Getting Started with Online Video the Easy Way!

by Stacy Karacostas

Think you'd like to post videos for your business on YouTube or even your web site, but don't know how? Here's an easy and inexpensive way to get started with online video.

Have you ever thought about making and posting an online video?

If so, then I ask..."What's stopping you?"

Maybe it's a profound fear of looking like an idiot.

Understandable. But I can tell you from experience, you're always going to be far more critical than anyone else. So you just have to get over it.


When I made my first video I thought I was having a bit of a bad hair day. But I posted it anyway. Then lo and behold a friend spontaneously posted a compliment about my hair when she saw the video. Go figure.


Now, if you're willing to make a little bit of a fool of yourself, you can do like Lou Bortone, The Online Video Guy. His videos are a hoot with crazy costumes and fun personalities. I love watching them and know his stuff has gone viral (

But you don't have to do anything crazy to make an effective video. Just offer valuable information in an upbeat manner. And be authentic. People will love it.

Of course, maybe you're stuck because you don't know HOW to actually record, edit, format and upload video to the Web.

Problem solved!

Below are exactly the steps I take. I'm not an online video expert by any means. But I've had people who saw my videos get in touch because that got them interested in hiring me. You can do the same.

So, here's how to record, edit and post a video online in 9 simple steps...

1) Buy a Flip video camera. They cost about $125 (you don't need the fanciest one) and are well worth it-even if you already own a traditional mini-dv recorder. Some people recommend getting a Web cam instead. I know they're cheaper but they don't come with all the features of the Flip you're gonna need to do this. Plus, you can't take a Web cam with you. And that's half the fun.

2) Set up an account at either or Or both.

3) Script and/or outline your video and practice it a couple times. Shorter is better. I shoot for between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. Longer than that and you gotta be talking about something really interesting or you'll lose people. Visual aids are good if you want to hold people's attention for longer chunks of time.

4) Spend a few minutes making a couple test videos then record the real thing. I often simply hold my arm out and aim the camera back at my face to record my videos. I've also put it on a little tripod and strapped it to a tree. You should note that while they say it's got a 12 ft range, I've found 6 ft or less is optimal for decent sound.

5) Once you've got a video you like, plug your Flip into your computer USB port and wait for the software to auto load. Now you can edit and save your video. And it's dead easy. If you go into "create a movie" you can even add basic opener and closer slides that fade in and out.

6) Once it's all ready to go, just choose to share your video online and the software will give you a choice of posting it on YouTube, MySpace or prepping it for email. Make your pick and follow the prompts. Once it's done just click the link to "return to browser" and you'll go directly to the login page of that site.

7) Log in to your account and choose to edit your video. Here you need to add important bits like title, description and keywords. Be sure to include your Website URL at the start of your description with http:// before the www. Change any other settings you'd like while you're there as well. I typically make comments allowed only with approval but always allow public sharing.

8) Post your video at I learned about this from Lou Bortone. This little service will repost your video on tons of other sites automatically. Way cool!

9) Let everyone you know, know. Email about it. Post it-or a link to it-on your Website and blog. Twitter about it. Stick it on your Facebook page...You get the idea.

I'll admit, getting your first video out there can feel a little scary. But I promise once you do one, you'll see how easy it really is and start having fun.

Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your small business. She's the author of "Putting Your Business on the Road to Success", "The Small Business Website Bible" and more than 200 articles on marketing, copywriting, sales and success. For more information, visit
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