Videos attract people, engage them, and elicit emotion, which makes them a powerful way to communicate with prospects and customers. The process of creating and marketing a video for your business isn’t necessarily difficult, but it does involve a number of steps.


Use this checklist to guide you through the process of creating and promoting a video for your business.

__1. Set a goal. Let your mission drive your video campaign. Before writing a script or hitting “record,” decide what effect you want your video to have on its audience. What will your video make viewers do, think or feel during and after the video? “Buy,” “get in touch” and “share” are outcomes that require different approaches. Write out exactly what action you want to provoke, and then list five good ideas for how your video might prompt that action. Select the best idea and use it to guide your process going forward.


__2. Define your target. Who are those viewers, anyway? Online browsers, in-store shoppers, existing customers? Instead of going for universal impact, drill down into the details of who you want to target. Your target persona should be detailed enough to include the priorities, preferences and habits of the person you are trying to reach with your video. Define the characteristics of your target, including the major reasons these viewers might be interested in your business’s products or services. Put those characteristics in list form and reference it often as you create your video.


__3. Devise a production plan. How many videos will you produce, and where will they be shown? How long do you want the videos to be and how many do you plan to make? Shorter is better where video is concerned, but spend some time viewing the types of videos you like that are most similar to what you want to do. After looking at enough videos, you will start to see a pattern in the best ones. Settle on your length and format.


__4. Develop a storyboard. Map out the story your video will tell and the images that will help to tell that story. A storyboard typically includes the shots you plan to take, dialogue, graphics and voiceover. Online tools with templates to help you shape the storyboard are abundant and include Storyboard That and Celtx. Use a storyboard tool to prompt you, but don’t finalize your storyboard without first trying out a few shots and doing some basic editing work. You may begin shooting and find that your storyboard is impractical, so your initial attempts should be limited to sketches. After you select your tool, create your storyboard and get started.


__5. Choose your tools. Plenty of apps are available to help you make a video using your smartphone, such as PreziAnimoto or Magisto. There’s also a good chance that your computer is equipped with basic editing software, or you can invest in more advanced programs such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro CC. If you are targeting your video to a corporate market, you may need the services of a production agency. Investigate your options thoroughly, including testing out tools if you can. Create a pros and cons list for each potential tool and then make your selection.


__6. Choose your delivery method. A hosted video service such as YouTube or Vimeo might meet your needs, or you could use an off-the-shelf video player such as JW PlayerFlowplayer, or MediaElement.js to brand your business video and host it on your site. Services such as YouTube are quicker to set up, but they may not fulfill your marketing goals as readily as a video on your own site — for instance, a viewer would have to click links on the YouTube channel in order to get to your website, which can be a barrier to making online purchases. Revisit your main goal for the video, and decide whether to go with a hosted service or play the video on your own site.


__7. Create a promotion plan. After going to the trouble of creating a video, make sure it is in the spotlight. Give them catchy titles and spread the word about them by linking to them in your email signature, tweeting about them, and spreading the news on other social media channels. Compose tweets, LinkedIn or Facebook headlines, and other social media blurbs to accompany the links to your videos, and deploy them after you put up a new post. Decide on the concrete actions you will take to promote your videos after posting, and fulfill them as soon as the videos are live.


__8. Measure performance. Check up on your videos’ viewership levels and assess whether they are meeting the goals you set for them. Keep track of views, social media shares, and any connection between those numbers and your marketing goals. Using these numbers, determine which videos are most effective for your target audience, and note which ones generate the most leads. You’ll be able to refine future campaigns to have the greatest impact. Ask customers for feedback on your videos and make changes to reflect what they say. After you’ve promoted a video, gather data on its performance and use that input to guide your next video production effort.

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