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A Shopping List and Tips for Getting Started with Video Content

We’ve all heard in digital marketing that video content is the way to go, and while I still believe there’s room for all kinds of content from blog post to podcast, it is true that social channels are giving precedence to video content. At Mykidstime I have to admit it took us a while to get our video content strategy in place, partly because it felt a bit overwhelming. So here’s A Shopping List and Tips for Getting Started with Video Content, which I hope will inspire you to start! 

Getting Started with Video Content

The catalyst for getting over the overwhelm was a Mojocon Fringe event hosted by Loretta Gavin of Lorg Media that I went to in May. Loretta hosted a panel of 4 speakers:

  • Mark Egan, Purple Bridge Media
  • Eva Schulz, Hochkant
  • Sumaiya Seedat, freelance Snapchat consultant and
  • Mark Settle, BBC Academy.

As Mykidstime are not active Snapchat users I won’t say much about Eva and Sumaiya’s learnings (as interesting as they were!) but the two Mark’s gave some excellent tips and a shopping list that I am delighted to share with you too.

For Mykidstime we decided to use smartphones for our video content filming because we already have iPhones and also when I was at the Mojocon event, everyone on the panel pointed out how good smartphones are now and that mobile video content is completely acceptable and achievable for any small business.

I must add that we also worked with Loretta for a session on video content strategy, I can’t recommend her highly enough. As a result of working with her we set out a strategy that includes Live Facebook every week at a set time on our Facebook page, every Thursday at 9.30pm GMT as well as pre recording a range of video content from How To’s to some new content that I’m excited to say we will be releasing soon (so more details to come on that!).

Deciding on Your Video Content Strategy

Before you get into the details of what to buy and how to film, take a step back and decide on your video content strategy. Some questions that might help you here:

What is the key objective(s) for doing video content?

Do you want to achieve reach? Is engagement more important (we have all seen funny and how to videos shared actively across Facebook for example)? Do you want to showcase products/services? Do you want to tell stories about your business, customers, products? How does this planned video content tie in with your brand and business?

What do you want people to do when they view your videos?

The answer to this may be different for different kinds of videos that you aim to produce. But what is the key thing you’d like people to do when they have watched part of or hopefully all of your video?

Who will be in the video?

If you are a sole trader this will obviously just be you, but if your organisation is bigger then who on your team is comfortable with being in front of the camera?

Will it be live video or pre-recorded?

Are you planning for the videos to be live on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter? Or will you pre-record them and then share them on your channels? The subject and content or the objective may determine this.

Where will you host the video?

If you are creating live video then the channel you create it on will host it otherwise where will you put the video? Youtube and Vimeo offer upload capabilities that you can then take a link or piece of code from to embed on your blog for example. If you are uploading pre recorded video onto Facebook then you need an MP4 file to do this.

What length of videos are you going to create?

Think about the type of video, the content and the nature of the video to decide on the length you need to aim for. If it’s Facebook Live then you ideally want longer than 15 minutes to allow enough people to see that you have gone live and to have a nosey at your Live. 15 minutes is quite a long time to talk so you’ll need to plan the structure of the Live to allow for that.

If it’s pre-recorded video then most people do not watch past 2 minutes. Again this does depend on the content but attention spans have dropped over the last few years and short and sweet is the name of the game here.

How often can you commit to creating video content?

Are you going to do a weekly video or Live? Whatever your can manage you need to commit to it just like committing to any other type of content creation. You should then plan in time for preparation, set up, testing, recording, editing and distribution.

Where will you create the video content?

Are you recording it at your business? Or will you be going out and about? What set up can you arrange for your video recording?

What is the content you plan to put into each video?

So now for each video you plan, what is the content that is going into that video. What calls to action do you need to include, if Live how do you engage the community into the experience as they view?

How will you distribute the video content?

This applies more to pre recorded video (see the next point for how to re-distribute Live video). Now that you have made some nice video content, where will you distribute it? Are you going to share it on e-mail to your list? Put it onto a blog post? Share it on your social channels? Ask partners to share?

How can you repurpose the content once you have created it?

If you are planning to do Facebook Live videos, then think about how you can save the video file afterwards and reuse it. It could be loaded up onto YouTube or Vimeo, embedded then into a blog post or emailing. You could edit shorter clips to share snippets, people love snackable content.

Next steps are to make sure you have the right equipment in place to start making video content. Don’t panic, this does not need to cost a fortune, you can get what you need for less than €100 with our list.

microphone

You might find 6 Visual Content Tools We Love That We Think You’ll Love Too useful

Shopping List for Getting Started with Video Content

NB I have included affiliate links for Amazon for this recommended set of equipment, if you use our affiliate link we get commission on sales.

The first things you need to get right are the sound and light on your video but stability is also important so you don’t have wobbly video.

#1. Microphone

Because smartphones can pick up a lot of background noise, for example, when I was recording recipes in my kitchen using my iPhone you could hear the gas on my cooker hissing, it’s a good idea to use a clip on microphone when you are recording mobile video. Mark recommended the BOYA BY-M1 3.5 mm Lavalier Microphone for Smartphone available on Amazon (at time of writing £14.95)

boya microphone

I find the Boya microphone super easy to use, there’s a little clip to put it on your lapel and the wire is super long meaning you can stretch it easily if you have your phone away from you.

#2. LED Light

You want to be well lit in your video so Mark also recommended using an LED light to brighten up the space that you are videoing, he mentioned the Bestlight Ultra High Power 160 LED Video Light Panel, the one I bought was just the light by itself which isn’t currently available, but you can get a dimmable version for £29.99 and even better there’s actually a kit available again on Amazon for £32.99 which includes a light stand.

bestlight led light

I would definitely opt for the LED Light + Kit if I were buying again but my sole LED light does screw onto a tripod (I just tend to use the tripod for the camera!)

#3. Something for Stability

You don’t want shaky hands or weird camera position so you want to pick up a tripod. These are really cheap in your local pound store or discount shop but I plumped for the Fantaseal® Camera + Cellphone + Action Cam 3-in-1 Robust Octopus Mini Tripod, available on Amazon for £10.99 at time of writing.  Also recommended is the Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand for Smartphones (£20.49) which is more versatile, it can be a normal tripod or it can turn into a cool grippy thing if you want to have it stick out horizontally from a shelf for example.  

If you plan to do outdoor video content then Mark said that a Monopod is also handy for keeping steady, the AmazonBasics 67-Inch Monopod is reasonably priced at £11.99 at time of writing.

He also suggested getting the Smart Grip holder Sevenoak SK-PSC1 Handheld Smart Grip SmartPhone Clip Clamp Holder (£22.99) which can be mounted on tripod, monopod, slider etc.

tripod

A tripod (or monopod if filming outside) is a must, you don’t want to be holding your camera or leaning it against something means it may slip mid-film.

You might find How to Achieve Brand Consistency for Your Business useful

Tips for Filming Video Content

Some of these tips are based on our experience and some based on tips that Mark Settle from BBC Academy gave.

#1. Test everything out

  • Test your sound set up
  • Test your lighting set up
  • Test out the tripod height if you are filming indoors, e.g. at your laptop or desk.
  • If you are doing Live video then set up a private group on Facebook and try out the Live in there before you go Live on your Page. Amanda and I do this for our Digital4Sales Marketing to Families Group Facebook Lives and also to pre-record any sessions if one of us is travelling.

#2. If doing Facebook Live you can use the Pages Manager app

You can record on desktop now but using the Pages Manager app gives you the flexibility to do filming away from your desk. When you go into the Pages Manager app, browse to your Page as if you were going to share a post and you’ll see a Live button.

Facebook live button on pages manager app

On the next screen add a description of your Live (don’t forget to think snappy here what would entice people to watch your Live?

Facebook live description

Then click the Red button for a 3,2,1 countdown before your Live starts.

When you finish your Live click the Post to Page option to publish the Live video as a separate post.

#3. Make sure your battery is well charged

You don’t want to be half way through your filming and discover your phone died.

#4. Clear out your phone storage before filming

Again you don’t want to lose video by not having enough space so do a clean up of your phone. You might consider buying  external storage for your phone which these days, isn’t expensive, and you can use it to take down all your videos and photos before you start filming, so you don’t run out of space while filming. These external storage usually plug into the bottom of your phone, you do the transfer then use the USB to transfer them easily to your mac or laptop.

#5. Switching your phone to Airplane Mode

When filming pre-recorded video switch on Airplane Mode to avoid incoming calls interrupting your filming!

#6. Make sure your lens is clean

Give your camera lens a quick wipe before you start filming, phones tend to be stored in pockets with fluff and all sorts!

#7. Invest in some video apps

Mark Settle recommended investing in some video apps, he pointed out that the apps that are available offer all sorts of great video editing and text overlay options. His top 5 video apps were

#8. Don’t worry about perfection

If you think you need to be perfect for video content you’ll never do it. Just bite the bullet and make sure what you have to say is of interest to your target audience. Remember to be authentic, this is what builds brand trust regardless of the content format. You’ll get better as you go and taking the first step is the main thing.

If we can do it at Mykidstime you can!

I have written this as a kind of getting started guide that I wish I had come across to get me started, so I hope this has inspired you to get going on your own video content. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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