Using Video for Your Brand

Using Video for Your Brand | Lemon and the Sea: Use video to teach and make personal connections online.

As an introvert, I normally shy away from being on video (or camera), but over time I've come to realize that video is an important tool for connecting with my audience. Because I work in an online space, I don't meet most of my clients in person, but I still want to have a face-to-face connection with them, which is why I make it a priority to talk to all of my clients at least once via Skype.

In addition to client calls, video can play other roles in running an online business as well, especially with marketing.

Types of Videos

You can use video in almost endless ways in your business, but there are some that are more common than others.

  • About Video: These are short, one-minute videos that highlight what you do and who you help. They are all about showing you in your space so that people can get a glimpse behind-the-scenes before deciding to work with you.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Video: You can create a behind-the-scenes video about almost anything from a launch to just you at work. These work especially well for businesses that don't have as much contact with their clients during the work process, like florists.
  • Instructional Video: Instructional videos can range from a brief tutorial to a full-blown webinar or workshop. The point is that you're sharing your knowledge with people in a way that's easy for them to consume.
  • Event or Service Video: If you have a big event for special service, a video highlighting that can go a long way in your marketing. The video should focus on what's included as well as the client experience.

Create Your Video

When creating a video for your business, you have two options. You can either do it yourself or hire an videographer to help you. Instructional videos usually work well as DIY projects, but I recommend hiring someone to help you with the other types of videos because they will be longer lasting and you can be more involved in the actual video than the filming.

Either way, you need to make sure that your video fits with your overall brand and that you have an idea of what you want the video to look and feel like.

  • Find Inspiration: Look at other videos for inspiration about what you like and don't like. Many creative entrepreneurs now have videos on their websites that you can look at or you can check out what brand videographers are creating. You want to get a good idea of the type of video you want and how you want it to feel to your audience. For example, I don't like videos About videos where the person is sitting talking to the camera - it feels fake to me.
  • Stay True to Yourself: Even though you want your video to be well-produced, you still want it to be authentic. This is especially important when considering where to film and what you'll wear. Don't film an About video of you hiking if you never hike. Generally, stick to your normal routine and just fancy it up a bit.
  • Find Your Message: While you don't have to talk during some video types, you may want to have a voice-over. If this is the case, you need to write out a script that gets your larger message across quickly and in your own voice. Write out what you want to say, rehearse it a few times so it sounds natural, and ask for feedback to make sure it's true to you.
  • Get Comfortable: Being in a video can be weird at first, so try to get comfortable. Talk to your videographer in advance so you know them. And don't be afraid to mess up - you can always edit the video later.
  • Use Your Video: Unless you're creating an Instruction video, finding ways to use your new video can be difficult. Start by sharing on social media and finding a place on your website to highlight your video content based on the type of video - About videos on your About page, Service videos with the service you're highlighting.

Video is a great way for online entrepreneurs to make personal connections without having to meet someone in person and work well to highlight what you do and who you help in a way that's beautiful and stands out from the sea of written text.

What type of video are you going to create?

Check out my new About video and let me know what types of videos you want to use in your business.

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.

Content Planning & Tracking

Content Planning + Tracking | Lemon and the Sea: How I plan my content, write my blog posts in advance, and keep track of what works.

If you're anything like me, creating blog content on a regular basis can be difficult. There are many other business tasks that need to get done each day and it's easy to push of writing a blog post until the last minute.

My Blogging Plan

I try to write all of my blog posts for the month at the beginning of the month so that they're on the schedule and ready to go without me having to worry about forgetting to post. To do this, I have to have a system in place or I'd get totally lost in my ideas. This is how I plan my content and write my blog posts:

  • Brainstorm Ideas
    • I do this once a month, but I'm also gathering ideas as they come to me. I start by writing all of my blog post ideas down on post it notes (love them!) or in a notebook. I like to include posts about my process, any discoveries I've made in business, my struggles, and tools that I use frequently. I'll also include tutorials for programs that I use daily because as much as I take that for granted, there are people out there who don't know how to use Photoshop or Squarespace the way I do.
  • Create Categories
    • I have a piece of foam board with my blog categories listed on it and once I have a bunch of ideas, I will write them on the category colored post-it and add it to the foam board. I usually have more than enough ideas for the month, so I leave any ideas I don't use for the next time I'm planning.
  • Set Up a Calendar
    • Once I have my ideas on the foam board, I'll pull off the best and most relevant ideas and add them to my calendar. I actually have a monthly paper calendar hanging by my desk, so I'll add a post-it for each day I'm going to schedule a blog post. Since the ideas are color coded, I can move them around if I'm too heavy in one area.
  • Create an Outline
    • I'm not sure if this is a common blogging practice or not, but I know that it helps me a lot. Once I have a schedule, I write down each idea on a piece of notebook paper and then jot down all of my ideas for the post. Sometimes this looks like a formal outline, but other times it's a jumble of ideas and notes. Either way, it gives me a place to start when I'm writing.
  • Create Graphics
    • I like creating my graphics before writing my posts because it keeps me organized. I have a specific template for each category, so it's easy to change the text, save the image, and create a new blog post draft with just the title and graphic. Then, when it's time to write, I have every post already in front of me and I just have to write.
  • Write and Edit
    • After all of that is finished, I usually set aside a few hours to write. I don't write every post on the same day because it can be exhausting for me to do all at once, but I do sit down each day (usually in the afternoons) and write from my outline. I try to write first, from the heart, and then go back and edit later. I've found that this helps me to really use my voice and get out my ideas without censoring them.
  • Post and Review
    • Once a post is written, I'll officially schedule it in Squarespace (usually at 6:00 am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday). After a post is on the schedule, I don't touch it unless I think of something important I missed or if I create a worksheet I want to add. Since I finish each post in advance, I don't have to worry throughout the week about what I'm going to write and it gives me more time to work for my clients and on my business. About a week after the post goes live, I like to check to see how it did: comments, shares, and downloads and keep track of those things so that I can better plan for future posts.

Don't be afraid to do your own thing

Right now, blogging can seem especially daunting because long-form content is so popular. People are talking about how writing 2,000 words posts have helped to grow their businesses, and of course, you should do the same. I tried that for a while, really tried to write those long, detailed posts, but it just didn't fit well with my style.

As in any other area of your business, you have to find your own way of making blogging work for you. It shouldn't be something you stress about all week and spend hours on each day if writing doesn't light you up. I would much rather design for hours than write blog posts.

Try out a few different things, but once you find something that works for you and your audience, stick with it. People will know if you're trying to force something just to hit a certain number of words or shares on social media. Write from the heart and let your people find you.

How do you plan your content?