There is no denying that videos are one of the most powerful tools in an online marketer's arsenal. A video's ability to engage viewers and elicit an emotional response is second to none. With an exceptional video, you can build your brand presence, generate tons of leads and even perform better on the search engines. However, before you start the cameras rolling, you need to know exactly how to create that kind of video.

Decide Your Purpose

Every video needs a purpose, clearly defined from the start and kept in focus throughout. It is up to you to decide this purpose. Do you want to launch a new product, channel traffic to your website, boost brand recognition, generate leads or something else entirely?

Choose Style and Platform

Being an extremely flexible medium, there is a staggering number of style and platform options for your video. Some of the more popular include interviews, 'talking heads', screen captures and whiteboard animations.

Make sure your chosen style matches your purpose and the message you wish to communicate. For example, an instructional video using screen capture would let you show an audience of computer novices exactly what they should be doing. Alternatively, if you're trying to build your brand and want to foster trust and engagement then appearing in front of the camera and talking directly to your audience may be preferable to a voice-over.

Remember that although production value isn't the most important aspect of a video, it is important. Your video is a reflection of your brand and you do not want the audience to think it shoddy or second-rate.

Deliver Value

When you start planning your video, step back and put yourself in your audience's shoes. Ask yourself one very simple question: "If I were them, would I want to watch this?"

Your idea must be something that your audience will find appealing or useful. It is not enough that they keep watching: you want them to take action, share the video with their friends, talk about it and bookmark it so they can come back and watch it again.

Value can be found in solving a problem, answering a question or instructing the viewer on how to do something. But don't limit yourself to those standards: humour, opinion and thought-provoking commentary also offer value.

Get to the Point - Quickly!

With the exception of instructional videos, the majority of marketing videos are short, ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 minutes. Some are only 30 seconds long. In any case, the first few seconds are crucial and you must use them to grab your audience's attention. Tell them that you plan to hand them something of value, ask a fascinating question, shock them -- whatever method you use to persuade them to stick around, you only have a few seconds to achieve your goal before they move on.

By taking these steps, you will tailor your online marketing video to your goals. It may take numerous tweaks and several attempts before you're fully satisfied, but it doesn't need to be perfect -- it just needs to deliver your message clearly!

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