to create your first marketing video.
How about the one where nearly 52% of marketers name video as the content with the highest ROI?
Are your competitors creating great video content?
Or do you just want to add a new type of content to your marketing plan?
Whatever your reasons may be, it definitely is a little intimidating to start something for the first time.
Especially a project that has so many moving parts, like marketing videos.
Think of how nervous you were to publish your first blog post, I know I was terrified!
But once you get the hang of it, the potential returns from great video content is almost immeasurable.
Additionally, that is the way that content is moving, so you might as well get a jump on the trend.
We also teamed up with those two companies to create this FREE ebook with 75 Facebook and Instagram Video Tips for every level of video creators.
So let’s jump into the first tip!
Before You Start Your Marketing Video
In this first section, these three tips should be read before you even think about getting the camera out.
These tips will save you from a ton of headaches, so don’t skip them.
Each tip was painfully learned when I tried to create my first marketing video back in the day!
Have A Concrete Plan From Day One
The worst thing you can do is show up to work one day and decide you want to shoot a video.
Well, unless you want it to be a mess.
I think a lot of people approach their first marketing video this way and it ends up failing.
So they call video marketing worthless and never try it again.
It’s very easy to not see how much planning and preparation goes into a video before the camera even gets turned on.
You’re going to need a plan, and you should try to stick to that as much as possible.
This plan should obviously lay out what you want the video to look like and what is going to happen.
But it should answer these twelve questions as well:
- Who is this video really for?
- Where will this video be posted or shared?
- How does video fit into our marketing plan?
- What do we want a viewer to do after watching this video?
- Why would someone want to pause their day to watch this?
- Is this for our current users or potential new users?
- What will this help our users accomplish?
- Can we create this video in-house?
- How long will it take to create?
- How long do we want this video to be? For example, will it be a 10-minute tutorial or a simple 30-second teaser?
- Will we need a video editing tool?
- Will people want to share this with their friends?
- How will you create momentum before you share the video?
Even if you’re planning a live stream, which is a lot more casual and spontaneous, there should be a plan.
Like in this weekly live stream from Enlight, they have taken the time to create a plan and goal for each video:
SkedSocial have a great guide to Instagram live if you want to learn more about that.
Before we create any video at Venngage we try to answer those 12 questions and more.
Only after those questions are answered does any outlining, storyboarding or designing happens.
Like in this icon video, we mapped out everything weeks before we even started talking to a designer.
And by working through all of those questions we were able to create a stronger video.
It may not look exactly what your vision was at the beginning but it will definitely be a well-rounded marketing video in the end.
Outsource If You Need To
After you start filling out your plan you may realize that you’re way over your head.
However, that isn’t a good reason to abandon ship.
In this day and age, there are a ton of apps, tools, and guides to help a beginner create great videos
And if that seems a little too complicated, you can always outsource your videos.
There are thousands of great video pros, motion graphic masters and designers out there that can help you out.
I’d recommend checking out UpWork first, we use them for all our outsourcing needs:
And Fiverr, which is better for smaller jobs:
Or you can even ask your friends on Facebook, Reddit or Twitter for recommendations. That is how we found the designer that created our last major video.
Honestly, there is no shame in using a professional from outside your company to create your marketing videos.
Most of the viral videos you see from the top brands are actually created by an agency or another company.
If all the big players are doing it already, why should it stop you?
Additionally, it often is much cheaper to outsource your videos in the long run.
The lost productivity from a novice working on a video starts to add up pretty quickly. Trust me, I’m one of those novices.
Decide Where Your Video Will Be Posted
Before you go any further, you need to decide where your video will be posted.
Just like when you’re sharing an image, there isn’t a one-size fits all solution for videos across the social media platforms.
According to a survey conducted by Yum Yum Videos, social media is the preferred video distribution channel for marketers. If you want to share your video on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook I’d recommend creating a square video. Like so:
According to Buffer, “square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.”
It also takes up 78% more of the user’s screen, and sometimes the whole screen on mobile devices.
Plus if you create a square video, it can easily be posted on Facebook and Instagram. And best of all it can all be done from the same ad dashboard!.
On the other hand, if you’re going to post it on your blog or site then your audience should determine the layout.
If your traffic skews more mobile, I’d try to create a square video.
But if your traffic is mainly desktop users then I’d create a landscape video. Just like Hubspot did below:
You do not want to be stuck on the day you want to release, not knowing how to upload a video to your site.
That can be a nightmare for any seasoned marketer.
Also where your marketing video will be posted should influence how long and what the feel of your video is going to be.
You can see a great breakdown of the optimal times for each social media platform below:
Just because you have created a video that is square and 1 minute long that doesn’t mean it will be successful.
You also have to create a video that people will actually want to watch. And then share it with their friends because it hits so close to home.
For example, videos that are light-hearted and easily shareable work very well on Facebook and Instagram.
Like this video from Wired about Instagram users:
Everyone has a friend that is a little too extra on Instagram that they could tag in this or send the link to.
And there you have the beginnings of a viral loop.
I always try to remember that people use these platforms to get a quick laugh, learn something new or distract themselves from the world.
If your marketing videos focus on those three ideas, you will be set.
But if you want a few more tips, check out the full ebook or infographic below!
Working On Your Marketing Video
After planning what you would like your video to look like, it’s actually time to start creating!
This is where the most things can go wrong, so be flexible and ready to make a few mistakes.
And remember that no one creates a perfect video on their first try.
Invest In Some Useful Gear
A quick and easy way to increase the quality of your videos is by investing in some useful equipment.
I’m not saying that you need to go out and buy the new Sony A7R III for $3,200.
(If you do feel like buying that, my birthday is coming up soon.)
Instead, you can use your smartphone to shoot a beautiful video. Who would have guessed that you could shoot in 4k from something that fits in your pocket?
They even beat out some of the mid-level cameras that are out on the market.
But if you want to get a dedicated DSLR, you can have a solid workhorse for about $500. Like this Canon T6 that also has a ton of accessories to help you get started:
Or you could just ask someone at your company to borrow one of their cameras. There has to be at least one person with a camera!
Next, I’d recommend getting a solid tripod for your videos.
Even if you’re using a phone to shoot your video you need a steady tripod.
Not only will a good tripod help you get better and stable shots, you can now shoot things with only one person.
And finally, you’re going to need a microphone to get that crisp audio.
You do not want to sound like you recorded your video from inside a paper bag, that will turn any viewer off.
I’d recommend picking up a shotgun style Rode Mic for crisp audio. They make mics for both iPhone and digital cameras like the one I showed above. The one below can be picked up for around $75 to $100.
If you have seen any YouTube video or vlogger in the past few years you have probably seen a Rode mic.
They are pretty solid and can aren’t that hard to use. Most are plug and play, with no extra equipment needed.
A few other things that you could get to up your video production game is a few lights, a green screen backdrop, and even a stabilizing gimbal.
But if you’re not looking to create a blockbuster, I’d stick to what I outlined above.
Keep Consistent Branding
You shouldn’t abandon your branding or what your company stands for just because you’re creating a marketing video.
The first video you create isn’t the time to take a huge risk or try to be too cool.
If it’s bad enough your video will become an immortal meme and you can never escape that.
And no one wants that.
Instead, you should include something that feels real to your audience.
Is your company known for not taking themselves too seriously or for treating your customers like royalty? Add some of that energy in your video.
In the tweet below Spotify shares a video that features Stranger Things and it doesn’t feel out of place at all:
Spotify is an internet company, with very savvy users who also like Stranger Things. If they were sharing a video about tax deductions I’d be very confused.
Also be sure to use colors, graphics, and logos that people will instantly recognize. Like I said above, your first video isn’t the time to take an unneeded risk.
For example, in this video from Hubspot, they use their branding and color scheme throughout the video:
It may not seem like much, but when someone is scrolling through their feed that may be the reason they stop to watch.
The same can be said about Spotify with their branding plays lately:
Their duotone design style is so ubiquitous to their branding that you know it’s a Spotify video immediately.
Be Genuine, Approachable & Add A Dog
One of the worst things that you can do when creating a marketing video is to not be genuine with your audience
People are looking for authenticity in all aspects of their content, especially videos.
If you’re too generic you will not stand out from the crowd and if you try too hard, well your videos will be ignored.
You need to find that balance that consumers crave and will cause them to share it with their friends.
In this video below from Nintendo, they capture everything that makes that brand great.
From the overly goofy Mario to the bond that video games create between the generations, it’s all there.
Whatever you what makes your brand great in the first place should shine in the videos you create. Be genuine and the viewers will appreciate that.
Another way that you can create a shareable video is to make the content very approachable. Tasty is one of the best consistent examples of this feeling on social media.
They present it in a very similar way each time, so you know exactly what you’re getting into from the beginning.
All of their videos feature something that a beginner chef can create.
Plus the videos are very easy to follow and get lost in.
And because all of them follow a similar format, they can grab a new chunk of viewers from almost any video they publish.
Now, If you really want someone to watch your video, just include a cute dog like BarkBox does:
Everyone loves a dog video, especially me!
And when you include something so lovable, even the most complicated tech companies can seem approachable.
Check out the infographic and ebook below for some more tips on creating a great video:
Finalizing Your Marketing Video
After you have shot and edited your video it’s time to put on some of the finishing touches.
These are small but significant things that could be the reason your marketing video gets 10 views or 10k.
So be sure to pay attention!
Captions, Captions, Captions
A huge mistake that a new video creator can make is forgetting to add captions to their videos.
This means that no matter how or where someone watches your video they should be able to understand the message.
Having the volume turned on shouldn’t determine if someone can interact with or enjoy your video.
Honestly, the captions on Facebook and Twitter videos are the only way that I actually know what is going on. Because I’ll never voluntarily turn on the sound for any videos, that is just a recipe for disaster.
And a majority of people agree with me, with over 85% of viewers watching videos with no sound.
Plus captions help the viewers interact with your video after they watch it.
In fact, Instapage saw CTA clicks drop 26% when they took the captions off the video below:
And the total reach of the video with captions was 16% more than the one without.
You may get the same number of views without captions but the number of people taking action will not be similar at all.
Those simple closed captions may have worked for Instapage, but that doesn’t mean you should copy their approach.
Instead, I’d recommend using a more creative way to caption your videos. Like in this video from Wistia they intertwined their captions with the design of their video:
Not only do they include captions, they make the captions a main part of the video.
As you can see above the captions take up almost a third of the screen and are large enough to be read on any screen.
Plus the alternating bold colors, which is a big graphic design trend this year, draw the eye to the video.
BarkBox also has a great example of creative captions in the video below:
This tactic helps draw the eye to the most important words in their captions. And it shows the viewer exactly what they’re getting before they start the video.
In this case, you know that you will see a boxador named Gotham and it will tug at your heartstrings.
With just those four words, I know that I’ll want to watch this video and I’m guessing there are a ton of people just like me.
If you really want some other great examples of video captions I’d check out this guide from our friends at Wistia.
Include A Call To Action
One of the main reasons you’re creating a video is because you want the viewer to do something after they see it.
It could be as simple as sharing the video or as complex as signing up for your app.
Whatever the goal is you need to be pretty clear about what action you want them to take. You do not want people to watch the entire video and then be confused on what they should do next.
I’d say that every single video you put out should have a call to action. And it should be as simple as possible.
For example in this video from Amazon, they show you exactly where you should go to learn more about the program they’re promoting:
The call to action isn’t some quick popup on the screen either, it lasts almost a fourth of the video’s runtime.
Additionally, they make the call to action very easy to act on with a simple website to visit.
But I’d not only put a call to action in your marketing video, you should also include it in the post, email or article. That way, the action that they have to take, in this case clicking a link, is even easier.
If you’re going to put it in a social media post, follow what Tastemade did below:
The goal of this video was to show off how good the dish looked and then push the viewer to seek out the recipe.
Also, they made that goal easy to achieve by placing the recipe link in the tweet, in all caps. It will be extremely difficult for a viewer to miss that obvious of a call to action.
Pick An Eye-Catching Title & Thumbnail
And to close out this section it’s time to talk about the importance of the video thumbnail. It’s the first thing that your audience is going to see, so make it count.
A great thumbnail or title is created by mixing the right amount of informative content with interesting design elements.
The title you select should use a killer hook to get people’s attention from the beginning. Then an interesting color or bold font should be used to catch the eye.
For example, would you ever click play on the example title card below?
Nope! It looks like you’re about to watch an extremely boring slideshow presentation. Or someone had exactly one minute to put together their PowerPoint.
But the example below, from Hubspot, uses the two guidelines I outlined above almost perfectly:
This video thumbnail is almost calling you to click on it right now. Because who doesn’t like working from home? That is right, no one.
Now your title card or thumbnail shouldn’t just be eye-catching, it also needs to be informative. Tell your audience exactly what they are going to see in the following video.
Or they will be mad at you for wasting their time.
In this video, from Venngage, the title card shows exactly what the video was going to be about:
It said we were going to teach you how to make an infographic in 4 easy steps and that’s exactly what it did. No more, no less.
And that is exactly what your title card should do. Inform and intrigue but not overwhelm.
Finally, I’d recommend keeping your thumbnails or title cards fairly simple. Make it easy for people to digest what the video is going to be about in a matter of seconds.
Most of the time that is the only chance you have to make an impression on your viewers.
In this Instagram video from my alma mater, the University of Arkansas, they use 5 words to set the tone of this game-winning video:
Their followers are going to know what is exactly in the video and want to see what this video has to add to that moment.
It’s a great video, which can’t be said for their record this year.
Take a look at the infographic below for a few more tips:
Sharing Your Marketing Video
After you finalize your marketing video It’s time to share it with your followers and audience.
I wish I could get into how to properly share your video, but this article is already way too long.
And honestly, I could write another whole article just on that one topic.
But this infographic that we created with Wistia and Hubspot will have to do.
If you follow some of the tips below, you should be set:
You made it through your first video, and nothing caught on fire!
How do you feel? Relived? Annoyed? Happy? Exhausted?
All of those are the right emotions and I felt the same way.
But after I sat down and looked at what I had created I was ready to create the next one.
Because I knew that all the things I learned would help make the next one go smoothly.
And it allowed me to create this awesome ebook with Wistia and Hubspot!
So be sure to check that out to learn how to take your videos to the next level, straight from the pros.