Online video isn't just for silly cat tricks. You can leverage YouTube as a business tool for marketing, product demonstrations or video blogging. You need only one piece of equipment: a digital video camera. Expect to pay from $150 to $500, depending on the bells and whistles. Remember that you don't need a Hollywood-caliber camera to take advantage of YouTube and other online video services.
- Pick a purpose: You may want to fold video product demonstrations into your e-commerce site, attract qualified candidates with a recruiting video, promote a new service offering or provide step-by-step training walkthroughs for customers. Adding the occasional video to your business blog is also a nice change of pace from text-only posts.
- Film footage: Channel your inner Coppola or latent documentarian. Bring in an employee to help run the camera or handle face-time duties if you're not comfortable with hosting. If you're filing a more complicated Internet commercial or how-to video, it's a good idea to write a cheat sheet or script of what you will cover and what close-ups are required.
- Edit: Most video cameras come with editing software; you can also use the Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie that came with your computer. These packages are easy to use and provide step-by-step instructions for beginners. In most cases you'll want to keep your videos concise. You should consider adding music when appropriate. Be sure to prominently incude your Web site address in the video.
- Upload: Signing up for a YouTube account and uploading videos is a straightforward process. For general uploading advice, check out this instructional page. You can also label videos as private if you want to keep them out of the public eye for internal training purposes or for a select client group.
- Promote: Your videos will show up in YouTube's search engine as well as in places like Yahoo's integrated search. But you don't have to wait for customers to stumble across your creations - you can embed them in your Web site. This YouTube tutorial page walks you through the steps. Also, don't forget to mention your videos in your email marketing campaigns, add them to your PowerPoint presentations and embed them in your blog.
You're now ready to become an online video producer, leveraging a powerful and popular medium to promote your business and grow your customer base.
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