10 Simple Steps to Creating Effective Web Video

Does the prospect of creating Web video fill you with fear? If you've never done it before it can certainly seem overwhelming. But you can relax, because I'm going to walk you through the process.

Why should you be using video on your websites? Video is highly persuasive, and users have come to expect it. A well-produced video can deliver your message in a way that engages and persuades visitors to take an action that you specify. For example, my weekly WebTV show (www.HelpMyBusiness.com) attracts thousands of new viewers each week, many of whom buy various products and services I recommend to them. You can do something similar for your niche, regardless of your industry.

The number one key to creating an effective Web video is simple: Preparation. Unfortunately, most people dive in head first and end up with an awkward, disjointed mess. Preparation might not be the most fun part of the process, but it is critical to success.

Here's a simple, 10-step process you can follow to ensure an effective Web video:

STEP 1: Decide on the primary purpose and objective of the video. Do you want to sell a product or service? Is it to educate the audience about a commonly misunderstood topic? Is it a product demonstration? The video must have a single overriding purpose - otherwise, the audience gets confused. Try to state your objective clearly in one sentence. For example, "the video will overcome any negative perceptions toward hiring new staff from an online employment agency."

STEP 2: Who is your target audience? For example, based on previous buyers, how much do they know about the subject already? What are their backgrounds, languages and abilities to comprehend the topic? Are they naturally interested in the topic? You would make a very different video for children under the age of 10, than you would for lawyers who specialize in divorce cases.

STEP 3: Decide how you will present the topic. Will you use a documentary style? Will it be dramatic or humorous, sensitive and factual, or light-hearted and lively? There are other considerations too. Should there be a presenter on screen, or an unseen narrator? Also, try to achieve a balance of information and persuasion. Do you want to appeal mainly to intellect or emotion? At one end of the spectrum you could present the information like an instruction manual - purely factual. The other extreme is to persuade the viewer by feelings, emotion, and entertainment. A balance of the two is usually best.

STEP 4: Plan the structure of the video. It's helpful to think of your video as a story - it must have a beginning, middle and end. The introduction must grab the viewer's attention, the middle should balance emotion and facts, and the end must contain a powerful call to action that can not be ignored.

STEP 5:Work out the best duration for the video by boiling down the essence of the message and conveying that in the shortest possible timeframe.

STEP 6: Decide who will "own" this project and follow it through to completion. It's no use assigning it to a staff member who is already over-stretched with other work.

STEP 7: Set a deadline. It might be a few hours or days for a simple video, or several weeks for a complex production.

Research and acquire information and elements to include in the video. Do you own any existing footage that could be used? Other elements might include artwork, logos, graphics or music.

STEP 9: Write the script. A script is the blueprint for your video. It includes not only spoken words but a detailed description of the visuals and music that accompany the words. Don't expect to sit down and write the finished script in one session. It will evolve.

STEP 10:
It's time to record. Find a proper setting within the theme of the video and eliminate distractions and ambient noise.

Preparing your Web video will ensure a smooth recording process and a polished finished product. Users are viewing more video than ever on the Web and they are becoming discerning viewers. Stay ahead of the curve. A properly prepared video will always achieve better results than a haphazard effort.

About the Author: Watch Andrew Lock's highly entertaining weekly WebTV show, "Help! My Business Sucks!" at www.HelpMyBusiness.com. Andrew helps small business owners and entrepreneurs to "get more done and have more fun."