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Show Off With Screencasts

Creating screencasts is an easy, low-cost way to introduce your services to prospects.

Bill Winterberg, 12/27/2012

If you want to learn more about any of this year's Best in Tech award winners, you can watch a short video (often called an explainer video) found right on each service's website. The videos explain how the service works, what problems it solves, and how to sign up and get started.

You may not have the budget or skills to create your own custom explainer video for your business, but you can easily make a short video explaining the key services you provide to clients. One way to make these videos is to use screencast software.

Screencast software allows you to record your computer screen while simultaneously capturing your voice recording. For example, you can advance through a PowerPoint or Keynote slide deck with your firm's value proposition and speak about the benefits of becoming a client. You can also record how-to videos with screencast software to show clients how to fill out specific forms or use your online file sharing service.

To start making your first screencasts, try software such as Screencast-O-Matic and Screenr. Both are web-based products, so there's no software download or installation required to get started, and both have free versions that don't require a credit card for a trial.

Free screencast software typically limits the length of your recording, embeds a watermark in your video, and can only be viewed on the provider's website. Once you feel comfortable making screencasts, consider upgrading to a number of feature-rich programs, including the pro version of Screenr (starting at $19/month), Snagit from Techsmith ($49.95, Windows and Mac), and Screenflow from Telestream ($99, Mac).

An upgrade from Snagit is Camtasia Studio (Windows, $299) and Camtasia for Mac ($99), also from Techsmith. Camtasia, as well as Screenflow, allow you to edit your screencast to add cursor effects, perform image zoom, and use your own logo for a watermark.

If these features still fall short of what you seek, Adobe Captivate ($899, Windows and Mac) may be the powerhouse screencast solution for you. It is used to create interactive eLearning content and product demos in addition to run-of-the-mill screencasts, and it should for its nearly $1,000 price tag!

Now you can try your hand at making screencasts with one or more of the products mentioned here. See what videos you can create for the main page on your website to get visitors interested in your advisory services.

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Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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