3 Simple Steps  - How to save money and create engaging YouTube marketing videos with your smartphone

We have all seen some pretty awful videos on YouTube - terrible lighting, awkward composition and big stinky dogs on couches. I love big stinky dogs but not on the couch, with their privates showing, in a business video. Very distracting.  I only mention this because I actually saw this in a video once, from a business coach.

We’ve also seen some web-celebs with gorgeous loft studios and a professional video crew. That's on my bucket list, too!

But not today. 

Like me, you likely have limited time and money to spend on marketing video production. Our system helps you optimize the most important part of your video - content and viewer engagement.  In the beginning stages of shooting marketing videos for Youtube or other platforms, your focus should be on the content and not necessarily on a fancy set up.


The whole goal of our system is to get you sharing your wisdom with decent quality marketing videos as soon as possible, not futzing around with cameras and gear, or worrying about what room in your house you have to clean up first.

At the same time, you don’t want to look terrible on video. You want a video that complements the quality of your brand without breaking the budget.

The Fab Video, Finally Done is a balanced system to save you time and money on good quality DIY videos that keep your viewer focused on you and the content.

Step One:

Content:
It might surprise you but the place to start creating YouTube marketing videos with your smartphone is actually to conduct some content keyword research. I cover a quick way to get started HERE

This does not have to take more than a couple of hours, and it will save you time when you post your videos to YouTube, not to mention it will make it easier for Google to match up your videos with the people that are looking for your information or product or service. You can always go back later and do more research as your engagement with your audience increases.

If you just can't make yourself do some quick research and instead simply want to dive in, OK. Do this: Create videos that answer the top questions your clients always ask, and keep the answers under one minute. Remember, rambling is death in marketing videos.  And don't forget to schedule some planning time to do your keyword research before you create a bunch of videos. If you don't use the right keywords in your titles, your script and your tagging, it  is sort of like if you are giving a big speech you spent a lot of time preparing for,  and the mic goes out. Only the front row will hear you, and the rest of the audience will leave. 


Step Two:
This is how we keep it simple - check out our list of the only   4 things you need to shoot with your smartphone.

CAMERA: We recommend you shoot with your smartphone.
SOUND: Use a simple lapel mic that plugs into the headphone jack or the headphone jack adapter.
HOLD STILL: Stabilize your shot with a tripod either table top or regular.

GET CLOSER: The other way that we simplify your life is we asked you to get close to the camera. Stand about 3 feet away. The mic we recommend doesn’t let you get much further away than that, anyway. You don’t have to do a super close-up, but we want your shoulders and head to be the main focus of the frame. See the screenshot from beauty blogger Dominique Sachse below for examples. 
Picture
Here is a screenshot of yours truly, obviously NOT a beauty blogger. lol.

There are practical reasons why we ask you to get closer. 

The first one is that about 50% of videos are viewed on mobile phones or tablets, your viewers are watching you on a very small screen. We want them to see your face clearly. 

The second reason we ask you to get close to the camera is because the closer you are, the less you have to worry about your background. You only have to have an unclutter one corner of the room, not the whole room. You don’t have to worry about that load of unfolded laundry on the chair behind you.  (or am I the only one who has chairs that are really glorified laundry baskets?)

And finally, thinking ahead - you don't have to decide this right now, but more and more videos are being formatted with a square frame, which is optimized for mobile viewing. In the shot at the right, this clip viewed on a mobile phone will not show the black bars on either side (if you are reading this on your phone, click it and see). All you will see is a square frame with my mug. 
​Try to find out if most of your audience is viewing videos on their mobile phone. If so, consider formatting the video with a square in the edit - talk with your editor ahead of time or contact us for advice. Its not hard but its a bit technical to get into in this post. 

Bottom line is, we ask you to get close to the camera because if you are filling most of the screen, it makes it easy to reformat your video and retain decent quality.


Are you coveting the softly lit, muted uncluttered artsy background of some YouTube gurus?  Just keep in mind once again that people are watching videos more often on their phone than a computer. Small details in your shot will get lost and unnecessary clutter in the background will add visual confusion. Just start with this system. It will save you at least a day of futzing around with your background and lighting. 

You can always upgrade the environment of your mini studio later if you like. 

Step THREE:

Start Batching.

Try not to write and shoot one video at a time if you can help it. Shoot for (ha!) a minimum of 3 videos at a time. 

Once you have your content outlined, order your equipment for your shoot, if you need to.  

While you wait, you can write your scripts. 

Write at least 3 scripts all at one time. Then, set up your ministudio and practice your scripts. Shoot all three videos on the same day. 

As you get more practice you can bump that number up. I have shot up to 15 videos all at one time in an afternoon. 

Marketing videos in general should not be longer than 5 minutes,  the optimum length is 1 to 2 minutes, so this is the perfect project for batching.

We have much more detail about all of this and more, including lighting tips, where to set up your mini-studio, how to set up your shoot, how to frame your shot, camera confidence and much more in our Ultimate Guide to Fab Videos, Finally Done, part of our complete system to help entrepreneurs transform their business with video.  Looking for furrther ideas about where to get started? Check out this blog post on the 3 essential videos every business needs (including scripts!)
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