Making videos for your business is a lot like learning to lift weights.
As an avid weightlifter for over 20 years, it’s now second nature to me. But it hasn’t always been that way.
When I was sixteen I knew I needed to get inside a gym and whip my wimpy body into shape. Continuing to ignore my self-proclaimed “noodle arms” wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be.
The first time I walked into a weightroom I looked around at all the equipment, all the exercises that clearly more advanced lifters were doing, and instantly felt overwhelmed with all the options.
Luckily, I had an uncle who offered to show me the ropes. He walked me through the gym, told me which exercises were useless and best to avoid, which exercises would help me accomplish my fitness goals, and —most importantly— he encouraged me to get started.
Friends, I’m going to be my uncle for you today. Is that weird?? That sounds creepy, huh? Anywho…
Viewers crave video. Your customers want more from you than just words on a page or the occasional selfie.
As a digital marketer, and a business owner myself, I’ve spent the last two years testing out tons of user-friendly tools and apps to make DIY videos for my small business. The tools I use must meet these three criteria: 1) easy to learn, 2) mega-affordable (under $25/month), and 3) take me less than 2 hours to create each video.
Let’s do a walkthrough now of the weightlifting gym…tools for video.
My 5 Favorite Tools That Make Videos Easy to Create
Note, this article may contain affiliate links to the products we ourselves use and love.
Rocketium Makes BuzzFeed-Style Videos Easy
Rocketium is just damn easy to use. Rocketium allows you to create text-based videos (like the kinds you see on BuzzFeed) without the annoyingly steep learning curve of so many of its competitors. It’s literally a matter of “drag and drop” with Rocketium.
Rocketium Key Features:
- High-quality video (HD 1080p)
- Thousands of commercially licensed music tracks
- Search their collection of over 1 million HD quality royalty-free images and video clips
- Browse built-in themes & templates for different types of videos like listicles, announcements, and stories
- Share straight to social media or download to your local storage
Note, get the professional subscription for just $49/month (don’t get the free version). Without the professional version, you’ll be uber-restricted on the number of videos you can make per month, receive way fewer themes/templates, and be stuck with an annoying Roketium logo appearing on all your videos.
Make a Cartoon Video Easily Using PowToon
PowToon is one of the leading “drag and drop” animated video-making tools on the market. Animated videos catch attention and make it engaging for viewers to learn about something that is complicated. Animated videos are also a great way to sell a product or service because complicated or boring content seems to come alive. Who doesn’t want to buy a product or service when the company took the time to make an entertaining sales video?!
I’ve tried several animator tools (like RawShorts), and I’ve found that PowToon has a good balance of ease-of-use paired with drag-and-drop features without being too cutesy.
If you want to make an explainer or how-to video to explain a product or service, check out PowToon.
If you’re unsure what an explainer video is, what they’re used for, and to see an example of one, then read my third article in this series. Also, right here you can watch this explainer video we used to have on our homepage to explain who we are and what makes our business unique.
PowToon Key Features:
- ~ $20/month (There’s a free version, but don’t waste your time. The free version isn’t for commercial use. Plus it has the PowToon-branded intro and outro scenes… which look tacky when businesses use them.)
- Easy & intuitive
- Tons of pre-made templates to get you started immediately
- No animation skills needed
Apple Clips is My Go-To for Making Talking Head Videos
If you’re not an iPhone user, ignore this one.
I use an iOS app that’s available in the Apple App Store called Clips. Did I mention it’s totally free?! It’s my go-to for making “talking head” videos. You know, the ones where you see my face talking the whole time, and usually it’s got words (captions) moving along the bottom of the video.
Watch this brief video that Eric, co-owner of Communication Hackers, made using his iPhone with the Apple Clips app. He used a Clips filter that added a cartoon-ish effect to the video, and he also enabled the auto-caption feature. All for FREE!!
Until now, audio transcription hasn’t been easy. It was time-consuming and done manually. But with Clips, it’s not much more than a few clicks. This is important knowing that most of our audience is watching the videos we make with the audio on mute. Especially when they watch from a mobile device.Add video captions if you have a message that needs to be heard instead of just seen. Click To Tweet
iMovie is My Fave Solution for Editing
Sometimes I film using using my phone’s camera and no apps or software at all when I’m filming. Afterward, I’m like, “Crud, that part is gonna need edited out.” iMovie makes that easy. Again, it’s only for iOS devices. If you use it for your iPad or iPhone, those versions are free. If you want the desktop version, I believe the current rate is a one-time fee of $14.99. New Mac computers might even have it already installed from the factory.
My Favorite iMovie Features:
- Super easy to add scene transitions (& it offers a bunch to choose from)
- Scene fades are a snap
- Trimming and splicing together video clips is a cinch
There are tons of cheap video editing apps. But iMovie just makes it so simple to use.
iMovie doesn’t have video footage for you to use, so it’s mainly just the app I use when I want to edit video (or to fuse together multiple videos) that I’ve already filmed myself.
Here’s an example of a short video that we created using iMovie for titles, transitions, adding intros/outros, and using the free soundtrack music all provided within iMovie . In this video Eric is presenting on the topic of public speaking.
Adobe Spark Is Like Turning a Slideshow Into a Video
Sometimes I want to make a video to talk about an upcoming event or promotion, but I don’t actually have any film footage. And I don’t want my mug (yeah, my face) to actually be in the video. If you're camera shy, Adobe Spark is the video-creation tool for you! Click To Tweet
Adobe Spark has a library of free-to-use video clips, icons, and photos. It also has storyboard templates to help you get started. All you need is to choose the visuals and then type in the words. There’s a super legit free version that works great for most my needs. If you want to remove the Spark outro, and get more features, then try out their $10 monthly subscription.
Here’s a video I made justing using the free version of Spark (below). If you want to see the live webpage that it’s hosted on, click here. You’ll notice the Spark-branded outro appears because I was using the free desktop version.
And that’s it— five dead simple DIY video-making tools you should give a try.
Latest posts by Laura Hsu (see all)
- My 5 Favorite Tools That Make Videos Easy to Create - May 22, 2018
- 7 Easy-to-Create Types of Videos to Grow Your Small Business - April 3, 2018
- How to Make Social Media Videos That Get Liked and Shared - February 25, 2018