by Susan Murphy
It wasn’t too many years ago that, in order to effectively demonstrate a product, you had to schedule a meeting, travel (sometimes a fair distance), set everything up in a strange office, and give a compelling presentation. Product demos, while a critical part of business development, were expensive and time consuming to manage.
The Web has changed all that. These days, with a few professional tools, and the free publishing power of YouTube, you can produce and post videos to the world that effectively demonstrate your products.
If you have any type of computer-based product – a software tool, web-based tool, or even if you sell products online – you can take advantage of screencasts to create effective visual demonstrations.
Screencasts are basically video recordings of a computer screen, blended with a voice track that explains to viewers how a product works. They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple “how-to” videos to series of screencasts displayed on an e-Learning portal. They are effective because they provide viewers with a real-time demonstration of a product. But the real beauty of screencasts is the way they are published. Using free tools like YouTube, you can present your videos to a wide audience who can not only view them (and rewind and pause as much as they want), but they can share them to others as well.
It’s easy to get started with screencasts – you can download a free tool like Jing that will allow you to record short clips of your computer screen and add a voice track, then download them and share them to people. If you want to get more advanced, using a tool like Camtasia or Screenflow (Mac) will allow you to add animations and graphics, as well as do more advanced editing.
Screencasts continue to get more sophisticated as the capture software becomes more robust. Many companies are also looking to increase the production value of their videos, by hiring professional hosts and voice over artists, hiring professional script writers, incorporating some live-video shots, and adding more sophisticated graphics and music. If you’re looking to add some extra pizazz to your screencasts, consider bringing in a professional video producer to help. We did a similar project with investment software company Recognia recently, with some fantastic results.
Why not give screencasting a try? You may just find a whole new audience for your products.
[photo by Solo]