Well hello there fellow podders!

It’s your arguably-favorite-guest-author here with some small business tool training that will absolutely impact all aspects of your customer journey.

Nearly 100 years ago, silent movies went extinct when “talkies” showed up.  Movies with sound were a technological advancement that shifted the entire industry.  Film studios which only made silent movies now had to evolve or die.

When the internet first started, transfer speeds were so slow that images (and animated gifs) had dominion over the land of bits and bytes. These days, EVERYTHING is video for the most part. At any rate, video is the most engaging type of content out there, and has also become very easy to produce.

Businesses today MUST leverage video or remain silent, forever.

Most of us have all the equipment we need to record and produce a video file in our pockets. This is a good thing. It means that consumers are more forgiving of poor production quality AND that they can be more easily won over with some simple production elements.

Even a basic text overlay on some video driving a call-to-action can improve conversions. You used to need knowledge of video editing to accomplish anything even borderline sophisticated.

And if you didn’t, you were going to pay a pretty penny for someone who had the skills.

The tool I’m about to share can make the need for video editing disappear. And say goodbye to any render time. 😉

So now, the one free open source tool that tech companies hate:

Drum roll please…

:::drum roll:::

Open Broadcast Software

Also known as OBS, this free software uses open source licenses for video, audio, and live stream standards.

You can live stream to nearly any platform from your computer, and you can produce full quality video files without any render time. You can do both simultaneously. Record or stream your screen, your webcam, a pre-recorded video, images – or any combination of those. If you felt the drive to, you can even do live chroma keying (that green screen stuff they do Hollywood). Lastly, there is a formidable cadre of coders who are always working to make it easier and bug free – it’s worth noting that in my experience the software is quite stable.

If OBS sounds uber-robust, that’s because it is.

I am continually finding new ways to use it and deeper and more thorough ways to leverage all the built-in features.

Fun fact: I use OBS to live stream and record concerts at Club Red out in Phoenix. We patch in the perfectly mixed soundboard audio and use my webcam to capture the stage show. A few transparent overlays to tell viewers who they are watching, and you can broadcast an entire phenomenon in the local music scene.  (We’ve even experimented with 360 video live streams.)

It’s also worth remembering that OBS is completely free.

Does OBS replace video editing or the need for screen capture tools like Camtasia?

In some cases, yes. If you need to stitch together various clips you probably still need a video editor program. If you really need those cursor call-outs and zoom bits, you’ll still want your screen recording software; but if you simply want to show your screen and webcam with the world then you can probably use OBS exclusively.

Alright, enough gushing for now. I promised you some magic tricks, so let’s dive right in.

Open Broadcast Software Trick #1: Video Sales Letter Formulator

A video sales letter, or VSL, is typically produced with some kind of screen recording software. Someone will have a slideshow presentation with a pitch and record themselves going through the slides.

With OBS, you simply hit ‘start recording’, go through your slides & pitch, and hit ‘stop’. Then you immediately upload the video, no editing, or waiting for rendering required. Assuming you like the take, of course. 🙂

I’ve figured out a solid rig for recording VSLs if you have two monitors. On your right monitor, load the slideshow and have OBS use that screen only as a video source. Use your mic as an audio source. On your left screen, you can have your VSL script ready to go and the OBS software hiding out. I even like to include my webcam in the bottom right of the shot for more of a human connection with the audience.

OBS screenshot

Reading from a script while not LOOKING like you are reading from script takes some practice, but the payoff is well worth it!

Open Broadcast Software Trick #2: Customer Service Number Booster

There are many different ways to measure customer service effectiveness. That’s not the magic trick here. Still, this trick should be able to help you achieve more customer satisfaction. 🙂

Use OBS to record quick explanations on customer support issues – bonus points for putting your webcam in the corner so they can see your face. You can even overlay a watermark to dissuade people from sharing/recycling if you’re so inclined.

This will only qualify as a “trick” for another 5-10 years though! Pretty soon, video support is going to be expected by consumers and this will be old hat. Until then, developing the muscle to bust open OBS, hit ‘start recording’ and put together a short clip can very much improve the customer experience.

That only leaves the delivery of the video file, and for that I recommend free file transfer services. My goto is WeTransfer.com because the download expires after 14 days.

To review, the workflow is:

  • Some customer service issue needs to be handled, you figure out what is going on
  • Open OBS and load your ‘customer service’ scene with webcam, desktop and watermark.
  • Record a quick video explaining what is going on
  • Upload the video file to the client using WeTransfer.com

And if you really want to get fancy, you can send the video to yourself and then deliver the download link through some other system. For example, maybe you use a ticketing system for responses. After getting a download link from WeTransfer, paste it into your response and boom, world-class service. 🙂

Editor’s Note: If you are comfortable with OBS then this is a perfectly viable way to level up the support you’ve given with an added personal touch, but it’s not the only choice for recording quick video replies to your customers. For those who like options you may also want to consider SoapBox from Wistia, Jing, or my personal favorite, Loom.

Open Broadcast Software Trick #3: Live Stream Producer

Ok, so this is kind of a lame “trick” because it’s just one of the main functions of the software.  But it’s nice to be able to do it for free. The “trick” is that in most cases, there is no need to purchase a fancy live streaming software. OBS will do just fine.

This is true even if you need to stream from multiple contributors. You can use your existing tools for those kinds of things. Zoom. Google Meetings. Skype. Then in OBS, you’ll just use an audio source for the system output (aka what YOU would hear participating in the meeting) and then an audio source for your own mic. Oh, and showing your screen is probably a good idea too.

OBS is designed to work with all the major players in streaming today: Youtube, Twitch, Facebook, etc. You can even configure it for custom streaming servers if you’re company is particularly savvy. There are ways to control the bandwidth of the stream and other nerdy settings too. For example, if the internet signal is weak you can send less data to avoid lagging.

Keep in mind, you can have different scenes as well so that you can actually produce a show (think about the way a live sports broadcasts seamlessly switches between camera angles depending on what’s happening in the game). Use a static image for the start, transition to your webcam, switch to your desktop, play a pre-recorded clip, return to your webcam, and add a call-to-action graphic at the end.

And all this without a lick of editing. You are basically editing on the fly in real-time as you switch between scenes.

Open Broadcast Software Trick #4: World’s Best Screen Recorder For PC (or Mac)

For anyone who is an info-product producer or does software training, OBS should be your best friend. With its ability to deal out raw screen recordings without any editing or render time, one could record an entire course in a day. Again – without needing to edit a thing. I want to drive it home and reinforce the value there because editing is an incredible bottleneck for companies trying to produce courses and training materials.

Even if you need to do a bit of editing for branding and such, the speed with which one can produce a recording is enviable.

I will personally never use another software to record my screen. I cannot imagine anything else being as straightforward or powerful as OBS. This piece of software has become my favorite tool by far over the past few years and it continues to serve me and my ventures. I believe it can do the same for you too!

So there you have it folks – Four tricks that Open Broadcast Software can perform for your business.

I’d recommend you go download it now and start playing with it. Please leave any questions or comments below, or hit me up on the twitter machine!