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Video Starting Points: Make and Share Your First Video

This guest post is by Neil Davidson of My Web Presenters.

In November of 2011 David Hsieh, VP of Marketing at Cisco famously stuck his neck out by proclaiming that 90% of internet traffic will be viewing video in three years’ time.

The actual figure is already 51% of traffic, and it’s climbing fast. For bloggers like you and I, this has consequences. You can either bite the bullet and get started with video, or you can hide under the sheets and hope the storm passes.

For this post, I am going to assume that you are firmly in the “get on the train” camp.

At first sight it may seem that moving into video content production from textually based content is very difficult, as it requires a very different skillset. Also you may need to speak out loud or, worst of all, show your face on camera!

However, getting into video production and marketing is actually a natural progression for a blogger. Here are some ideas on how you can get started.

1. Video production

Use smartphones for impromptu interviewing

Hands up if you’ve got a smartphone. Many smartphones now have high-quality video cameras built in—some even have HD video. These can be highly effective for taking advantage of unusual situations…

Imagine that you’re at a blogging event and you find yourself standing next to Darren Rowse. You strike up a conversation that gets interesting. Suppose you were to pull out your smartphone, ask him a few questions on video, and post it to your blog. If the “interview” went well, chances are that Darren would be happy to tweet and share that content for you.

Suddenly you would be catapulted out of nowhere into the limelight—all through a chance five-minute meeting. A traditional interview would take a lot longer to capture, as well as to prepare and write up, and the chances are that busy people, like Darren, may well have to refuse an interview request. Compare these two approaches:

  • “Oh, wait a moment, I am really enjoying this conversation and I know the readers of my blog would love it too, do you mind if I just video you answering that question again?”
  • “That’s really interesting, do you mind if I just go and grab a pen and paper and note down the conversation that we are having?”

Use screencasting videos to show how something is done

Another very accessible form of video is screencasting. Essentially, this technique makes a video of your computer screen and films the actions you’re taking on it. This is very similar to the concept of a screen grab for obtaining a static image of your screen.

Screencasting videos are fantastic for making “how to” videos. They allow you to visually and verbally take your viewers through a process to show them how something is done. Here are some ideas from Camtasia, the makers of video software, on how their technology can be used. In this video, they explain how the tool can be used practically:

Camtasia costs $99 for lifetime usage so it certainly won’t break the bank! Perhaps the second most popular screen casting tool on the market is ScreenFlow, which this costs the same as Camtasia and has pretty much the same features. The best thing to do with these products is to download them (both offer free trials) and practice using them to make videos.

One tip that will help you get up to speed more quickly is to write down a list of the steps that you will follow in your video and have it on the desk in front of you whilst you are making the video. With a written blog post it is natural to pause and think, and to go off researching something mid article, but with video, the research must be done beforehand. You need to film to a plan.

Be strict. If you’re not happy with your video, delete it and start again. It gets easier and easier—you will be very surprised by how quickly you speed up and improve your abilities. Before you know it, you will actually be enjoying it, wahey!

2. Video publishing

There are two places on the net where your video really needs to be:

  1. on your blog (or website)
  2. on YouTube.

Initially, you should publish the video to Youtube. If you use Screenflow to make a screencast video then you can publish straight from the platform to your YouTube channel. From Camtasia, you can go straight to Vimeo.

The reason that it is important to publish to Youtube is not just because it is so much larger than the other platforms and is so closely tied with both Google search and Google+, but also because it easily enables your video to be openly used by other bloggers through the video embed code shown here:

YouTube video

Once your video’s on YouTube, anyone who has a website can grab your embed code and plonk your video on their website. This gives you additional exposure via their audience and also gives you a link back to your YouTube video. A side note here is that the number of embeds of a video is factored into the ranking algorithm of videos on Youtube and Google.

When you’re posting your new video to YouTube, there are a number of tweaks that you can make to enhance its visibility both on YouTube itself, and within search engines. Here is a detailed overview of basic video SEO for YouTube.

Once the video is up on YouTube, you can then grab the embed code and put it onto your blog simply by pasting the code into the HTML of a blog post. Don’t forget to write a short textual piece around the video to explain the content of the video and encourage visitors to actually watch it. This little blurb will also enable search engines to understand the context of the video file, since they can’t read video files themselves.

3. Marketing your video

This is where your experience in marketing textual blog posts really comes into play. Great content is essentially great content, and the people you want to reach, whether you’re creating video or textual content, will not change.

There are however, a couple of new tools that will help you market your video effectively.

Oneload

Oneload (a.k.a. Tubemogul) is an online video distribution tool. The tool allows you to upload a video once and publish it to over 20 video platforms in one go.

Prior to your first use of Oneload, you’ll need to identify all of the video platforms that you want to submit your video to, and go and create accounts with each of them. You can then link them all to your Oneload account for easy distribution.

Realistically, you’re looking at around a day’s work to set up 20 accounts on video platforms and to enter your profile information, but once it’s done, it’s done.

Other distribution tools

Finally I will just go over some tools that you’re probably more familiar with, and highlight how they can be used to market your video content.

  • Hootsuite: This social media management tool allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn communications all in one place. You can therefore submit your video to your Facebook page, plus your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts through this tool.
  • Shareaholic and Addthis: These two tools allow you to bookmark content to multiple social networks and social bookmarking sites with ease. They are also perhaps two of the most popular social sharing button plug-ins for WordPress. Install either one as a browser plugin (they work on all major browsers), then select the social bookmarking sites that you are interested in, and you have a one-click way to share your video posts on these platforms.

A word of caution here: don’t expect instant results. You need to build up a presence and some relationships with others in your niche who are active on these sites so that you content gets a kick-start once you submit it.

A wide variety of techniques are available to market your videos solely within YouTube, both to build up a following there and to push these people back to your site. That will have to be saved for another day though, as it’s a huge topic. If you’re interested, though, look into the topic of video annotations with links to other videos.

It would be fantastic to hear some tips from others who have experience with video blogging, as the starting points I’ve covered here really are just the tip of the iceberg. Let us hear your advice in the comments.

Neil Davidson is the Founder of My Web Presenters, who are a leading Online Video Production specialist. They create and market compelling and emotive video that helps businesses to grow. You can keep up with their video marketing blog here.

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Comments

  1. Nasrul Hanis says:

    Fantastic idea. It’s better to lit your light than waiting for the storm passes by, isn’t it?

    I agree with your point on instant result. Slower but continuous presence gives a last longer impact on your authority!

  2. Carey Suante says:

    Yes, it’s a good idea to start using videos on your blog. However a word of caution – consider your whole content strategy before plunging headlong into it.

    How will you market your blog? How will you monetize your blog? How will the SEO work now?

  3. John says:

    Camtasia Studio is $299 not $99. Still well worth it though.

    Thanks for the info.

    • That is strange as I have a screenshot of their shopping basket showing $99. This makes me think that they may be using variable pricing – some users see one price and others see a different price.

  4. Anne says:

    Nice article and pointers, but 2 quick items. On my version, I ‘m seeing some iframe embed code right below David’s video. Also, are you sure about lifetime Camtasia access for $99. I just bought the product and it was a tad more and not a lifetime license;-)

    • Hi Anne

      As I mentioned above in my response to John I am sure that the price I am seeing is $99. I cannot include an image in my comment here but I do have a screenshot of this – if you could email one of my team at joel.chudleigh @ mywebpresenters.com then he will send you the screenshot.

  5. Bill says:

    I have thought of using fiverr for some video content. What do you think, does it work or is it best to just be me. I have found one person that will record a video up to 2 minutes in length ranting or raving about a topic of your choice. She is an actress & can believably depict an angry/excited consumer.

    • Hi Bill
      Outsourcing is absolutely fine – in fact it is what my business is built on ;-)
      The main point is though that the quality must be high for a video to carry any value – it is the same with written blog posts.
      Unfortunately finding talented people who are willing to work for low costs is tricky; but if you do find someone that is good then you should go for it.

  6. Loved this one guys, also really digging the website.

  7. Kathy says:

    I would like to be in the “get on the train” camp so I am wondering if you have any suggestions for those of us whom do not look good on video. Or, who do not look like they fit in with their readers.

    • Hi Kathy
      There are many forms that a video can take – the screencast videos mentioned in the post allow you to not actually take part in the videos visually.
      Also, you could look at doing some interviews or perhaps even taking guest videos on your blog.

  8. CamMi Pham says:

    Thanks for reminding me to use smartphone to interview. I always forget about it.
    Also w the launch of google on air for everyone. it becomes much easier to make video. You can get a group of likeminded ppl together and record it

  9. Tracy says:

    Great post, Neil–thanks. Video seems to be the natural progression. I have a couple of buddies who are vlogging successfully. It unnerves me a bit because as you mention, video presentation requires a special skill set–one that I haven’t mastered yet! But I certainly see the benefits of varying the way content is distributed.

  10. Hi Neil,

    Digging your tips! Video is big and getting bigger. I’ve filmed over 850 videos but need to start promoting my vids more aggressively.

    Start shooting videos now. Practice is the #1 tool in your arsenal to overcome self-conscious blocks most hold in the video creation area. I hate how I look on camera. I hate how my voice sounds. After 800 videos you won’t. You will be used to how you look, how you sound, but you must get past the uncomfortable feelings and start shooting now.

    As for sharing posting embed codes within blog posts and select articles seems to do the trick. I receive more views if I write an accompanying text post. Readers appreciate a text version, especially the scanning crowd. Either way, create, create, create. The more you create the less you compete.

    Forget the edit. Or just edit once. #1 block after the whole “I look weird and sound funny deal” is the insane idea of shooting a perfect video. Shoot. Edit once. Publish. Ship. Ship. Ship. As Emerson said all life is an experiment, the more experiments the better. Nothing boosts your self-esteem more quickly than posting videos online, because you will receive both positive AND negative feedback, and being able to deal with negative feedback is a great secret to success.

    In truth, scared folks edit videos for 15 takes because they fear negative feedback, NOT because they strive for the *perfect* video. Shoot. Edit once. Publish. Over time, you will improve, but boost your darn self-esteem and ship already!!

    Thanks for sharing your video insight Neil!

    Ryan

  11. Embracing video isn’t easy for some types of blogs. I blog on sleep habits and tips and it would be a challenge to use video instead of the traditional text. But I think the written form won’t die out as easily, the print newspapers and books are still around, despite the alternatives.

    But it is a nice article on trying out videos on blogs. I’m definitely giving it a thought.

    • Hi Naveen
      What if you were to interview a specialist doctor who focuses on sleeping habits – I think that would be more appealing to your audience in video form rather than text perhaps?

    • HI Naveen
      How about interviewing a specialist doctor on sleep habits? You could also interview people with sleeping disorders about specific solutions they have found to their problem which could have good commercial potential if you are looking to monetise through affiliate products?

  12. Awesome tips Neil. I must admit that I’m already aware of the reach that videos and video blogs provide. But using Camtasia is a huge challenge for non-tech bloggers like me, which leads to postponing all the ‘wonderful screencast video ideas’ to a day that never comes :) Thanks for the reminder to work on improving my Camtasia skills.

  13. Vijay says:

    really awesome and gives great inspiration to start my first video post.
    I see recent Google changes are favoring more video content over text in SERPs.

  14. Hi Gregory
    Thanks for the kind words – the site has just been re-skinned and we are working through a number of blemishes so great to know that you found it in good shape.

  15. Justin Mazza says:

    I have to get on the video train as well. Some days I would rather watch videos online than read I must admit. I have never heard of Camtasia for screen casting before but I will try it out.

  16. Ehsan says:

    Video marketing is an efficient way to market your business and website. A couple months ago I have created a video from Camtaisa Studio and uploaded it to Youtube than I put my blog link on the description of the video.
    I have received more than 2000 visitors from Youtube to my blog.

  17. david says:

    Hi Neil. Fantastic information. One thing I would suggest for Mac users: Camtasia seems to be problematic. I’m seeing enough crashes to be able to say that is a problem.

    I have not tried screen flow, but if someone didn’t have either one yet. I suggest leaning towards ScreenFlow over Camtasia for Mac.

    I’m tired of submitting crash reports and losing the work I did. Be wary of Camtasia for Mac. – This is based on my personal experience and may not be the case for other people / other macs. But it has been the case for mine.

    • HI David
      Thanks for the feedback; I have also read that Mac users are better off opting for ScreenFlow but have not experienced issues with it on my Mac to date but I have not made many screencast videos of late so may just have been lucky!

  18. Lorna says:

    Really helpful article, video is now on the to do list thank you

  19. Gjivan says:

    Very informative and insightful article. Thanks for the tools mentioned. As like creating textual content, creating video content is tough in the beginning. But, when we are habitual with it, it’s much more easier than we expect it to be. Apart of paid tools to screen capture, there is one free software “Camstudio” which can be a good aid for people having tight pocket.

  20. Marcie says:

    Thanks for these thoughts and resources. Screencasto-o-matic is also a good tool. It’s $12 a year.

  21. Carol says:

    I recently started a blog on WordPress and ready to pull my hair. No Suppott .

    I added a pay pal button and it works fine, i try to move it to sidebar so its eaiser to use and it doesn’t work.

    Can you suggest anything? I’m trying to raise money. I have a feeling that theme has played out, but still would like to try.

  22. Ayaz says:

    Really great tips regarding video’s and I agree with you making a video with your intro to let your reader to know what you all about and making a diagram to give the clear idea of what you giving in the video so that readers or viewer get clear idea what is the whole is all about.

    Thanks for sharing great tips!

  23. Toner says:

    I really like the idea of interviewing people via smartphones. It really creates new possibilities to save time. Thanks for the idea.