Five Things to Remember When Creating Your Own Videos

These are lecture notes from a class we teach for small businesses and organizations.

Using Video to tell your story.


This class will teach you how to effectively and simply use video to promote your business, tell a story, or share your interests with a larger audience. Whatever the reason, video can be a powerful tool to communicate your ideas. Here are a five things to keep in mind when creating your visual message.

  1. Know your limitations.

    1. Amazing work has been made with the most primitive of tools in the right hands. The secret is using the tools you have effectively within the technical limitations of your equipment.

    2. While most cameras in smartphones have tremendous capabilities, they shouldn’t be confused with professional video equipment. For most of the work you’re going to do, smartphone cameras will more than suffice.

    3. Make sure your equipment can handle your vision or change your vision to meet the limitations of your equipment.

  2. Have an idea that you can accomplish.

    1. Most good things are simple and sustainable. Start your video campaign with simple visual sentences that can be built into concise paragraphs.

    2. If you want to promote a new product or service, break it down into parts.

Example: Mom’s Kitchen Cafe, a popular breakfast/lunch restaurant, is expanding their menu to include dinner. They want to make a video for facebook that telling people about the new menu. While the temptation would be to show every new menu item in one three minute video, with the owner and chef explaining every dish in excruciating detail.

Instead: Make a series of six 30 second videos showing the preparation of the favorite dishes. Show the steak frite being grilled, the fries being cut, the finished presentation. Keep it simple.

  3. Do something simple and sustainable.

The term “Walk before you fly” will help you from falling into the trap of overcomplicating things and stopping all production. You don’t need to say everything you want to say in one video. Leave your audience wanting more. Also, if you leave something undone, it creates a good starting point for the next installment.

4. Have a productions schedule and keep it.

A regular installment of something is better than irregular installments of nothing. Make peace with the fact that you’ll never be completely satisfied with everything you create. Just make another and learn to forgive yourself.

5. Have fun.

There is no point in doing something like this if it’s not fun. Furthermore, if you’re having fun, you’re audience will pick up on it. People like being around people who are enjoying themselves. The best marketing plan you have is the one you want to do.

6. Just start.

Your first ten pieces are not going to be very good, make them anyway. Starting is the hardest, most frightening part of any new adventure. Once you start, you’re on the way.