Video marketing can be very successful...when done right. But video marketing success doesn't just happen—it takes careful planning, good quality production, and the right promotional plan to make it work. If you aren't sure where to start, read this article: it outlines a few key considerations for creating a marketing video. You might be surprised by the steps involved in creating a professional marketing video, and by the things that need to be considered.
Step 1: Determine the Content and Pick the Right Tone and Style
Focusing your video to meet the target audience’s needs is the first step to a successful campaign. Having a solid understanding of your audience so you know not only what to tell them, but how to tell them is critical. For example, is the audience likely to respond well to humor, or are they likely to prefer a more professional tone? How technical is the audience? How invested are they in watching your video? Think beyond a traditional advertising message and consider offering some humorous or educational content: both are great options to help you stand out in the marketplace and engage viewers.
Adding some humor to your video can be an effective way to encourage viewers to share the video on social media, which exponentially increases its reach. The hardest part about this approach is that the humor must match what your target audience wants to see, and the values of your business. There can be a fine line between being funny and potentially offending to your audience. Take great care to be sure this doesn't happen—it's not worth the extra "views" if the message turns negative. However, if you’re up for the challenge, a humorous video can be a great way to add some personality to your brand while bringing awareness and attention to your organization.
Another option is to create an educational or ‘how-to’ video. These are likely to be watched by people who are already interested in your subject, and want to learn more about the topic. These videos are often successful in a business-to-business setting, but can help you stand out in a business-to-consumer market as well. Educational videos can help position your team as being experts, and they provide something of value to the viewers. Educational videos can focus on what you do and how well you can do it, or how your customers can or have used your products or services. One way to make an educational video extra interesting and relevant is to show ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage or interviews with staff and clients. This could include involving the CEO, various employees, customers, or partners. By showing different aspects of the company you can create a relationship with the viewer, as they come to get a real "sense" of your company's brand.
Case study videos are another very effective option for demonstrating what you can do for the viewer by showing them what you've done for others. Case studies show the work you’ve done (whether a service you've provided or examples of your products being used) and often use testimonials to show potential clients or customers what your company is capable of. Case studies and testimonials are a great tool in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer settings. They add credibility, trustworthiness, and are able to "tell the story" about the company in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising.
Step 2: Write a Script
Writing the script is arguably one of the most important aspects of creating a successful video. A script should include not only what is going to be said in the video, but also the timing of each animation, video clip, and voice over. Use two columns where the script is written in one column and is then matched with the corresponding visual in the other column.
There are many things to consider when writing a script, including:
- Who will be speaking in the video?
- Is there narration/voice-over or is there an on-screen speaker?
- Will there be video of the facility, customers, products, or the person speaking?
- Which animations/graphics should be used?
- Do you need text on screen to enhance key points?
- How quickly can the message/content be delivered? (15 second videos [or shorter] are shared almost 40% more than videos longer than 30 seconds)
- What is the desired lifespan for the video? Will it be reproduced regularly or should it be written to have a long shelf life?
Grab Viewers’ Attention
Keep in mind that you have less than 10 seconds to grab your viewers’ attention. After 30 seconds you lose roughly 1/3 of the viewers, and by about 1 minute 45% of viewers leave. How you capture your viewers’ attention will depend on the target audience and the goals for your video. A good best practice is to "tell them what you're going to tell them." Succinctly provide an overview or introduction that communicates why they should watch. For some scenarios, showing or stating something shocking (like a compelling statistic or little-known fact, or graphic imagery) can grab viewers' attention, but be sensitive to your audience. Some may find the "shock" harmless, while others might be offended or turned off by the content. Consider what is appropriate for your industry and audience before using this technique. Another way to grab viewers' attention is to ask for their opinion or for their help up-front, then go into the details of "why" and "how." Asking for help encourages viewers to watch longer, feel more involved, and take action after the video has ended. And, whenever possible, make the video as personal as you can: this doesn't mean it needs to be tailored to each individual, but rather, that you're working to make the video relevant and engaging by sharing information the viewer is interested in, not just what you want to tell them.
How long is too long? The answer to that question will depend on your audience, and the subject of your video. In general, 20–30 seconds is ideal for videos that are designed to entertain or bring high-level awareness to a topic or event. Educational videos, virtual tours, and how-to videos are often longer because they require more content to effectively communicate the message. Aim to keep most videos under three minutes, unless the content requires longer in order to be communicated effectively and you feel your viewers will stay engaged for a longer period of time.
Whether you’re using video marketing to promote your company, bring awareness to an event, or engage employees within your organization, be sure to include a "call-to-action." Describe what you want them to do, why they should do it, and how. Including (and repeating) a simple, clear call-to-action is a critical component of producing a video that gets results.
Step 3: Collect Footage
Where you decide to shoot your video should be based on your target audience, focus for the video, and what you are trying to accomplish. Videos can be shot in an indoor studio, outside, or on location. Videos shot in a studio work well because the producer has more control over the variables. Here, you are able to easily change the lighting, sound, and even the background using a green screen. If you want your video to be done outdoors there are many more factors involved with the audio, lighting, and other uncontrollable aspects like the weather, terrain, and traffic. However, outdoor videos can be very effective; the outdoors are proven to make us feel happier; even just seeing green space can put the viewers in a better mood. Also consider shooting the video "on location" at the place of business or someone's home. This allows you to show off the space and use it to make viewers feel included (as if they’re getting a “behind the scenes” sneak peek)—and, people often feel more comfortable being on-camera in a familiar setting.
Beyond the "primary" footage that will make up your video, consider "cut-away" footage, also called "b-roll." B-roll is alternative footage that can be put into a video to supplement the primary footage. For example, while someone is speaking you may want to show b-roll footage that illustrates their point instead of seeing the speaker on camera the entire time. Using a variety of visuals can keep your viewers interested and involved with the video. Still photos, graphics, and animations can all be used.
Step 4: Edit and Add Music
While you're editing the footage together, also consider what music you'll add. Adding music to your video can enhance the message, create a connection to the audience, and help draw them into the video. Upbeat music can convey a happy emotion and energy, while slower music can foster strong emotions and set a more sober mood. Using well-known, "catchy" music can increase engagement with the video. Finally, music can be used to fill silent parts during the video: there are some times where it is good to have very few sounds, but complete silence probably isn't appropriate. Overall, keep in mind how important auditory cues can be, and use them accordingly.
Another important aspect to remember while editing is your company or organization's branding. No matter what type of focus you decide on, the company’s name or logo must be included (except in special circumstances)—and preferably it should be visible during the entire video. The viewer has to associate the video with the organization to make your time and work worthwhile. Making sure your company name is clearly displayed is an easy video ‘win.’
Step 5: Publish and Promote
Write a Catchy Title
Once you're ready to publish and distribute your video, brainstorm a catchy title to help draw viewers' attention to it and to provide some clues about the content. The title is one of the first elements viewers see, so it represents a good opportunity to encourage them to click “play.”
- Using numbers in the title is a great way to grab viewers' attention. For example, “5 easy steps..." or "10 ways to..."
- Be clever (for light-hearted topics)—consider using a pun or a play off of a current event or industry buzzword
- Use adjectives to catch people’s attention: “Free, easy, incredible”
- Ask questions to generate curiosity: “Why does… How do you… Help us to…”
- Be current. Recent events generate interest and can help demonstrate your company's relevancy
If you're sending an email or planning to promote your video via social media, consider the timing: Tuesdays have been found to be the most popular day for people to watch and share YouTube videos, and online videos are also most often watched between 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
It takes a lot of planning, creativity, and technical expertise to produce a professional video, so partnering with someone who is knowledgeable in video production is essential. AVS Group has extensive expertise in video production, and we'd love to help you with your video. Contact us to discuss creating a video that will work for your company.