How to make video content that generates ROI with little to no budget

How to make video content that generates ROI with little to no budget

ROI is all you need to worry about when it comes to video. In fact if video doesn’t produce ROI in your industry, for your company or in the way you execute it – stop doing it! It won’t help.

This video will be be suited to
-startups, with low budget who want to impress investors
-companies looking to produce internal training materials fast and easy
-internet marketers who want to test out DIY strategies

Low to no budget is not a barrier to your videos effectiveness. For most of our clients, low budget is only a barrier in the visual quality and branding. This article is for those of us, who don’t have corporate budgets to play around with, or do but want to make better use of them.

The premise behind this guide is simple: do a lot of research and planning, set goals, create a “minimum viable product” style video, outreach to a targeted list of influencers, and use analytics/tracking to create baselines for present and current campaigns.

80% of the work will be pre and post production goal setting/promotion. The actual production is relatively easy, and as long as you have a clear message, voiceover + visuals to support it (even if it’s just text on screen – you are fine).

I have, managed and produced hundreds of videos (from powerpoint to high end animation, and in-between) over the last 7 years. Mostly for B2B companies. My goal is that in 20 minutes, you will be able to save hundreds of not thousands on your videos and use that money in promotion instead of production.

1. Video Basics
1. Myth #1: You need a story.
2. Myth #2: You need world class visuals.
3. Dual-Encoding Theory: Re-inforcing your message through video
1. Video in different parts of your funnel
4. Are you ready for a video?
1. do you have a converting offer/page/campaign
2. do you have consistent traffic
3. is this marketing message all ready established?
4. could you keep it >1 minute for simplicities sake
5. Video Metrics Breakdown
2. Preproduction
1. Niche + Influencer Research, Finding People To Promote To
1. Who are you looking for?
2. Don’t forget to create a swipe file!
3. What kind of keywords to search?
1. Searching google top 100 + related searches
2. Searching for Best Of
3. Searching for resource pages
4. Searching in side niches
5. Searching in broader niches
4. Social media
1. Twitter hashtags
2. Pinterest searches
3. Instagram
4. Youtube
2. Topic Selection
1. Based on your research, you should start seeing themes.
2. At the end of the day, you will need to guess what is the “missing” gap. What is currently interesting, but hasn’t been written about.
3. Or what has been written about, and you can improve based on all the content that you have researched.
3. Keyword Research
1. Using the legendary google keyword tool
2. Using the super hidden google first page results
3. Different types of keywords
4. Value + intent
4. Creating a video brief for internal/external use.
1. Where, who, what, why, how
2. Ensure everyone internal/external can understand it
3. Goals & KPIs
4. Keywords / topic – Search for a mix between: medium low comp keywords, and high utility subject. Subject is more important, and will ultimately be a greater factor in your success.
3. Creating Your Video
1. General Scripting Considerations
1. Keep it short
2. Start with the value
3. Include your call to action
4. Use benefits and advantages, not features
5. Keep it inline with your brief, goals and buyer persona
2. General Voiceover Considerations
1. Consider investing in a microphone
2. Practise the script a few times (record them)
3. Try to do it in one take if you can, or naturally.
4. Don’t force it.
3. General Video Editing Tips/Techniques
1. Cutting – prepare to cut your footage. Or get someone on your team to do it for you.
2. Transitions – again you can do simple transitions to give it a little sense of timing.
3. Adding text – You can overlay text, this is a good idea, but suggest consulting your designer regarding the branding.
4. Various Tutorials + Screen Recording
4. Adding Music + SFX
1. The legal side of it
2. Royalty free music
3. Ask a friend? play it yourself?
4. Pay 10-15$?
5. 3 Tips for improving your sound
5. DIY
1. Getting in front of the camera.
2. Camtasia + Live Action Video
6. Using Animated Software
1. Not suggested.
2. There are options, but look kind of weak + still take your time to make.
3. With camera quality, best to just find a nice scene.
4. Uploading Your Video
1. Evaluating your current YouTube situation
2. To Youtube
3. To Your site
1. Sitemaps
2. Wistia
5. Promoting Your Video
1. Initial social signals
1. Social media; reddit/quora/forum/digg/etc
2. Personal assets; blogs/email sig/forums
2. Email the list you researched
3. Paid ads/PPC
6. Tracking & optimizing your video overtime
1. Best campaigns will have multiple videos
2. Need to create benchmarks / baselines around your goals/KPIs
3. You can edit videos to reduce drop offs
4. You can create new videos to try different approaches completely
7. Stats, Tools & Content To Continue

Web Video 101: Myths, Theories & Pre-Production Checklist

What we’re going to cover:
1. Myth #1: You need a story.
2. Myth #2: You need world class visuals.
3. Dual-Encoding Theory: Re-inforcing your message through video
1. Video in different parts of your funnel
4. Are you ready for a video?
1. do you have a converting offer/page/campaign
2. do you have consistent traffic
3. is this marketing message all ready established?
4. could you keep it >1 minute for simplicities sake

If you have never done anything with video before, I’d suggest going over this section. It will help you understand the general idea and world of video better.

First, let’s talk about two of the myths that are perpetuated:

1) You need a “story” to sell your product

Stories are great, ideas are better.

Actually, great stories have great ideas. Follow me yet?

Yes – there’s lots of examples where stories worked as big marketing win. However I think it’s a bit of a gamble. And a lot of companies end up taking that gamble unknowingly. This is usually by not defining goals or real “objectives” – trying to make a video which can go everywhere and nowhere.

Treat stories as a tool in your belt for explaining your idea. Your story shouldn’t be the main point. Your story will form around the customers problem, your product and it’s ability to solve it. What makes people interested is that you are helping them, providing value… if you can use a story to demonstrate that, all the better… just don’t get caught up in it.

PPC advertisers use short ads + landing pages, and make billions per year. Direct sales works because it speaks directly to peoples problems. Don’t be shy to let people know how you help them, as long as you are staying valuable and relevant, they will be interested.

Just progressing an idea in someones mind is a journey, there’s a story in going from point A to B and then ending up at C. So don’t get caught up on the whole “Jim has a problem”.

A good sequence for your script or video (best for homepage:)

1. Why change?
Your customers problem + relating to their needs

2. Why now?
Going deeper – this is not something you can put off

3. Why with us?
What differentiates you from the marketplace (the value – in content, service or offer etc)
+your video call to action

The main takeaway here: focus on giving your customer value upfront, and using story as a tool instead of a necessity.

#2 Myth: You Need World Class Visuals, Branding & a Big Budget

I love branding. Websites, videos, content – It’s a huge part of what we do, and it makes a BIG positive impression on clients. However results are always going to be an even bigger part of that impression.

I’m not saying don’t invest in high end branding, beautiful sales pages, and videos that make your customers jaws drop. I’m just saying that at the end of the day your business is a solution to a problem – and that’s what will really get customers interested.

Your video doesn’t have to be super high end to be effective. It has to bring value to the prospect.

Again, it comes back to the same thing as the first point: Value. Provide utility and value, actionable advice, and your content appearence becomes secondary. And this kind of value (approach to market/positioning) is not something that external companies can help you identify.

It’s important that you are aware of what is working in your market and use your video as an effective investment (more on that here). And that you are aware: you don’t need video, branding or a fancy sales page to get customers. You need an idea that provides them enough value (for your price).

We are simplifying for the sake of example, but consider the Gary Halbert website, just text:

If you take the time to read it, you will be hooked.

The idea is too big to resist. You want to know more. The words are a vehicle to the ideas. Equally important is where Gary Halbert wants your mind to go, along with the words he chooses to guide it.

Even if it’s black on yellow text. It’s not a problem, the text offers value from the start.

You are showing your prospect something they don’t know. As long as you are doing this – don’t get stuck on your visuals or presentation … just worry about getting this part right.

CASE STUDY: Camtasia + Powerpoint Video Gets High Engagement & Response

EXAMPLE #1: From outsourcerabbit, this is a youtube channel that I did a few years ago in my own bedroom using very poor quality equipment. At the time I was practising making powerpoint presentations so did them on some general internet marketing subjects.

97% like ratio
288 vs 9
57 comments (some spam)
Ranks for “How to Write an Article”

EXAMPLE #2: As you can see from these two examples. The views and likes to dislike ratio is not bad. In fact, with more promotion, regularity and content this channel could’ve done pretty well if only somebody gave it the love that it needed all those years ago.

NOTE: what you see on the side is the VIDIQ toolbar. Which is useful for some quick information about videos like you see. It’s not at all essential though – and on a startup budget may want to be avoided.

Now… these videos aren’t high quality. They aren’t super well edited, and they aren’t the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen – so why do they work?

Because they have value.

Dual-Encoding Theory: The Science Behind Why Video Works

Video isn’t some magical tool. It’s actually scientifically proven to work better, let’s skip the facts and focus on the most important part of this magic: dual-encoding theory.

Which is less of a theory and more of a fact. Here’s how it works:

From Wikipedia:

Dual-coding theory postulates that both visual and verbal information is used to represent information (Sternberg, 2003). Visual and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels in the human mind, creating separate representations for information processed in each channel.

OK – layman: visual + verbal information = higher retention then either alone.

Why? It involves more senses. Instead of just reading/seeing, you also hear. So now you are engaging more of your unconscious and conscious mind. Therefore video is not actually magical, it’s just more effective at engaging people watching.

Again: what’s important isn’t your video, it’s the value and ideas that it provides. Dual-encoding theory is only as good as the idea, if the idea is high value, it will work better. IF the idea doesn’t hook, it will still flop.

This is a good thing to consider. You don’t want to make “tests” with video. Make tests with landing pages and simple headline or positioning variations. Video is best used once you all ready have a “base”.

Let’s talk about that:

“Should we make a video” checklist

In the previous section, I mentioned video isn’t a high priority marketing activity. IT’s not essential, or at least not in most cases. In fact it works best when you want to improve a marketing message/campaign/offer/page that is all ready converting.

This can save you a lot of time and effort. There are easier ways (landing pages/headlines/client calls) to change your positioning instead of pouring them into a video. So before you do a video even with low to no budget, I would suggest going over this checklist and thinking about the questions.

Bottomline is that the video will still cost you time and energy. You will need to make it and promote it. If it’s not the right message or subject, that could be high priority time lost to a low return project – which is not motivating for anyone on your team.

With that being said, let’s dig into it! First for your homepage, and second for “community building”

Explainer Video For Homepage/Pitch/Investors Checklist:

1. Have we converted customers?
2. Do we have consistent, targeted & reliable traffic source?
3. Is our conversion rate becoming a serious bottleneck?
4. Is our life time customer value (LTV) significant enough?
5. Are our traffic #s significant enough?
6. Do we have an established & proven positioning?
7. Do we have a clear & proven call to action?
8. Are there any other variations or tests that would be easier to run?

Community building video checklist
1. Are you ready to provide real value? (researched niche)
2. Prepared for the time commitment (out reach / promotion?)
3. Aware that without budget, it will be harder to get the video going without significant time commitment (we will show you how below)
4. Are you OK with potentially not seeing high level return instantly? (SEO / sales / prospects)
5. Are you able to make multiple videos to get this going? (or its a one time thing – both are possible, just be aware of your expectations, remember more videos is more production and outreach).
6. Do we have a clear goal?
7. Will our video be able to help us achieve it. (i.e more prospects from awareness into sales funnel).

These checklists won’t save you. But they will help you potentially avoid having to make scripts/storyboards for videos that don’t go anywhere, or halfway through the project no longer make sense.

Like all things in business, you need a solid scope for your video. But you also need a solid decision making process to guide it. And that’s what those checklists above will help you with.

Video Metrics – What do they mean?

View count: this is your reach, how many eyeballs you got.

Play rate: did your video get played after it was loaded?

Player load times: how long does it take for your content to load?

Play through rate: how far into your content are people getting?

Conversion: What is the goal, are you achieving it?

Video SEO: are you ranking for your desired keywords / potential opportunities?

Sharing: Is the video being shared?

Engagement: Are people interacting with the content?

Researching, Preparing And Planning Your Videos Successful Future
In this section, parts #1/2/3 might not be as important to people making a “homepage explainer video”. However even in those cases, the techniques and methods mentioned could be helpful.

In the first 3 steps, we focus on finding topics + opportunities for promotion for our video. This obviously applies to a more “content marketing” framework. And less to a “explainer video” / pitch video on your homepage.

So if you aren’t doing that, or don’t want to spend time on it right now – feel free to jump straight into the “video brief” which contains a worksheet and will be helpful in a more general way to anyone looking to make a video.

1. Preproduction
1. Niche + Influencer Research, Finding People To Promote To
1. Who are you looking for?
2. Don’t forget to create a swipe file!
3. What kind of keywords to search?
1. Searching google top 100 + related searches
2. Searching for Best Of
3. Searching for resource pages
4. Searching in side niches
5. Searching in broader niches
4. Social media
1. Twitter hashtags
2. Pinterest searches
3. Instagram
4. Youtube
5. Quora/Reddit/Yahoo/
6. Forums
2. Topic Selection
1. Analyst your research
2. Find the top performers
3. See if you can improve them
4. See if theres something people are asking for but hasn’t been written
3. Keyword Research
1. Using the legendary google keyword tool
2. Using the super hidden google first page results
3. Different types of keywords
4. Value + intent
4. Creating a video brief for internal/external use.
1. Where, who, what, why, how
2. Ensure everyone internal/external can understand it
3. Goals & KPIs
4. Keywords / topic – Search for a mix between: medium low comp keywords, and high utility subject. Subject is more important, and will ultimately be a greater factor in your success.

Breaking down your niche and influencer research step by step

You are in fact a fly on the wall at this stage. However you will want to start thinking about

-who is linking out often and friendly about it (check their content)
-where top shared content is sitting (and what the topics of interest were)
-what customers are asking for
First you need to take a broad look at your niche, and see what kind of content has been doing well in the past. There are great tools for this, so lets mention them, but pretend they don’t exist for our purposes.

Create a Swipe File For Content / Designs / Branding That Speaks To You

Since you are going to be looking at your industry, it makes sense to start keeping track of different sites and links. This kind of organization can help you find lost opportunities and the act of committing to it makes you more aware.

When you see a great piece of content, call to action, branding, banner, whatever it is, put it in the swipe file and make a note why you liked it. This way you in the future you can reference it. This is super useful for client proposals, or just building out your own creative assets in the future.

How to Define Your Influencer Profile

Not everyone will be suitable. The less accountable you hold yourself, the lower your response and overall result. I am a big fan of manual prospecting and qualifying. Of course automation is a big deal these days, but I love manual, slow and even scalable processes.

* blogs or individuals actively interested in promoting great content
* not “how to” / buzz feed style sites
* preferably people who link out to other on social media or in content
* blogs that are all ready developed (i.e established)
* blogs with little or no commercial intent (more likely to link to great content)

Here’s an example of our demographic for the research:

For this piece of content, someone who is interested in reading or linking is:

1. Interested: in DIY, getting things done, digital marketing on a low budget, bootstrap marketing, growth hacking, startup growth, animated videos, videos as a content/sales tool
2. Likely to be: a startup, someone who helps startups, internet marketing blog for newbies, how to make money online for general, video SEO, video and content marketing, visual content marketing, design and marketing firms, agencies helping small businesses.
3. All ready: Is active on social media, has a few posts on their blog, has shared at least 1 piece of content. Legitimately interested in helping others (not just a business or clickbait site)
4. Has contact information available: This means either an email onsite, or you can look them up via LinkedIN, or forums, social media, the point is: there’s a way to contact them.

Like this we can better refine who we are getting. However it should be noted, that with time, we must also continuously refine the definition, in search of the “ideal customer” or in other words – the highest converting most likely to “return on your investment” of time type.

At the end of your research. You will have achieved 3 things:

#1 – Broad niche research to educate yourself on the space
You are finding out who the players are, what content works, and what’s going on in this space.

#2 – Your future email outreach once the content is done
You are trying to find people who you think are “friendly” and “warm” for your content. As you start to see your topic form (by seeing what’s working and what people are asking for) it will become easier to spot the people who are ideal for promoting it.

#3 – Topics + Keywords with decent search volumes and medium competition.
Most important is your topic. Since it will provide the value, however you need the right keywords, so overtime it will rank either on your site or youtube.

Pay attention to the metrics of other peoples posts

There are tools that do this for you. Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, others etc. However I’m assuming you want to keep your costs low, so just mark down at least which posts did “better” “fine” “ok” “bad” and it will start to give you some sense of metrics.

you don’t have to write down everything but you do want to have some “science” behind what’s working, for who and why.

Time to get our feet wet, lets get researching for free
Remember, nothing is certain right now. You are researching, keep yourself open to the imagination. Remember fly on the wall!

Don’t try to connect the dots and rush through it. Just research for a few hours, sit on it for a day or two and make a good effort to understand your niche. In terms of competitors, content, what’s been done… you really have to immerse yourself and there’s no way to substitute that 😃

So first off, we will start with everyones favourite!

You will need to organize the information of all 3 as you dig deeper and deeper. It’s important to keep all the links centralized. This way you are building a kind of repository and database – which becomes more and more valuable the more content/information you have within it.

If you’re interested we have made an excel sheet which helps with this. Modify it as necessary, it only contains basic information and helps organize your search efforts.

[Create an excel bonus which people can download]

SUGGESTION: Read this this full section once, and then go through the individual action steps using the worksheet.

What kind of keywords to search?
You will need to look both shallow and wide. Sound conflicting? Well, remember, fly on the wall 😃

Searching in side niches: smaller then your current topic. For us video is our topic, smaller niches might be voiceover, scripting, design, illustration, animation.

Searching in broader niches: content marketing, SEO, conversions, client acquisition, online engagement, startups, pitches

Searching google top 100 + non commercial related searches

A few other keyword combination I typed in:
“b2b sales videos”
“visual content marketing blog”
“explainer video blog” (this wasn’t very targeted to my needs
“animated video guide”
“guide to making web videos” …

Searching for Best Of

Again, look at the people noted in these posts. They have twitters, websites, there’s comments on both the source website, and the author website. Lots of stuff to look at here, and don’t by shy to google different keywords.

Related Searches

After the last Google search result you can scroll down and see the section with “related searches” … this can give you a lot of new influencers and a whole new set of search results.

OK, you can google a lot of keywords, as many or as few as you like. But you also need to pay attention to

Social media
Twitter hashtags

Here’s a quick search for “#explainervideo”. Not all the results are pertinent, and some are straight up spammy (thanks twitter!) but … there is some info (if you dig around). As always try keywords/terms related to your niche.

Pinterest searches

This is so good for visual searches. And really under used. I searched “video content marketing” and this is what came back in top 5. Definitely a lot of good feedback/direction/contnet for swiping on Pinterest.


Again – these are influencers. The top posts are doing well for a reason – find out who those people are. Not all of them will be relevant. Doing this type of research is time consuming but worth it.

This is an awesome site, not just for video content, but general ideas + discovering niche influencers. Here’s a sample search. Generally a bit more “accessible”, but still helpful and often you can find really big niche influencers who might not be ranking in Google this way.

Great for in depth answers and people who really care. I searched “content marketing” and started reading through the answers. This gives great insight into what the audience wants, what people are asking, what people are voting to be the most relevant answer, plus all the related questions on the sidebar, there’s a lot to look into here 🙂


You can use the inbuilt search within reddit,

or just do it via google.

Both are great. In fact, I suggest both. They can provide varied results, and you never know where the source of inspiration/insight will come from.


“forums for [topic]”
“[topic] forum”

You get the drift 🙂

How To Choose a Winning Topic

There’s always going to be a gamble. The more research, the less gamble. However at the end of the day you’re going to have to either

1) Improve a topic which has be proven
2) See between the lines and write on a topic yet to be proven

Either way here’s a few things to consider

1. Pick something high utility: obvious right? Your video will do better if the topic is something interesting/relevant to people.
2. Make it easy, short, memorable and “stickable”.
3. Something that you know about, or can research easily (or are prepared to pay a professional writer – which defeats the purpose of DIY)

Keyword Research
Yup you want to research your keywords only after topic selection. This will ensure that your content stays true to the most important principle: providing value.

If you don’t provide value, you will not succeed. So focus on finding a topic or “gap in the market” where your content can perform exceptionally well. By now you should all ready have both topics and people in mind to promote your video.

Videos with high value,
answer the search query or keyword specifically

Your video will be better if it provides an answer related to your keyword. Don’t try to force a keyword around a topic that doesn’t fit. Your topic should guide your keyword selection.

And your keyword should be medium competition with decent search volumes. These are abstract terms that you will need to figure out specifically for your situation or niche. (example: if you’re a pro, do whatever works for you, if you’re a newbie, maybe aim lower to start).

Keywords & Buyer Intent in Your Niche

Remember that different keywords have different levels of buyer intent. This means that they are closer or further away from the “buying phase”.

There’s 4 types of keywords:
1. Buy now: people who want a solution NOW. keywords that include this: buy/coupon/discount/deal/shipping, high intent, lots of ads, likely to convert.

2. Product Keywords: earlier in the buying cycle, these keywords include: compare, review, top 10, specific brand name, product category, cheap, affordable

3. Informational keywords: usually get a lot of search, but lower intent. “how to” “ways to” “I need to” [high search volume + low comp]

4. Lowest quality: Free / torrent / download. Keywords with low intent, people who aren’t necessarily interested, or don’t know what they want yet.

OK. So you know your topic is more important, because your topic is really a combination of what you know about and can provide value on + what your influencers + their audience are talking about.

Based off that, you all ready have some sense of buyer intent ( and can move towards juicier “buyer intent” alternatives)

Next you will need to go to Google adwords, and check out what the advertisers are paying for keywords. Keywords with higher CPC means that advertisers are willing to pay more for those clicks – why?

Because they are closer to the end of the buying cycle. So less nurturing is required to convert that click into a sale. The trend that you will see is that generally Buy now / Product Keywords will be more expensive to bid on then informational keywords.

Keywords Searched:
Inputed two keywords…

Nike VS Puma – This is informational. Earlier in the buying cycle, quite expensive,

Buy Nike Shoes – This is later in the buying cycle and very low. I sorted the other keywords by price and they are considerably lower search, similar in intent but higher priced.

Could be a good niche for someone with PPC skills 😃 or Nike.

The keywords after, I left so you can see the keywords most likely to have “intent”. These are the ones advertisers are paying for – so we are letting their money do the guessing.

So how do you do the Keyword research?

You have a few options here. My preferred for free as illustrated above is the good ole google keyword tool and google results. This is a really great way to get some information.

Step #1 Using the Google Keyword Planner (RIP Keyword Tool!).

Make sure to include “search partners” to include other sites in Google network, not just limited to Youtube.

Here’s an example of mine:

Not bad keywords. But I didn’t end up using either, I felt the #s were a bit too small. It’s important to spend time looking around and researching different combinations of keywords. Using the related tools from Google is a great idea, and in fact is the basis of a keyword tool called

Step #2 – Checking the Google Results For a Video
This means that you have a good chance to get on the first page as well. Especially if the video is “weak in nature”. A good way of judging this is by using the VIDIQ attachment (which is paid however).

Here’s a keyword with a video result. This could be a potentially great one (ranks in YouTube & Google = more traffic).

Try to pick a keyword which lines up with your topic as we discussed. And which complements the buyer profile / desire, so that the retention/engagement on your video will be higher.

After that, we’re ready to move into the next part of our process.

1. Creating a video brief for internal/external use.
1. Where, who, what, why, how
2. Ensure everyone internal/external can understand it
3. Goals & KPIs
4. Keywords / topic – Search for a mix between: medium low comp keywords, and high utility subject. Subject is more important, and will ultimately be a greater factor in your success.

Creating Your Video Brief, Customer Profile & Universal Scope For Briefing

Your buyer persona is the standard you will hold your videos call to action.

Marketing is about refining your buyer persona with your tests/channels, to see what holds true and what doesnt. Eventually you will want to target only your high value return buyers, or in other words the ones that bring you back the most.

Here’s a sample buyer persona that we made for our video service:

Here’s a good starting point to help you define your ideal customer:
* Backround: Family? Career Path? Authority in Company?
* Demographics: Age, Sex, Location, Income, etc
* Common Charecteristics: what they do, talk, where they travel, how they prefer to communicate
* Goals: Primary / secondary – what are they aiming for?
* Challenges: What’s keeping them from those goals?
* What you can do: How can you help them break through those boundaries?
* Real quotes / interviews “ASK them”
* Common Objections
* Marketing Messaging that works
* Your Elevator pitch to this group of people

Next a brief. Since you won’t be sending this out, it doesn’t need to be high end. However even doing it in 5-10 minutes will give you good insight into your production process and allow you to stay “true”.

Setting Your Video Goals & Achieving Them Is the Measure of Success
We are not re-inventing the wheel here. It’s just another one of those things that often goes overlooked. Having a scope, brief or just organization of your goals/ideas/inputs is awesome for internal and external briefs. Both to yourself / others and in your organization / out.

Take 5-10 minutes to fill something like this out. It goes a far way, the more time you spend researching/briefing the more likely you are to succeed. It pays to do your homework in this case.

Campaign Intent
1. -Destination, where will it go?
2. -Goals, what should it do?
3. -Buyer Persona, who is it for?
4. -KPI’s, what should we measure?
5. -Style, in front of camera? powerpoint/camtasia/screencast?

1. What’s the high level overview?
2. Specific problems we are solving?
3. Information to pass on? (features/benefits)
4. How does it work? Is it clear enough?
5. What kind of a tone?
6. What’s the call to action?

1. What colours should be used?
2. Any branding materials? (logos files etc)
3. What kind of a pace?
4. Background materials or not?
5. Specific scenes or mentions?

Voiceover / music
1. Style of voiceover?
2. Pace?
3. Pronunciation style?
4. Your own? A Friend?

After the video
1. How will you measure your video?
2. Do you need to install codes or tracking anywhere?
3. Onsite video optimization?
4. How will your site finish the sale?
5. Are you tracking the sale onsite?
6. Retargeting codes?

The Step By Step Breakdown For Mastering Your Video Production
Now is the time to turn your brief into a video. You should all ready have an idea of what kind of video you will make, however we will go over them generally as well. In this section we’ll talk about some of the barriers/problems you will face with production, as well as how you can overcome them. Here’s the outline:

1. Creating Your Video
1. General Scripting Considerations
1. Keep it short
2. Start with the value
3. Include your call to action
4. Use benefits and advantages, not features
5. Keep it inline with your brief, goals and buyer persona
2. General Voiceover Considerations
1. My setup
2. Consider investing in a microphone
3. Practise the script a few times (record them)
4. Try to do it in one take if you can, or naturally.
5. Cover yourself with a blanket
6. Don’t force it.
3. Ways to Record Your Video
1. Getting in front of the camera.
2. Camtasia + Live Action Video
3. Using Stock Photos/Videos
4. Screencaptures
4. General Video Editing Tips/Techniques
1. Cutting – prepare to cut your footage. Or get someone on your team to do it for you.
2. Transitions – again you can do simple transitions to give it a little sense of timing.
3. Adding text – You can overlay text, this is a good idea, but suggest consulting your designer regarding the branding.
4. Various Tutorials + Screen Recording
5. Adding Music + SFX
1. The legal side of it
2. Royalty free music
3. Youtube Music + SFX
4. Ask a friend? play it yourself?
5. Pay 10-15$?
6. 3 Tips for improving your sound
6. My Personal Setup
7. Using Animated Software
1. Not suggested.
2. There are options, but look kind of weak + still take your time to make.
3. With camera quality, best to just find a nice scene.

Making a Kickass Script
Let’s go over a few points to help you with your script.

How Long?

According to Wistia, the sweet spot is 30 to 120 seconds. After that we see a drop-off. However around 6-12 minutes it picks up again. And then once again.

This isn’t always the best guidance, because sometimes content needs to be long, and the demographic expects it. However it is a good “idea” to have in mind. You want to err on the side of being short, not long, especially if its your first video (refine your ability to “story tell” / “captivate”).

Think visually
Even if you won’t use your visuals, try to think of what relates to your script. At worst, you can just show some text on screen – this is actually a lot more effective then you think (thanks to dual-encoding theory). This point may be less important if you are not interested in doing a “cartoon” style video.

Keep it short
Don’t betray yourself by creating room for error. Keep it short and to the point, that can also minimize the amount of dilution.

Start with the value
Don’t wait to tell people about what’s good. Tell them upfront, don’t bury the lead.

Include your call to action
Build your script, benefits, and goals around the call to action. If it’s signups make sure you ask for it, if it’s likes, make sure you ask for it. Simple but often overlooked.

Use benefits and advantages, not features
It’s important that you remind your customer what they are getting not just “technically” or “delivered” but personally/emotionally. This is much more powerful in giving the bigger picture, which wordy sales scripts are often unable to paint.

Keep it inline with your brief, goals and buyer persona
Obvious. Again – your goal and CTA is everything. Your video is only a vehicle for the idea to get people to click on the CTA. And the reason video works better then text is due to the dual-encoding theory.

It’s not magic. You need to line up all pieces of the puzzle, and make sure that they don’t get knocked out of alignment at any point during the process.

General Tips For Recording Your Voiceover

Consider investing in a microphone
You can get great microphones for cheap >200 nowadays. This can really make a difference n the audio quality, however it’s not necessary – but worth mentioning.

Here’s a few that I like: + AT 2020

Practise the script a few times (record them)
You’re going to want to do your video a few times. Because part of doing it yourself is that it usually relies heavily on the presenter. So practice your video a few times through start to finish, but make sure you record all of them.

You honestly never know when the “right” take is until you watch the videos later. So aim to record more instead of less (you can delete later).,

Try to do it in one take if you can, or naturally.
This is probably a personal preference, but I like to do the videos in one take. A bit of improv is fine, but there should be main points/a script you’re going of. You are mixing your personality and the message, important that you don’t drown out the message.

Quiet Room works best
Obvious but worth mentioning. Don’t record in a common shared space with people talking – it will sound weird. Go into isolation, somewhere quiet without noise and set up.

Cover yourself with a blanket
This can be a good way to isolate yourself further. Not always applicable but it can help the sound tremendously. Consider doing this if you are at home or a liberal office.

Don’t force it.
Let it come. Try a few takes, different styles, feel free to re-write the script. Accept that sometimes how we write is not how we speak. You are not married to the script, and your voiceover will show you the parts which need work. So don’t force it, and instead work with whatever is coming out. This is part of the DIY process.

How are you going to record the visuals of your video?

Getting in front of the camera.
Here’s a quick video I did of myself, talking into my microphone and sony action cam. You can get a feel for what a live video would look like 😉

Here’s the camera I am using:

Screen Recording + Keynote / Powerpoint
Yup you can record your presentation. First you will need to make it, and there’s no shortage of videos showing you how to use those programs. So we will skip them.

google search: “powerpoint tutorials” “how to make epic keynotes” – you get it. Here’s a few programs that can be used for screen recording. The good news is that you microphone will plugin directly with them, so all you have to do is click, talk/read whats on screen and stop recording at the end.

This is a great way to do product demo’s or behind the scenes screen casting.

Keynote (Mac)
PowerPoint (PC or Mac)
ScreenFlow (Mac)

Using Stock Photos/Videos
You can make your whole video out of stock photos and images. Just by combining what is available on other websites for free or paid. These images will run you from 1 to 5 or more dollars. There are of course limitations when it comes to budget and quality with this method.

Here’s a few sites to check out: (free HQ stock photos)

Doodles, Scanner + “Lasso” tool in Photoshop Elements
Something you can do is draw your images yourself, and edit them into a video.

A bit more time consuming but the savvy among us will know how to do it. (draw each asset – scan onto computer – cut out with lasso tool).

Tips For Perfecting Your Live Presentations While Recording

When recording, expect to do your video at least 10 times. And make sure you record each time even if it’s a practice session.

If you are editing yourself, I suggest aiming to do a 1 take on your video so the amount of editing will be minimal. I like to do it 10 times and then see which take fits best.

IF there are minor mistakes it’s not a problem. Well not for me, I find that it brings a level of human relatability to the video. Obviously most of what you are saying should all ready be written in the video (i.e your key points).

Here’s a few thoughts

Remember to pause and give space to your words

Don’t talk too slow, but do pause and let your points sync in. It’s important that people have a moment to “process it” in their own heads.

-sync voiceover and on screen words

Key points should be both seen and heard by the viewer. Don’t use alternative wordings – try to keep key points spoken as written. This will help with the dual encoding that we spoke about earlier.

-Be aware of the camera

If you’re in front of the camera, try to keep it dynamic. Pick a proper backround and wear something decent. Try to practice being natural and using hand gestures – this will go far in making the video more interesting.

General Video Editing Tips/Techniques
Once you have your footage there are a few basic manipulations that you should be aware of.

1. Cutting – Your video might be too long for the voice track. Or there’s too much delay before the action and it doesn’t sync properly. These are instances where you may want to cut it.
2. Transitions – New scenes or content.
3. Title Scenes – Introducing a new concept or section on screen.
4. Simple branding – Logos or graphics introducing speakers:

5. Adding text – You can overlay text, this is a good idea, but suggest consulting your designer regarding the branding.
6. Leave time for a call to action in text at the end
7. Err on the side of simplicity and don’t stuff too many effects into your video.

Adding Music + SFX
Music and SFX is nice but not necessary. But its really nice, I can’t stress how much life it can bring to your video. The trick of course, is doing it for free or cheap.

And no – you can’t just grab your favourite song and pop it into your video 😃 (at least not legally)

This leaves you with a few options
1) Make your own – play your instruments, and record some simple sound effects, this can be fun if you’re up for it
2) Royalty free music – this is free music you can use commercially without problem
3) Buy some stock music – 15-30 can go pretty far in getting you some stock music
Here’s a few sites for stock music:

4) The YouTube creators music / SFX

General Sound Design Tips
1. Fade the music in and out. Every editing program has its own ways, so you will have to learn the specifics. You can smooth the entry and end of your video with a fade.
2. Music not in the front. Make sure your voiceover is the forefront of the audio, music too loud can make it hard to hear the audio.
3. Sync the music. Try to find a song with a rhythm similar to your video, and sync key points if you can. This gives the best overall effect, but is not always easy to attain.

Exact Details of My Camtasia Setup

For the audio, a regular USB microphone will do. You don’t need anything amazing but you do need something half decent – otherwise you will struggle.

Personally my setup is in the ~300-400 dollar range. So it may be more then you want to invest initially. A decent USB microphone can be found from 50 to 125 online or locally.

Microphone = AT2020
Sound Processor = Steinberg UR22
Camera = Sony ActionCAM

Since I have a Mac, I’m using Keynote to make my presentations. I keep the animations to a minimum but like to keep the content coming on one piece at a time to give time to prepare for it.

For scripting: usually I’m using evernote. Just because I like simple text layouts/edits.

For the video camera: I’m using my built in webcam to keep it simple. This way there’s really no syncing required between video / presentation / sound – Camtasia seperates all 3 files for me, leaving me just to export after adding title cards.

Using Animated Explainer Video Software – Should You?

I say no. I have not really see any programs that are easy or quick enough to use. In the end you are still investing time and effort, and the quality actually goes down. Here’s a few reasons

1) You have to build out presentations (this takes time)
2) You have to use templates (this forces you into cookie cutter solutions)
3) The animations are only slightly better then keynote/powerpoint (sometimes not even)
4) Memberships cost money, not really friendly for startups

Those are just a few reasons that come to mind. If you are using animated software and like it, leave comment and let me know. I’m not against it – just don’t think its the ideal match in this situation.

The Best Practices of Uploading Your Video To YouTube And a Website

You will want to get your video up and live soon as possible. So what’s the best way of doing it?

Well, it involves ranking your video in Google & Youtube. Something that looks like this:

That’s the same video from earlier, but ranking in Google. It’s on the first page – with a bit of work it could definitely be in the top 3 if not the 1st position. So not only is it showing up in YouTube, but also Google – which of course is more traffic for you.

To help that happen, we all ready picked out a medium volume, low competition keyword. And now we are going to upload it either to our site or Youtube. In cases where applicable both.

Video Upload to website

OK so if your video is on your site, you have to make a video sitemap and let Google know. This might sound a bit confusing, and it is, but it’s also super simple and well documented.

Once you’ve gotten your video hosted and embedded on your site, it’s simply a matter of informing Google about the video. To do this, you’ll have to add the required code to your page and submit an XML sitemap within Google’s Webmaster Tools.

For video hosting, you can use a public service like vimeo/youtube/dailymotion/whatever you feel like. However I would suggest Wistia because they have built in SEO tools that automatically create a video sitemap. Which really simplifies your job down significantly.

Oh – on top of that they have tons of built in reporting + easy customization features. Making it really easy to track your video success over time. You get all the analytical information that you need in one place.

Don’t forget to check the ideal render size + codecs for your video, this will improve the video load time. (as well as depending where and with whom you are hosting).

Video SEO for WordPress plugin

Your YouTube Channel Basics & Evaluating your current situation
Before you go any further, it’s a good idea to look at your current YouTube situation. If you have nothing set up, just quickly read over this section for some info, but don’t worry about it. If you do have a channel and have tried marketing it in the past – this can help you recap what has and hasn’t worked.

1. Check your analytics – see if any past videos performed exceptionally well
You can see that one video is really driving a lot of the views on my channel. Not in views, but in watch time – which definitely counts for a lot when we are talking about relevancy. However there’s some other interesting videos on the list “WHAT IS SEO” has a lot of views, but less activity overall (might be a good subject to revisit).
“Subliminal marketing” – has really high watch time, probably a topic with few videos. Good for creating more around maybe (need to research before moving into niche)
2. Any ranking for keywords?
It’s a good idea to check in Youtube + Google. Especially for your top performing videos.
3. Long descriptions with relevant keywords?
Feel free to put the better part of your script summary into the descriptions. It will contain your keywords, and help both users/SE spiders classify your content.
4. Have you optimized your tags/keywords?
Go to your individual videos and look them over. You can put up to 50 tags, and 500 characters. You can get a lot of extra traffic from this – even though it seems trivial.
5. Any subscribers/engagement?
Read through the comments, and see which videos get you the most response in your niche (not just likes, but subscribers). If you are driving traffic back to your site, use custom landing pages to measure inbound traffic.
6. Have you subscribed to 50-100 relevant channels in your niche?
This is a good way to letting Google know you are part of an industry / niche by association. Highly suggested to do this! Don’t be shy to spread the love 🙂
7. Links to all your social media profiles? Websites? Emails?
YouTube support multiple accounts. Link to as many as you can. Likewise to your site/emails.
8. Videos with CC captions included?
We go over how to do this later in the article. It’s part of the upload process, but it’s a good basic to cover. Your closed captions “CC” button – allow your audience to see the text while the video plays. Google automatically generates their own which can be in-accurate.
A more reliable way to to upload your own file. And make sure your script contains the keywords in all the right places, to help identify the content.
9. Relevant images + keyword friendly file names for SE spiders to crawl? (think headers/profile pictures). You can use file names that directly help to associate you (“content-marketing-profile-picture.jpeg” or “conversion-rate-optimization-banner”).
Have a resolution of 1280X720 (minimum width of 640 pixels).
* Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
* Remain under the 2MB limit.
* Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio.
* Connect your channel to a Google+ Page or Profile.
* Your Google+ page or profile must be authorized by your brand, company, or product.
* If the channel is connected to a Google+ page, the page must contain a link to your organization’s website. This website must be verified (i.e. have a small checkmark next to the website URL), which the +page owner can do themselves by following these instructions.
* Your channel must have a substantial number of subscribers.

Here’s a little diagram of best practices for uploading

1. Optimize your whole channel, this will increase your channel authority as a whole.
2. Relevant file name – Start your upload with your keywords in the filename. This is meta data which search engines can see.

3. CC caption file for script your video – you can do this in your creator studio > video manager > subtitle & CC, then just listen to the video and write out the captions at the same time.

4. kw included in title – In the first 25 words is ideal. My keyword “How to Write An Article” is basically the title.
5. kw + variants in description, part of script/summary (300+ words) in description. It’s advisable to write up a bit of content in your description. Both for search engines and readers. Try to give some insight into what you will cover and mix in your keywords naturally.
6. links to your social media at bottom – Great for letting people explore further, and also giving relevant associations to spiders.
7. link to website / call to action & keyword in first 2 sentences – In your description, put your website call to action in the first 2 sentences. This helps drive traffic to your site + create relevant associations.
8. 500 characters of tags – Don’t be shy on your tags. You get 500 characters, go for everything which is relevant to your brand. You got nothing to lose and you need to hit the plurals, non plurals and all variations you can think of. Once again – don’t be shy.

Here’s an infographic of how all of this looks when polished:


1. Promoting Your Video
1. Initial social signals – Your First 24 Hours
1. Social media; reddit/quora/forum/digg/etc
2. Personal assets; blogs/email sig/forums
2. Email the list you researched
3. Paid ads/PPC

17 Ways to Promote Your Video in The First 24 Hours

OK lets talk about your game plan after you make that post. In the first 24 hours you want to start driving social signals to your video.

The more activity on it, the better. The more response, the better. Here’s a list of different ideas you can try to promote your video initially:

1. Publish your video all your social media profiles:
Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/LinkedIN/Instagram – wherever you are active, make a post linking to your video.
2. Trueview video views (PPC) – not always an options
If you have the budget, consider investing into video PPC. You can target users with keywords and show potential prospects your video.
3. Youtube Fan Finder program -

YouTube has a free way to get fans. It’s called the fan finder program, and gives you free PPC exposure to drive subscriptions to your channel. It’s a nice way to helping channels with great content but low budget establish themselves initially.
4. Use Hastags in your description
Drop relevant hashtags into your video and content descriptions.
5. Video commenting on other influencers/people in your niche
Visit videos in your niche and comment on them. If you leave meaningful detailed comments it can be a good way of getting
a) likes (meaning you post relevant content)
b) links to your youtube profile
c) relevant association with your niche/keywords
6. Embed on your blog with a post + video sitemap (details on how below)
Put your video on your site, blog, wherever else you have access to 😃 embeds are an important activity measure.
7. Send out to your email list or email signature.
If you have an email list, feel free to send out your video to them. Or attach it to your email signature. This is an easy way to get some engagement.
8. Quora
This is a great site for answering questions. The reason: people are very specific and want a detailed response. Your video can be part of your response – but it doesn’t have to be (i.e don’t spam it).
9. Stumble upon / Digg
If your video has valuable content, these can be good sites to submit it to. However there’s a whole guide to be written on how to market just on those platforms (and I’m not qualified to write it!)
10. Reddit
If you are going to promote yourself on reddit, do it in a no bullshit kind of way. This community does not appreciate (like most) marketers looking to market.
So provide your value, and only plug your links sometimes when it is applicable. Don’t be the person shoving their service down everyones throats.
11. Forums: you should look for relevant forums to post it – need to prequalify them
This is best done before your video is done. You go out and search a list of forums, you will need to look through for the active ones, sign up for accounts and engage in quality 20-30 posts, before posting your video once it’s live.
12. Add to appropriate playlists with group keywords (high level meta information for youtube)
You can add your video into the appropriate playlists. This is a great way to group your video with other high level keywords. Great for meta information on the Youtube/Google side.
13. Ask friends/colleagues/family to comment/upvote/like.
Cheesy, lame. Yeah I know. But it works. If you have a close group of contacts reach out and ask for some love. It will help you get the social signals and proof to convert more.
Likewise, if your connections have blogs or are willing to share/post for you. Well, ask them. Sometimes we are worried about asking because we feel it’s too confrontational. Give the person your asking a bit of space to say no, so they don’t feel pressured and it will be fine 😃
14. Include your video in a press release
Why not? If you have the budget, make a press release, include your video. More links, more exposure, more love.
15. Relevant blog comments/postings
Again – don’t spam, but during your research you may have found great spots for guest comment posting your video. Only if it’s relevant and actually helps, otherwise you’re going to build a bad reputation around your brand.
16. Post a video response
You can pick a video with a related keyword in your niche and post a video response to it. This is an easy way to hitch off the back of another video. You will have to make sure that this function is available. (not all videos allow it).
17. Be quick to respond to all replies/activity on your post
Don’t delay in getting back to comments or people who share your video. Not only does this help build rapport with them, but it sends positive signals to YouTube (increased activity frequency).

Reaching Out To Influencers + Super Sharers With Your Content

OK here is where the real magic happens. Its not just from doing 24 hours of outreach and hoping that it gets picked up and ranked. You will need to also outreach to influencers in your niche. Now this isnt always the easiest of funnest part of the process, but it is super important.

The less promotion you do on your video, the less likely it is to succeed.

However your promotion should be targeted, so you will need to research different social

Wrapping It All Up: The Analytics & Future Preperation

Checking in with your video
See how it performs
Creating your ROI
What were your costs/expenses?
time, money, resources,
different phases: pre production, production, executino
how does it relate to your KPIs?
The future baselines
what are your baselines for the future
what kind of tests would you like to do?
are you happy with how this performed? (i.e would you do something again)
was the end result/ROI worth it for your brand?

Check in with your video 1-2 months after

After you video has been up for 1-2 months, you can start to really get a feel for how its performing. It’s important to do a check in, to get a more accurate representation of ROI and what the video has done for you.

You’re going to want to look at all the fun metrics that help us understand what’s going on. (more on that in chapter 1).

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