Images speak louder than words. Youtube content gets nearly 5 billion views per day. Facebook video sees 8 billion views per day. Content can be shared easily. Liked videos spread to other peoples’ feeds, going viral in hours. The democratisation of media through speedy internet now allows even the smallest of organisations the ability to utilise this most accessible of marketing tools.
So, you want to promote what you do with a video? Great. But how do you go about that? How do you design your message? What do you film? Nobody wants to see a video of a talking-head simply listing what you do. How do you use video to sell your business or promote your organisation properly?
In this blog, I thought I’d delve a little into the creative processes involved in putting together video content that ticks all the boxes in promoting your business or organisation to the world:
Step 1. Write it down.
Whether you’re hiring professionals or recording it on your phone, for me it all starts with a pen and paper (or computer, whichever is easiest!). When I first meet a client, I work with them on getting their message simply and succinctly down on paper. Think of this stage like sifting for gold. Audiences get bombarded with marketing content all the time online and on TV. They’re smart. Understandably impatient. Get what your business is or what your organisation does on paper in a few sentences. Now read it out. Try and sell it to a friend or family member. Get some feedback. Do they understand? If not, make it simpler. Keep sifting until you find the gold!
Step 2. Showing over telling: how stories sell and facts tell.
“Stories sell/facts tell”. It’s an awful marketing cliché, but none more true than in video. Nobody wants to watch a video where a product or service is described. It needs to be seen in action. Simple stuff, but people often forget this. So, building on what you came up with in the previous step, think about how to represent what you do visually. With no description. I love working on this step with clients, it’s where the real creativity happens. What images best show what you do? But hold on, what if what you do isn’t “visually exciting”? I guarantee, through the right conceit, there will be a way of showing what you do in an interesting way. Have a real think outside of the box. Try humour. If you provide a service to customers or clients, why not let a willing former client lend a few words about their experience? Their story will be a million times more effective in engaging other people contemplating the same thing.
Step 3. Write it down again
Again? Yup. But this is the closest step before the cameras roll. Write a proposal of what the video will be. Some might even go so far as to write a script. But you don’t have to be too formal here. A simple treatment will do. But make it readable, that’s the point. Give it to a friend or family member. Ask them how it reads. Everything must be there in the script. Learning to write well is essential for good filmmaking. I’ll explain more on this later.
(Above is a recent proposal I drew up with a client. As a charity providing services to clients, it seemed obvious that the message needed to come from service users’ experience. The work needed to be seen in action. And from that you get a human story – an experience which people can connect with.)
Step 4. Film it!
This is where the need for a professional service might well become apparent, but a lot can be done through trial and error. Some of the finest filmmakers working today never had any formal training. There’s lots of basic info online about simple interview set up, for example. But remember, much like a bad website or badly written copy, your standards are judged accordingly by audiences. If it doesn’t look or sound good, it will reflect on your business or organisation. A bit of style and polish can go a long way!
Step 5. Putting it together
This is where I refer to my earlier observation that good filmmaking is a lot like good writing. Get your message across succinctly and concisely. Nobody has the time or inclination to watch a 20-minute promotional video. Get it to flow like a good sentence. If you’ve got a lot to say, go back to Step 1/3 and sift through to the essence of your message. Cut out the fat. Much like when a tutor asks you to “halve” an essay. It’ll encourage you to trim things down to the essential, most watchable parts of your video. But be careful not to lose your message – cut around it, not through it. Better to be a minute over your required time than a minute under with something that makes no sense. Do multiple edit drafts. Get others to watch. Leave it for a day and watch it again with fresh eyes. Before you know it, you’ll have a finished product.
(Below, you can see the finished product from the above proposal…)
Step 6. Spread it about!
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just put a video up on Youtube or Vimeo and watch it spread like wildfire? Like those cat videos. Occasionally this happens (usually when cats are involved), but the reality is you’ll probably need to put in the work. Otherwise you might as well be putting it into a drawer! Use good hashtags. Post it around. Boost it via Facebook or Twitter’s campaign facility. Put it on your website as the first thing people will see.
If you’d like to know more about what goes into making a good video, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org