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Produce high-quality video marketing content on a low budget

Columnist Dean Swanson says tools, equipment are available so anyone can hone this skill.

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I got a challenge this past week when I was visiting with some local small business CEOs about what they were wanted to do differently this coming year to help them increase their sales.

Several want to increase the use of video for their website as well as their social media marketing. They asked for some tips on doing high-quality video marketing content on a low budget.

I pointed them to a SCORE content partner who has shared some of his expertise. Drew Gula is a marketing copywriter at Soundstripe where they help clients put sound and video together to produce a high-quality product. What follows is some of his advice.

Developing high-quality video marketing content is something every company should work towards. After all, video content is much more shareable than blog posts or images (up to 1,200% more sharable), and video marketing has the best ROI, according to 52% of marketers.

All you need to do is hire a production crew — producer, filmmaker, editor, sound engineer, etc. — and buy $30,000 in equipment. That’s not too much, right?

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It’s not too much if you’re working with a big budget or have an internal creative team. But for anyone on a smaller budget, it’s unrealistic to recruit a handful of filmmaking specialists or invest in expensive gear. You may not even have the funds to outsource to an agency.

But there is some good news here: You don’t have to write off video marketing completely. In fact, you might already have everything you need to create high-quality video marketing on a startup budget. All you really need are a few basic tools and some creative ideas.

1. Use the gear that’s available

The latest iteration of smartphones put powerful cameras right in your pocket, and you’ve probably seen impressive videos on YouTube or Facebook that were shot exclusively on an iPhone or Galaxy.

Don’t worry about the $10,000 camera you don’t have. Don’t go out and buy a drone or an expensive lighting kit. Don’t feel like you need to rent gear just to capture some footage.

If you really want to get some specialized gear, you can find iPhone videography accessories to help. It’ll be your easiest — and cheapest — way to get the “big-budget production” look without having to spend your whole budget.

2. Find the right tone and style

Video quality matters, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. Everyone has stopped watching a video that’s got bad audio, bad lighting, or bad visuals.

But you’ve also probably stopped watching a polished and professional video out of boredom. That’s because presentation matters too.

In other words, don’t focus on big cinematic drone shots if your audience wants a “floating head” video. And don’t make comedy sketches if your viewers want to be inspired.

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Only you know what your audience wants. And if you meet their expectations, viewers will often overlook some technical “hiccups” while you develop your production skills.

3. Make good use of the data

Digital marketing is all about collecting data and learning from it, so it makes sense that you’d carry that same approach into your video marketing process. It also gives you a runway to test things as you continue to produce and publish videos.

Most social media sites provide basic analytics data for content creators. But you could invest in things like TubeBuddy, Unbox Social, or Sprout Social to get deeper insights and track engagement across different channels.

The point here is simple: Take your digital marketing smarts and find ways to use them with video content. The exact processes will be different, and you’ll probably need new tools to collect and make sense of the data, but it’s a great way to boost your ROI on a small budget.

4. Take advantage of web-based tools

Living in the digital age means that if there’s something you want to do, you can probably find a tool for it on the internet. And that certainly extends to video production.

There are thousands of startups and small businesses out there that don’t have the budget to tackle high-quality video marketing content, and so there are thousands of apps and web-based tools that simplify the process for a fraction of the cost.

Some popular tools that work for small teams and solo filmmakers are Studiobinder (production management), Biteable (animation tool), and Soundstripe (stock media content).

5. Build your video content strategy

A strong content strategy is when you marry creative ideas with data-driven insight.

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You already know how valuable video can be to your business. All that’s left is for you to take these tips and start integrating video content into your strategies, whether it’s straightforward social media content or a scripted promo video.

Either way, you’ve got everything you need to make high-quality video marketing content on a startup budget.

Dean Swanson is a volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and former SCORE chapter chairman, district director and regional vice president for the North West Region.

Related Topics: SMALL BUSINESSASK SCORE
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