By Andrew Angus on January 8, 2013

It’s known that the social network with the highest time on site is YouTube. Why? Because video is a powerful tool for storytelling.

Remember little Caine from Caine’s Arcade? Who could forget the story of the humble little boy with a big heart and a big dream? It’s no surprise it went viral across the web with pinball speed and helped raise $206,000 for his college fund. His Facebook page, with 117,168 fans, is a personal favorite.

Throughout history, humans have used storytelling as a way to engage others on an emotional level. The truth is that no one gets teary eyed or laughs deep belly laughs over a banner ad. But video has proved to be a very powerful medium, which is why many brands are making studio quality shorts to engage audiences. Even DIY “how-to” videos that aren’t studio quality have become popular.

Video can be a powerful tool to help tell the story of your company, your products or services, the people who work at your company or the customers who are a valuable part of your business. It can also be an opportunity to show your creative muscle, as we saw with the Volkswagon Darth Vader commercial, which ran during the Super Bowl with over 32 million views on YouTube.

People love video and the proof is in the stats.

The second largest search engine in the world is YouTube. In the time it takes you to read this post, 100 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. And today people are not just watching video at night when they used to watch television. Data that confirms viewers are consuming media in the morning hours and in the late afternoon. People watch video on their mobile devices during their commute to and from work (and at work, of course).

Any video you make should be something you would watch just because it’s entertaining, engaging, inspiring or informative. The more the video is about the story, the better—it should have minimal reference to the product or service you are selling.

Check out this powerful movie: Pepsi Max and Kyrie Irving Present: Uncle Drew.

In this short, a disguised pro basketball player dresses up as a senior citizen and wows the crowd at a New Jersey neighbourhood basketball court. It’s a simple and sweet narrative that generated almost 8,750,000 views.

The most popular YouTube videos of all time are music videos. Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris has a whopping 744,119,013 views, making it the most viewed video of all time. But if you can’t land the blond haired boy wonder (why is this guy so famous?), there is still hope for you.

Today, every brand has to think of itself as a publisher. If you want to sell your product, you need to tell a fantastic story.

Want to make it relevant? Stay on top of what’s trending. What content are people sharing and why is it so popular?

Don’t try to be someone you’re not or replicate what someone else did. Think about what makes your story special and focus on that. It will seem more organic because it truly is yours.

And here are some tips to get you started on your video storytelling journey:

1. Get the right video camera

Not an animator? That’s ok. Prefer Live Action? Great! You don’t need the priciest camera to make a strong video—you do need a camera that’s easy to use and fits your price range. I personally have used a Kodak zi8 HD Pocket Camera and it works just fine, and if you are shooting yourself you might want to purchase the tripod with it. You’ll want to make sure the image is clear, the sound is clean and the equipment isn’t overly complicated to use. You don’t need the most expensive camera today to create a strong video.

2. Content and timing

Powerful video doesn’t have to be long. The sweet spot is between one and three minutes, particularly if it’s embedded within an article. If you will be speaking on camera, understand that most viewers have a very low attention span, and you’ll need to keep your comments to the point. Viewers can’t remember more than three ideas in one presentation so keep your content organized and consider outlining what you will say at the beginning. Then you’ll hit your three points, and wrap up by listing those points in the conclusion—similar to how you would in an essay. If you’ll be filming a narrative with characters, it’s a different story, but you’ll still want to maintain an easy to follow storyline.

3. Keep it fun

Kickstarter is a wonderful site to check out for video ideas. This funding platform for creative projects has a wide range of video styles, and here the Kickstarter team gives you some fun and light-hearted ideas for how to make a video. The point the team drives home is to just make it. Remember half the battle is showing up, even when making a video. You will learn from any hiccups that happen along the way, and the best feedback you’ll receive is the amount of views, shares and comments you receive for that video. You’ll continue to iterate as you go along.

You don’t need to be Justin Bieber to make a great video, you just need to be creative and listen to what your viewers want. And just like any new endeavor this is a journey so have fun with it. The worst that can happen is people won’t watch it. But don’t be discouraged, eventually you’ll find your groove. Good luck!

Want to learn more? Join the experts at Switch Video in their course: How to Tell Your Companies Story & The Brain Science to Make It Stick It’s free free until July 15th. And $399 after that. Sign up today! 

 

 

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