The small business guide to video – make yours stand out

Simon Burgess Written by
Simon Burgess

Having worked in video production for decades, I’ve produced content for businesses all over the world and for companies big and small. Video is becoming such an important element in reaching customers that every company should be using it. And even when budgets are tight, it can still be done well. Here’s my small business guide to video.

Why should small businesses be adding video into their marketing?

Aside from the fact that every other business is doing it, there are many reasons why small businesses need to be considering video:

  • It provides a more engaging way to convey a message or story.
  • Video can greatly enrich a website.
  • It can be easily shared on social media.
  • People are more likely to click play and watch a video than read content.
  • It can add an emotional/human side to the story.

Be warned though video for video sake is not always a good option. It needs to be appropriate to what you’re trying to say and to the audience that you’re trying to say it to.

You also need to ensure the video content supports your business’ values and brand guidelines. There is a time to use user-generated content, but when you’re trying to convey a sensitive or serious message it’s recommended to get the professionals in.

I have seen customer case study videos that have been shot by the non-experienced and while some JUST got away with it, there’s one that will always stick in my mind for being a disaster.

The business secured a customer who was happy to talk about his experience. He spoke very well and provided some great content. However, the picture and sound let the video down. The subject was lit poorly, with poor sound. They didn’t look good, and they won’t be looking back at that video feeling great about themselves.

If you’re going to put a customer on camera you need them to look and sound fantastic.

Is it the case that you need tens of thousands of pounds to make anything decent?

Budget is key, and if you’re going to do video well you do need to invest some money into it. But a modest budget can still make video magic.

It’s not always about the kit and software. The budget goes towards the ideas/creative too. This is often overlooked. Getting a team who understand the medium is more important than the kit itself.

Working with people who know what you can and can’t do within the budget is vital.

If you’re looking to make a video, share as much as you can with the production company. Let them know your ideas, the messaging, aims and objectives and any initial creative thoughts you have, but also share with them the budget that you’re looking to spend.

You’re not going to be tied to this budget. But the advantage that it gives the production company is huge as it enables them to see what assets and elements they can use to bring your story to life.

What’s the best way of planning a video?

A key element in any small business guide to video.

When looking to make a video, you should start by thinking about what the message is.

Possibly give the video a title and at least three or four key messages that you want your audience to take away. Then maybe start to elaborate on that to maybe 8 to 10 key statements.

Always get the messaging/script right first. This will then inspire ideas for the creative. By all means gather ideas or thoughts as to how you would like the video to look, but ultimately it’s about getting the messages across in the most engaging way within the budget that you have to spend.

Schedule out the production, plan some initial time for pre-production (this could be looking for locations, developing the script and getting script sign-off, looking for locations and arranging the ‘cast’ and crew).

Next, block out time for the filming or the creation of any animated assets. Then schedule time for the edit. Factor in time for your reviewing and amends.
Think of a 4 to 6 week turnaround of the video by the time you factor in arranging people’s time and getting sign off of the video by the stakeholders. Of course this can be turned around more quickly depending on the nature of the video, and in some cases could take longer.

It all depends on the approach that you’re taking and how many people are involved.

What types of videos are best for which types of audiences/messages/channels?

The key thing to think about is the audience, where and how they’re going to be watching it. For example, the approach to a video for an event, with a captive audience, would be very different to that of a video that is promoting something on social media.

Today, video can take many forms, from drama, live action, animation and everything in between. Explore lots of ideas, look up what your competitors are doing on YouTube. Look at the latest trends and styles. Be flexible, be creative, entertain and engage you’re audience… and have fun.

Hopefully, that helps to get you thinking about video a little more. If you have any other questions, send them over and we’ll help.

Simon is an Upmarketry network partner and Director at SugarSnap, a creative video agency that supports creatives in brand, event, digital, pr & marketing agencies.