This article is designed to provide some tips on creating great content for your business’s YouTube channel, and to discuss the 2nd step in creating that content: Production.
In the 1st article in this series, we discussed the important step of planning your content before beginning the production process, as planning will help you to troubleshoot before you begin, establish what you want to do and how you want to do it, and help direct your content to best suit your audience. With 2.3 billion active users every month, YouTube is the next BIG platform for your business to demonstrate its value to your clients.
If you’re not convinced that YouTube is the platform for you, check out our series on The Benefits of YouTube for Your Business, where we explore the value YouTube can bring to you, your business goals, and your clients.
Now that you’ve prepped and planned your content, it’s time to film your video. This is your opportunity to tell your business’s story, share your business’s personality and values, or demonstrate how your business can benefit your clients or customers! To do this most effectively, it’s time for to dive into the 2nd step of creating great YouTube content: Production.
2. Production and Quality
The first thing to remember, is to try and keep your videos around the 3-4 minute mark. This should give you enough time to get your audience interested but will not be long enough for them to lose interest and click away. Because the length of your video will be relatively short, the earlier you make a connection, the better. As mentioned previously, injecting humour, especially in that first minute, is fundamental in ensuring a full view. Additionally, the first 5 seconds is where you want your logo to be present! To display your brand’s logo, either open your video with a full-screen focus on your logo, or embed your logo in the bottom corner and leave it there throughout the video.
If your logo is the first thing your audience sees when watching your video, it establishes connection between your brand and your content. Likewise, it is best practice to include your logo as your end-screen. This will be the last thing your audience sees, and when YouTube is processing where to send the viewer next, whether that be the next video in an auto play algorithm or generating an array of recommended videos, the screen will pause on the video’s final image: your brand.
In the last several years, the quality of independently made video content has skyrocketed, thanks to technology, new markets, and more. As a result, YouTube audiences of today are used to and expect to watch quality videos, which means the quality of your videos can make or break your viewership. Quality is a broad concept, and ranges from picture to sound, lighting to steadiness, music, to editing. If that sounds like a lot to keep track of, don’t worry! Let’s break it down into the key elements of quality:
When we talk about video here, we are referring specifically to the visual image that your audience will be seeing. To ensure you are producing a quality image, it is important to use a quality camera. Don’t worry, we don’t mean you need to invest thousands of dollars into a professional film camera. In fact, many smartphones of today are equipped with cameras of good enough quality to produce great picture! Before you move forward from this step, however, it’s always a good idea to test the video your phone camera will produce to ensure it’s of a high enough quality for your standards. If for some reason your image is grainy, blurry, or anything that does not come across as crisp and clear, it might be a good idea to look into a simple camera that will shoot quality video.
In addition to having great video, the quality of your sound is equally important! If your image is crisp and clear, but your audio is muffled or tinny, viewers will be less likely to engage with your subject. Not to mention, many YouTube users elect to watch their media with headphones in, meaning the quality of sound is being directly played into their ears. It’s easier to catch bad audio through headphones than through external speakers. As with picture, many phones will create good audio, and you may not need to worry about audio any further than that.
However, if you are concerned about the audio your phone or camera is producing, an inexpensive, basic mic pack is well-worth the investment to ensure your audio is crystal clear. These mic packs are easy to use, and can elevate your video from the tinny echo of a warehouse to direct, professional sound in no time.
Once your camera and sound are sorted, it’s key to implement proper lighting. No one wants to watch a video where the subject is poorly lit or shadowed! Additionally, when the subject of your video is properly lit, you avoid the risk of being out of focus, or having the focus of your video waver. Technology may be smart, but it still has its flaws, and keeping your lighting bright, but not harsh, will prevent these focus issues. When setting up the lighting for your video, remember these 3 tips:
- Diffuse any harsh lights with a soft box, sheet, or reflector
- Watch for glare on subjects who wear glasses and adjust by increasing the size of your light output or raising the height of your key light
- Be careful with natural light, as it can create shadows and inconsistent lighting as the sun moves across the sky. They don’t call Saskatchewan the “Land of the Living Skies” for nothing!
Unless your video is intended to be the next big hit in “found footage” film, steadiness is key to giving off a professional air. When a video is shaky, it gets blurry easily, and some viewers might even get motion-sick and click away. To ensure steadiness, invest in a tripod. Even if you are using your phone to film, a tripod designed to hold smart phones will keep both your picture and your audience’s stomachs steady.
The first big thing to remember when incorporating music into your video is to avoid any and all copyright issues by going to royalty-free music. Instead of your old favourite standby or the newest Top 40s hit, try browsing some of the many royalty-free websites out there, where sometimes for free and sometimes for a small subscription fee, unlimited royalty-free music is at your fingertips. This will keep your video sounding professional and engaging.
Finally, the last piece of production, which is arguably post-production, is editing. Editing is key to creating quality content, as it will elevate your content from a one-take, straight-shot clip to a multi-layered and visually engaging video. Investing in simple video-editing software is well-worth your time and money, because even at a minor level editing will drastically change the execution of your video and the quality of your content.
To some, this filming and editing process may seem overwhelming. Planning is something you can do without an issue, because it revolves around determining how you want your business to be perceived! If you have this vision, but are concerned about executing it to the highest quality in filming or editing, you can always hire an external film company or freelancer to run the equipment and make your vision a reality.
Many people have the skills and set-up necessary to create quality media already, and hiring someone to come in and bring your plans to life is a great way to avoid any stress of filming yourself and focus on the content concepts being produced.
There you have it! Once you’ve planned and produced your video, you are all ready to upload it! All of your work has paid off in the form of a targeted, well-researched, quality video. As you move forward with creating great content on YouTube, always keep in mind that you want to be creating content for your channel, not content without connection! When your videos cohesively demonstrate your business’s values, personality, and creativity, you will engage customers and clients and cement yourself in their minds as an exciting business that they will want to see more of and interact with.
Download this resource Tips for Creating Great YouTube Content: Part 2 – Production.