If you’re like many of us, your marketing team’s resolution for the new year included a promise to start making more video content! Videos can have a tremendous impact on your social media results and content marketing engagement…but you may be wondering where to start. Since a lot of brands may be wondering the same thing, we’ve put together a quick guide to kickstart your first videos – give it a read, then get out and start filming!

Plan Out A Valuable Video

Start with a plan! Yes, some casual videos can be made by just starting a recording and wandering around, but save those for later. When starting, you want to build up your video library with simple, valuable videos – in other words, videos that provide information that your buyers can use to their benefit. Medium has excellent examples of different styles and directions you can take your video, including product-focused content, problem-solving, topic education, and more. Pick a subject that will bring value to those who watch it!

Steady Your Camera

Get a little stand for your phone or other devices (it’s okay to start with a smartphone, especially since new versions can take pretty good video). This simple step can make a big difference! You must avoid shaky or wavering video. Of course, with many video content, you may have to move around to examine a product or take a closer look at a location. In these cases, look for a mobile mount and make sure that anti-shake modes are enabled.

Set Up Extra Light

One of the most common mistakes in first-time marketing videos is that teams don’t add enough light to whatever they are filming. If you are indoors – and sometimes when you’re outdoors, too – try to set up extra lighting or position your camera so that it picks up the lightest possible. Filters can help a little here, but your primary goal should be to make sure that everything is well lit and nothing is too dark: Remember, many people will be watching videos on their phones in less than ideal conditions.

Don’t Script Everything Out

Some scripting is very important, especially for your first videos and the important facts you want to relate. But scripting every word is also a bad idea. First, scripting too much puts a lot of focus on delivery, and an over-scripted delivery tends to look very cringey (especially when filming those without professional acting experience, which is most people in B2B). Second, an outline is often better to work with because it helps the video feel more conversational while still hitting the important points.

Explain Your Purpose – But Try Not to Waste Time

Online videos tend to be pretty fast-paced these days: Watch a few popular, informative videos online and you’ll see that something always tends to be happening – whether it’s a new line, a scene change, a close-up, or something else. Videos need to be particularly active to hold attention for more than a few seconds. That means you need to avoid pauses, winding sentences, sentences that don’t really give any information, and slow transitions. The good news is that a lot of this can be changed when editing the video, but set the goal early on.

Create Some Text Add-Ons for More Info

Never be afraid of putting text on the screen! This is a great way to make sure that people are paying attention to your visuals and not getting bored. It’s also useful when adding information (what is this place? Who’s talking? How much is this product they’re showing?) and when providing in-video links to your site for more information.

Cut Everything Down to the Right Duration

How long do you want your video to be? For informative video content, the average length is usually between 60 seconds and around 5 minutes (although that’s a pretty long time to watch the average online video unless it’s top-notch). Know how long you want your video to be, and don’t make any compromises on this number. As a general rule, never be afraid to cut something out and shorten your video time.

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