Depending on what you hear, it can take 5, 10, 15 seconds for someone to decide whether they want to watch the remainder of your video. Yes, that video you spent a considerable amount of time preparing, not to mention a sizeable portion of your advertising budget for the year can either be a great way to win new customers, or a complete waste of time and money if you’ve not taken the time to plan and clearly outline what you want it to do.
One thing is certain. However much you spent on producing a promotional video, and no matter how good it looks or how interesting, it’s likely to get lost in the sea of online videos available at a click of a mouse to viewers, unless you take some pre-emptive strikes to ensure its visibility to your customers.
So, here are 5 key pointers to consider when prepping for your video, and in its promotion after it’s been through the production process. And as video has many uses - education, training, live streaming, etc., this article is really for those who want to use video to launch or promote a new product or service. Down the line we’ll create other blog posts to recommend use of video across other platforms.
1. Let’s accept one key point - very few of us are going to stick with a video that has a boring start. A viewer will get twitchy if a video is slow to get going, so make sure you get at least one of your key points into the video from the start. Whether that is about the new product you’re about to launch, or a service you are making available, get straight into this. Don’t wait until the second or third sentence of voiceover to get this key point across.
2. Most videos begin with a script outline. This will determine the story you want to tell, beginning, middle, end. It will determine the content of the overlaid shots, and also the tone and style of the video. Less is usually best, that is to say, get as much of your story told in as short a period of time as possible. A short video will get the story out there and should also cut down on your costs. You can always point the viewer to a place on your website where they can pick up extra information on the product or service, the video is really about getting their attention and encouraging them to lift the phone, write that first email or check out your website.
Draft scripts are just that, they generally start with some ideas, before text and accompanying shots begin to take shape on paper. Normally we get involved once you, the client, has sent us a short outline regarding what you want to achieve. We can help put shape to your text and advise what shots might work with each part, and where you might need graphics, what kind of music might work, whether male or female voiceover might be needed, that kind of thing. The good part about this is that this can all be done by email and one or two meetings, is the least expensive part of the production, and the story is clearly outlined on paper before we get into the shoot and edit.
3. Create your own content. Now just in case you think we don’t want your business, think again! However, it’s no harm to test the waters first. If you or some tech-savvy member of staff has some ideas, try these on some of your colleagues, friends, staff members or a customer or two. Find out from them what they would like to see you produce, where they see the gaps in the service you offer them, and then go out and film some shorts. These can be reviewed to see if they get a positive reaction, and should also help you decide what you want to do when it comes to bigger promotional projects. Instant and honest feedback from colleagues and customers can be very helpful and you might end up discounting that great idea as too left field, too expensive or too aspirational, in favour of a leaner model, which will give you more value for your budget.
Remember too that there are lots of free online editing tools available. So filming on your smartphone, and editing using apps from Twitter, Vine or Instagram, with inexpensive graphics created through platforms like Fiverr could be a good start.
4. Give content away for free. Especially if you are promoting a service, one of the best ways to engage with an audience and to encourage people to share your content online is to create ‘How To’ content. This area has seen huge growth in recent years. So if you are involved in the provision of a service, for example, in the areas of physical fitness, outdoor pursuits, cookery or any other area that is strong visually and where you can give some free advice to people, you should consider doing some free tutorials for your viewers. These can be produced inexpensively, but a key component of this is for them to be regular. We’ll produce a post on this in more detail later, but a short series of 6-8 connected videos could be created together, but released online in stages, weekly or monthly. This kind of material, if produced well, can really catch the imagination and encourage people to share. Each video directs people back to your website and to the content you want people to buy.
5. Follow up is a critical part of the success of your video. To create an impact, especially through social media, you’ll need to consider how best to use these platforms to reach your target audience. If you haven’t got one, create a YouTube Channel to give your video a home, and use YouTube’s free tools like tags and annotations before sharing using the options available directly through your channel. You can feed directly from YouTube to your Facebook or Twitter feeds, and to other platforms like Instagram, and this is where other decisions have to be made.
Social media, as we all know, can be an endless experience of navigating online platforms, without any logical synced-up connection behind it. So, you’ll need to make some important decisions early on in your promotional campaign as to who is responsible for the social media drive, how much time should be spent each day getting traction for your video, the numbers of platforms you want to include and the budget you want to allow for extra online promotion.
Metrics on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo or the business video platform Wistia will enable you to get some feedback on the reactions of people who are watching your video content. This data includes how long people watch your content, the type of audience, etc. You could also consider an online campaign using apps to create a competition - you could consider giving something away, raising the profile of your new product or service.
We’d love your feedback to this blog post, so take a moment to comment. If you’ve tried any of these approaches to producing video and would like to share your experiences, you can do so in the comment box below.