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There are a lot of moving parts to a video project, so plan ahead. These tips show you how.

1. Content Planning – As discussed earlier, there are several types of videos you can create. But where to start? If you've ever written, created, recorded, and edited a video, you know how difficult and tedious it can actually be. First, writing a compelling and engaging script that will entice your audience to continue watching is a complex and creative task. Fortunately, there are several things you can keep in mind to ease the stress.

■ Keep it short: you have approximately 7 to 15 seconds to explain to your listener what your video is about. Think about it like the topic sentence of an article or story. Consider opening with a question.

■ Explain the benefits of staying engaged and how it will be of value to them.

■ Have a clear call to action: Tell them what to do.

■ Be yourself! The last thing a listener wants to hear is some monotonous voice trying to sell them something. Be charismatic and engaging.

■ Give thanks: Always end your video by giving the listener appreciation for their time and attention.

2. Planning the Set – When it comes to recording the video, it's important to realize that the imagery of your video matters as much as the message. The background, your clothing, and even your hair need to match the point that you're making.

■ Don't make the background distracting. Your background should match your message, so if you're trying to promote your business, don't record your video in your bedroom or a random setting.

■ Dress professionally. Err on the side of dressing too nice versus not nicely enough.

■ Wear powder. Depending on the lighting, you may find yourself with a shiny nose or forehead, and powder can prevent this.

3. Recording Your Video – It is important to remember that you don't have to have a cast and crew on a Hollywood stage and a big production company to make a successful video. Those days are nearly gone. A webcam and microphone will serve just as well. People will watch your videos because you are an expert in your field with information relevant to them.

■ Purchase a quality microphone. High-quality audio is essential to maintaining your listener's attention. A good quality microphone can be purchased on Amazon for $100 to $200 and will be well worth your investment.

■ Speak clearly and look directly into the camera. It should feel like the person on the camera is talking directly to the listener.

4. Editing and Effects – Editing your video is key to enhancing and making your video even more creative. While this may seem like a difficult task, with the advancement of technology and do-it-yourself applications like iMovie and Camtasia, you may be surprised at how easy it can be. Don't have the time? There are several inexpensive options available. Below are some key elements to keep in mind when editing your video.

■ Add background music or additional animations that match your message.

■ Add your logo and company information at the beginning and the end of your video.

5. Publishing to YouTube – Now that you've created a video, it's time to share it with the world. Upload your video to YouTube and be sure to optimize it for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

■ Create a powerful title by using keywords in the first few words. Additionally, you can add a colon after your initial keywords and rephrase your title for maximum effect. For example, your video on saving money for college might be called “College Savings Plans: The 529 Plan and Your Child.”

When it comes to the description, start by listing your full URL. Next, create a keyword-rich description. This will help you be found more easily by people searching YouTube for your type of content.

6. Distributing Your Video – The final elements of optimizing your usage of the video are uploading your video to YouTube; embedding it on your landing page, site, or profiles; and sharing links to your video on your social networks. In the next section we'll go into more depth on key distribution tactics, but here are a few of the highlights.

■ Keep your most important content above the fold. Your conversion rates will increase if visitors don't have to scroll down to view a video or complete a form.

■ Limit your visitors' options: exclude additional links or other items that will distract visitors from the purpose of the video.

■ Appeal to skimmers: many of your visitors may be individuals who aren't searching out a specific product or service. It's for this reason that you need to make use of headers, sub-headers, bold text, bullets, white space, and graphics such as arrows or buttons to draw a reader's eye toward your call to action.

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of online marketing, it is essential to build a branded YouTube account and use it as much as possible. With the rapid growth of videos and YouTube's presence now on TV sets, it won't be a surprise if its use grows exponentially in the next few years. Now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.


Matson Money Inc. first became aware of social media through a marketing conference in early 2008. Eric Matson writes here about what happened next, and how video came to play a part in the firm's strategy.

Until 2008, networks like Facebook and YouTube seemed more like entertainment for teenagers than a tool we would use to help our investment business. When we started to see more and more marketers using social networks to spread their messages, we decided to see what we could do with it too.

Our first video was shot and posted in late summer of 2008 – it had fewer than 50 views. In comparison to the many viral videos on the Internet that might seem like a failure, but we realized that we could build on that number and actively engage our existing advisors and clients to participate and communicate with us in a new way. We didn't need a video to go viral in order to reach the audience that we wanted to reach.

We realized that we needed to master the process of quickly shooting video, editing, uploading, posting, and communicating about each video. For the following six months, we focused on building the infrastructure to support regular videos and e-mail communication to promote them. We had to purchase cameras, build blog sites that would become the hub for the videos, write compliance policies, and create a system and process for communicating with each new post.

Four years later, we post three to five new videos each week, with more than 50,000 views on videos and nearly 2 million minutes of viewing time of our videos and live web broadcasts.

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