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Lessons From a Humiliated Film-Maker: Why Video Works

When I was 15, my friends and I spent one Saturday making a movie. We wrote a script in the morning, drove to Forest Park around noon, shot scenes until sunset, and watched it after dinner.

It was awful. Embarrassing. Humiliating. Shattering. We destroyed the tape and vowed never to tell anyone about it. The memory haunted me for years. I didn’t pick up a video camera again for decades – not even after my kids were born. That voice in my head kept whispering, “You can’t shoot video, you lowly amateur.”

I heard that voice again recently, coming from a client after I told him, “You should shoot short 30- to 60-second videos and add them to your site.”

“No way,” he said. “I don’t have good equipment. I don’t have a studio. I am not a videographer. I don’t have budget for a production company.” So he stood pat.
Meanwhile, his competitors add videos to their sites every day.

I eventually got over my video fears because I have a business to run. Yes, you can build your brand and promote your products and services without video, but you can do it better with video.

Almost half (46%) of online-video viewers say they would search for information about a brand after seeing a video that mentions the brand, according to a 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the advertising agency Digitas.

That’s just one of countless data points that prove the power of video.

Still, I hear the objections. If you’re not ready to act, listen to John F. Kennedy, the first president who leveraged the power of video: “There are risks and costs to actions. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”

If you have a smartphone, you have a good video camera. No studio? No worries. A well-lit room should suffice. You’re not a videographer? Don’t worry. In many cases, a video shot with a handheld by a “lowly amateur” will do the trick for promoting a product or service, offering clients a quick tip, or introducing yourself or your brand to the world.

Does that mean you should never invest in high-end, professionally produced videos? Of course not. Your business could benefit greatly from the investment. But such videos are not the same as the quick-hit videos you can produce yourself. And you shouldn’t wait until you have budget for the high-end production.

Shoot the video. Send it to YouTube. Embed it in a blog post or other page on your website. Link to it from Facebook or Twitter. You won’t win an Oscar, but you’ll strengthen your brand, drive more traffic to your website, and sell more products and services.


This article originally appeared in St. Louis Small Business Monthly for which MarketVolt’s Tom Ruwitch writes a monthly column. 

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