These days, topnotch video content is considered key to successful online customer engagement. A great video spot is not only a surefire way to drive traffic to your website, it can help build brand awareness and set you apart from the competition. It can also help boost sales. Any content marketing strategist worth his or her salt these days is thinking about how to incorporate video into the mix.

But in order for your video content to be effective, people have to watch it. So you have to make sure it’s great. And not just visually compelling; you have to write a good script, one that contains clear messages, and anticipates—and then answers—all the important customer questions. You’ve also got to keep your clips short and sweet—ideally, 90 seconds or less—and update and refresh them regularly, so they don’t get stale.

You could hire a professional team to produce your video promos, of course. But if your budget calls for the DIY approach, check out the Vimeo Video School’s three-part tutorial, featuring some general tips on how to help make your video shoot go smoothly and your footage look awesome, and how to edit so you end up with a polished finished product. (Vimeo, incidentally, offers a Pro video hosting service for businesses for just $199 per year.)

You’ll find solid advice from the folks at Video2Brain too, including a lesson on capturing footage using an iPad. (Preview tip: Don’t zoom in on a subject while you’re recording; it rarely looks good. If you want to get closer, stop rolling, and shoot again. Several short segments are easier to edit together later anyway.) YouTube’s how-to guide to filming a video ad includes a handy checklist; print it out, jot down some notes and use it as reference on the day of the shoot. Watch a sample spot here for a look at what works and why. You will need to tailor your approach depending on your business objectives.

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