5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Videos Right Now

I’ve been seeing a ton of sales and marketing videos on Facebook and LinkedIn lately. It’s a great way to show your expertise in an area in a new and exciting way. However, I’m seeing a lot of room for improvement in these videos. In today’s age of microscopic attention spans, you need to capture someone’s attention quickly. Here are some tips and tricks  you can use to improve your videos today.

Watermark Your Videos

This is one the easiest things you can do for you videos. Always put a watermark of your company logo or branding in the bottom right of your video. This helps reinforce your brand throughout the video, and helps the user know its your company’s video even during segments where you’re showing graphics or animations. Here’s a great article from Videomaker on adding a watermark or bug to your videos.

Here’s an example I saw on LinkedIn today. As you see, there’s a small LinkedIn logo in the bottom right corner. This helps the viewer know the content is from LinkedIn and they can take whatever level of trust they have for that brand into account. This is a video even though it looks like a single image.

Screenshot of videos at LinkedIn

Here’s an example from my time at John Carroll University. Yes, sometimes your logo is hard to see or obscured, but it’s always there.

Watermark example

This can also be helpful in case your video is freebooted, or reused without your approval. You see this on Facebook all the time. Someone will take a video, put their border or caption around it and share it. You lose the credit as well as some visibility.

Watch Your Length

So many things are competing for my time on any given day. With so few minutes and hours in the day, it helps to come up with one topic for your video and stick to it. Get to your point quickly and dispense with the pleasantries. Videos should follow a similar pattern: quick intro and right into the meat of the video. Your video should close with a clear call to action. This could your website or social media links, or an invitation to subscribe to your channel or follow your profile.

So what’s the magic length to get everyone to watch your video? There’s no easy answer here. It varies given your topic and audience. This is why it helps to have a plan for your video. Map out with notes or bullet points what you want to cover. This will  help you stay on topic and get through the material quickly. If you just turn on the camera and start talking, you’re going to go long. Or at the very least, forget key pieces of information.

If you are presenting a topic that has lots of layers or valuable subtopics or tangents, take the opportunity to break your video up into multiple parts. This will let you have multiple touch points with your viewers to help reinforce your expertise about your subject.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

I am going to bold the next sentence because it’s the most important nugget in this entire blog post. The most critical thing any creator can do when making videos is to make sure your audio is very, very good. If you are using your computer or phone’s built-in mic, please stop doing that. It’s going to sound like whatever room your in, which is fine if you’re in a sound-proof recording studio. If you’re in an office or large conference room, your audio is going to sound very echo-y. It’s fine if your viewer is watching with headphones, but if they’re using their laptop or computer speakers, the lack of quality is going to be made even more apparent.

If your videos are made up of you talking to a camera that’s nearby you, I have three recommendations.

Good Sound

If you are using your computer or laptop to record your videos, often the microphone isn’t great and will pick up a lot ambient noise or room echo. Use a USB microphone like this Blue Snowball to connect to your computer to greatly improve your audio. No drivers or additional software are needed, just set it as your audio source in your recording software. You can hide this off-camera so its out of sight, though many video creators regularly show their mic in the shot, so it’s not a huge deal.

Better Sound

One is a microphone that can slot on top of  your camera. These work with most video or DSLR cameras.

A microphone like this plugs into your camera and will vastly improve your audio quality. Some tyes of these shotgun mikes take batteries, so be prepared and have spare 9V batteries laying around.  If you are filming in a windy or busy location, there are windscreens you can put over the mic to cut down on the amount of wind noise.

Best Sound

Two options here:

The closer your microphone is to you, the better. You will often see people wearing lavaliere microphones clipped onto their shirts or jackets. This will give you great sound, and you can send that directly to the camera or record your audio to a separate device like the Tascam recorder below.

ClapperA recorder like this can be helpful if you’re moving around a lot, or if you may also be recording audio interviews. The downside is that you need to then sync the audio file back up with the video when you’re editing. This isn’t impossible — that’s why on film sets you see a clapper board. That board is there to allow editors to sync the audio and video, which is recorded separately. If you don’ t have a clapper,  you can literally have someone clap their hands on screen and you can use that to sync your audio up.

One of the final ways to record audio is using a boom mic, which is a microphone held under or over the subject of the video, out of the shot. This allows you to record great audio without having any equipment in the shot. You place this one a stand or have someone hold it over your subject. You can see how this look behinds the scenes in this video.

Vary Your Shots

People are going to lose interest quickly if your video only has one shot in it or if your video is just you taking over a graphic or screenshot. it’s good to add in some graphics or visual breaks between topics/sections or have something you can refer to. If you are talking alone, record some of  your video at a medium shot, where you fill in part of the shot, and some at a slightly more close up angle.

The Food Busker does cooking videos. There are plenty of bad cooking channels out there, but his videos cut between him preparing the food and shots of him talking through the preparation. The shots flow and make sense. Also, his Korean mac and cheese looks amazing. Compare that to this cooking video, where the shot doesn’t change for nearly 15 minutes. If you looked at that video’s analytics, I bet the view time drops off quickly after the first two or three minutes. This video also has one shot in it, in addition to bad audio. It’s two-for-two when it comes to video sins. Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of cooking videos lately.

I think someone like Grace Randolph does a good job with her videos. In one part of the shot, she talks directly to the camera, but she varies it up with additional graphics and visual elements to tell her stories. Her video review of Deadpool 2 is a great example of this type of style.

Another creator who uses visuals well is Tom Ellsworth and Valuetainment. He does company case studies and they’re 1-shot videos but he’s got great visuals he refers to during the video. This video he did on Fortnite is 18 minutes long but it feels like just a few minutes. Here’s a screenshot:

Fortnite Video Example

I’m Ron Burgandy?

If you feel more comfortable writing your video copy and and then reading it, that’s cool. I’m not always a great off the cuff speaker either. You can tape notes to your camera, but your viewers will very much notice when you look off camera to check your notes or script. Even a small angle change in your eye line will be visible to your viewers.

To remedy that, you can use a teleprompter. This puts text in front of the camera you can read without looking away or to notes in your hand. This is the method you see when you watch the local news.

Yes, you can invest thousands of dollars into a teleprompter system, but why bother when you can make one for a few bucks and use an iPad.  Here’s a video.

Don’t want to build one yourself, no worries. You can purchase pre-made frames and holders.

Wrap-Up

It’s great you are adding video to your advertising mix. It’s a great way to reach your users and potential customers. I hope you take something away from these tips and use them in  your next video. Send me a link via Twitter or the contact form here so I can see your videos!

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