You’ve just spent a small fortune on some branded videos and saw little traction. Or maybe you are planning to shoot some promotional videos, but are worried about the cost and ideas. Or perhaps you are not sure if video is even what your company – or your clients – need.
According to Contently, an established content marketing company, by 2020 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video.
Visual content dominates over traditional written content and with multiple new platforms competing for our eyeballs, this trend is likely to increase even further.
So why video?
It’s easier to make an instant emotional connection through video. It’s more engaging than static text. It comes in a number of formats, some of which are relatively easy to produce. It’s omnipresent on social media and highly shareable.
But because of their omnipresence, many videos get lost in the noise, create little interest and ultimately undermine business owners’ trust in the medium.
So before you launch your next video project and campaign for your business, product or service, increase its chances of success by honestly – and I mean, hand on heart – answering the following 5 questions:
1. Why do you need a video?
You can’t make videos just because they’re fashionable. Period. Do you have a product to showcase? A service to explain? Or perhaps you don’t want to go for the hard sell and instead want to create an empathetic company film to entice new people to your team?
Creating, say, a crowdfunding video is different from creating a multi-part educational series for your existing or potential customers.
You need to understand why you are thinking of creating a video before you commission a filmmaker. If you can’t explain your reason, perhaps you’re not ready yet.
2. Who is your audience?
It’s an obvious question, so obvious in fact many people ignore it.
Senior-level executives and customers will expect, and look for, different types of information. An investor may not be interested in the same video as your customers. The former may require company insights, the latter will more likely be interested in product features, service overview or looking for customer support.
One size fits all doesn’t apply to video, I’m afraid.
3. Where is your audience?
Not so long ago, publishers, brands and companies would produce one video and repurpose it across many channels. It’s still a widespread practice and it works for many, if done properly.
But the smarter way to do it is to define upfront where your audience is likely to watch your video and tailor it to work natively on the chosen platform.
An event highlights video or a traditional-style CEO interview is unlikely to work well on Facebook where videos auto play without sound and often require strong visuals and captions to grab the viewer’s attention instantly.
Often audiences and channels overlap, but if you’re starting from scratch, it may be worth spending a bit of time trying to understand where your target audience is likely to watch your film.
Which leads me to:
4. What format is appropriate for my video?
A video made for your About Us page is made for a different type of viewer from one intended for a platform where strong content with a strong call to action is likely to convert.
Once you know why a video is needed, for whom and where they hang out, think what they might enjoy.
The most popular formats – interviews, how-tos, inspirational films, documentaries, event videos etc – can be filmed in a variety of ways to make them feel right for the target audience. They can be made as a single, one-off video or as a series.
But would they work if edited into the Instagram- and Facebook-friendly square format? Will people engage with them if they watch them during their commute and can’t hear the audio clearly? Answering such questions early at the pre-production stage will save you tons of time and frustration further down the line.
5. What’s my budget?
It’s very tempting to begin the whole process by stating “I’ve got this budget and I want a video, what can we do?”. But hopefully by now I’ve managed to convince you that budget – while still important – isn’t the only, or the main, factor when it comes to planning your video campaign.
A little bit of homework upfront – defining your whys, whos, whats and hows – can actually save you money as it will give you the confidence to specify exactly what you need when you discuss your project with the filmmaker.
Equally, the filmmaker or production company will be able to give you a more precise estimate or cost breakdown as they will understand much more about your project before they even begin.
Bonus question: Can I use my cousin’s son’s college buddy and his camera?
Of course, you can. But should you? Working with a professional video producer ensures all these questions – and many more – are addressed at the pre-production stage, saving you not only money, but also potential endless issues and blushes when things go wrong.
I can’t remember the number of conversations I’ve had where the only deciding factor was the budget. That distant relative will probably be happy to film for £200 and lunch, and use funky filters and all transitions known to mankind in the final edit.
But if he hasn’t asked you the why, when, who, where and when upfront, you’ll soon be – again – disappointed that video didn’t work for you at all.