Learning how to integrate video with all the various other components of your content creation can help to transform it from a “nice to have” to “must have” status.
Technology, like business itself, never stands still.
For every invention that has found its way into the realm of entrepreneurship there are innumerable iterations as the tech develops and helps the business owner to work ever more efficiently. And yet, regardless of the gadget being used to get the work done, the underlying premise remains the same: a need existed in daily operations and software, hardware, or a pairing of both ended up meeting that need.
It can seem ironic in the tech-drenched 21st century, but many businesses continue to carry out at least some of their functions utilizing tried-and-true tools that have been in constant use for countless decades. Even in a business climate with AI and cloud computing, nobody has yet found a real replacement for staples, tape, and ballpoint pens. The quest for a paper-free office environment tends to fall into the “are we there yet?” category, and we invariably find ourselves still continuing with certain practices because they work well and have survived the test of time. No small business owner has the luxury of surplus funds to play with, so making any decisions about embracing new technology will always require measured, careful consideration.
In that mindset, it can be really difficult to draw reasonable conclusions about what’s worth focusing on and what’s just something shiny on the ever-changing technological landscape. We sometimes get drawn into the desperate fear of our competition suddenly stealing away the lion’s share of the local market because they’re now providing a service or product offering that’s outside the scope of what we’ve been developing. That’s actually a terrible launch pad for any new venture, because, rather than undertaking some new venture with enthusiasm and vision, we’re instead lunging forward in a very reactionary way.
This can very much tend to be the case when it comes to the prospect of incorporating video content into the fabric of our small businesses. Depending on the nature of your enterprise and the type of service you provide, video can seem counterintuitive or maybe just downright distracting. But the simple truth is that incorporating some element of video content into what your business does is becoming more and more essential in the current climate of social media. As any small business owner knows, advertising is incredibly expensive, so the possibility of promoting your company via social media platforms can be a compelling argument for taking steps toward learning the basics of video production and editing.
The term “movies” didn’t really take hold until around 1915, and it owes its existence to being a shortened version of “moving pictures”. The great novelty of that time was that audiences had the ability to watch natural and fluid movement of multiple images rather than merely looking at a static photograph. All of us in the modern age grew up surrounded by TV and movies and are pretty desensitized to the technology as a result. No one sits in a theatre and fixates on the screen because they’re in awe of the tech behind what they’re seeing. They’re instead captivated by the plot, the characters, the action, the music – all of the cumulative elements that are together the totality of what impacts the theater patron.
The same holds true when it comes to the incorporation of video content into the structure of our businesses. Our customers or clients won’t be impressed because we’ve taken the steps to create a YouTube channel, but, if we craft the content with care and intentionality, we might just give them a deeper perspective into who and what we are as a company. Early 20th century audiences fell in love with the idea of being able to watch movement, and so should the people we serve respond well when we take steps to show them that we’re operating a thriving, maturing, developing business that’s actually moving into greater possibilities.
Although the genre of reality TV has certainly brought with it a lot of negatives, one of its positive attributes is that it’s conditioned people to have an appreciation for seeing all the small details that go into something. Ironically, in an age when it can seem like most people have an attention span of about 4 seconds, there also seems to be an insatiable appetite or watching content. If we take the time to understand the potential audience that we’re trying to reach and what will truly resonate with them, we can leverage this to our advantage by developing content that transform’s the image of our business from just another entity in the marketplace to an organization with a relevant and compelling purpose and vision.
The entrepreneur willing to take steps into the world of video content creation doesn’t have to simply be limited to YouTube, or even to social media for that matter. One of the greatest ways to give those unfamiliar with your business a deeper glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes is by embedding assorted video clips on your company website. You can utilize this approach to introduce your staff, as well as to explore the various facets of your products, services, and programs. Most people tend to be visual learners, and someone is more apt to watch a 3-minute video exploring the new service you’re just now implementing than to read a lengthy description providing just facts and figures.
The power of video in the small business world also extends beyond the external-facing items that are specifically geared toward those outside the company. Another often underappreciated use of video content is in the realm of training, whether that’s for new hires just coming into your organization or tenured employees receiving instruction on a new process or software. Written instructions will always play a crucial role in documenting the steps required to carry out a particular job function, but augmenting them with video walking through the process in detail can be a game-changer when it comes to training. By providing the staff member with the ability to watch and re-watch a video while listening to an explanatory voiceover can be a tremendous benefit to your organization’s instructional efforts.
Official promotional materials for your company might be best created through the expertise of a video professional with an existing portfolio of work dedicated to helping craft the narrative of small businesses. But, for most other internal and external video creations, you can do a credible job with the humblest of hardware and software to support you. These days, the average smartphone is generally capable of producing brilliant, high-resolution video (even 4K), and built-in microphones (though still not fantastic) can create audio that’s fully acceptable for most uses. Ideally, a DSLR camera and external mic should be incorporated into your video content creation efforts, but not having them at your disposal shouldn’t deter you from recording with what you have available.
Video, like any other technical pursuit, is something that you’ll get better at doing the more you actually do it. It’s also important to keep in mind that even the most basic video editing software can play an enormous role in converting your raw footage into something of a much more professional nature. There are various paid options for doing this including Adobe Premier Pro, Cyberlink PowerDirector 365, and Final Cut Pro, each with unique functionality that might make one option more attractive than the others. For those reluctant to invest in purchasing an editor, free (or “free to start”) options such as DaVinci Resolve, Lightworks, and OpenShot can provide impressive toolkits without the need to invest operating funds into acquiring them.
Those looking at the possibility of using an on-line solution also have a few options to investigate. YouTube itself contains a bare-bones editor that will allow for some rudimentary assembly of clips, but a much more robust possibility is to be found within Canva. If you already use Canva for creating other digital images, don’t overlook how powerful the video editing functionality is. You can cut and trim clips, fade one clip into another, incorporate audio or background music, and even add animated titles and text to your video images.
Looking through all of the video editing software and platform options to find the best fit for you can seem a little overwhelming, but be open minded and try to find something that meets your primary needs. Irrespective of the specific editing tool you utilize, take the time to really understand the various functions and how you can best utilize them to ensure that you’re crafting the best, most professional-looking finished product possible. Also, balance this against the potential learning curve you’ll encounter, as committing to mastering a highly complex software might eat up time that would be better spend elsewhere in your business.
Learning how to integrate video with all the various other components of your content creation can help to transform it from a “nice to have” to “must have” status. As we stated earlier, there’s no novelty to using video in today’s business world – almost everybody is doing it to some extent or the other – so make sure you have practical reasons for anything you do with it. Randomly shooting clips of whatever strikes your fancy and peppering them through your website or social media pages won’t look any better than a Super 8 home movie from the 1970’s. High resolution video content that doesn’t serve an intentional purpose ends up becoming nothing more than a toy, and any hope of engaging your clients or customers and maintaining their interest will be virtually impossible.
Movie audiences in the pre-World War I era were drawn to “moving pictures” because the medium was a much more impacting representation of the real world than mere still pictures. Life itself is a moving picture, and your business needs to be equally dynamic. Unless you’re already stagnating and losing the impact of the mission and vision that grounded you in the first place, your business is always growing and moving into new directions. The careful use of video to tell that narrative to the people you serve will help them to remain constantly aware of the validity and relevance of what you’re doing. Without it, you may well find that your business is out of sight and out of mind, and that your customers or clients have no true perspective of what it is that you’re doing today.
You don’t have to aspire to create a cinematic masterpiece when it comes to introducing video content into your business, but you should make it a priority to develop at least a basic skillset to exploit the medium to your best possible advantage. You owe it to those you serve to find creative methods to tell the story of your business, and video can help to convey that narrative in powerful ways that would otherwise be impossible.