An Insurance Agents Guide to YouTube for Effective Video Marketing
So you’ve been thinking about finally jumping into the video marketing game and aren’t sure if YouTube should be part of the strategy?
First, stop it.
Of course it is.
It’s 90 percent of the strategy.
My apologies, I’m coming on a little strong. Don’t worry, most insurance agents overthink this part straight to a Vimeo account.
It’s easy to get lost in the more visible aspects of video marketing and forget about the engine under the hood.
The good news is, with any luck, you’ll be able to avoid most of those mistakes after today.
I’ve produced close to 200 videos for my family’s insurance agency and have learned a lot over the last six years of what works and what doesn’t.
Let’s get started.
Starting Your Awesome Insurance YouTube Channel
The simple act of setting up the channel could sink your YouTube efforts before they even start.
It’s not your fault, most of the time, Google (and YouTube) can make it feel like an interdimensional journey setting up a channel with the right Google account.
You’re just going to want to make sure you’re logged into Google with whatever account you want the channel controlled under.
If you use Google for your business email and also have a personal Gmail account you’ll want to make sure you select the account you’ve used for all your other business efforts when it comes to Google.
I’ve purposefully avoided a paid Google account to keep this part of my life simple. My personal Gmail account controls all my Google activity.
What Kind of Insurance Videos Should You Make?
Once you physically have a channel to upload content on, now you can really feel the panic attack coming on because you have to figure out what kind of videos you’re going to produce.
Well, here’s a paper bag to breath into while you read the rest of the article.
Now, much like the decision to use YouTube or not, don’t over think this.
You have tons of useful insurance information trapped in your brain and your only goal is to free it for others to see/find/watch/learn from.
The simple act of allowing a prospect access to your insurance brain on their time (see convenient for them) is a giant positive alteration to the alternative.
They (the prospect) weren’t even expecting to find an answer. That means from the start you’ve already over delivered.
Now that we’ve got that little pep talk out of the way, there is really only one type of video you should focus on making initially.
That’s you, in front of a camera, emptying your insurance brain and preferably being charming while doing it.
The level of style and polish you add to these videos is entirely up to you.
Why I Hate Green Screens
Before we go another sentence further, I’ve gotta get this out of the way.
I hate green screens.
One more time.
I hate green screens.
It’s a wasted opportunity.
The entire goal of your video marketing is to invite people into your insurance world to know, like and trust you. All from the comfort of their home.
When you meet someone in your office you don’t sit in front of a green screen do you?
If you do, then green screen away.
Otherwise, use this opportunity to open a window into how AND where you do business.
Make them feel like they are sitting on the other side of your desk. Let them see your framed picture of the first pitch ever at Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field, yuck). Or the pictures of your kids or the guitar you hung up just to impress people.
People want more information before they buy, not less.
A green screen provides so much less information it’s human equivalent would be Ryan Seacrest.
Now we can return to our regularly scheduled YouTube blog post.
This might seem like the hardest, most intimidating part, but I promise it’s not.
Regardless, I know there’s no way you’ll move forward with video without a gear list.
I’ve long been on the record disagreeing with a few of Ryan Hanley’s equipment suggestions over the years.
I’ve done my best not to hold it against him.
Here’s my list then we’ll break down the practicality of each suggestions.
Camera: Logitech C920 (and/or smartphone)
Tripod: Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand (Phone) AmazonBasics Mini Tripod (Webcam)
Microphone: Audio Technica AT2020 (USB) (Computer) Zoom iQ7 (Phone)
USB Audio Interface: M-Audio M Track 2x2M (or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2)
Lights: Your call.
Editing Software: Adobe Premiere Elements (Upgraded option Adobe Premiere Pro)
Mic Stand: Heil PL-2T
Headphones: Sony MDR7506
Speakers: M-Audio AV40 (Mackie CR3)
Camera: Why use a webcam? Because it’s always plugged into your computer ready to go. There’s very little configuration to do before hitting record. Just a check of the auto white balance box in the logitech software and you’re all set. That’s the primary thesis behind every video suggestion. Every minute you spend setting up a video is a minute closer to not getting made. Your current smart phone also is a solid option and will add level of portability to the mix.
Microphone: I’ve loved Audio Technica since my days recording music. It’s also pretty cool the company is headquartered 20 minutes from my house. The USB version will be the easiest to use and setup. However if you want to improve your computer’s overall sound quality and audio awesomeness you can opt for the advance external audio interface. It is completely optional.
Lights: My lighting and camera philosophies are identical. Whatever lighting setup you choose should be aesthetically pleasing enough to remain constantly setup. If you have great natural light, great. If you want a full light kit setup in your office, I won’t judge. It’s whatever you want to deal with on a daily basis so the videos get made over and over again.
Editing software: Really I don’t care what program you use, as long as it works and you like it. Those are just the two programs I’ve personally used.
Mic Stand: If you haven’t figured it out by now, having every video making component always setup is vital to your success. This was the last piece I bought to complete my always ready video setup.
Headphones/Speakers: This is really an either or situation. The one thing you want to make sure you can do is clearly hear the videos you’re editing. If you don’t have a high quality playback source you’re in trouble. No, the speakers built into you computer doesn’t count and neither do your white little earbuds. Go with whichever option you prefer. Or you can be crazy like me and have both.
When your gear is fully assembled you should be able to flip one switch and click two buttons to start recording a video.
Or if your feeling frisky and want to go big from the start you can check out the official Agency Nation Gear List
SEO Essentials for Posting a Video on YouTube
If you remember back to our blogging guide, it all starts with the title or headline of the video.
Screw this up and you should be good to go for five or six views.
If you’re combining this with your blogging strategy your headline should already be written.
Now you need to turn your attention to the description and tags.
If you’re going to include a call-to-action in your video and want the viewer to click on a link, you’ll want to include that link at the top.
I will say, out of everything, the description is my greatest weakness. I usually copy and paste as much of the blog post into the description as I can. I also make sure that the main keywords of the video are in there as well.
Once you’ve finished with that you’ll want to make sure you spend 30-60 seconds to include the most relevant tags for your video.
Outside of the title/headline, this is the second most important thing that will determine if your video gets played.
Actually spend time and think about this. Before of after recording the video make sure to do a goofy face photoshoot for the thumbnail. Include props or anything you can think of to visually represent the information inside the video.
You’ll also want to add some text to this image once you’ve got the perfect picture. Photoshop (or Illustrator) comes in handy here and your thumbnail can even serve as the feature image for you combined blog post.
This text can be identical to the headline (if it’s not too long) or it can be an abbreviated, loosely related version.
Whatever you do here, you’ll want to be consistent with the style, font and colors (which also should match your agency brand) for all future thumbnails. This will make it dramatically easier for people to identify your videos on YouTube.
What are End Screens, Annotations and Cards?
YouTube likes to change this stuff around a decent amount, so I’ll avoid a step-by-step tutorial as it will surely be outdated quickly.
The main thing you want to know about these different tools is they allow you to drive people to additional content within your channel or your associated website.
Which you’ll want to make sure you go through the steps to make your agency site “associated.”
You can use cards at any point during the video to link to other videos you might have mentioned for people to watch.
End screens are fairly new and give several different options to keep people in your YouTube universe, like subscribing to your channel or recommending another video from your channel.
Annotations were all the rage a few years ago, however with their mobile incompetence they have been slowly phased out and are all but irrelevant.
The Bottom Line
If your insurance agency is already, or about to be, in the video marketing game YouTube has to be a big part of the process.
Remember, it’s the second largest search engine in the world (behind Google, obviously).
The hardest part in the process is actually deciding (taking the time) to upload them there. That and making a custom thumbnail, agents screw that one up all the time.
Once you’re there all you have to do is keep making informative, relevant and entertaining videos and the rest will take care of itself.
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