Easy, effective, budget-friendly

By Amal Masri and Alison Campbell

You’ve heard the advice many times: “Why don’t you try video marketing?” You know it’s an effective method of communicating, with more advisors using it all the time. And with the COVID-19 distancing rules, the use of video is more practical than ever. So what’s stopping you?

Some advisors worry about looking unprofessional shooting video with their phone. Or they feel they lack the technical knowledge to do the shoot properly. Outsourcing the job is one solution, but not everyone has the budget for a professional production. The fact is, it’s easier than you might think to shoot, edit and post your own video. The more natural “home video” look can be an asset in terms of connecting with your audience.

Making your video

A few factors go into creating an effective do-it-yourself video.


Most smartphones offer decent video quality. This means your main piece of equipment is already in your pocket or purse. You want to shoot from eye-level, so viewers aren’t looking up at you. Ideally, your head should almost reach the top of the frame. Be sure to position your phone horizontally to capture a widescreen shot.

No one can see what’s behind your camera, so get creative with your setup. Books or stools can help you achieve the right camera height. And something simple and handy, like a mug, can prop up your phone and hold it steady.

For a more permanent solution, cellphone tripods are an inexpensive way to get your positioning right. And if you plan to walk and talk, a stabilizer can help you avoid that shaky look.


Ideally, you want natural light coming from in front of you. Too much light from behind will cast shadows over your face. If your location lacks natural light, regular lamps or LED lights can provide a full spectrum of light for optimal brightness.


Good-quality audio is critical. Choose a quiet location – one that doesn’t create an echo or have background noise. If you’re using your cellphone microphone, position yourself within two feet of it so that your voice is clear.

You may want to buy an inexpensive smartphone microphone. They can improve audio quality, especially if you position your phone outside of that two-foot range.


Choose a setting that reinforces the message you want to send. While many advisors use the same location each time, others vary it depending on their topic or tone.

For example, filming in your living room adds a personal touch. Just be sure to clear any clutter or distractions. Filming outdoors provides the advantage of natural light and background interest. But you may need a microphone to ensure proper audio quality. For a more serious topic, a formal setting such as your office may be appropriate.

For longer videos, you can film your key messages in separate takes and shoot from a couple different angles. Breaking up the material in this way can make it easier to say your lines without a script. Changing camera positions can also help to re-engage your viewers’ attention.


Keep it plain and simple. Solid, muted colours are best, as patterns and bright colours can be distracting. In general, if you wear clothes that are comfortable and natural looking, you’ll come across that way on video.

Your message

You can use video messages for just about any communication purpose or material – from general topics to specific. Here are some ways that video-savvy advisors use video to connect with Clients and prospects:

  • Introduce yourself and your process.
  • Share your knowledge on technical topics.
  • Share your own challenges – business or personal.

Video length

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of business videos are two minutes or less.1 While different platforms have different optimal lengths, aim for shorter rather than longer.

No matter the duration, you want a tight script that gets to the point quickly. Depending on your comfort level, you might write out and memorize a full script, or just talk conversationally. Either way, 

look directly at the camera lens to connect with the viewer. Avoid reading as you speak so you don’t lose the natural connection that a video conversation can build.

At the end, include a simple call to action. What do you want viewers to do with the information you’ve given them?

The importance of thumbnails

Thumbnails are the images displayed before a video starts playing. They play a big role in sparking interest among potential viewers.

On the day of your shoot, take a still shot of yourself smiling and making eye contact with the camera. Position yourself in the left or right of the frame. This leaves room for the title, your name and logo.

Editing your video

A wealth of free editing software is available, including Headliner, Adobe Premiere Rush and Filmora, to name a few. With this software, you can join segments of your video together. You can also add music to create emotion and feel. If you use music, make sure it’s royalty-free to avoid copyright issues.

A best practice is to include closed captions. Most people view videos on Facebook on mute, and many videos on LinkedIn auto-play without sound. Closed captions will also increase your video’s visibility in search engines. The Headliner app lets you easily add closed captions.

Remember to share!

Promote and share your video through your online channels. Consider running an email campaign to existing Clients who’ve consented to receive emails from you. You can also use your video as a foundation for other marketing initiatives. It might form the basis for a short blog post, or you can chunk out ideas into LinkedIn posts.

Take the do-it-yourself approach to video

While we’ve provided some tips on looking and sounding good on video, high production quality isn’t important. Production consistency is more important than quality. In fact, lower-production-quality videos (with audio and video that’s good enough) feel more “real” and are well received. Where you want to move from good to great is with your content and messaging.

More than anything, people want value – good information, education and useful tips that will help them solve problems. If you’re identifying relevant issues and pain points, and producing consistent content that offers solutions, you’ll soon develop an audience.

As people get used to seeing your face in their feeds, they’ll associate your presence with knowledge and problem-solving. A do-it-yourself approach is all you need to get started.


Vidyard, The 2019 Video in Business Benchmark Report, www.vidyard.com/business-video-benchmarks