Video Blogging for Small Businesses

by Maria Rainier

The reason why Hollywood is booming while the print industry flounders is the same reason why any business–from the self-publishing author to a small catering business–stands to gain more from a vlog than a textual blog. Well-executed video blogging keeps up with the short-attention span of modern web crawlers and shows willingness to innovate and connect with potential clients.

The step from blogging to vlogging, though, is one which takes courage. Keep in mind, however, that vlogging has the following advantages:

1. Catch and keep the attention of customers and viewers
2. Portray business confidence (enough confidence to step in front of a camera, at least)
3. Visually as well as audibly demonstrate a business product, reveal business news, etc.
4. Offer potential customers video testimonials from previous customers
5. Connect personally with viewers and customers. A face with a name is always better than the name alone.

What to Vlog About

Many businesses hesitate before vlogging because not only is a camera more intimidating than a keyboard, one has little idea of what to vlog about.

1. Video news releases or messages from executives can be effective to inform customers of news relevant to the company. New products, events, and projects can also take center stage.

2. Relating world news to the business is a way to include viewers from around the world in your vlog. It also gives your business a more worldly image, as if to say your potential is boundless.

3. Instructional videos for old and new products can be useful for viewers evaluating the worth of your product as well as those working out their own kinks with it after purchase. That you have your own instructional video instead of the recent customer having to go on a community forum gives them and future customers a sense of safety.
Take, for example, Rowhill Consulting Group, LLC. Their website features videos of faculty members demonstrating their consulting tools and introducing key concepts elaborated upon in articles. Simple but professional footage and prepatory videos make viewers feel more comfortable on your site or blog and more inclined to employ your services.

How to Vlog

One look at YouTube is all one needs to cringe–at maniacal rantings and poorly planned speeches, at poor lighting and filming conditions, at grainy video quality, and more. The keys to impressing your customers rather than driving them away with your video lie in equipment, planning, and post-production.

1. Invest in proper equipment. There’s no need to break the bank; simply acquire a reasonable microphone and camcorder (video editing software may come with the camcorder or your computer; this should suffice). As for lighting and background, adequate conditions for both can be supplied with materials commonly found around homes and offices, like desk lamps with neutral color fluorescent bulbs and a blank wall. One framed picture or even company advertisement may also be in the background as long as it isn’t distracting enough to take the viewer’s focus from the speaker.

2. The speaker must plan, roughly script, and practice before recording. Rarely are first takes the ones used in the final production phases.

3. The speaker must be dressed and groomed according to the business image.

4. Promote, advertise, and brand yourself. Viewers are already on your site for a reason, so don’t be shy about advocating your business. Be reasonable, however, and mind common manners and sense. Say nothing to upset your viewers or you will lose them.

Keep Vlogging

To maintain your company’s image, you must maintain your vlog. Post updates regularly to keep existing customers and encourage growth in your viewership.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.