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How to make a YouTube video – marketing tips, tricks, and techniques

6-minute read

Vlogger making a YouTube video on her phone with a ring light
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

8 November 2023

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No matter the industry you work in, it’s time to add film director to your list of many talents. YouTube videos are a great way to advertise your business to a wider audience – and maybe even make some extra money on the side.

But how do you make a YouTube video when you’re a complete beginner? From coming up with your initial idea and filming a high-quality video to how to promote it, keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to make a video.

YouTube equipment for beginners

Beginners looking to film YouTube videos don’t need an extensive (or expensive) setup. Here’s some basic equipment that will get you started:

  • camera: most modern smartphones now come with an excellent camera quality – a convenient way to produce high-quality video
  • tripod: this keeps your camera stable and prevents you ending up with shaky footage
  • microphone: while your phone or camera has a built-in microphone, an external microphone can vastly improve your sound quality (but this is optional when first starting out)
  • editing software: editing your video means you can cut out any awkward pauses or mistakes – the free editing software that comes with your phone or computer will be all you need to get started

YouTube topics and ideas

Creating YouTube content can be a great way to promote your small business. What type of videos you film will depend on what you do, but here are some ideas to get started.

You can also check out these brand content tips from business owner Lucy Hitchcock.

Product demonstrations and tutorials

This is a great opportunity to showcase your products or services in action – perfect if you’re an online business whose customers can’t directly interact with your product before they buy.

You can even create FAQ videos or tutorials to help with customer support as well as marketing.

Customer testimonials and reviews

Why should potential customers just take your word for it? Reach out to previous customers and clients and ask them to share their thoughts on your business.

If you can’t film customers directly, another option is to retell these stories as case studies showing your success.

Both options will make a great addition to your company website or can be shared across social media.

Behind-the-scenes

Make your business seem more human and approachable by sharing what goes on behind the scenes. This can include the making of your products, day in the life videos either in the office or out on location, or introducing your team and sharing your company culture.

Be an expert in your industry

If you want a more subtle approach to your marketing, why not position yourself as an industry expert? Create educational videos about the work you do on topics related to your industry.

Avoid focusing on your product or service, perhaps just casually mention this in passing as evidence of your expertise or share links to your website in the video description?

5 tips on how to film a YouTube video

Once you’ve invested in the right equipment and chosen a topic, it’s time to start recording your video. Remember that you’ll likely need to experiment with what works best for you. With time and practice, you’ll see an improvement in quality – so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right the first time.

Keep reading for some tips on how to film a YouTube video for your small business.

1. Make a plan and stick to it

When creating content, it’s important to plan your videos before you start. You may even include this as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Think about your video’s topic, structure, and overall message. It may help to create a script or even a basic outline to stay organised while filming. But remember that you’ll want to stay authentic and not appear like you’re just reading from a script – so choose a level of structure that works best for you.

2. Pay attention to sound

Videos aren’t just about the visuals, how your video sounds is just as important. Depending on your budget and experience level, you can either use the built-in microphone on your device or invest in an external microphone.

Nowadays, built-in microphones on phones and cameras can work well – especially if you’re just starting out.

If you choose to buy an external microphone, there are lots available for any budget. These include lapel (lavalier) microphones, shotgun microphones, and USB microphones. Do some research and see what works best for you.

You also need to consider background noise when filming. Pay attention to any potential sources of noise whether you’re outside or inside.

If you’re filming inside, things like fridges or even certain overhead lights can be highly noticeable in your recording. Always film a test clip to make sure the location you’re filming in is sufficiently quiet.

When filming outside, avoid days with strong winds and try not to film in areas with high foot or vehicle traffic.

3. Lights, camera, action

When filming a video, using natural light is always the best option. Try to utilise the natural light from windows as this soft and diffused lighting is highly flattering. To get the most out of this, film on slightly overcast days as lots of bright sunshine can cast dark shadows onto your subject.

If you’re using artificial lighting, it can be a good idea to invest in basic lighting equipment. By choosing where to place your light sources, you can control the appearance of shadows and ensure your subject is evenly lit. Remember to avoid using harsh, direct lighting. Softboxes and LED lights can help you to achieve a visually appealing soft glow.

4. Where are you filming?

You also need to think carefully about the background of your video. Making sure your background is free from clutter can improve the overall quality of your video as a busy background can take attention away from the main focus.

Consider using a backdrop (which are cheap to buy or easy to make yourself) or blurring the background through your editing or camera settings.

If you plan to make a series of videos, consistency in your background can also help establish your brand and make your videos appear more professional.

5. Framing and composition

Paying attention to how you frame your videos can also help give them a more professional feel. If the main subject of your video is a person, make sure there's enough space above their head and either side of them. Keeping the camera at eye level can help create a more natural perspective.

If you’re filming products, the rule of thirds can help create a more visually appealing frame. This involves using two additional items to draw the eye to the main focus of your video – so take this as an opportunity to experiment with props.

How to optimise videos on YouTube

If you want your videos to reach a wider audience, it’s important to fully optimise them so they can perform their best. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • keyword research: YouTube is a search engine just like Google, so use the same SEO tips you would when optimising your website content – find out more on SEO for YouTube here
  • pick a captivating title: your video title will be the first thing someone sees, so use your target keyword and make it as engaging as possible
  • write a detailed description: your video description should also include your keywords and provide additional context about your video – remember to add links to your website and social media here too
  • think about your thumbnail: your video thumbnail is just as important as your title, make sure it stands out and accurately represents your video content
  • closed captions and transcripts: YouTube can index your captions so they show up in search results, so adding them can be both beneficial to you and inclusive to your audience
  • engage with viewers: encourage your viewers to leave comments and make sure you respond – high engagement and interaction shows YouTube that your video is performing well

YouTube video promotion

One way to further promote your YouTube videos is to share across your social media. You can post the links directly to your social channels – or create short teaser edits which you can post on Instagram or TikTok, with a link to driving to the full video on YouTube.

Another option is to work with influencers to collaborate and cross-promote your business. It could be worth reaching out to influencers in your industry or local area and asking to collaborate.

And of course, make sure you’re using YouTube’s analytics to track your video’s performance. Pay close attention to metrics such as watch time and audience retention to understand how viewers are interacting with your videos. This data can help you make better decisions when creating future content.

Want to grow your following on other social media channels? Read our guide to getting more followers on Instagram or learn more about how the TikTok creativity program works. We also have a complete guide to the advantages of social media advertising.

Do you use YouTube to help promote your small business? Why not share one of your videos in the comments below?

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Photo: Asier/stock.adobe.com
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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