Archive for August, 2010

2 FREE Software Tools to Help You Create Better Videos

Creating online videos is one of the best ways to brand your business products and services and to generate traffic to your website , which will ultimately make you more money. After you’ve started creating your first videos, you may realize you need a few tools to help you achieve a more professional look. I’ve found these FREE software programs that can help:

Tool #1 – You need a prompt.

If you’ve tried producing a personal video talking directly into a webcam or camera, I’m sure you’ve realized it’s tougher than it seems to seamlessly deliver your message, on point, without having some sort of a prompt, whether that’s stickies adhered to the frame of your computer, or one of your wiggling children holding your oversized notes to the side of the camera.

Professionals use a device known as a teleprompter which delivers scrolling text that is reflected from a mirror the camera shoots through. This requires hardware and software that can be very costly. However, I’ve found this FREE software that you can download for Mac or Windows that does the same thing.

Prompt Lite is an easy to use program that you can type into directly or import text and it will scroll your script for you, at your desired speed, while you record your video.

Tool #2 – Instead of talking at people, show them what you are talking about.

Jing adds visuals to your conversations. You can snap a picture of your screen or record a video of your onscreen action. This software is great for “how to” videos where you can visually demonstrate how you do something on the computer or internet.

These are two great tools that will help you create better videos. Try them and let me know what you think.
Do you have cool tools you are using to create videos? Share your comments below.

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Lets Talk Cameras: Posting Online Videos Recorded with Webcams [Video]

If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because you’ve come to the conclusion that you need to post video(s) to optimize your online marketing . Once you’ve explored and scripted some ideas and concepts you know will engage your target audience, you’re ready to start shooting your video.  If you’ve decided to produce your first video yourself, you might be wondering if you will need to purchase an expensive camera.

The good news is, you probably already have a camera to get you started. If you have a computer you’ve purchased within the last couple of years, it will have a webcam. You can easily start recording your message now.

A few things to keep in mind when using webcams: position yourself right in front of the computer, and at the same height as the webcam a short distance away. If you play with it a little, you will notice that if you don’t follow this simple rule, you’ll get some warped images. Also, make sure the room you are recording in has enough light and is reasonably quiet and uncluttered. You will also want to purchase an inexpensive microphone and keep it close, as well. (many big box electronic stores carry microphones for podcasting, these will work for this purpose too.)

I know there are bloggers out there who may be telling you not to worry about quality, only content, but try to make your video look and sound as good as possible. You don’t want to give people a reason to push stop before your video is finished playing.

Video shot with a webcam has a certain look and quality, adequate for delivering short personal messages, but you may need your video to look more professional or to be high definition. In that case you’ll need to consider investing in a better camera, or hire a production company who has all of the camera’s, lights, audio and equipment necessary for professional videos.

But, in the meantime, use your webcam to at least record a welcome message for your website, once you’ve posted it, send me the link. I’d like to see it!

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3 Tips for Successful Online Videos

In my last post I wrote about the benefits of using video as part of your overall social media marketing, but just to refresh your memory, Forrester Research reports that any given video stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of search results than any given text page.

That being said, where do you start in creating a video for your business or nonprofit? Below are three tips to get you started:

Define your target audience.

You need to understand who you want to target with your video. I would suggest having as narrow of an audience so you can so your message is focused.

Develop your concept/story.

The overall concept of your video must be well thought out and planned. Don’t expect to turn the camera on and just start babbling about how great your services or products are. That’s not interesting and the last thing people want to see is someone talking at them. Use your video to tell a story and show them how your service or product is going to benefit them, or others (as may be the case for nonprofits looking to attract donors.)

Consider Production Professionals.

The first question you may be asking is should I self produce or hire a professional? This is a question that can be best answered by looking back at the first two tips. It really depends on your target audience and message and deciding what it is you want to ultimately convey. If you want to start producing videos about how your organization ticks, or a behind the scenes look at your next theatrical production, or to provide a video address to your target audience highlighting your recent activities you may find it sufficient to create the video yourself. These types of videos generally only get viewed online.

If you want your video to highlight your company/nonprofit and products or services and you want it to be something you can play during presentations, display in your lobby and at trade shows, or screen during yearly gala events, as well as to post online, you may want to consider hiring a professional. You can hire a coach to help you produce the video, or a professional crew with the expertise to take your creative idea through script development,  shoot with a professional camera, lighting and audio, and can edit your piece to include branding for your company. These types of videos generally have a longer shelf life – often being used by a company or nonprofit for a couple of years.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have an online presence (website, social media sites, e-newsletter etc.) it’s expected you have a video. If you need some inspiration check out my websites Moon River Pictures, Inc. and  Sun & Moon Vision Productions (nonprofit) and YouTube channel. Post comments or questions below and I’ll include them in future blog posts where you will be taken through more in-depth self-production techniques. Follow this feed or register for the blog so you won’t miss future posts.

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Video – an Effective Strategy for Social Media Marketing

Five years ago, the first video was posted on YouTube. A year later, in 2006, YouTube reported that 65,000 videos were uploaded daily. In January 2009, 15 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute. According to Mashable that’s the equivalent of Hollywood releasing over 86,000 new full-length movies into theaters each week!

What does this mean to your group, business or organization? Video is 52 times more likely to show up on the first page of Google search results, which is where you want your audience to find you. The rising trend of uploading video illustrates that more and more people are looking toward video for more interesting communications.

Through video we receive a combined stimulation of the visual and auditory senses that creates an emotional response that can’t be accomplished by a website or in a blog post, tweet or facebook message alone. However, simply uploading a video to YouTube in hopes that people will search and find it inside of the site won’t work. The video needs to be part of your overall strategy for social media marketing and embedded in your website, and posted on your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

I have had the opportunity to consult with many businesses and nonprofits about effectively using video for their promotions, and the one piece of advice I always share is: don’t use video to tell viewers something, use video to show viewers something. If what you are offering isn’t showable, don’t create a video or find a way to visually illustrate your message, like in this YouTube video Social Media Revolution that has generated over 1 million views.

Also, don’t post a video just to have a video up on YouTube; the concept and content must be inspirational, educational and/or entertaining or you’ll just look desperate.

After you’ve posted your video and disseminated to all of your social network contacts, ask them to share it and make sure you reply to the comments that people post to the video. After all, the goals for social media marketing are to build community, connect with your audience, build collaborations and stimulate conversation so don’t let the conversation end with you. When you are ready to create your next video, make sure to answer the questions generated by your first video.

Are you using video as part of your social media marketing strategy? If so, share it with us here.

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