It’s clear that remodelers should take advantage of YouTube—but how? We asked multimedia content producer Rodika Tollefson to find the most effective U.S. remodeler videos to help inspire you. Her criteria included consistency, production values, and storytelling, among other things.

Best Use of Testimonials

Fireplace & Granite Distributors, Concord, N.C.

Overall: Great mix of regularly uploaded videos with customer testimonials, product highlights, and project showcases.

Winner: Customer testimonial

Simple but effective execution:

strong customer narrative, decent audio, excellent presentation of promotional details (website, product names, call to action with contact information at the end).

Dislike: Incorporating project photos is an excellent idea, but cutting in and out between photos and the customer is distracting. A better way would be to use project photos or video (pros call these “B-roll,” cover shots, or cutaways) over part of the interview.

Bonus points: Legally used music, with appropriate credit.

Tips:
  • When filming in static settings, such as interviews, steady the camera (a tripod works much better than a tired hand).
  • Using copyrighted music without permission spells trouble. Look for websites that provide free music under a Creative Commons or similar royalty-free license (but make sure that you follow the requirements for giving credit). Scroll to the bottom of this article to see a list of free or inexpensive music sources you can use.
Score: 4 out of 5


Best DIY Video

Golden Gate Enterprises, San Francisco

Overall: More than 300 videos posted in the past two years, many filmed on site by company owner Paul Gordon. Many of the videos do very well in search engine rankings.

Winner: Home remodel walk-through

A walk-through, narrating along the way, is a quick and easy way to showcase a project. Including an end pitch about your services is a good alternative to just using text on screen, and it adds a personal touch.

Dislike: The quick camera movements and panning are a problem at times, and the video is too long. (It should be 3 minutes max.)

Bonus points: The down-to-earth, authentic tone of the video.

Tips: When panning, move the camera slowly so the camera movement is smooth and viewers have enough time to see the image.

Score: 3.75 out of 5 



Best “Behind the Scenes” Video

Pearl Remodeling, Van Nuys, Calif.

Overall: Great use of short video (most are less than 2 minutes long). Many of the videos have a much higher view count than is typical for remodelers.

Winner: Stucco installation demo


The “how-to” style of the video helps attract more viewers. Starting with the all-important “before” image, the script walks you through the steps for stucco installation. The B-roll is interesting and well done, using different camera angles and including close-ups. The voice-over works well—especially when there is a need for a script—though mixing it with an on-camera narrator is less effective.

Dislike: The final 30 seconds could be tightened up by cutting out some of the redundant (and too fast) panning shots.

Bonus points: All of Pearl’s videos offer consistent presentation by starting with the same brief collage showcasing the company’s services and ending with the same call-to-action.

Tips:
  • If using music, make sure it doesn’t overpower the narrator. The music should be in the background.
  • If you plan to use photos, make sure they’re high resolution so they can fill the entire screen.
Score: 4.5 out of 5

Best Script

Marrokal Design & Remodeling, San Diego

Overall: Videos are professionally done, which shows in the quality. An excellent mix of topics, including an “Ask the Designer” series, tips, and success stories.

Winner: “Ask the Team” video about creating the dream home


The great storytelling in this video mingles takeaway tips with a pitch for using the company. The background for the interview was carefully selected; the B-roll does a nice job of showing a remodeled kitchen “in action” as well as mixing in before and after photos.

Bonus points: Video was obviously planned well in pre-production—the photos are the appropriate size, the script flows well, and there’s a variety of interesting B-roll footage.

Tips: Professional videos are pricey but could be worth the money—at least occasionally. You could work with a producer on a video or two and learn a few pointers before attempting to make your own. College students who are studying film or video and are looking to build a portfolio can also produce high-quality work for free or for a low price.

Score: 5 out of 5

Best Product Education Video

Hammer & Hand, Portland, Ore./Seattle

Overall: Well-watched videos that are essentially reports from the field, showcasing ongoing projects and explaining techniques and products.

Winner: Heated crawlspace


It’s tough to choose the best of these videos because they’re so consistently good. This one stands out because it features unique products. The videography is simple, with no B-roll, but it keeps the viewers’ attention because the videographer uses a variety of camera angles, and the on-camera talent adds a little action with the demos.

Dislike: Too long (6 minutes), although those who are interested in the featured products are likely to watch until the end.

Bonus points: Consistent quality of videos and top-notch presentation.

Tips: Even if you’re producing a news-style report from the jobsite, include your contact information at the end because you never know where potential customers will discover you.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Best One-Hit Wonder

Improvement Remodeling, Portland, Ore.

Improvement Remodeling produced just one video, professionally done for its website’s home page. If you can only afford to create one video, this is an example of a great way to tell your company’s story (and if you choose a simple, straightforward style without animation or other bells and whistles, you’ll keep costs down). At just a little over a minute, the video packs in a short owner narrative about the company, a customer testimonial, action scenes, and project examples, plus a call to action.

Score: 5 out of 5



Honorable Mention—Anyone Can Do This

Patio and Home Improvement Design/Dad’s Diversified, Thornton, Colo.

The company’s YouTube channel, by owner Damon D’Amico, has more than 1,000 subscribers and a total of more than 1 million views. The videos are worth mentioning because they’re filmed on the jobsite using D’Amico’s phone and are simple, short sneak peeks at work in progress—videos that any remodeler can easily and inexpensively produce.

Dislike: Many of the titles are misleading because they include the words “how to” while only giving a couple of quick steps (but no doubt pulling in more viewers as a result of the how-to tease)—which is why these videos only get an honorable mention.

Bonus points: The videos consistently start with “thanks for tuning in” and end with a call to hit the Like button and subscribe.

Tips: How-to videos, when appropriately done, have the potential to attract more followers, but consider your customer market and promotional strategy before you venture there.

Rodika Tollefson’s Tips for Better YouTube Videos

  • Write a description for your YouTube About Me page and for each video. This will help with your search engine rankings. Keep in mind: People only see three lines of text under each video (unless they click on “show more”), so make sure that every word there counts.
  • How-to videos, when appropriately done, have the potential to attract more followers, but consider your customer market and promotional strategy before you venture there.
  • Even if you’re producing a news-style report from the jobsite, include your contact information at the end because you never know where potential customers will discover you.
  • When you’re conducting an interview (or speaking into a webcam), select an uncluttered but interesting background. Something with your company name/logo could work well.
  • If you’re planning to use B-roll, try to get a variety of shots—multiple angles, a mix of close-ups and wide shots, action when possible.
  • When panning, move the camera slowly so the camera movement is smooth and viewers have enough time to see the image.
  • If you plan to use photos, make sure that they’re high resolution so they can fill the entire screen.
  • People will forgive poor-quality images, but you’ll lose them with poor audio, so make sure that everyone can be clearly heard.
  • If using music, make sure it doesn’t overpower the narrator. The music should be in the background.
  • Professional videos are pricey but could be worth the money—at least occasionally. You could work with a producer on a video or two and learn a few pointers before attempting to make your own. College students who are studying film or video and are looking to build a portfolio can also produce high-quality work for free or for a low price.
  • Using copyrighted music without permission spells trouble. Look for websites that provide free music under a Creative Commons or similar royalty-free license (but make sure that you follow the requirements for giving credit).

Some sources of royalty-free music include:

Free (with appropriate credit)
YouTube’s own library
Incompetech.com
Chris Zabriskie

Inexpensive
AudioJungle ($5 and up)
Jewelbeat ($2.99)
Pond5 ($2 and up)
Creative Commons also has a list of other sources.