If one thing's for sure about the future of digital marketing, it's the role of visual content.
The growing popularity of smartphones and tablets means people type less, read less, and view more.
YouTube has proven itself a very valuable source of referral traffic, with YouTube visitors spending more time and looking at more pages that visitors from any other major social site.
With its emphasis on convincing users to dig through its archives, YouTube has also emerged as a powerful platform for user discovery. Embedding YouTube videos in your blog posts can help increase the number of views they get, which can further increase their visibility on YouTube, creating a positive feedback loop of exposure.
Of course, producing professional quality videos is difficult, and merely monologuing in front of a camera usually isn't interesting enough to create the kind of engagement you need in order to build an audience or increase your exposure. Adding slides, on-screen activity, and interviews with other people can make videos more dynamic and interesting to watch.
So, practically speaking, how much work does it take to spice up your videos like this, and what tools do you need in order to make it happen?
Let's talk about it.
Should You Use Internal Tools, or a Product Like Camtasia?
This is the most pressing question you need to answer.
For example, Google Hangouts has an internal tool that allows you to record a video chat and then publish it to YouTube. This is a great option if you want to broadcast an interview live and publish it for later viewing. The main issue here is that Google doesn't allow you to simply record the video for later use, meaning that you don't have the option to edit the video or splice it with other content before you publish it to YouTube.
GoToWebinar has an internal tool that you can use to record the webinar as an organizer, but if you're attending it and want to record it for your own personal use, GoToWebinar doesn't offer any native solutions.
Unfortunately, Skype has no internal tool that you can use to record interviews.
If you plan to record a video that you hope to edit later, a video capture tool like Camtasia is probably your best bet. Tools like these allow you to record a video of anything on your screen, whether it's a Skype interview, a slideshow, or you're just walking people through something that you're doing on your computer screen.
The main issue, of course, is Camtasia's steep price tag. While there is a free trial, Camtasia currently costs $299 once the free trial ends. For something a bit more bare bones, but still relatively professional, you can use Snagit, which is made by the same people and costs only $50. There is also a free, open source alternative called CamStudio, although it isn't as feature rich as some of the alternatives, and you will need to use a different piece of software like VirtualDub or Avidemux to do the video editing. HyperCam is another widely recommended free screen recorder.
In most cases, you will need to use a screen recorder and/or a separate video editor in order to get the kind of results you are looking for. Internal tools don't give you the editing capability you will need in order to make your videos comprehensive and cohesive. Ideally, you will want your videos to incorporate material from a variety of sources, and this can only be accomplished with a screen recorder.
Get a Professional Mic
One of the most important steps you need to take in order to start taking screen videos and interviews seriously is a professional mic. When I say "professional" I don't necessarily mean that you will need to spend hundreds of dollars. However, the last thing you want to do is use your laptop's existing mic, or the mic that comes with your phone or tablet. If you can't spend about $80 on a mic for your interviews and lectures, you probably aren't taking this as seriously as you should be in order to get the results you need.
Making the Most of Your Videos
Before I finish this up, I'd like to offer a few pointers that should help you get the most impact out of your videos:
- Embed the videos as YouTube embeds on your own blog. This allows you to leverage your existing audience in order to increase the number of views your YouTube video gets, which will also improve its visibility in YouTube.
- Include a CTA at the end of your videos referencing a link in the video description. You want viewers to take the next step and visit your site after they watch the video. Click through rates from YouTube are notoriously low for most channels, but things don't have to be this way. Give viewers a compelling reason to click through.
- Prioritize your email list before your YouTube subscriptions. Ideally, your videos should be both useful and entertaining for viewers, as well as act as perfect bait for an email signup. This is best accomplished through the use of an incentive that will encourage viewers to sign up after watching the video. The goal should be to convert viewers into loyal contacts. A single view on YouTube or even a referral from it isn't enough. You need to stay in contact with these viewers or your efforts are mostly wasted.
- Edit your videos to remove any unnecessary pauses or boring parts that state the obvious.
- Use as many media as possible in order to keep things fresh. This is why I recommend using a tool like Camtasia, so that you can mix and match videos from various media, going back and forth between video interviews, slideshows, walkthroughs, and anything else you can do on your computer.
- If the audio can carry itself, upload it to iTunes and any other podcasting platforms that you can use to increase your exposure still further.
Video is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience, but you don't necessarily need to have a professional video staff in order to achieve the kinds of results you are looking for. Using screen recording technology, you can incorporate video from a wide variety of sources like video interviews, slideshows, and walkthroughs in order to give your videos the freshness and usefulness they need to connect with your audience.
Image credit: Annie Roi