Should Your Business Make Its Own Videos?

Steve Wolgemuth | August 31, 2018
LeadershipVideo Marketing

Modern smartphones with HD video capabilities together with affordable editing software have made it easier for many small businesses to produce video on their own. But is it a wise decision? Yes and no.

video camera lens

Producing video content on your own makes sense for a few reasons:

  • Professional video production has traditionally been quite expensive
  • The internet has made “casual video” an acceptable thing
  • Good-enough cameras and editing software are accessible and affordable

Progressive leaders who follow trends are realizing that video should be a key part of their online marketing. But not just one video. They’ll need ongoing video content created. Based on past quotes they’ve gotten from video production companies, that probably seems unaffordable. But what if they could make their own? It makes perfect sense for a business to do it themselves. Or does it?

The Way Things Used To Be

Twenty years ago, many small businesses were building their own websites or hiring a savvy intern to do it on the cheap. That trend has continued today with popular platforms, such as Wix and Squarespace where amateurs can publish a website with no prior experience or knowledge of coding.

But with 12 years in the website building business and now 4 years in the web video business, I’ve seen many businesses change orientation; from frugality to value. Over time, they focus more and more on the deciding factor that’s overlooked and undervalued by do-it-yourselfers. Outcomes.

What good is that cheap website that no one can find or that video that makes no impact? Worse, could that boring video viewers ignore or that website that doesn’t convert visitors be making your business look sub-par compared to your competitors?

I’ve witnessed the evolution of perspectives of smart leaders as they’ve seen the extreme difference in value between an ineffective homemade website and a highly-visible, conversion-focused, professionally-built website. I predict that the same evolution of business sophistication will occur with video production.

I’m not suggesting that businesses go back to the days when one video cost as much as a used car. That’s not practical for the volume of video content that I believe small businesses should consider producing for their audiences. I am suggesting that small businesses find a new approach that blends the benefits of professional help with do-it-yourself effort.

That’s because there’s a lot more to video marketing than simply making a video.

10 Challenges in Video Marketing

  1. Qualitative and Quantitative Research: What should the video(s) be about?
  2. Organic Search Optimization: How will people find this video when they’re looking for related topics?
  3. Paid Search Placement: What are the opportunities for promotion on search and social platforms?
  4. Format: How long should the video be? Is it optimized for its intended platform?
  5. Mobile: How do we shoot video footage and edit content so it’s mobile-friendly?
  6. Engagement: What is the plan to get someone to click on a video if they find it online?
  7. View Time: What are the best practices for getting viewers to watch the entire video?
  8. Conversion: What do you want the viewer to do after they watch the video?
  9. Strategy Part I: Where does this content best intersect with the consumer’s buying journey? Awareness? Consideration? Conversion?
  10. Strategy Part II: How does this video content fit into the larger marketing strategy, things like SEO, audience building, and geographic targeting? How will you measure success and learn from it?

Unfortunately, most small business leaders are either not asking these questions or are ill-equipped to answer them. They are rushing in without an understanding that, while making a video may be easy, generating business success from video marketing is very, very difficult.

My Prediction for Web Video

I believe that in the next few years many more businesses will begin making video content in-house. I also predict that success-oriented businesses will give up on pure do-it-yourself video production and will find ways to partner with digital agencies. Ideally, they’ll use both homemade and professionally-produced video content.

At YDOP, we’ve been watching this trend with keen interest, and we’ve enjoyed some practical success stories partnering with do-it-yourselfers. Here are a few things we’ve learned so far:

  1. Most businesses have adequate camera equipment (even smartphones) but don’t give enough thought to quality sound capture
  2. Businesses often over-estimate their ability to create interesting content or to hold viewers attention
  3. Businesses give no thought to making mobile-friendly video or video that is specific to an online platform
  4. While “intentionally casual” video works well for online marketing, that applies more to polished production than strategy. Boring is never OK.

We’ve done 100% of the video work for some clients and we’ve watched some do it on their own. Both approaches have merits, but I believe that moving forward, a blended method is the smart option for small business owners. For ongoing video production, businesses have a great opportunity to produce their own content in order to save money, but at the same time, can find much greater success if they partner with outside expertise in areas such as:

  • Developing an overarching strategy
  • Coaching on equipment and backdrop
  • Producing professional lead-in and closing for homemade content
  • Video evaluation, feedback, and coaching
  • Conversion optimization
  • Search optimization
  • Paid placement
  • Measurement and analysis

As video content is quickly becoming very popular among web users, many smart and progressive businesses are ramping up their video production. But just like building websites, in the end, we won’t judge our homemade videos on how proud we were of them or how inexpensively we made them, but the measurable business outcomes they helped us achieve.

Using professional help to produce those outcomes will prove to be the best approach.


Recommended Reading: Three Videos Every Business Needs on Its Website