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It doesn’t seem like five minutes goes by without someone telling you about video, Facebook Lives, Instagram Stories or something similar. We are told that people watch far more video than they read blog posts, so you need to create content this way if you want to boost exposure. And making video, live or otherwise, means using business video tools.
But what are these? What kind of things do they do and what are some free and paid examples of these types of tool?
Why video is so important
Before we start on the tools, it is important to just throw in some figures for emphasis. Now, if you are like me and video isn’t a natural medium for you, this might be painful. I get it – I only started to do Facebook Lives in the last few months. And I still feel weird, like I’m waffling on incoherently to myself!!
The facts don’t lie – HubSpot did a survey and 54% of people preferred to see video over any other type of marketing. Video lets you create that authentic engagement with people that is so important (and is a big trend for next year both for digital marketing as a whole and for social media). Video is very versatile, and people watch it on their smartphones while they are commuting, on their break, to wind down before bed and a hundred other different situations.
Okay, there’s no getting away from it. We need to make video, do Facebook Lives and all of this stuff. Let’s get cracking on the how to start doing all of this.
Good news – not all video has to actually feature you (although some definitely does). This is where animated video can come in. These tools are ideal to make cool animated videos to explain products or services – if it is good enough for Slack then the rest of us can sure have a try.
Animaker was recommended by Neil Patel as one of this top 5 video editing tools. It uses a drag and drop interface to create animated videos and is easy to learn to use. It is ideal for making those explainer videos where you talk about what your product or service does without actually sitting there talking about it. It is also great to make presentations or Instagram Stories. There are templates (love templates) to help get you started.
Cost – free for basic videos, from $9 a month for more advanced stuff.
Biteable calls itself the ‘world’s simplest video maker’ and while I haven’t tried it myself yet, people who have used it seem impressed. It is ideal to make quick and easy videos to explain something in a blog post or for social media. There are templates, graphics, transitions and plenty of options on the free plan as well as more on the upgrade. You can also use it to make presentations, add your own voiceover and create HD video content.
Cost – free plan for 5 videos a month, $23 a month for the upgrade (paid annually)
If you want to start using images, video clips and other content to make your video then you are looking at video creation tools. These help put it all together and create a finished piece of content.
Lumen5 is the tool that I have the most experience with and I’ve used it to make a few basic explainer videos myself. It is very easy to use, you can create a story board with the content to feature in it then move and edit the slides that it creates. You can upload a post or a section of one or even just type stuff in. There are lots of stock photos which it will automatically choose from as suggested media or you can upload your own.
Cost – free for basic 480p resolution, plans start from $49 a month for no branding and custom themes
Animoto has two main options for the type of video you can create – slideshows and marketing videos. There are samples to give you ideas about how it will work and specific goals to help with what you create. These include audience attractions, sharing a product or service or telling the company’s story. Again, there are templates. This tool was created alongside HubSpot so that’s a definitely plus and you can make landscape or square video.
Cost – plans start from $8 a month with a no credit card free trial
We all know Adobe for their Photoshop and Lightroom software but their Adobe Spark is a powerful video creator that is free to use. You can add media to the slides, choose from pre-designed layouts and add text for CTAs. You can even add music and a theme to tie it all together. Publish it or share it on social media, your blog or even send the link via email to people.
Cost – free for basic features, £10 a month for more advanced features and no branding
If you are creating real, proper video of yourself in your surroundings, there’s a good chance you are going to need to edit it. We all make those little mistakes or there’s too long a gap between one element and another. On Live video, that’s cool but if you want something a little more polished, video editing tools are what you need.
Moovly promises you can make explainer videos, advertisement videos or even a presentation for a conference in less than 15 minutes. You can use templates or clips from over 175 million available. Or you can upload your own material and media and put it into the drag and drop interface. It is a more complex video editor than some of the others and there’s a lot you can do with it. It is perhaps one for people who have done a bit of video editing before and have some ideas about how they want their video to look.
Cost – free for 30 days then from $5 a month
Apple iMovie (Mac)
This one is just for the Mac users (which isn’t me – yet) but it rated as one of the best video editing tools around. It has a number of interesting features including green screen or ‘chroma key’ where you can put your characters somewhere very different to where they are. So I could be in Hawaii instead of a chilly, rather cold Durham. You can tie it in with other Apple software such as iTunes to find music and then send it via any of the connections including to YouTube and Facebook.
Cost – free when you buy a Mac
Adobe Premier Elements & Premier Pro
There’s no surprise that Adobe features a few times in this article being their dominance of all things visual. There are two main video editing options, their Premier Elements and Premier Pro.
Premier Elements has been a leader in video editing for some time and is a great place to start when you first begin to edit video. It doesn’t have the advanced features of some software but if you want to tighten up the content you made, edit out those bits where you forgot your lines, it is perfect.
As the name suggests, Premier Pro is a top of the line business video tool that includes features like 360 virtual reality and 4K support. You can use colour adjustment and manipulation tools, integrate a number of camera angles and loads of other features that at the moment don’t mean a thing to me!
Cost – Premier Elements is a one-time payment of $79.99, Premier Pro costs $19.99 a month.
Corel VideoStudio has the important features for a video editing tool and, according to WordStream, is also notable for offering motion tracking. This lets you track a specific object throughout the video and lets you do things like blur their faces, point an arrow or even give them a daft hat. It is slower than other similar software but if this extra feature is something that interests you, it is the place to go.
Cost – one off payment of $51.99
Recording your screen is one of the easiest ways to create videos, especially explainer videos. These are hugely useful for your audience as you are teaching them or demonstrating how something works. I made three of these as bonuses for my eBook to show how to use Tailwind, the Pinterest scheduler.
The tool I used to make these videos is called Loom and it is a very easy to use business video tool. You can record your screen, a specific window on your screen or yourself and your screen. So if you want to start with your camera, tell your audience what you are doing then switch to your screen and keep talking, this tool will easily do it for you.
Cost – free to use although there is a Pro plan on the way
Using business video tools
These are some of the various types of business video tools that are available to help you make video content. While Live video and that ephemeral content like Instagram Stories are definitely an important part of your strategy, creating purposeful video that can be used on many different platforms is definitely a smart marketing move.
Have you started creating video for your business? What’s your favourite tool so far?
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