Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Make a Good Product Video

From Success Magazine, October 2013 edition, reprinted by permission, a discussion with Bob Serling and Andy Jenkins

Today’s question is: What tips do you have for using videos to market my products on my website?

Bob Serling: To help answer that question, I asked my friend Andy Jenkins, the leading authority on website video marketing for small businesses and an Emmy-winning videographer. Much of what I do with video on my own site, I learned from Andy.

Andy Jenkins: There is a saying in the film, television and photography business that the best camera is the one that you have with you. A well-crafted video doesn’t have to be feature film or television broadcast quality—it just has to be on your website.

We’ve come to a point in video production where the cost of the technology no longer differentiates it from quality. I did an entire video series using an iPhone, which was indistinguishable from the video shot with a $7,000 camera by the time it was prepared for streaming on the web. In fact, the iPhone quality was magnificent.

You can get a Logitech C920 webcam that shoots in full 1080p, which is the highest form of HD resolution. That little $75 webcam with enough light is gorgeous and easy to shoot with. It’s auto-focus or you can manually adjust for color, white balance and other technical elements.

Another tip—good lighting. A $500 camera with good light will look as good as a $50,000 camera with poor light. So consider investing in good lighting equipment.

Bob: Adding good lighting made the biggest difference in my videos. I paid around $120 for two light boxes with stands and it made all the difference. People could see everything clearly, which removes a major distraction.

Andy: One of the wonderful things about digital video is that experimentation costs nothing. Take your iPhone or your Android smartphone or whatever camera you have and put your subject outside. Then get what’s called a bounce card. This is essentially a 2-foot by 2-foot or 3-foot by 3-foot solid white piece of foam core. [Try fine-grained Styrofoam sandwiched between matte or glossy paper, available at any craft store.] Use that to bounce the sun or the sky back up into the face of the person that you’re shooting [Try holding it above your subject.]. You’ll find that good light, especially outdoor light, can really make an amazing difference.

When you shoot inside, there are many different lighting kits that are available inexpensively. A Smith-Victor lighting kit was my first when I was a destitute creative artist. This was back in the ’80s, when $105 was all the money in the world. Fortunately, they’ve only gone up slightly with inflation, so a good Smith-Victor lighting kit is only about $120. It’s essentially two really big light bulbs in this lighting instrument that looks like a scoop that works great when you’re looking at the camera and talking directly to your audience. [You can also place a lamp on either side of yourself but never directly in front of your face, as this will cause overexposure.]

What’s even more important than the technical aspects of your video is the quality of your message. I teach a lot of subject matter experts who are very passionate about what they’re doing, but they all have the same concern—they think they aren’t experienced marketers. I always tell them that’s great and means they’re going to do fantastic.

Today we are desensitized to hardcore marketing messages, but something that will make us sit up and pay attention is the quality of the information. So here’s a formula I recommend for creating the message for your video: number one, teach; number two, teach to transform; and number three, transform to transact.

Make your viewers smarter than they were before they watched your video. Teach them to solve their problem. The transformation part relies on your personal experience. A viewer would much rather learn from someone who is teaching them from their personal experience, than from something that’s clinical and filtered out.

Finally, the transaction. We can never forget to ask for a transaction. Sometimes that transaction might be to hit the Add to Cart button. Other times it could be to hit the Like button, to hit the Share button or to enter your name and email and join my list.
The best skill for entrepreneurs is the ability to effectively communicate their message while being on video. Many of your competitors don’t have the will to create great video and the ones who do are using old principles from a decade ago that simply don’t work in today’s age of socialization. That puts you at a great advantage.

Bob: That’s true. I don’t worry about what I look like or what I sound like on video. I just try to be myself and connect with people. When you teach something of real value to people and come across as an authentic person, you can’t beat that combination.

Andy: You mentioned not worrying about what you look like. In my first videos, I was about 70 pounds overweight and didn’t want to put my face on video. So I created slideshows using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote and recorded them using my voice for narration. So I didn’t even need a camera.

Bob Serling helps business owners and entrepreneurs generate more traffic, make more sales, and do both more often. Get his free e-book of interviews with 30 leading experts, including SUCCESS Publisher Darren Hardy, at www.ProfitAlchemy.com/success.

Andy Jenkins helps business owners and entrepreneurs create brands, build subscribers, and convert visitors into loyal customers with Story-Based Video Marketing. Dig into his massive resources of tips and Video Marketing tricks on his blog at www.AndyJenkinsBlog.com.