From Eyeballs to Equipment How to Create Effective DIY Videos for Your Company


There’s power in a good story. Stories entertain while communicating values and connecting us at a human level. Seeing a story unfold on video is even more powerful. Sharing your startup’s story through engaging videos spices up your marketing strategy and allows your prospects to connect with real people.    

Communicating your value through video boosts engagement with your product or service, but committing to a video project can be daunting. Most startups don’t have room in their budget for sophisticated video and audio equipment. Luckily, though, video technology has become much more accessible in recent years, says John C. Williams, founder and CEO of JCW Creative Agency. He believes anyone can produce compelling video content, and he shared his tips and tricks with us. 

You can tell a compelling story through video content — even if your only equipment is a smartphone and a laptop. Here’s how.

Define Video’s Role in Your Marketing Strategy

Before picking up your camera, determine your video’s strategic value. First, identify the story you want to tell. Next, tailor your message to appeal to your specific audience. Set your production timeline by determining when releasing the video will have the most impact. Finally, decide which format your video should take. Will it be interview-based, b-roll with voice over or just you sharing information with the audience, webinar-style?

Let’s say the story you want to tell is a client’s journey with your startup, and that your target clients are in healthcare. You’re scheduled to showcase your product at a medical expo in a month and believe your video will have the most impact in front of medical professionals with purchasing power at their organizations. Given your story, audience and timeline, you might use an interview-based format interspersed with b-roll so your client can tell their own story while showcase them using your product.

If you need assistance with defining the video’s role in your marketing strategy, an agency can provide guidance as well as technical and artistic direction.

Determine the Scope of Your Capabilities

Once you have a plan for your video in place, you can begin pre-production. Determine who you’re shooting and where you want to video. Draft your script, whether it’s voice over message or questions for an interview. Storyboard by aligning specific shots at each point in the script. 

Production is the process of capturing video and audio. But if you don’t have movie quality equipment, don’t worry: A mobile phone with a good camera is a valid starting point. The newer models of iPhone and Android both support capturing high-quality video, Williams says. Consider investing in a stabilizer or tripod designed for a mobile phone to enhance your smartphone video quality. As long as you shoot video in a quiet place and get close to the speaker, your phone can also capture decent audio, Williams says. For interviews, he suggests an inexpensive Bluetooth microphone to boost audio.

You can also invest in a consumer camera. Williams recommends the Canon T1i series, which comes with some other basic equipment. If you’re uncomfortable doing production yourself, you can hire a freelancer to shoot the shots once you’ve planned them out. Shoot video on your smartphone in landscape and always start with a wide establishing shot. Zoom in and out for variation, but hold each shot for at least 10 seconds. If your arms aren’t tired, Williams says, you haven’t held the shot long enough.

In post-production, you’ll edit everything together. The software that comes with your laptop — iMovie on Mac or Windows Movie Maker on PC — is a great starting point. If you plan to use video frequently as part of your marketing strategy, the Adobe Creative Cloud, which runs about $50 a month for access to the entire suite, is also worth investing in.

Promote Your Video to Boost Engagement

Your video’s journey doesn’t after editing. Promoting your video helps you make the most of your investment. Create a company account and publish your video on a video-sharing platform, like YouTube or Vimeo. Then post the embedded link to your website and share it in an email campaign. Once your video is published and gaining traction, it’s time to promote engagement on your startup’s social channels. Here are some guidelines for promoting your video on social:

Facebook LinkedIn Instagram
No time limit No time limit 1 minute limit
Upload original file If content is relevant for a business audience, upload original file Upload a portion or highlights totalling a minute or less
Link to a call to action on your website Link to a call to action on your website Post the call to action as the link in your profile and direct traffic there

Defining how a video fits into your marketing strategy, understanding the scope of your video production capabilities and promoting your videos on social media can help cut through the noise and grow leads and sales.

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