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Tips on Creating YouTube Videos for Video Marketing

Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker with over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, advertising, and public relations.

Posting content on YouTube can be a cost-effective video marketing tool. And you don't need a videographer or tons of equipment. In fact, you could create your first video for almost free!

I didn't know much about video before I started working with it a few years ago. But today, it is driving traffic to my websites and offers me another way to connect and serve my customers.

Let me begin with how I got started with video marketing...

My Video Marketing Odyssey

When I was just starting to use video for marketing my small business, I used a terrific videographer. Would still recommend him for professional-grade work. But there was just one problem: Every minute of produced video could cost me up to $1,000. I realized that if I wanted to use YouTube in a big way, I would either go broke or have to find another way to create video content.

So I bought a Flip cam. It created some pretty good quality video, and the bundled video editing software was super easy to use with nice results. The biggest problem was the sound. The Flip had no microphone jack to plug in an external microphone. The result was videos with a LOT of ambient noise. Filtering it out would require more sophisticated video and audio editing software.

To try to get around the audio issues, I bought a Kodak Zi8. The microphone worked, but the editing software was so bad, I gave up on it completely.

The following video shows my frustration with both options.

What Is Vlogging?

Then one day, I was just goofing around on my computer and realized I had never tried out the integrated webcam. It wasn't high definition. But what was I hoping to achieve?

My intent in getting on YouTube was to provide news and educational content for my customers and blog subscribers. The videos would be part of my service and marketing outreach efforts. Since I'm in the promotional products business, the content is very visual, making video marketing an excellent medium.

With the content being newsy and conversational, did I really need every video to be a professionally produced masterpiece? No. But it did need to be light and clear enough to communicate.

This style of video is becoming more popular and is often referred to as vlogging, video + blogging, made popular by the likes of wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk who transformed his little wine vlogging adventure into millions of dollars and fans (yes, do check out his website, his old WineLibraryTV videos and YouTube channel).

Why does this low production type of video work? It's authentic. People want to know they're connecting with other real people, not some advertiser's dream.

So I launched my webcam and haven't stopped vlogging since. Ironically, the video that you just viewed comparing the Flip to the Zi8 was my first YouTube upload using the webcam. Cost to create: $0, except for the electricity and computer usage, which was minimal, and my time (usually the most expensive part of vlogging).

How to Create YouTube Videos on the Cheap

Yes, there's a time and place for hiring a videographer. That would be when you're creating a marketing video that you'll be displaying on your website, at trade shows, and other presentation work. And it's cheaper to hire a pro than to invest in the equipment yourself. Here's why.

Buying all the video gear that it takes to create a decent video—lighting, green screens, tripods, cases, and so much more—is probably one of the worst investments you can make right at the beginning. Not only is it financially overwhelming, but it's also mentally overwhelming, too, since you need to learn how to use all of it before you get started.

So many people make this mistake, and then a year later, they still have nothing much to show for their effort and nothing uploaded to YouTube. That's time wasted and revenues lost if you're using video for marketing. Start small and invest in equipment and training as you grow, and figure out what will work for you.

Here's what you need to get started:

  • Webcam or video camera on your mobile device (you likely already have at least one of these)
  • Free YouTube account on either or both your desktop (recommended) and mobile device (app)
  • Room with an existing light source that eliminates dark shadows (window, table or desk lamps, even outdoors, etc.)

Think your budget can handle free? But if you have some extra cash . . .

  • Good quality microphone for your desktop computer or mobile device (especially for mobile!). Usually, you can purchase one in the $50 to $100 range (or less). Clearly understood audio is probably one of the most important elements of any video since, many times, people will listen to it without actually watching.

Video Editing Tips

Once you have all your gear, then it's "roll 'em" time. With video, like writing, the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the better you get at it. Practice, practice, practice! If you don't like how it turned out the first time, try it again, but avoid becoming a perfectionist. By doing it over and over again before uploading, you'll have this to show for it: Zero views on YouTube.

If you do want to do some more fancy editing with minimal software investment, you could edit your videos using the iMovie app on your mobile phone or tablet. I've also really like for recording (both webcam and screen capture) and editing videos.

Video Marketing Tips for YouTube

Once you have your video uploaded to YouTube and edited for mechanics such as color and brightness, here are a few more things you need to do to optimize your video for marketing:

  • Use Keywords in Your Title. To help people find your video in both YouTube and Google search results, use relevant keywords for your business in the title.
  • Use Keywords in Tags. To further help your video's rank in search functions, make sure that you add tags in the Info and Settings area for your video on YouTube.
  • Use Annotations. Emphasize important points throughout your video with thought bubbles and notes to make them more memorable.
  • Insert a Title Introduction at the Beginning of the Video. As you record your video, wait a few seconds to start talking. Then insert the title of your video in that time slot using the YouTube editing tools. It creates a more professional appearance.
  • Insert a Link in Video Description. This is a sneaky little trick. Make sure your video description includes a link to your website or a special landing page. It will become a clickable link when viewed on YouTube.

As simple as all that sounds, it's surprising how few people actually do these things. Doing so can give your business the video marketing edge!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Heidi Thorne


Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on January 09, 2015:

Hi begiulio! I sure do hope we'll see some videos from your travel adventures. Your photos are just amazing! I'll have to admit, though, that creating videos is a whole different animal than creating photos. And it takes quite a bit of practice to shoot and edit. Thanks for taking time to stop by. Happy Weekend!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 09, 2015:

Great hub Heidi. I have been wanting to create more videos to place in my travel hubs and so far they have been less than stellar. This will help immensely. Thanks so much for sharing.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on January 09, 2015:

Hi RTalloni! You're so welcome. YouTube is an amazing platform. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend!

RTalloni on January 09, 2015:

Useful info/tutorial for anyone wanting to expand their online work by using YouTube Videos. Thanks much for sharing your experience and tips!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 19, 2014:

MarleneB, since you're venturing into the vocal artist realm, YouTube is definitely an outlet to help promote your talents. Just like with vocal work, keep practicing! It really does get easier over time. Let us know when you have your vlog up and running. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your vocal career!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on April 18, 2014:

This is really helpful to me. I know it's something that I really need to do but I'm totally camera shy. Your tips have given me the confidence that I need to venture into creating the vlog that people keep suggesting is the next step in my marketing efforts. Thank you.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 17, 2014:

Hello rajan jolly! Glad you found some helpful info here. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 16, 2014:

Informative hub Heidi though I use my you tube account to upload my recipe videos. I take a lot of info from here that I could use to improve on them. Thanks.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 01, 2014:

Hello Nadine May! Great idea to create book trailers. I tried a couple, but didn't put too much effort into it. Thanks for the reminder. Vlogging isn't for everybody, but it can be an engaging way to keep connected with fans. Have a wonderful day!

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on April 01, 2014:

Great tips. What I have learned to do is creating book trailers. I do have a You Tube account and so has our publishing company, but we never ventured into Vlogging.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on December 06, 2013:

So agree, John! It's almost a reflex to share a cool, new (or even old) video. Thanks for stopping by and chiming in!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on April 10, 2013:

Thanks, billybuc, for your kind comments! I hope it encourages more people to give video marketing a try. Cheers!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 10, 2013:

Excellent tips, Heidi! You are very good on screen; very professional and easy to understand. Well done!