How to get yourself on YouTube, for business or pleasure

It's easier than you think

You know all about YouTube: More than 100 million videos viewed each day, tens of millions of unique visitors, one of the top sites on the Internet and so on.

So, you've probably watched YouTube videos. But have you ever uploaded your own creation? Probably not.

According to the Web-audience measuring service Hitwise Pty., only 0.16% of U.S. visitors to YouTube uploaded videos in a recent week. The rest are just watching.

What's holding you back? It's easier than you think to post video, and there are even some good business reasons for doing it. I'll explain the steps for producing corporate video and throw in some home video tips for off-hours fun.

Watch this YouTube video to see how easy it is to make a YouTube video!

If you're in a small company, or a larger one that doesn't want to mess with video hosting and access issues, YouTube provides a free, easy way to host corporate video. What kind of video?

1. Executive presentations. Executives at many companies provide regular presentations to department groups or even the entire workforce, to discuss financial performance, share information, recognize outstanding workers and so on. While the bulk of the audience may be at headquarters, many others may be in remote offices. Or a lot of workers may be absent the day of the presentation or unable to attend for other reasons. Videotape the highlights of the presentation and put them on YouTube, and they can be viewed by everyone who is authorized to do so. More on that later.

2. Training. Videos can be a great way to train workers on anything from using software and setting up equipment to making a great sales pitch. It's easy to use screen-capture utilities, for example, to show users how to master a new software package, complete with mouse clicks and different screen displays.

3. Help. Does your help desk get repeat calls from users requesting assistance on the same problem? "Now, how do I turn off my 'out of office' message, again?" Videotape the correct steps to solve the most common problems, and build up a bank of self-help videos for users to check first. Of course, knowing users, the help desk would probably begin fielding a lot of calls like: "Now, how do I access those help videos, again?"

4. Marketing. A picture is worth a thousand words, and thousands of pictures streamed together at 29.97 frames per second is worth a lot more. Show off that new shiny hardware to prospective customers or demonstrate that new software and provide product data, statistics or any other information you choose.

5. Events. Computerworld recently held a 40th anniversary party at which the founder regaled the audience with hilarious tales of the old days when he started the company. It was held in a spectacular venue high above Boston Harbor on a perfect spring day. It's a shame everyone in the company couldn't be there to see it, but being able to watch it afterward would be the next best thing. And it would be great if those who were there could watch the highlights again.

Those are just a few ideas out of endless possibilities. Please share your own ideas in the Comments section at the bottom of this page.

Once you've got an idea, plan your shoot, grab a camcorder, and you're off.

Of course, getting good raw footage is the most important concern. Tips on taking good video are all over the Web, and YouTube itself has gathered a lot of good information, much of it from Videomaker magazine.

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