When I partner with an organization to develop an integrated marketing and communications strategy, the power of video becomes a lead point of conversation. Usually well before we even get to the tactical portion of the strategy, the time when we should discuss which customized tools to employ to achieve our strategic objectives, video is being presented as *the* best option.
Without question, video is becoming a top choice among marketers because of the positive results it can help achieve. Singlegrain.com suggests that ”using video in e-mail leads to a 200-300% increase in click through rate, and including a video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%.”
However, it is important to first consider “how” you will use the video. Is it a 2-3 minute campaign video to be shown at an event or a :15-:30 second social media advertisement or something in between? In order to understand how best to utilize video for your organization, I always recommend taking the first step of building a strategy to ensure this work is rooted in achieving the results that help accomplish your larger strategic purpose.
Personally, I find digital storytelling, which allows people to provide their feedback about a product or service in their own words, to be one of the most effective ways to incorporate video into a strategy. Prospective customers want to hear authentic, honest feedback from your customers. And, if your customers are happy with your product or service, they are typically happy to share their experience.
So, how do you go about the production of an effective video marketing campaign?
It’s as easy as A-B-C...
A. Before the video shoot
As you recruit customers to share their experience, make sure everyone understands how the video will be used and what measurable results are expected in the end. Your “why” behind each video should be easy to articulate from the beginning. As you identify what message you are looking to share about your organization, it should ultimately tie back to your organization’s marketing goals.
For example, if your goal is to build awareness about your organization to a specific core audience, ensure your video style, content, tone and subject will resonate with that niche group of people. Hard-core business executives learning about a high dollar campaign need will connect with something very different than a group of mothers seeking community with one another.
As your purpose and message become refined, identify from your customer list everyday, relatable people who are committed to your organization and/or product and are willing to share their stories. They need to be able to articulate their "why" in a charismatic fashion. Someone may have a great story to tell but if their delivery is extremely dry and they never smile, that can lack appeal.
To aid in the preparation, I would recommend preparing compelling, open-ended questions that will ultimately lead to the results you wish to achieve. Share the questions with your interviewees in advance so they are equipped to answer in a natural dialogue rather than fall reliant on a script.
Finally, consider any possible locations that exude the appropriate emotion. If you want a high energy video that gets people engaged into your product, possibly consider a public venue with activity happening in the background. If you are speaking about a more intimate, heart warming story, perhaps an in-home, comfortable background is more compelling. If it’s a heavy topic that requires a lot of information and data to be shared, consider a simple backdrop so graphics that underline your main points can be displayed.
If you're not in a regular location where video is normally recorded, such as a studio, try to find a low traffic area (i.e., not next to a restroom) and/or clearly mark the area for silence due to a video shoot so other people in the building are aware of what is happening.
B. During the video shoot
Once you identify your message, subject and location, you’re ready to proceed with your video shoot.
It is important that you do whatever you can to help your interviewees relax. Try to get them as conversational with you as possible. Remember, they aren't typically sitting in front of bright lights and cameras on a regular basis so they may be nervous. I find it helps tremendously to start with the easy questions first - name, background, reason for being interviewed, etc. This will typically lead into their personal storytelling.
If you can, make them laugh and/or smile - this makes for good b-roll - and ask them to bring any relevant props that can underline what they’re saying with a visual. If they’ll be talking about a person in their life, have them bring pictures of them together. If reminiscing about a specific memory, have them bring a memento from that time in their life.
While the camera is recording, make sure the key points you want to relay are verbalized in a clear, unbroken manner by your interviewee; especially if you're shooting short clips for social media (where it is recommended to keep length at :15 or less!). Videos can very quickly become choppy if you're left to splice together limited words to form a sentence.
C. After the video shoot
Once all the digital content is gathered, it is time to start editing. You are going to have a plethora of great content and may be tempted to use it all in one video.
It’s important to remember not to try squeezing every point into one video. That will most likely produce a video that doesn't meet your strategic needs. Go back to your purpose and stay true to the end product that is needed. Break the content up into micro, subject-based clips that can be used in a variety of ways.
Remember, with video, less is more. A strong brand message can be relayed with just a few words. Keep it brief; detailed, yet concise.