How to Get Started with Video for Your Online Brand

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This article was written by Trendster Justin Kelsey, founder of VAXA Digital (a digital strategy firm). You can follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his Scroll-Stopping newsletter, a monthly roundup of the best ads and related strategies.
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Getting started with video for your online brand

  1. Minimum Three Types Of Content
    • Awareness video
    • Promotional video
    • Retargeting video 
  2. Standardize Video Format 
    • Videos for Facebook feed (1:1)
    • Videos for Instagram feed (4:5)
    • Vlog and explainer videos for Youtube (16:9)
  3. Equipment  
    • Recommended cameras 
    • Recommended microphones 
    • Recommended lighting 
  4. Video Editing
    • Cloud-editing software 
    • iPhone apps 
    • Outsourcing your editing (e.g., Upwork, Fiverr, etc.)
  5. Publishing & Activating
    • Cuts for each social platform (e.g., formats, intro/outro, CTA)
    • Activating videos 

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1. Minimum Three Types Of Content

At the very least, brands should have awareness videos, promotional videos, and retargeting videos.

These videos should appeal to your largest buyer persona.

Awareness video

Before all else, awareness videos should be created with the purpose of educating your audience and driving engagement to that video, without making any hard pitch.

Find a problem that your ideal customer has related to your niche and create a simple video helping them fully solve that problem on their own. Humor can also be used at this stage, though it’s important to make sure you’re actually funny.

The goal of these videos are solely to get views and build brand rapport, rather than driving traffic anywhere.

Promotional video

From there, viewers who’ve engaged (e.g., liked, watched, commented) on these first videos should then be retargeted with your promotional video.

This is the step where we’d create 30-60 second ad videos as seen when scrolling Instagram, for example.

These videos grab their attention (i.e., are scroll-stopping) in the first 3 seconds, outline how the product solves their problems in an even easier way, show some degree of social proof, then end with a direct call-to-action driving the viewer to click and visit the site.

Retargeting video

The final step in this buyer journey would simply be attempting to recapture anyone who visited your site after clicking your promotional content, but for whatever reason didn’t convert. This is where the combination of social proof (user-generated content and review videos) and special offers (e.g., 20% off, free trial, etc.) will be key to sealing the deal. 

For brands utilizing Google Analytics or Facebook Pixels, this last step can be almost completely automated once you have the content in place.

Ask your current top customers for a quick 30-second iPhone video talking about your product and you’ve got all you need to get started with this stage of retargeting.

2. Standardize Video Format

Just like there’s no one type of video for all buyer personas, your video should also be optimized for the medium it will be viewed on.

Given the majority of your content these days will be viewed on a mobile device, it’s important to know which format will give you the most “screen real estate” for each platform.

Source: Apptamin

While 16:9 video might seem the most “common” when looking at YouTube vlogs or pre-roll ads, this format performs terribly as an Instagram ad.

Likewise, 1:1 video is a great bet for Facebook ads (viewed on both desktop and mobile), but leaves nearly two-thirds of the screen unutilized when scrolling on Instagram, which prefers videos in a 4:5 format.

Running a story ad? 9:16 is going to give you the most bang-for-your-buck and appear most “natural” mixed in with other stories. The most successful ad videos have different sizes exported for every placement.

3. Equipment

Now that you know the type of video content you should be producing, here are recommendations for the best equipment.

Camera

  • Your smartphone (especially if it shoots in 4K) can get the job done if you don’t want to splurge on a camera, otherwise:

Audio

Even though more than 70% of videos will be watched with the sound turned off (be sure to include captions for every video), audio quality can make or break a video.

In most cases, the Rode VideoMicro is more than enough to provide a significant upgrade to your DSLR or smartphone (with this cable) audio.

Once you’re ready to beef it up, the Diety D3 Pro is the best mic you can buy under $250.

Lights

Finally, let’s make sure your lighting matches the quality of the video you’ll be recording. Contrary to YouTube many vloggers, LED ring lights create a very unnatural and amateur look to talking head videos.

Rather, you’d be better off investing in three LED light panels and placing them at 45º angles in front of you, with one at full brightness (key light) and one around 50% (fill light).

Place the third one behind your subject as your backlight, which will help create depth between the subject and the background.

Although slightly more expensive, we keep four of these Lume Cube lights in our camera bags at all times, as they’re fully waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled, and insanely bright. 

Teleprompts

For brands that plan to produce a large number of “talking head” videos without the need for multiple takes, we recommend scooping the Parrot Teleprompter V2.

4. Video Editing

Now, it’s time to edit the video.

It’s important to remember the end goal of your videos at this stage, saving you the extra steps of resizing your content multiple times (e.g., if you’re creating a video for Instagram, be sure to have your editing “area” set to 1080×1350 (4:5) from the start).

Here are good desktop software tools:

If you decide editing videos yourself is too much work (which it usually is), we recommend checking out sites like Upwork or Fiverr to find freelance video editors to turn your footage into multiple videos optimized for conversion on each platform.

5. Publishing & Activating

Here are some general tips for publishing and activating your content:

  • Talking head videos: For videos with someone speaking to the camera, we like to record individual intro and outro shots for each platform

    Example: A video for LinkedIn would have a custom intro at the beginning with our subject saying “Hey LinkedIn…” and end with an outro specific to that platform’s call-to-actions (e.g., ‘Subscribe’ for YouTube, ‘Follow Us’ on LinkedIn, ‘Like Us’ on Facebook, etc.)
  • Activating videos: Once your videos are live, we recommend immediately “activating” them through whatever means work best for that channel.

    Whether this means influencer marketing, Facebook ads, YouTube PPC, or email campaigns, the goal is now to get as many eyes on your video as soon as possible.

    Not only will this allow for later retargeting as discussed earlier, but also add social proof (via views/likes) so that more people will organically discover your video as well.

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