How-To Produce Better DIY Marketing Videos

If you’re a marketer who hasn’t embraced video and everything it can do for a company or brand, what’s the hang-up? Cost? Sure, video does have the potential to break the budget, but there are also plenty of ways to create low cost videos including DIY marketing videos.

Will wonders never cease?! A video producer advocating DIY videos?! Yup, although, I do have some special criteria before I grant you permission to create your own videos:

  • If you have zero marketing budget or you’re a start-up
  • If you are a kitschy company and your customers/clients know this about you
  • If you’re producing short videos for social media like Facebook Live or Instagram

Let’s break down and then I’ll give you some solid tips on how to improve the look and feel of your DIY videos.

Zero Marketing Budget

Whether you’re a part of a small business or a start-up just getting off the ground, I know there are plenty of companies out there that don’t have much of a marketing budget. In many cases, you don’t have a single dollar advocated toward marketing.

While I think everyone should be thinking about marketing and willing to at least spend something on it, that’s a topic for another day. However, if this is the position you find yourself in, by all means create your own videos.

Create a basic “About Us” video. Take people behind the scenes of your company and show what you do everyday and how you do it. Introduce the people working at the company.

There are all sorts of videos that can help market your business.

Kitschy Company

If a lot of people at the company wear t-shirts and jeans to work… you might work at a kitschy company. If you have a ping-pong table or video game center at the office and people use them… you might work at a kitschy company. If the release of a new Star Wars movie warrants a day-off, you might work at a kitschy company. (FYI… that one happens to be true at T60)

Kitschy companies get a special pass when it comes to DYI marketing videos. They can get away with videos that look less polished because they can chalk it up to their company culture.

They don’t have to worry about ruining their reputation with an amateur-looking video. Their customers just know this is who they are, and they love that about them.

Facebook Live and Instagram

No, you don’t have to hire a video pro to produce live and short social media videos. These are videos that in many cases are meant to be less polished.

The appeal of live videos are that they’re happening right now, not that you have perfect lighting. The appeal of a short social media post is providing a snippet, not an in-depth or intricate story.

DIY is just fine in these circumstances.

Doing Better DIY Marketing Videos

Now, for those you ready to take-on a DIY marketing video project, I have some practical tips for you to follow.

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. One of my mom’s favorite expressions is perfect for this first time. Don’t do too much, keep it simple. You may have the tools to produce a  video (smart phone or DSLR camera, editing software), but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert at using them. It takes dedication and years of experience to hone your skills as a videographer and editor. Especially if you’re a newbie, I recommend starting with some basic videos. A vlog is a great place to start. Simply put someone on-camera and have them talk about their views on subjects facing your industry, and maybe how your company is handling them. These videos are easy to shoot and edit.
  2. The dead giveaway of an amateur production… bad lighting, bad sound, and a shaky camera. You probably don’t have a video light kit. That’s okay. If you’re shooting a vlog or an interview-style shot, move a regular lamp in front of the subject, just out of frame. No lamp? Position them in front of a window so the natural light is on their face. The idea is don’t rely on the overhead lights in the room.
  3. Next, let’s address the sound issue. The microphone on your smartphone is… okay at best. The build-in mic on DSLRs… terrible. Do yourself a big favor and buy an inexpensive lapel microphone that you can plug into the camera and clip on your subject.
  4. Another worthwhile investment is a tripod. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you want a nice stable platform for your camera. You can always look for ways to prop-up your camera on things you have available, but once you do… hands-off! Try not to touch the camera while it’s recording.
  5. Speaking of setting-up the camera… try not to leave too much headroom. There can be a little space between the top of the frame and the subject’s head, but just a little. Even chopping-off a tad of the top of their head is preferred to a big gap. Also, position them in the frame slightly off-center, and for crying out loud… NO VERTICAL VIDEO! Video screens are horizontal, so if you’re using a smartphone turn it on its side while you shoot video. The only exception… if you’re shooting for a platform like SnapChat that encourages vertical video.

One Last Thing

Finally, temper your expectations and have patience. Shooting and editing will probably take you longer than anticipated. Don’t sweat it… this isn’t your expertise. The more you do it, the more efficient you’ll get at the process.

And remember, your DIY marketing video is not going to measure-up to the professional corporate videos you’ve seen. It just isn’t, so don’t hold yourself to that standard.

The Home Stretch

These tips will certainly help your production, but chances are you’re not going to fool anyone into thinking a pro produced them. As long as you fall into my DIY criteria stated above… that’s totally fine. Don’t try to fool them. Own the fact that you DIY your videos.

Better to own it, than have people think you’re trying to be something you’re not.

So… what are you waiting for?!

Tony GnauTony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 13 Telly Awards for its work.

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