When it comes to content strategies, companies are often all-too-focused on their written content – it’s time to start considering video content from the get-go, not just as an afterthought. With online video consumption experiencing exponential growth, companies are seeing increasing return on investment, meaning some compelling reasons for using video in your marketing mix.
However, there are plenty of things that can stall you if you’re not looking out for them. In a bid to ensure your company’s video isn’t left unseen by the masses, here’s a few ideas to help you make your best marketing video yet.
1- Consider style
Hire well, and no doubt your video producer will deliver something creative and attractive. However, it might not be to your taste, could be off-brand, and may just not work for the type of video you’re making. The importance of knowing how you want your video to look and feel, and briefing in your video producer accordingly, should not be underestimated. You wouldn’t have a house built without researching different styles and materials and discussing them with your builder, so don’t do the same with your video. Make sure you go to your video producer well-armed with reference material, talk to them about it and let them get a good sense of what you want to achieve and what styles you like. This will help them to deliver a video that everyone will be happy with.
*Tip: Research and watch a lot of videos that are similar to what you want to achieve.
*Tip: Collate reference material of videos and other imagery you like (and for contrast, feel free to also include examples of what you don’t want) to show your video producer.
And when it comes to deciding on a style for your video, you need to be aware of what you want the video to achieve. The video must relate to your business objectives, and you will have clearly set these out before you embark on production. Then it is a case of deciding on the style that best suits where your customers are in the video sales funnel.
2- Hire the right video producer
As with any craft, hiring the right people is paramount. Video is no different, with different producers likely to deliver on certain styles and techniques better than others. Make sure you scope out each person you are considering and get a sense of what they specialize in. That way you can match the producer to the desired outcome – maybe you go with one producer for your big-budget brand video, and choose another for your dozens of how-to guides, depending on each one’s strengths.
There are loads of video producers out there, so finding the right one can be daunting if you don’t know where to look. Some places to start include:
- Look on reputable online portals such as Elance
- Ask around – personal recommendations are worth their weight in gold
- Search for certain styles of showreels on Vimeo to help you find specialists. Showreels are essentially moving portfolios, and if your potential hire doesn't have one, you should probably look elsewhere. Some, like the one below, gain huge amounts of attention for their creators.
* Tip: Unless you intend on starring in the film yourself, your video producer doesn’t have to be in the same town as you.
Of course, some companies will have an in-house video producer, and with this comes the benefit of them understanding your direction and objectives. But even still, make sure they are correctly briefed so they know where you are headed. Conversely, don’t try and do their job for them; allow your producer room for creativity and scope to do things perhaps you couldn’t think of.
3- Brief like your life depends on it
Some of the biggest disappointments in video production can be pinned on one thing: the brief wasn’t up to scratch. When it comes to writing your brief, the more detail the better. Phrases like ‘show our wonderful customer service’, or ‘demonstrate how we are better than our competitors’ are never going to cut it, especially for an outsourced producer who doesn’t know your company well.
Some of the key things to get across in your brief are:
- The sole message
- The reason for the video, and its objectives
- The desired style, look and feel
- The tone you want the video to purvey – should it be funny, heartfelt, full of attitude?
- Your audience – exactly who you are targeting with this particular video (and what motivates them), not just your generic customer base
- Creative examples – showing what you like and don’t can help the producer get a feel for what you are after
- Budget – outline your limits so the producer knows what to stick to and so they can give you a sense of what can be achieved
- Schedule – give them enough time to create and produce but make sure you hold them to the final dates
4- Make your timeframes known
The second biggest reason for video production let-downs? Schedule slippage. Outlining timings and expectations helps everyone working on the project stay on track. Three key milestones to incorporate are:
- Project start date
- Dates for providing material (e.g. does the client have to provide any copy, logos, artwork for the producer to do their job?) and work-in-progress reviews
- Final delivery date
Explicitly state and agree on what is expected at each step, and don’t forget your technical requirements and deliverables!
Here’s an example:
- September 1st: Start production.
- September 9th, 9am: Client to provide updated company logo files.
- September 14th, 3pm: Video producer to deliver work-in-progress (WIP) #1 as low-res online video. Video should be at full length, at rough state, fully fleshed out for timings, message and music/VO.
- September 16th, 9am: Client to provide feedback on tone, style, timings and message strength.
- September 20th, 3pm: Video producer to deliver WIP #2 as an online video at HD. Video should be locked down in message, style, tone and audio.
- September 21st, 5pm: Client to provide minor feedback around fonts, colors, small bits of timing.
- September 25th, 3pm: Video producer to deliver final file as hi-res video at HD. Video should be 100% complete. Expect approval, or list of mistakes to be rectified for approval.
- September 28th, 3pm: Deliver final hi-res file for distribution/dispatch. Expect final signoff.
* Tip: As well as locking down the schedule with your video producer, don’t forget to liaise with any other parties who you’ll require input from – need your CEO to sign off the final file? Book their time in now!
5- Communicate, and clearly
As in life, communication in video production is key. Be honest, clear, and polite. Don’t beat around the bush – you’re here to get a knockout video made, not to make friends. At the same time – there’s no need to be rude, and doing so is unlikely to improve the outcome. Most of all, if you’re unhappy with the direction your video producer has taken, or confused about a choice they’ve made, tell them now. It’s a thousand times easier for producers to change things early on than when the video is nearly completed. Leave it too long and you’ll be left with one of two responses: ‘too late’ or ‘it’ll cost you’.
If you’ve nailed your agenda and milestones, it will be crystal clear what level of feedback is expected and when.
*Tip: Give positive feedback as well as negative. It’s useful for the video producer to know which bits you especially like but also, they’re only human, and everyone likes a compliment, right?
Video production doesn’t have to be a daunting process. It can be just as simple as developing your written content strategy. Cover these five steps and your company will easily be on their way to producing an engaging video. Start out simple and in no time you’ll be hiring an in-house producer to drive your video strategy further.