Imagine doing listing presentations and telling every home seller your marketing plan includes making and distributing a video of their home. Do you think you would get more listings? You bet you would.

I know what you’re thinking — "Video costs too much money and takes too much time to make. Besides, how do I know the guy I hire knows what he’s doing? I don’t even know who to call. Plus, there’s editing, copywriting

By JOSEPH FERRARA

Imagine doing listing presentations and telling every home seller your marketing plan includes making and distributing a video of their home. Do you think you would get more listings? You bet you would.

I know what you’re thinking — "Video costs too much money and takes too much time to make. Besides, how do I know the guy I hire knows what he’s doing? I don’t even know who to call. Plus, there’s editing, copywriting … oh yeah, I’ll have to talk into a camera (I hate my voice and the camera adds 10 pounds I can’t afford) — No way!"

There is an easy way to get professional-looking video with no technical skills, no editing, and no scripts … and it’s called Animoto.com. I know real estate brokers who use it in place of slide shows.

It’s not full-motion video — Animoto takes still photographs and images, adds music you select from their library or your own, and automatically creates a slide-show video with some snazzy effects. Each video is a one-of-a-kind production in a widescreen format.

Site creators describe the videos as having the "visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer," and it’s no wonder — their background is in the film and television industries.

How to create an Animoto video:

  • Upload your photographs and images from your computer or from other accounts where you have your images, such as Flickr or Facebook.
  • Choose the music from the Animoto MP3 library or from your computer.
  • Give your video a title and description.
  • Click "Create video."
  • Sit back. You’re done. The Animoto "wizards" will produce your video in about a minute for your review.

If you don’t like the result, just click "Remix" and the site will create a new version of the video for your review. All of your videos are saved in your account.

Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can:

  • Export your video to YouTube.
  • E-mail it to your client.
  • Download it to your computer.
  • Embed it on your Web site or blog.
  • Send it to Twitter.

The cost for a business account is $249 per year, or $99 for a three-month trial. You can create unlimited full-length videos with music. Animoto also offers a free account that you can use to produce a 30-second video. …CONTINUED

Some features of an Animoto Business account:

  • White label: your videos have no Animoto branding.
  • All videos are multiple listing service friendly.
  • All videos are DVD-quality.
  • Create an unlimited number of videos.
  • Call-to-action button at the end of your video links to your Web site to let viewers "Get more information," "Schedule a house tour," "Contact an agent," or "Learn more about the property."
  • Speed Control — besides the default speed, you can choose half and double speeds. Half speed is great for longer showing of each image in your video, while double speed can enhance the tempo.

Some tips on Video:

  • Title your videos with keywords.
  • Add your contact information in text slides inside the video — at the beginning and at the end.
  • Comment on your YouTube videos using keywords to help Google crawlers identify the video.
  • Syndicate your video to other video venues using sites like Tubemogul.com. If you do a search for "Greenwich CT homes for sale under 700,000" you’ll see videos at the top of Google, all from a broker syndicating his Animoto videos.
  • Add especially good photos several times to Animoto to have them reappear. You can also "spotlight" them when adding them.
  • Add neighborhood and outdoor photos to convey a sense of place and lifestyle for your listing.

So, next time your colleagues say video is too difficult to produce, too expensive, or too time-consuming, agree with them. Keep your Animoto secret to yourself.  (Psst … an Animoto iPhone app is coming soon.)

Joseph Ferrara is publisher of the Sellsius Real Estate Blog and a partner in TheClozing.com, a real estate news aggregator site. He is an attorney with 25 years of experience in New York, and he also coaches agents on the use of blogging and social networking.

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