When it comes to making videos to promote your business, engage your audience, and showcase your products, professional quality usually demands professional prices.
But sometimes you don’t need Hollywood production values in your videos. Sometimes you just need good videos that you can turn around fast and for free (or at least fairly cheap).
If you haven't thought about incorporating video into your marketing strategy, you should consider it—video is an incredibly versatile format, after all:
- Videos can live in several places: The same video can potentially be used on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, embedded on your website/blog, etc.
- Videos make for eye-catching social media posts/ads: Audiences can read, watch, and listen, so video can engage them in a different way than your basic static imagery. Plus, videos play automatically on some channels, like Facebook.
- Videos can be repurposed into new videos and from other content formats: Video content can be clipped down, expanded upon, or converted into new videos or GIFs. You can also take infographics, blog posts, photos, and other types of content and turn them into videos.
Also, 81% of marketers say that their video efforts have helped their team directly increase sales. Video has a real ROI—you just have to get out there and create it.
The best part is that just because you don’t have the budget doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of video content.
How to make a video, step by step
- Brainstorm ideas
- Research and plan
- Create the video
- Import your video footage
- Edit your video
- Export your video
- Publish your video
Creating your own professional videos doesn’t have to be left up to a video production team. In fact, with our easy-to-follow seven-step guide, you can create, record, and edit nearly any kind of video you’d like to create for your video marketing strategy.
1. Brainstorm ideas
Every video is going to start with an idea. But how do you get the right idea? First, don’t stress too much—you can create multiple videos if you have a number of great ideas. Right now, you just need to start with one.
To get that first idea, focus on one specific topic. Each video should go in-depth into a single topic, whether it’s an educational video, explainer video, product video, etc.
Then, pinpoint what the goal of your video is:
- Do you want this to be for SEO on your YouTube channel?
- Is it a product video that will help users better understand how to use your product? (94% of marketers agree that videos are great for this)
- Is it an instructional video that walks viewers through some kind of how-to or tutorial?
Decide why you want to create this video. Then you’ll be able to get some video ideas to start pouring in.
💡 Action item: Conduct a quick YouTube or social media search to see what your competitors are publishing. Pay attention to their highest-performing videos and consider using one of those ideas as your first video.
2. Research and plan
You have an idea. We’re still just in the very beginning stages of creating your YouTube video. Next, it’s time to research and plan how you want your video to go.
There are three main facets of this: writing your script, creating your storyboard, and planning production.
What are you going to say in your video? Whether you record a voiceover or have your talent actually in the video, you need a script.
If you’re planning on repurposing a blog post or podcast episode into this video, that’s pretty easy—just rewrite the blog post to focus on the main points in a more conversational manner. However, if you’re starting from scratch, there will be a bit more work involved, as you’ll need to outline, research, and flesh out your topic before putting it in script format.
Keep these tips and structure in mind when writing your script:
- Introduce yourself and/or your company.
- Share the central point of your video.
- Address the audience as “you.”
- Write your script the way you speak so it feels natural.
- Read your script out loud as you work through it.
- Add any music, special effects, transitions, or other video elements you want to see.
A storyboard is a page or presentation that includes a video’s planned scenes so that your team knows exactly what to shoot when production starts.
Using a template like the one below, teams can either draw out how they’re picturing the scene, or find online stock images that help depict each part of the story.
Build out every scene and any dialogue that needs to go with it so that you’re completely prepared to start sourcing your video footage.
Find a place to shoot and plan production
The final step in the research and planning phase is finding your location for shooting your video.
This will depend heavily on the concept of your video. For example, if you’re shooting a video about skateboarding products, you likely need a street setting. A quiet office with a green screen backdrop or another basic background would be ideal if you're creating an informational video.
💡 Action item: If you need to book your planned recording space, do so well ahead of time so your team can properly prepare.
3. Create the video
There are two ways to make a video: record your own or repurpose existing photos and videos.
Record your own
Recording your own video is often the most intimidating part to new business owners or video marketers, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, when you’re just starting out, you can create great video content with your smartphone’s video camera. That type of video is ideal for your Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, and other smartphone-based social media apps.
However, if you want to step it up, you can rent or buy your own video equipment. Some of the basics you’ll need include:
- Camcorder, point-and-shoot video camera, or DSLR
- Camera lenses that fit the camera you chose
- Memory cards
- Tripod or stabilizer
At the very least, even if you use your iPhone, gathering some lights and a lapel microphone is a good way to create a high-quality video on a budget.
Once you’ve gathered your equipment, it’s time to prepare for recording. Get your camera set up with its tripod. It’s a good idea to go ahead and use a tripod even if you are recording via smartphone—there are several options to purchase that can hold onto your phone and keep it steady while you film.
Then get your talent or your video scene ready and start recording. If you have someone reading off their script, consider blowing it up to place on a monitor as a teleprompter so they can ensure they get all of their lines right.
Do some test runs to make sure that the visual is clear and the audio can easily be heard. Check that your lighting also makes your video look high quality and not like it was shot in a basement.
Repurpose existing content
You can repurpose existing photography, get what you need from stock footage sites, and even shoot your own footage with your phone, if you really need to.
There are many places where you can look for great free stock footage, fitting music, and cool sound effects.
Depending on how the content is licensed, however, you might need to credit the creator of the footage you borrow or pay to use it for commercial purposes.
For details on how and when to do this, check out the Creative Commons best practices for attribution, and be sure to take a closer look at the conditions for use on each of the following sites.
Free stock videos
- Videvo: Completely free high-quality HD footage and motion graphics.
- Pexels: Free photos and videos from around the world.
- Distil: 10 new high-quality videos for commercial use every 10 days, delivered to your inbox.
- Pixabay: Tons of vibrant videos, photos, and animations you can use.
Public domain (not subject to copyright)
- Pond5: Home to lots of historic footage.
- Internet Archive: Footage of games, films, historic moments, etc.
- NASA: Footage and photos of space.
- Critical Past: Vintage videos.
Free music and audio
- Freesound: A variety of sounds you can use at no cost.
- Looperman: A capella vocals, music, and sounds you can use if you credit the creator.
- ConverseSampleLibrary.com: Plenty of cool music and rhythms for you to sample.
Paid stock music and footage
While you do have to pay, Audio Jungle and Video Hive are popular places to find sounds, music, video effects, and stock footage to use and sample. They also offer free music, video templates, and more every month, if you subscribe.
💡 Action item: Record test footage before recording the real thing to ensure your equipment works and the result will be high-quality and professional.
4. Import your video footage
Once you’ve finished recording or gathering your stock video or animations, it’s time to import your video clips into your preferred video editing tool. Although the placement will vary depending on which editor you use, each one should have a relatively universal Import video button.
Plug your memory card into your computer or use a USB connection to access the files from your PC or Mac. Then you should easily be able to select them from either your smartphone or your camcorder and drag them into your video editing software.
5. Edit your video
Now it’s time for the most important part of video production—editing your video. This is where you take your recorded footage, stock videos, and any other elements you want to include and mash them up to create a professional video that tells a story.
Keep these video-editing tips in mind to make sure you’re able to create a stunning video your target audience will love.
Cut out quiet parts and redundancies
First, go back and watch/listen to all of your existing footage. Throw out or trim any video clips that you won’t need. Also be sure to cut out quiet parts, areas that you may have repeated yourself, or as many “ums,” “likes,” and “ers” as you can.
Add sound effects and background music
Don’t just let your recorded audio do all the work in your video. Incorporating sound effects and background music helps provide even more depth to your video content.
For example, if you’re listing out information, you might have a sound effect with the text popping up on your screen to help your audience digest it even more.
And you almost always want some kind of light ambient music playing in the background so there are no completely silent parts of your video. Find an audio clip that matches the mood in your video. For example, if you have a more somber video topic, you want to stay far away from lighthearted music.
Insert an intro and outro
Intro and outro clips make your video feel complete. With an intro, you could include your logo, the name of the video, or even the name of the series if you’re planning to have it be part of an overall series.
An outro gives you the perfect place to promote even more videos or provide your viewer with a call -to action, like heading to your website, reading a blog post, or following you on social media.
Use cohesive transitions and effects throughout
Incorporating transitions in between different scenes creates a better flow throughout your video. However, just because your video editing tool might offer several different transitions does not mean you want to utilize all of them.
Instead, choose one transition you want to reuse throughout your videos to create a cohesive and recognizable look each time a viewer returns to a new video of yours.
Do the same thing with special effects. Don’t go overboard using every special effect in the book, and instead just choose one or two that you think fit with your message and your brand.
Match your brand
And speaking of your brand, you want to make sure your video content helps your brand to be more recognizable. A few things to match to your branding every time are:
- Your video thumbnail
- Any colors you use
- Any fonts you use
- Your logo in the intro and outro
This helps keep all of your marketing content consistent, even your videos.
Add subtitles for accessibility
Not everyone is watching videos with the sound on. But also, not everyone can hear your video content, but they still want to consume it.
Offer the best of both worlds and put subtitles on all of your videos. Luckily, most video platforms offer an option to automatically put captions over your video—all you have to do is double check to make sure they’re accurate.
Choose the right video editing tool
While you can record video natively in most video hosting platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, there are plenty of good video editing apps for producing quick, polished videos for different occasions and in a short span of time.
I highly recommend giving the following tools a try, many of which are free and some of which come with their own library of stock imagery and other assets for you to use.
Vimeo Create: Turn product shots into beautiful videos in minutes
You may already be familiar with Vimeo as a video-sharing platform. Recently, it also launched a suite of tools specifically designed to help businesses make and share videos.
Vimeo Create is a free video creator that you can connect directly to your Shopify store. It uses AI to automatically turn your existing product images and text into product videos and ads for your business.
Just answer a few questions about your product, choose images or videos to feature, add your logo, and customize styles. Vimeo Create then edits your video in minutes, even making suggestions for colors, themes, music, and fonts.
Here’s a video online skin care store Kinetic Cosmetics created for its Vitamin C creme product page.
Quik by GoPro: Produce simple product videos
GoPro is famous as a camera company for helping people capture awe-inspiring moments in action.
Quik is a video editing app that lets you easily import and rearrange images and footage, adding text and music as you like.
While it’s meant for weaving together memories from your last vacation, it’s also a great way to create simple product videos, especially if all you have is product photos.
With this app, you can create an engaging slideshow or a short video in no time at all.
Lumen5: Convert articles into videos
You’ve probably seen videos on social media that are simple slides of images or short clips that explain an idea or tell a story.
Did you know you could easily make them yourself with a free video maker called Lumen5?
Simply import an existing article, pick the parts of the text you want to include, edit it down so it flows nicely, choose your music, and you’ve got yourself a video. You can even start from scratch.
You can brand these videos and add a call to action at the end to direct viewers to take whatever next step you’d like them to.
Giphy: Turn your videos into GIFs
GIFs are (arguably) just videos without sound. And with Giphy you can either convert your existing videos into GIFs or edit/caption existing GIFs.
Giphy is also a great place to find cinemagraphs, which are essentially photos with a single isolated element in motion.
You should take advantage of the fact that GIFs loop endlessly and can be used to create engaging memes to complement your social media strategy.
DaVinci Resolve: Free desktop video editing software
While you can always use iMovie or Windows Movie Maker for editing, DaVinci Resolve by Black Magic is a free video editing software that comes with the kind of professional features that let you do color corrections, remove objects, stitch together footage, and more.
It will take some time to learn if you’re new to video editing, but it’s one of the best free solutions out there for editing professional-looking videos.
PowerDirector: A robust video editor for your phone
If you’d like to shoot and edit videos on your phone, PowerDirector is an app with many useful features.
The advantage of a mobile video editor like this is that you can record new footage and audio straight from your phone and directly import it into your work in progress, making it easy to do things like voiceovers.
While this is an Android app, iPhone users can use the iMovie app or Splice by GoPro as an alternative.
Adobe Premiere Pro: Premium video editing tool for high-quality videos
As the name suggests, Adobe Premiere Pro is what the pros often use. It’s a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and is a robust tool that helps you put together professional videos that look like an expensive production team created them.
This tool allows video editors to access royalty-free sounds and background music from Adobe Stock, add captions, input graphics and visual effects, and so much more. Plus, you can download your video in nearly any aspect ratio to create video content for multiple social media platforms.
Adobe Premiere Pro is $20.99 per month for the single tool, or $54.99/month if you want access to the entire Creative Cloud.
6. Export your video
The next step is to export your video to share on social media or YouTube. The best file format to use when uploading to your social media platforms is MP4. Give yourself plenty of time to export your video because it can take a while depending on the length and the weight of the video edits.
7. Publish your video
Once you’ve finished creating and editing your video, it’s time to share it with your audience. You can publish your video on a video-sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo and then embed it onto your website.
Or you can also publish it on social media, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter. Just keep your platform’s optimal video dimensions in mind as you create. For example, Instagram Reels and TikTok require vertical videos, Instagram feeds want square, and Facebook and Twitter prefer horizontal videos in their feeds.
Measure your video’s success to see if creating your own video content resonates well with your audience. If so, repeat this process each time you plan to publish a new video online.
Tips for making engaging videos
The assets and tools above make videos easier to create, but there’s a lot more to know about using these videos effectively in your marketing.
Create videos with emotion
For one, videos that provoke an emotional reaction tend to perform better and have more viral potential, especially on Facebook. Since social videos are often watched with the sound off, captions also greatly increase viewership.
Design attractive thumbnails
Thumbnails also matter a lot, as they are essentially the “headline” of your video that entices people to watch. Use Canva to easily create eye-catching thumbnails for your videos if you're going to upload your videos to YouTube or another platform that pits you against other videos.
Know video specifications for each channel
Finally, since it’s not just how you create the videos but how you upload them too, you should be wary of the specifications for each channel.
If you’re going to embed your videos on your blog or website, make sure they’re responsive on mobile. If you're struggling to make that work, you can use the Embed Responsively tool to fix the embed code for you.
Whether you’re making videos or another type of content, quality is inevitably how you compete. But it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you a lot.
Entrepreneurs and creators can always make up for what they lack in resources with resourcefulness.
So if you have a hunch that videos can take your marketing to the next level, don't let the perceived costs and amount of effort stop you. You can get started for free using these resources and work your way up from there.
Ready to create your business? Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify—no credit card required.
How to make a video FAQ
How can I create my own video?
- Brainstorm an idea
- Writing a script and storyboard
- Gather your equipment
- Record your video
- Edit and publish your video
How do you make a video step-by-step?
- Brainstorm your video idea
- Research and plan
- Create your video footage
- Import your clips
- Edit the video
- Export the final product
- Publish on your preferred platforms