What the How-To Sites Don’t Tell You About Making One

How many times has something like this happened to you?:

Let’s say you’re in the market to buy a video camcorder. You find one advertised for a can’t-miss price, a killer bargain. So into your shopping cart it goes. But wait….

You’ll need a tripod too. OK, add a few hundred bucks. You’ll need a couple of high-capacity memory cards, a battery charger, a shotgun mic, maybe an XLR cable. Oh, and the camera bag is extra. Before you know it, that irresistible bargain has doubled in cost and you still need to learn how to use the damned thing.

That’s like what happens when you go online to find out how to make the DIY marketing video that you know you need to get your startup noticed. You unearth countless how-to blogs that promise to reveal the essential secrets that will make creating your marketing video as easy as videotaping your sleeping cat.

It’s never that simple.

Take a closer look at the well-intended tips, numbered tricks and bulleted techniques, and you’re likely to notice that the advice falls broadly into recurring patterns but is often thin on substance. You always end up paying more than you bargained for. What are the how-to blogs leaving out? Which techniques really work? How much are you really in for? Here’s a glimpse.

5 Tips to Help Make a Killer Marketing Video: Hubspot

Hubspot, the inbound marketing and sales platform, has made how-to instruction their stock in trade. Their post says that creating a marketing video is a “no-brainer.” It points out three options available to small companies wanting to create a marketing video: 1: Spend beaucoup bucks on hired guns; 2: do it yourself, and 3: . . . do it yourself. That’s right: No number three. Let’s face it: Hiring pros isn’t easy for cash-strapped startups, and the time and skill it can take to learn how to create professional-looking video are generally out of reach. The five tips that Hubspot offers here are perfectly sound, such as ensuring that you flaunt your startup’s personality and that tell a great story. Exhibit A: DollarShaveClub.com:

Great video: tons of personality, outstanding writing, and a camera that’s always in motion. That takes skill.

6 Tips to Double the Success of Your Video Marketing Campaign: Entrepreneur

Again, good advice here — have the video tell a story people care about, keep it short, include the all-important call to action, and so on. Oddly, though, no examples of successful videos are embedded in the article. Yet the piece does establish the importance of video to marketing in undeniably concrete terms. And it goes further to emphasize the importance of assessing the effectiveness of your marketing videos by way of data analytics.

How To Make A Great Marketing Video For Your Company In Minutes: Forbes.com

This piece makes an even stronger argument for the business imperative behind building effective marketing videos. But the article dispenses with the usual “5 Tips” and “7 Secrets” in favor of promoting one particular solution, the cloud-based video-creation service, Animoto. The take-away from this article that overlaps with the first two articles is to tell a story we care about. A good example is the behind-the-scenes look at the work of portrait photographer Sue Bryce.

How to Make Explainer Videos: Bitpod

This simple, high-concept two-minute video by the British online video marketing specialists neatly bundles most of what startups need to know about creating marketing videos. The emphasis here is the “problem-solution” model: Your customer has a problem that needs to be addressed. Your product or service promises to be the Solution. All you need after establishing that is the call to action.

The problem-solution structure isn’t the only way to go, but it’s tried and true. It can accommodate practically all of the most important techniques of strong video marketing, including personality (a story we care about), added value (interaction between you and your potential customers, to yield conversions), and promoting the video widely by posting it to multiple platforms.

As an example, take the PadMapper video featured in the Hubspot post:

Are these types of how-to posts useful to the average startup? A definite maybe. Every good startup could benefit from a strong marketing video the aims to

  • Capitalize on the unique personality or style of your startup. Don’t inject humor for its own sake or at the expense of demonstrating your value proposition.
  • Explain how your product or service solves the customer’s problem.
  • Interact with your customer by collecting their email address, bringing them to a business landing page, or otherwise moves them closer to conversion.

But what most of these how-to pieces aren’t telling you is this: Making a marketing video that really looks great and engages the viewer isn’t easy.

  • It takes genuine talent, on both sides of the camera and in editing.
  • It takes good-quality equipment that yields good-quality audio and visuals.
  • It should have a genuine story to tell. That requires smart, lean writing that reflects your company’s personality.
  • It deserves a budget worthy of the intended outcome. You can’t fake production values.

Here at tekMountain, we think an integrated approach that includes creative marketing is critical to accelerating your business. With unparalleled coworking space and dedicated mentors to guide you, we invite you to see how tekMountain can help. Contact us today.


This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda Sipes, and Zach Cioffi with lead writer Bill DiNome.

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