By Dave Pelland

Online video can play a helpful role in promoting your company and its offerings, and an effective video can be produced with equipment you probably already have.

Online video is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing efforts of companies of all sizes, providing a great way for your small business to attract and engage with customers and prospects. By letting people see and hear what your company does, how it does it, and who does it, you can provide entertaining and informative videos that help showcase your products or services.

Including appropriate keywords in your video's title and description can make it easier for your customers and prospects to find it, and can help improve your overall search engine rankings.

What to Say

One of the biggest challenges for many small business owners getting started with online video is developing effective ideas for their video content.

In general terms, video that helps your customers and provides insight about your products or services is going to attract more viewers than strictly promotional videos. People see enough commercials without going online for more.

Consider producing the following types of videos:

  • Brief tutorials that help people understand how to use your products.
  • Testimonials from satisfied customers telling how you've helped them solve their problems
  • Answers to customer service questions
  • Behind-the scenes videos, such as tours of your workplace or interviews with your team members.

You can also attract viewers with short demonstrations. For example, a restaurant can provide videos showing how popular dishes are prepared. An entertainment venue can explain what happens the day of a show before the audience arrives. A plumber can show how a faucet is replaced or how a toilet is repaired.

Whatever type of video you produce, be sure to keep it around two minutes. People have short attention spans and are not likely to stick with an extended video longer than that.

Gearing Up

If you're concerned about the types of equipment you may need to produce an effective online video, the good news is you can probably do so with devices you already have. You can invest in a professional crew and high production values, but you don't have to.

A smartphone, tablet device or digital camera will have high-definition video capabilities that are more than powerful enough to produce a short, engaging video. You may not want to upload the video in full HD, but it's a good idea to shoot it with your device's full resolution because you can't upgrade the quality later if you change your mind about HD.

You'll want to attach the camera to a tripod to ensure a steady image. A camera will probably have a tripod thread, and a variety of low-cost adapters are available to mount a smartphone or tablet on a tripod.

One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of the video is to have proper lighting. If someone is speaking directly on camera, the best approach involves two lights, both at 45-degree angles to the person speaking, and a third lighting the background.

Instead of worrying too much about the quality of your equipment, it's better to plan what you want to say once the camera's rolling. And by doing so, you’ll produce interesting videos that engage customers and highlight your business and expertise.

Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank.