Get in touch with your inner Spielberg & start making your own online videos

by on January 22, 2015

Get In Touch With Your Inner Spielberg & Start Making Your Own Online VideosThis is a guest post from Colette Nichol of Story Envelope Media.

The magic tool

If you knew for a certainty that there was a tool that had the incontrovertible power to help you connect on a deeper level with your customers and make you stand out in their memory, would you use it? What if that same tool would, over time, result in more sales and more of exactly the type of customers you want? Then would you use it?

Maybe you would. Or then again, maybe you wouldn’t. As creatures of habit, we humans can often find ourselves suffering under the weight of a deep-seated aversion to change. So even when something is a sure bet, we find ourselves simply acting as though it were not an option.

And by the way, I’m throwing myself in here as 100% guilty. I don’t really want to admit (even to myself) to the number of times I’ve started some amazing exercise routine that was going to give me super-heroine abs, only to stop doing it a few weeks later. Why do I do that? Because even though I know something is a sure bet, I can be very good at glazing over and doing the opposite.

But enough about me and my flaws. Back to your business and this new and “magical” tool I’m talking about.

Okay, it’s not magical. And it’s not particularly new. I’m talking about moving pictures. Flickers. Talkies. Movies. Videos. There’s a whole lot of names for images flashing about on a screen.

What’s all the hubbub about?

Moving pictures have been around since the late 1800s, and have been making waves since they were first popularized. But it wasn’t until the age of high bandwidth and cheap video cameras came along that we small biz folk could actually capitalize on their communication power.

Thanks to YouTube and the iPhone, pretty much anybody who wants a video for their small business can have one.

If you’ve been hanging around the marketing water cooler for a while, you’ve probably noticed the minor hubbub about online video. You’ve probably also noticed that more and more businesses, especially those specializing in communication, have videos on their home pages and sales pages.

I’m not here to convince you that moving pictures can make a massive impact. There’s a reason everyone from dictators to diplomats have been exploiting this medium for the past 70+ years, but that’s for another day. So for those of you who are already convinced, I’d like to do a little demystifying and motivating.

Waaaah! It’s too hard and too expensive!

I know you care about marketing your small business and staying on top of trends. So you’ve probably been thinking (on and off) about whether or not you should get in on this new online video trend. Is it really worth it? Is it just a fad that will be out of style in a couple years? And what if I try making a video and it’s terrible?

Maybe you saw a home-made small-business video that dragged on for ages and featured a stilted sales pitch and some unfortunate camera angles.

After cringing and quickly clicking away, you swore never to make something so embarrassing.

You did some googling, tried to find a video production company that could make a video capturing your business effectively and that would be in your price range. Low and behold you found nothing.

And so you gave up.

I’m with you!

While online video is definitely taking off, it’s still not so prevalent that it’s easy to find exactly the right service provider.

And although video-creation tools are accessible to almost anyone, making a video is usually a lot more complex and time-consuming than sitting down at your computer and writing a blog post.

It can seem overwhelming. And scary. And totally not worth it. Better to just sit by the fire and long for the good old days when we all made our own clothes and brewed our own mead. Let all the early adopters trample the competition with their online video prowess.

Two small steps for DIY video 

But video creation doesn’t have to be super complicated and overwhelming. You have a smart phone, don’t you? You, at the very least, know somebody who has a smart phone… You have a computer that’s not older than the original iPhone? Great, you’re in the video business.

What I’d really like to do with this post is to help you embrace the stepping stones of online video. It’s all about small manageable steps.

Your first small business video does not have to be a work of art. It just has to be genuine.

While online videos are moving pictures, they aren’t feature films. They aren’t being shown on a 30 foot screen with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. It’s okay if your footage is a little grainy. It’s okay if your subject isn’t perfectly centered or if you don’t know what the “rule of thirds” is.

Step 1: The only absolutely mandatory aspect of your first online video is that it accurately reflects the soul of your business.

If your business is a solo show, then creating a YouTube video where you chat into the camera about why you’re passionate about what you do and how you provide value is great start. You might even go one step further and create a strategic script that speaks to exactly what your potential clients need and want to hear.

Nobody is going to look at your video and think: “Mmm, looks like she shot that on her iPhone, how utterly unprofessional!”

If your business has lots of moving parts and employees, you can still start out by making your own videos as well. Sit down with your people and talk about creative ways you could share your company with the world.

People love to feel like insiders. How can you let them into your world?

Step 2: Once you have a game plan, grab your iPhones and go to it.

Caveat: The only time I would not recommend you starting out with DIY video is if your business targets a luxury market or if you have a clear vision of a video that is far beyond your technical and artistic capabilities. For everyone else, DIY video is an excellent first step.

Human connection comes naturally

Think of DIY video creation as an escape from the everyday rather than yet another marketing task that you wish you didn’t have to do. Making online videos should be fun. It should be an adventure.

Remember, it’s not open heart surgery. All you’re doing is connecting on a personal level. That’s what we humans were born to do! It’s what we do best (if we let ourselves).

Online video is simply a tool to create deeper connections.

And yes, for those perfectionists out there, eventually you probably will want something professionally produced and super polished. At some point, your ideas will go beyond your level of technical skill. Or your company will grow, and you’ll feel ready to get a bit more lavish. But don’t feel like you can’t get in there and get your feet wet before that day comes.

The more you know about the video creation process before you actually hire somebody the better off you are.

If you start out with online video while on the DIY trail, you’ll be educating yourself the best possible way: by doing. When it comes time to hire a videomaker or production company, you’ll know what you want and what you don’t want. You’ll be able to talk about your vision more clearly and pay for something that is of deep value to your audience and thus to your business.

Until then, get in touch with your inner Spielberg (we all have one, trust me!), round up some production assistants (your kids/friends/staff), and start experimenting.

Colette NicholColette Nichol is the video maker behind Story Envelope Media, a Vancouver video production company that specializes in creating story-based micro films that help artists, creatives, and small businesses to forge a connection with their audience.  Be seen. Be heard. Be remembered. Find out more at

Image source: stockimages/

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martina Iring January 26, 2015 at 9:32 am

I definitely feel inspired to start making more videos after this post! I loved how you addressed the perfectionists in the house (I’m definitely part of that group) and shared that the most important thing is being genuine. Your insight is so valuable. Thanks so much for writing such a fabulous post for us small biz owners Colette!


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