The Foolproof Guide to Making Fantastic Promotional Videos
Tim Schlee |September 26, 2014
Looking for that something extra to push your online marketing a little further? Video might be just what the doctor ordered.
While video marketing hasn’t reached quite the same level as, say, having a website (i.e. something you simply have to have for a successful business – no ifs, ands, or buts), more and more internet users are looking to consume their content in video form. As such, creating and distributing promotional videos for your storage facility will help you engage customers that otherwise might have fallen through the cracks in your online marketing campaign.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the hows and whys of making and distributing a video online. Follow the tips in this guide, and you should end up with a top-notch video to share with your fans and customers!
Why Use Video?
Sure, making videos sounds fun, but is it useful? Indeed it is. There are a number of functions a video can perform:
Spreading the word about your company (e.g. a commercial or other promotional video)
Providing information to existing tenants and potential customers (e.g. a tour video)
Increasing rapport with your customers (e.g. a customer appreciation video)
Strengthening SEO and expanding your web presence (any video that’s properly formatted and promoted)
For a benchmark to follow, take a look at this video from Manhattan Mini Storage:
While its length might turn some potential viewers away (I would suggest keeping videos under a minute and a half), it’s very well done and a great example of a video that should help increase customer engagement.
Whichever direction you decide to head, treat it like any other marketing endeavor and do your best to track the effectiveness of your video campaign. Once you’ve got the planning all squared away, you can move on to actually making the video!
How to Make a Video
Step One: Record the Video
First, you need to get something recorded. If you don’t have a camera, you’ll need to buy, rent, or borrow one for a day or two. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. These days even your smartphone can record in fairly decent quality (although you might consider a wide angle lens for external shots of your facility). For more discussion of specific products, check out our previous video how-to article.
For now, ignore sound. Capturing sound with your video camera is difficult, especially if you’re trying to record someone talking from far away. Think of all the low-quality commercials you see on TV where the owner of some local business is shouting unintelligibly from 50 feet away. Best simply to avoid that altogether and record your audio separately.
Take slow and steady shots, especially for a tour video. Get shots of the inside of your facility as well as the outside. The minor details will vary by video type. A customer appreciation video might show your employees at work, while a simple video tour should be as bare as possible to better reflect the size and space of your property.
Be prepared to record multiple takes. If you’re shooting for a one-minute video, you should end up with a lot more than one minute of footage, but that’ll help when it comes time to edit what you’ve recorded into a coherent video.
Step Two: Record the Audio
The easiest way to tackle audio is to do it after you’ve shot all your video footage. Simply plug a microphone into your computer and record whatever audio you want dubbed over your video.
Recording audio live during your shooting is a lot tougher, as you’ll likely need an external microphone beyond what’s available on your digital camera. If you go this route, do your research to find the best option for your needs.
Whichever you choose, remember to speak slowly and clearly. As with the video, you’ll likely have multiple takes of audio as well. Even one slip-up or mispronunciation can ruin the professional veneer of a video. So practice, practice, practice!
Step Three: Edit
This is where you transform all your hard work into something pretty. Start by uploading the sound and video files onto your computer. Most computers have a free basic software already available: iMovie for Macs and MovieMaker for Windows users. If you don’t have either of these, plenty of other free or low-cost options are not hard to track down.
Each software works differently, so I won’t take you step by step through the editing process. Just be prepared to slice up your video and audio files and piece together the takes you liked the best.
Hopefully, if you’ve done everything right, you should end up with a video that looks something like this:
Note how well the makers of this video tackled the three previous steps. The camera movements in this video are steady and easy to follow, the speaker keeps her diction slow and understandable, and the whole thing is put together professionally. You should strive for an equally polished clip because a poor quality video won’t do you much good.
Once you’ve finished editing and you have a finished product, you need to get it online and start promoting!
How to Promote a Video
The first step to promoting a video is to make it easily accessible. This is why you should almost always upload your video to YouTube. Google loves (and owns) YouTube and often ranks YouTube videos higher than those on other services. If you want the video on your website, it’s not hard to embed it into a given page.
As with any other piece of content, use appropriate keywords in your title and description. This extends beyond just variations of “self storage” and includes your business’s name, your address, the city you’re located in, and even nearby locations or other relevant details. A video is a great opportunity to milk a little more SEO out of your page. With the major Hummingbird algorithm update last year, presenting content in various formats is becoming increasingly important, so make as much of the opportunity as you can. For more tips, see this detailed article from one of the SEO industry leaders, Moz.
Next, it’s time to spread it around. How you go about this will largely depend on the purpose of the video. For example, a customer appreciation video is prime social media fodder, while an advertisement would probably be better placed using a professional online or television media company. People on Facebook and other social media sites love to watch videos, but they don’t want to be advertised to (especially with the amount of ads and other promoted content that continues to take up more and more space on their news feeds).
Throughout promotion, remember that video is just another form of content marketing. It can take time to see a decent return. An audience isn’t built overnight (unless you already have a strong social media following). Just because your first video doesn’t take off doesn’t mean your next one won’t. Also, don’t be afraid to re-share previous videos on occasion. A little friendly reminder never hurt anyone!
That’s the basic process of video marketing, from initial planning to ongoing promotion. If you have any unanswered questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!
Now get out there and let out your inner Spielberg.