People are addicted to video. They view it everywhere, every day. YouTube streams three billion hours of video a month; that's thirty minutes of video for every man, woman, and child on the planet. Wow! Some days YouTube gets more traffic than Google.
I recently read in the New York Times, "Online ads are booming if they're attached to video. Video marketing is the fastest growing segment of Internet marketing."
Online video is quite possibly the easiest, cheapest, fastest way to attract traffic, convert visitors to subscribers, and increase sales. Yet many people are so afraid of doing video marketing that they end up not doing it at all.
They're intimidated by technology. They think it'll take too much time or cost too much—neither of which is true. This creates a big opportunity for you, since for the most part, you're competing with amateurs.
The beauty of video is you know when it's bad. So you just need to learn a few tricks to separate yourself from the amateurs.
Take comfort in the fact that anyone can create effective videos, guruhood not required. Concentrate on what matters. You don't need to understand every single nuance about video production technique. You just need to get a video done.
The hardest video you will ever make is your first one; it all gets easier after that.
I've done lifestyle videos, promotion videos, education videos, webcasts, podcasts, lead-capture videos, interview videos, had a few videos go viral, and even had a TV show. Let me share a few shortcuts I've learned.
Many people believe video is expensive. Don't use this excuse, because it's false. Here's all you really need:
1) A camera with video recording capability. I use a simple point-and-shoot, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX10. I like shooting videos when I'm inspired in the moment or have an interesting background. Since this camera is small, waterproof and shock-resistant, it's perfect to bring everywhere for when inspiration strikes.
2) For inserting slides or graphics into your video, simply use existing graphic design templates in Keynote or PowerPoint. They come either cheap or free; just do a Google search for "PowerPoint template."
3) For voiceover work, get a $30 microphone.
4) For editing, any computer less than three years old comes with all the hardware you need.
Shoot video when inspiration strikes! Riding elephants through the jungle, northern Thailand.
On location in Miami with Randy Gage. Afterwards we inserted Twitter and Facebook links, logo and website graphic.
What's outside the shot doesn't matter (towel on my legs, water bottle, bright and hot reflector for natural light ...).
Bob Burg, coauthor of The Go-Giver series, on The Art Jonak Show.
TV studios have only cameras and blue walls (top). Video technicians project the background into the shot (bottom).
Filming Orrin Woodward on his estate with two cameras, using a Gorilla Pod (on the right).
The World's Tallest Building video with Donna Johnson, Hilde Sæle, and Art showing his private-access elevator key.
Scripts and Formulas
What should you say in your video? That's what we call a script, and the better the script, the happier the viewer.
I love to do spontaneous, in-the-moment videos. Some people prefer a written script. Choose your own comfort level. If you're using a script, read it over a few times. Pretend you're telling a story to your best friend. The key is to have a natural conversation.
A simple script formula is feature, advantage, benefit.
In videos you've got about eight to fifteen seconds to get your viewer's attention. It's not much time, but it's enough to make a statement that will keep viewers engaged long enough to get your message.
I recommend starting the video with, "In this video, I'm going to show you why...." Think of it as a teaser clip for your video, just like you see for TV shows. This is how you capture your viewer's attention. If you open up right away with a pitch, they'll get defensive, even if they want to buy. People love to buy, they just don't want to be sold.
Next, cover the key outcome of what they'll get from your offer.
Finally, say why and how your product can help them. Always close your video with a call to action, or at least bring the viewer to a website.
This formula flat-out works, so just start writing; don't think too hard about it.
Text, Voiceover and Graphics
There's a powerful relationship between what's being said and what's being seen. You can really take advantage of this in videos by defining the emotion of your advantages and benefits with visuals. This is the definition of show-and-tell.
If you are using slides or graphics in your video, type one feature statement per slide. Then read the advantages and benefits of the feature in voiceover. You should speak these statements to your viewers because they usually have emotional value.
Can you remember the difference between reading the words "I love you" on a Hallmark card and hearing the same words spoken by the person you were crazy about? It's totally different, right? When the words are spoken, you remember the moment, the place, the colors, the sound of your heart about to explode in your chest, and the music playing in the background.
Hearing advantage and benefit statements that have emotional value to the viewer causes resolution. Spoken words cause the feelings to stay with you. That's exactly what you want your viewer to experience.
Once you finish writing your script and creating a new slide for each feature, add some visual impact. Find images that represent the feature in action. Images can be emotional accelerators that help add impact and connect your message to your viewer.
Where do you get images? Search for free stock images or use ClipArt.com ($50 for a week's worth of use) and AnimationFactory.com ($60 a year).
Don't be afraid to insert graphics over your video. For example, if you are on Twitter or Facebook, drop your Twitter and Facebook links into your video.
Major TV networks insert their logo in the corner of their shows; audiences expect it. Take advantage of this by dropping a graphic with your website or logo in the corner of your video.
Energy and Movement
The average length of every TV shot we see is about three seconds. Every three seconds or less, the camera cuts to a different shot, resetting the viewer's attention. Yet most online videos keep the same shot for the entire video!
To keep things moving, I suggest getting at least two video cameras and shooting from multiple angles. This way you can cut to the different angles throughout your video, as well as add text and graphics.
When shooting on location, think about the progression of your video. Create a bullet-point storyboard in your mind before starting. For example, when I shot a video from the world's tallest building in Dubai, I wanted to bring the viewer on the adventure from start to finish. I started by holding up my private elevator key card from the base of the building, then took the viewer inside the world's fastest elevator, shared an interview from the top, and closed the video from inside the world's tallest restroom. Knowing this progression before I began to film, I could consider how to link together each scene.
For fun, throw in a blooper reel or a secret fun message. You'll be amazed at how many people talk about it—and share it with others.
Sound and Music
You never need to write a note of music to create a great video score. You can find a variety of music at places like TheMusicBakery.com, RoyaltyFreeMusic.com or DigitalJuice.com.
Tip on picking the right tracks: go for the goose bumps. Play the track while watching your video. Don't try to pick a track without watching the visual as you listen to the track. Be patient; you may end up auditioning dozens of cuts. Trust your gut. If the music supports the emotion you're trying to convey in the video without fighting the mood, it's a winner.
As for audio level, start off by lowering the music to 25 percent of original volume, then adjust. If the music sounds too loud to you, it will sound too loud to your viewer.
If you're using a mike, one way you can make your voice sound velvety is to take your microphone boom on your headset and adjust it so it's in line with your jaw. The bones of the jaw are shaped like a tuning fork, so they resonate. Also, when you have your mike boom closer to your chest, it will pick up not only the resonation from your jaw bone but also the boom from your chest.
On the other hand, if you sound too much like Barry White's cousin, tilt the boom mike until it's just about even with your nose. Then do a short test recording and see how it sounds.
Formats and Ratios
Video formats, codecs, bit rates, aspect ratios, FLV, H.264, MP4, kilohertz (kHz), frame rate—all that stuff makes people's heads hurt and keeps them from using video. Forget about all that lingo for a moment! All you really need to know about exporting and uploading your videos are these specs:
This is about twice as big as you would use if you were uploading video to your own server. Here's why: bit rate is how much bandwidth your user will need to use to see your video without stuttering. By setting your bit rate higher than you normally would, video-sharing sites such as YouTube have good quality data to work with if they decide to re-encode it.
Use a free distribution service, such as TubeMogul.com, that takes your video after you upload it and automatically posts it to dozens of video-sharing sites of your choice. It has a built-in video encoding engine to automatically optimize your video for playback on the different video-sharing sites.
If you're still nervous about video, then repeat after me:
"Perfection is the lowest standard of achievement. Doing is the highest."
Do something. Look at what you've done. Improve upon it if you can, and keep going. Don't worry about getting it right the first time—or anytime. (I still make huge mistakes in my videos.) And when your moment comes, when the paparazzi show up with their video cameras, you'll come off as a pro, because you've already done it a hundred times before.
ART JONAK is a Networking University faculty
member, founder of the Network Marketing Mastermind
Events, a successful network marketing leader and widely
respected trainer. Get access to Art's training tips and videos at