Search this Blog

Lights! Webcam! YouTube action!

Courtesy of
By Danny Murphy

Did you ever wonder how some businesses have the time and resources to make videos for YouTube and other social media outlets? What is the difference between videos that go viral and videos that are just out there? What does it take to make an effective video for a small business? This article is about the way some businesses are using video as part of their marketing mix. One surprising thing it that production costs are way down and it doesn’t take much to get started. Read and learn from this week’s Working the Web to Win article about businesses that use video and how you can get video to work for your business. These days almost anyone can make a video and put it on YouTube. Millions and millions of videos are being produced, posted, and shared. Here are a few interesting stats from YouTube. 
  • YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
  • YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • Growth in viewing time on YouTube has accelerated and is up at least 50% year over year for three straight years.
YouTube isn’t the only place to upload videos. Facebook is also doing quite well with video. According to Josh Constine of TechCrunch, “Facebook now sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time.” Businesses can also show off their content on their social nets and on other internet channels via Roku/internet video players.
People tell their friends about videos that must be seen to be believed. Which videos get shared the most? Funny videos. Matt Harding made his first Where the Hell is Matt video in 2005. As he travelled throughout the world he would have a friend record video of him dancing in many far-flung places. He doesn’t dance particularly well, and that’s one of the things that made the video funny. It’s goofy.

Another thing that made the videos popular was Matt’s interactions with the people around him. His videos are uplifting. Matt’s 2005 video has gotten over three million views. Stride Chewing Gum underwrote his travels to make more videos. Matt’s 2006 video got over nineteen million views and his 2008 video got over 49 million views. Another memorable and funny dance video that went viral was Gangnam Style. It has been viewed over 46 million times. 

Drama can also work with videos. One of the most epic videos of them all was when Red Bull sent Felix Baumgartner to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere and he jumped back. It was all caught on streaming video. I remember it well because once I tuned in, I could not take my eyes off it. It was truly amazing! The video has been chopped up into small pieces on YouTube. All told, these videos have been viewed hundreds of millions of times. 

Ok, so what if you have a small business and you can’t afford to travel the world and have a friend record you dancing a little jig? What if you don’t have the capability to produce something as slick as Gangnam Style? And what if the idea of jumping back to Earth from outer space makes you queasy?
Is there a practical way to add video to your marketing mix?
Properly optimized video can improve your search ranking dramatically. There are dozens of ways to employ video for your business. Videos that are funny or dramatic are good, but so are informative videos and how-to videos. You could put together a how-to video or share your expertise with viewers. If you have special knowledge about some product or industry, there could be an audience that would be interested.
I was thinking of doing some work on my car one day and I decided to watch a video about this particular procedure before I got started. There was one screw that had to be removed which would have been impossibly difficult for me because I didn’t have the right tools. Seeing that video saved me the hassle of trying to do a job that would have led to frustration and probably scraped up knuckles.
I’ve watched many videos that have helped me with a variety of projects. I recently watched several videos on making videos. So what good does it do to make a video that will help Danny Murphy make his own video or do something around the house? Well, someday I might need something that you can sell to me. 
If you have a level of expertise that is of value to others, video could be the channel through which you impart some of your wisdom. The key question is What do I do in my business that would be of interest to the general public or to a specific group?” Once you’ve given viewers some useful information, you can hit them with a short pitch about what you do or what you sell.
To go viral, a video has to set itself apart from all the others in some way. It must either be entertaining, hilarious, informative, educational, have plenty of eye candy, or all of the above. The production values have to be good. Also, many of the most popular videos are promoted in some way. 
One guy who exemplifies what a small business can do with video is Chuck Testa of Ojai Valley Taxidermy. His funny 2011 video has now been viewed over 16 million times. In a blog post about 17 Viral Successes that Prove Small Companies Can Win with Video Marketing, Tim Ryan writes, “The video works as a great example of how any industry can succeed with video marketing. All you need is a bit of creativity, a good story and a splash of humor.”

Before you get started, check out the YouTube resources on how to make videos. After that, watch a few videos about making videos, like this one. 

Video can be one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business online. Unlike TV commercials, airing a video on YouTube costs nothing. What does it take to get started? Surprisingly, very little. Many smartphones have good video capabilities now, or you can get a decent webcam for under a hundred bucks. You can also get a camcorder for less than $250.
Sound is important. If you can get a camera with a mic jack, that will improve the quality of your video. Otherwise, just make sure you’re close enough to the camera so that it picks up your voice fairly well. Also make sure you use a tripod or have some kind of anti-shaking capabilities (video stabilization). Nothing ruins a video like shaky cam.
Remember that short videos of one to two minutes can be very effective. You’ll need software for editing. YouTube has some built in capability for basic editing, so even if you don’t have any editing software, you have YouTube basic editing, and it’s free. I’ve been using MS Movie Maker and it’s working out OK. As with other things, there is a learning curve. It will take some time to learn how to edit, but not very much really.
You’ll have to make a few videos before you get the hang of it and a few more before you get good at it. After you’ve produced a video, watch it and ask yourself honestly, if you think anyone else would watch it. If you think the answer is yes, post it, tell your friends, and see what happens.
Viewers have an insatiable appetite for video!
Many viewers like to see people who are real. The door is wide open for entrepreneurs to create Web TV series around their businesses. With a bit of creativity, wit, and wisdom, it is now possible for individuals and businesses to create and broadcast their own reality shows, talk shows, and variety shows.
If you can make videos that are funny, or informative, or both, you could be on your way to YouTube stardom. Real estate agents, chefs, loggers, fishermen, and pawn shop owners have become stars in their own right.  Meanwhile, their businesses have grown.
How many videos does it take to succeed?
One video per week is a good rate to work towards. Once you get into a routine, you’ll find that it’s not so difficult. The more you produce the better you’ll get at it. If you can tap into the humor or the drama of your workaday existence and bring it to the masses on a weekly basis, video could become a key part of your marketing mix. So pick up your smart phone, webcam or camcorder and get started. Don’t let the fear of failure get in your way. You can do this. Before you know it, you could be on your way to fame, fortune and internet stardom.
In this article I have discussed using videos for marketing. A good video can help a business to get to the top in search results. Production costs are way down and almost anyone can produce an entertaining and informative video now.
Get your FREE copy.
If you liked this article, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. Working the Web to Win has previously produced several blogs about using video for marketing. For more information I recommend reading, “A Movie in Every Mailbox”, “Will Web TV Change the World as You Know It?” and “Using Video as a Social Media Platform”. You can also use the search box at the top of this blog to find even more article by typing in video in the search field.
Please use the sharing buttons below, including the all-important Google+ sharing button.
If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Danny Murphy is the Lead Blogger at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the author of Humor 101: How to Tell Jokes for Power, Prestige, Profit, and Personal Fulfillment which is available from Amazon on Kindle.

Related articles


  1. Most businesses don't realize what a strategic advantage producing online videos can provide. Great content and Google Juice as well if you post on YouTube.

  2. Business video has to be properly done, but that doesn't mean it has to be expensive.

  3. What many people don't realize about the Ojai Valley Taxidermy commercial is that it was actually created by Rhett & Link, a group that makes internet videos professionally, and it was created as a part of their Commercial Kings television series on IFC which documented their process of making local commercials. That said, it's still a really really good idea to have videos on the web for a small business. They may not go viral, but if your content is specific enough, you don't need them to.

  4. There is no doubt that video is one of the best mediums to be in. Most people would rather watch than read and it has less competition that many other venues.