How to make viral videos like a pro (but without the price tag)

In an age where time is precious and the average attention span is less than a goldfish's (yes, really), consumers want their content fed to them in a fast and easily digestible way. I've found that video has proven to be extremely beneficial for my business - especially when it comes to promoting the products and services I can offer in a short, succinct and consistent way.


In fact, consumers report that they are 64% more likely to buy a product online after having seen a video about it. It's no wonder that 87% of online marketers are currently using business videos as part of their content. Luckily for you and me,video is now easy to achieve and doesn't cost as much as it once did.

Here are my top tips on how to make your business videos like a professional - without paying professional prices.

Let's start with the camera

Not too long ago, when professional video was just becoming available to consumers, creating anything professional meant finding a camera that was as expensive as it was bulky, purchasing additional expensive lenses and accruing costly sound equipment. Basically, it was all but inaccessible for people like us, and while a high price tag is still the case for the serious pros out there, for the rest of us the hassle has been shrunk to a neat little device that fits in your pocket - the smart phone.

Smart phones are simple, mobile, and often capable of shooting in 1080p (high quality video people have come to expect), showing that the best solutions can sometimes be the least complicated. Just last year,Tangerine, considered to be one of the best films to come out of Sundance Film Festival was shot exclusively on an iPhone, proving to me that you don't have to be complicated to be good.

Now, there may be some purists out there that doubt the power of cell phone videos. If you're one of them, here is a list of the best affordable cameras I found online that provide a little more power. These cameras will bump up your capabilities a bit if you're looking for an extra edge that the simplicity of a phone can't offer. I will say I've found that cell phones lack a bit of power when it comes to shooting in dim lighting or harnessing quality audio, so make sure you match the camera you want based on the project you want to shoot.

Moving on to the editing

So you've got the idea, you've got the camera and you've shot the video. Now what? The hard part, that's what. I've learned the hard way (2:30am the night before a project is due) that editing can often be one of the most challenging parts to video creation and a true nightmare for those just starting out if you don't have the right tools. Luckily, again, the accessibility of video has grown by leaps and bounds, and for those looking to make quick, simple, yet effective videos the answer is only a click away.

When I started out creating videos a couple of years ago, the best intro into video editing was Apple iMovie - giving you just enough firepower to have fun, without getting tragically lost. Now, Apple editing apps and Android apps both do wonders in distilling down more complicated editing tools to their essential cores, providing basic necessities filmmakers would need to produce a quality project, without a massive investment in time or money. This is important because choosing the right editing program is crucial; even the best shot footage can be made useless if it's not edited in a way that would appeal to your intended audience.

Again, for those looking for more advanced tools when editing, Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro are for you. (My friend has been making videos for a long time and swears by Premier, but that's honestly way over my head and needs for simple video creation to host on the web). Both provide features and nuance that are left out of simpler editing programs, allowing you to truly refine the content you're creating. But be warned, the learning curb is steep and so is the price!

Finish off with finesse

Are you going to be making videos often? If so, you should refine your style and make sure that what you're producing is in line with your company's brand. I made the mistake early on of producing three different videos - all with different filming styles, visuals and tone of voice - making my company look pretty inconsistent to the outside world.

Decide what your style and video personality is going to be and stick with it. Of course you can update it and refine it a little later on, but by creating a consistent brand that consumers can identify and engage with will pay dividends. The Missouri Star Quilt Company and New Belgium Brewing are both great examples I found online of small businesses getting it right.

So how do you achieve it? Sure there are likely expensive and time consuming college courses you can take which will make sure you're certifiably ready to take on all future video needs, or, as in the theme of this post, you can do it inexpensively and on your own time. For many of us, myself included, I learned everything I know from a helpful combination of YouTube videos and professional tutorials by experts that are available on websites like

The beauty of education sites like Lynda is that masters in their field put together a chronological course on everything you need to know. In the realm of video creation, they have scores of knowledge waiting for you. These online tutorials were a huge win for me and are definitely a must for video creators wanting to take their skills to the next level - without breaking the bank in doing so.

So, as you can see, a daunting task that once required the focused efforts of an entire tech team, can now be achieved with nothing more than an app on your phone. I've mentioned a number of sites that can help you create videos. This is not an endorsement of these sites or their services; just what I've researched and found useful.

Making compelling video has become easy, simple - and fun! And, with its popularity still growing it's definitely time to get out there and start recording. Do you have any tips for creating great videos? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.