What video should you make? 

If you own a business or you work for one that wants to produce video for marketing purposes then the first question you might ask is what kind of videos you should make.  The following list was made to help you answer that question. 

The Website Video

A website video can also be thought of as the "about me" or "about us" video. This is a video made to tell new customers about who you are, what your business is and does and, in using the subtle art of persuasion, to convince your customers that they should buy your products or hire you for their service needs.  This is your business' chance to give an inside look at what your business culture and philosophy is. It helps add the human touch and storytelling element to your brand. 

An often over used term used in the marketing industry is "storytelling."  Tell your story you hear them say.  Share your story, etc. Well, like all things, there is a time and place to tell your story and not all types of videos need to be geared towards that purpose. However, with regards to producing a website video, this is definitely the right type of video to accomplish the goal of telling the world your business' story.

The Content Video

All industries and professions are interesting. Pick any industry or walk-of-life and there can be interesting takeaway video made about it. Think of content videos, or "content marketing" if you will, like your business' very own TV show or channel. And that of course implies that content videos are not lonely: they tend to come in multiples. 

Typically, a content video strategy involves the serializing of video production. Why make one video about what your business does (or how you do what you do) when you can have a dozen? This is less about storytelling and less about making a commercial and very much about showing the world why what you do is fascinating and important. 

For example, if you own an auto shop, perhaps you show your audience what can happen if you don't change your brakes or oil as regularly as you should. Of if you are a financial advisor, perhaps you make a video that explains the benefits of a retirement fund. If you make pottery, maybe you make a video that explains something unique about clay no one else in the world would know about but you.

Your business is professional at what it does right? Well, then content marketing is the way to prove that by creating real, honest, informative and even entertaining  content.

Here's a fun word for you: infotainment. Infotainment means giving your customers good insight in the best way you can. 

A subset of content marketing, if you will, is the testimonial video. Testimonial videos are talking-head interviews with customers who have used your products or services and they have something nice to say about the experience. Pretty straightforward idea and a solid marketing tool. People like your business and they are happy to tell others about it. Good stuff.

Now then, there are a few things to be wary of with regards to video content marketing. Business owners these days feel a lot of pressure to be "content creators." But not everyone, for one, likes being on camera and, secondly, most are not formally trained in the ways of producing good video. Third, producing serialized content is also very time consuming and can distract from managing the core functions of the business. 

Content marketing should not necessarily be confused with turning your business or individual persona as a business owner into an "influencer." Not everyone needs to launch a "how-to" or  "training" video series and not every business needs to post video on a regularly scheduled basis to reap the benefits that video marketing can provide. This is a trap that social media companies set and over producing can run the risk of being a drain on your business' resources. 

And although there are a lot of devices and apps that make producing video easier and even fun, sometimes it's best to focus on what your business does best and leave the video production to the professionals. There is a chance that a poorly produced video can have the opposite effect: instead of attracting customers to your brand it pushes them away. 

The Commercial

How many times have you kicked around an ear worm jingle in your head that you heard in a commercial? Or perhaps you can easily recall a slogan or catch phrase that you've heard in a commercial? Or maybe you've seen a commercial that you just thought was really cool with regards to the filmmaking used to produce it? A mesmerizing visual technique that represents the best that movie magic has to offer and accomplished within a few seconds of screen time.

Welcome to the art and craft of the short-form commercial.

We've all grown up with commercials and there is reason to believe that this type of video isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, commercials still support the vast majority of news and entertainment you watch on TV and streaming. Subscriptions don't pay for content nearly as much as commercials do.

Commercials are a time-tested means of generating awareness about your business and there are more ways than ever before to deliver them to your target audience: cable TV, connected TVs and devices, social media, preroll and gaming consoles.

Chances are your customers are consuming media via one of these methods and as a business owner you would be remiss not to invest some of your marketing budget towards placing your 15 or 30 second commercial on them. 

Even if your business generates new customers via local word of mouth and you feel you don't need a commercial in order to grow your business ("We have enough customers.") ... consider for a moment that a commercial doesn’t always have to be aimed at trying to sell a new widget or promote a seasonal sale.  A commercial can be used to communicate any number of things quickly and concisely. Or to build loyalty and good will towards your brand over the long-term which, in effect, can help establish a brand's enduring legacy.

The topic of producing commercials is also an opportune moment to mention audience targeting and tracking. As a business owner you want to publish a commercial along with Google (analytics / Ad Words) and Meta's (the Facebook Pixel) tracking code on your web-based landing pages so that you know if you are reaching your target audience and so that you can retarget (repeat ad serving) to those who are most likely to buy what you are selling. 

As for formatting (or aspect ratio) there are two, generally speaking, types to consider: horizonal or vertical. And this consideration is really dictated by the distribution platform you are considering: if your commercial will have impressions on connected TVs you'll be in a horizontal (widescreen TV or 16:9 aspect ratio) format. If your commercial is on Facebook, you may be looking at a semi-vertical (4:5) aspect ratio or full vertical (9:16) aspect ratio.

In sum, just ask history. As an invention to generate more revenue for a business, commercial advertising has existed in some shape or form for hundreds of years. So why not take advantage of it? 

The Social Short

For better or worse (better if you are a video marketer!), we live in the era of social media and it tends to run the full gamut when it comes to content, messaging, technical formatting and length: long videos, short videos, widescreen videos, vertical videos, animations, live action, dancing, lip-sync, Meta Reels, TikTok, Stories, YouTube Shorts, etc. You would be forgiven if it all feels a bit dizzying and confusing. 


To start making sense of video for social let's first consider video length. With regards to length, when you're talking social media, videos tend to be on the shorter side: 15 seconds to 90 seconds depending on the platform you are producing for. 

And generally speaking, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and TicTok tend to be the biggest players for shorter-form content. YouTube does have their Shorts; but YouTube is also the preferred choice for longer-form content that is easily sharable and embeddable elsewhere.

So as a general rule of thumb if you're making longer videos: YouTube might be your best bet. If you want to do shorter videos: consider Meta or TikTok. 


Let's consider aspect ratios. Arguably, the widescreen (or "horizontal" or "landscape") video is still YouTube's best offering. This is, in part, due to YouTube also being a "living room" app found on connected TVs or smart TV platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon and Roku.  Think about sitting on your couch and watching longer-form content on a widescreen television. YouTube is a player in that arena and that in itself is enough to inform the process of making video for this type of setting: long and wide.

Meta and TikTok, on the other hand, tend to be where we find more vertical (or "portrait") video aspect ratios. This is, in part, due to the handheld device's vertical design and mobile nature. Shorter and more vertical aspect ratio videos play well in this consumer mode.


A third aspect to consider is how sharable or embeddable your video is. Since YouTube offers an easy and effective way to share via text and email or embed on other sites, YouTube tends to be one of the best options for doing so.

Think of it this way, if you can text your grandma a link to a video and she can watch it without her having any trouble... that's a good indicator of which platform you want to use if sharing your video outside the publishing platform is important to you. And as of this writing YouTube tends to pass the grandma test. 

But that's not to suggest that your audience isn't conveniently contained within the platform you're publishing to. By all means, build efficiency into the marketing process by gravitating towards where your audience naturally is. 


Lastly, another aspect to consider when doing social video is how performative or informative your content will be. Some apps like TikTok tend to reward performance over more straight-faced take away. It's important to take a step back and ask what stylistic approach best serves your needs.

For example, if you own a cafe and you want to promote a new drink item on your menu you could, perhaps, take a more informative approach: you may want to explain how much thought and attention you put into sourcing good ingredients and demonstrate how the process you use to produce your products is better than your competitor's. A straightforward, talking-head style video that simply tells it like it is clearly and with less stylistic embellishment might work quite nicely. 

You could, however, opt for a more performative approach. Maybe there's a famous song lyric or movie dialogue quote you find on Instagram Reels and you create a lip-sync with that along with a text-on-screen that delivers the message about your new menu item in a more playful or funny way.  Again, that might get the attention you're looking for. 


Taken together, the choices a video producer makes with regards to longer vs. shorter, horizontal vs. vertical, embeddable vs. not embeddable and performative vs. informative have a lot to say about the type of video to make, its messaging and where it is published. 

Here is a very short list of some of the most popular social video types used to market a business:

The Live Video

Live video is certainly a unique and fascinating way to market your business. Virtual seminars are a popualr form of live video. The audience is invited to join a live video event and continually encouraged to attend or tune-in. Local events might benefit from this type of video and allow the host to report live from the scene and in the moment. 

One trick to pulling off a live cast is good preparation. Once a live video is done then there usually isn't any more post production editing to do since the end product is what it is. That means that going live can benefit greatly from more planning and preproduction. Rehearsing and tech checks are a good idea before going live.

There is also "live-to-tape" or a studio type setting wherein a multi-camera setup is used to capture demonstrations such as cooking, exercise, how-to, training, roundtable group conversations or the like. Video podcasting is another side of live-to-tape. 

The benefit of doing live-to-tape is that the production is not actually going out live but is rather pre-recorded and then packaged for publication via a post production process. That can make for a more polished end product. 

Here are the benefits of live video: