Josh Ochs is the founder of MediaLeaders Academy, a company that teaches others how to use social media. He uses video heavily for both sales and training, and also uses online social media extensively as a promotional tool. We asked Josh five questions:
1) You use online video like mad as a promotion and training tool. What do you consider the minimum equipment and software needed to produce professional-looking online video?
Online video is a great way for me to grab my customer’s attention quickly and “sell” them on my message. I like it, because NONE of my competitors use it and I get more people to “tune in” than if I had written a blog post.
Here’s my formula for success:
a) Keep it short. With so many distractions on the Web, I suggest you keep ALL of your videos less than 2 minutes. Try to keep your intros to a bare minimum and jump right into your content. Then end with a nice quick, “Thanks for watching. Please comment below to let me know what you thought (or visit us at our website for next steps).”
b) Audio is 60 percent of video. Whenever possible, I use a lavalier mic. You can find inexpensive wired versions online for under $30.
c) Lighting and setup is more important than HD camera quality. For that reason, I set up my shot in the best lighting possible (within reason) and I use the Kodak Zi8 camera. It’s under $400.
d) Add value to your viewers. Squeeze as much info as you can in your first 15 seconds so they stay for the whole video. This is usually the tipping-point for viewers.
2) Is it better to do video production in-house or, at least at first, is it better to farm it out? And how do you find someone competent?
When I worked as an editor at Disney Studios, everything was expensive. The best part about Web video these days is being able to test your shots with almost no cost.
Before hiring an outsourced pro video team, try these scrappy tips that might save you time and money:
a) Shoot a pilot video. Grab a friend/colleague that can start/stop an affordable camera + mic setup. Once you have reviewed and shot a few retakes….you can show it to your team.
b) Ask yourself: Do you like your on-camera message? If not, reshoot it for free and test again.
c) Then, ask yourself, would your viewers like the footage and setup? If you think your viewers would be happy, then you’re ready to share!
d) If your viewers are looking for a higher end solution, then use this video as a pilot and reach out to a professional team to get bids. They will get a better understanding of your needs and you will have saved time and money.
3) How about live, interactive video chat? Do you use it? How about an example of how it might benefit a mid-sized company most?
If I’m meeting with a small group of people, I love using Google Hangouts. If it’s more than 10 to 15 people, I’ll use Justin.tv or Ustream.tv to broadcast my message (and still interact with viewers using the comment box).
4) Best way to measure results of your early video(s)?
For me, results means first explaining your message (to lots of viewers) and second, getting the customer to act (sales or signups). You can measure both of these results with a little planning.
First, load your video on the Web somewhere.
a) Do you want your video to be viewed and by the public? Then load it on YouTube.com
b) Want your video to be private or only visible on your website? Then load it on Wistia.com. This will give it a more professional HD look and feel (and reduce the amount of people re-embedding your video on other sites).
Both of these services will show you how many people have viewed your video. Your next step is to include a link at the bottom of the video that lets them take the “next step” to either signup or buy your product.
5) Worst video mistake you’ve seen? (so our readers can avoid making it…)
One of my most memorable video mistakes was when I shot a few scenes of a corporate video without ever turning on the mic. We didn’t realize the mic was off until after the shoot. None of the audio was being recorded.
Here’s a few tips you can use to perhaps learn from me and shorten your “window of hard-knocks” to produce some awesome videos:
First, plan out your video by writing down ONE SENTENCE that describes what you want to focus on in the video. You can go over that subject, but make sure to keep it really simple. Your audience will appreciate your clarity and it will add to your success.
Then, be sure to review/watch your clips between takes to check them out. Make sure [you frame a person] properly, your colors are accurate and your audio is crystal clear. I’ve shot videos and found a buzz or missing connection AFTER we wrapped the shoot.
Lastly, shoot a few extra backup takes. If you have 2 to 3 clips to select from, you’ll always have some good footage to fall back on in case you notice something wrong with one of the clips.