This post originally appeared on AMEX OPENForum

Video has become an essential marketing tool. It’s a great way to tell your story, show the human side of your business and communicate highly complex ideas in an easy to digest manner. But while video has the power to deeply engage, it also has the power to bore the viewer to tears—and creating compelling video is different than writing, say, a compelling blog post.

Starting a camera and spouting out a thousand words of brilliant prose does not make a compelling video. There are proven techniques and tools that can help make your videos engage, hold attention and wow the viewer. Here are 10 tools that can help you get started.

1. Prezi. This is a interesting take on the slide presentation as it allows you to create one giant and more easily connected idea and then use the tool to zoom, pan and fly all around the presentation to create a really dynamic feel. It’s not the easiest tool to master, but check out some of the incredible examples on the site to get inspiration.

2. YouTube Editor. I like this tool because it’s free, and because you’re using YouTube to host and stream your videos anyway, it gives you some nice editing capability right in YouTube. You can also add annotations and transcripts to your videos making them more SEO friendly.

3. Camtasia. This PC and Mac desktop software is the market leader in the screencapture video world. Screencast videos are a great way to demonstrate how something online works. Camtasia has some nice features that allow you to add focus to areas on your screen as well as annotations and URLs.

4. Animoto. This automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. It takes a little trial and error to get right, but adds surprisingly professional touch when you do.

5. Stoome. This is a really unique tool as it adds a crowdsourced element. You upload video clips and borrow from other users. You can then work on your project alone or with others. This is an awesome tool for creating videos when you attend a big event or conference.

6. GoAnimate. This tool allows you to make full-featured animated movies using characters and sets of your choosing. Animation can be a really powerful way to tell your story in a unique manner.

7. Magistro. This tool takes your raw footage and goes through and picks out what it thinks is the best of the best to create a short video. The tool then lets you add music and titles. Again, this is one that is awesome when it gets it right, but a little clunky with it doesn’t.

8. Sellamations. This service will create doodle videos where a hand draws out your story with a marker in high-speed capture. It’s not the cheapest route, but it’s certainly one of the best ways to create a one of a kind video that’s simply hard not to watch.

9. Common Craft. This is another really unique way to tell your story using video. Common Craft uses paper cutouts moved around or white boards to tell your story. This is probably one of the best ways to take a complex idea and really make it easy to understand. Again, hard not keep glued to this format.

10. ReelSEO. This one actually isn’t a tool, it’s just the best place to learn about tools like this as well as how to more effectively use video to build your business in general.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • One technique I’ve started using is to do screencasts of common tasks that my customers perform.  I then publish those  screencasts to youtube, and embed them on my site as help videos.  This way I get free video hosting through youtube, and I get a nice help video that provides value to my existing customers, but there’s more. 

    Each video is indexed by youtube and google and becomes another channel that potential customers can find me through.  If they’re searching for “how to post a job on craigslist” and they find my help video, they’re likely to come to HireFlo to check it out.

    • That’s great Rudy, it’s like a video FAQ library!

  • I prefer Screenflow, but I work on a mac so its understandable that it didnt make the list. I love videos where the user actually shows you what they are doing on the screen much more informative to me!

  • Another vote for Scrrenflow!  Made the switch about 2 months ago, wont be looking back!

    • Agreed – that’s what I use, but no PC version so something I have to throw a bone to those folks.

  • A great list. Thanks for putting this together. I would also add the company TruScribe. I’ve worked with them and they do great videos with the drawing hand over voice narration.

  • Wow! This is an extraordinarily helpful list. We’re completely in the dark as far as creating video content, and you’ve provided about the most helpful collection of resources that we’ve seen — thank you, thank you, thank you!