2015 is here and along with the new year and new toys (unless you got a lump of coal in your stocking) comes new initiatives, budgets, and projects. If video or motion media is part of your marketing campaign, then this article is tailored specifically to you.
Whether you’ve managed a video project before or this is your first, our 3-part blog series will give you helpful tips to make your next video project run smoothly and produce the results you desire!
In Part 1, we’ll talk about the Pre-Production phase of a video project. This is arguably the most important phase of any project because if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to get there. Don’t get too serious however, because this is also when you get to play, have fun and be creative. This is when you get to throw around “crazy” ideas with co-workers, and hopefully a trusted video vendor, to begin to form a vision and plan for success.
So here are our 3 commandments to make sure your next video is hugely successful…
#1 – Know thy audience. What does your audience want to know about your product or service? What are their concerns? What is the demographic and make-up of your target audience? What are the needs, preferences and biases of this audience? Make sure you check your assumptions!
#2 – Know thy message. What specific problem am I trying to solve and how do I communicate the solution in the video? What are the things that you need to tell your audience and what do you expect them to remember after they have watched your video. Tread lightly! If possible keep this to one key message and all other ideas and themes should serve the key message.
#3 – Know thy business objective. What do you want to happen after viewers watch your video? To motivate your customers to buy your product? To clearly differentiate your product from your competitors? To drive prospects to your next trade show? Whatever it is, your objective should have a matching outcome that you can measure with analytics (we’ll talk more about this later…).
Now that we have the raw ingredients (eg. audience, message, and objectives) we can start to have some fun. Let’s get into the nuts and bolts with some brainstorming!
Have fun with it! Call a lunch meeting and bring a paper and pen. Right now, it’s just about ideas. Here are a few tips to help you conduct a good brainstorming:
- Talk to all the players: meet with anyone in your company that has a stake in or knowledge about the subject matter. More brains make better brainstorms!
- Watch other videos for ideas. You might see something that could work perfectly for your video.
- Write down what you like and don’t like.
- If you feel like you have enough information, draft a rough outline or storyline.
Engage your Video Vendor
With ideas and possibly a creative direction in hand, it’s time to get in touch with a video production company. They will be able to enhance and expand on your ideas while advising you on how it impacts the cost of production. In order to get a productive conversation going with your video vendor, they will need some information about your video concept:
- How long will the finished video be? What is the content?
- Will there be any animation? How about narration?
- What is your timeframe for completion of the video?
- If you’re using live video, will you use professional actors or members of your company? You may want to consider a teleprompter.
- Most video production companies operate on half- and full-day shoots. Talk to your company about how much shooting you will need.
If you haven’t started already, now is a good time to develop your story outline and write your script. By now, you’ve selected your production company – they can help you write your script if you need assistance and provide feedback on how to make the best program with your resources. If you want to take this on yourself, here are a few tips:
- Create an outline for your script. If you’ve been following along so far, you should have some ideas written down from your brainstorming sessions.
- If you don’t want to write the script send the outline and helpful product/service information to your video vendor.
- If you do write your own script – write visually! We have found that our simple two-column script template document really helps. It forces you to think about the accompanying visuals that the viewer will see while listening to the narrative.
- Share your script and storyboards with your production company as early as possible. It doesn’t have to be polished, and in many cases the earlier you can share, the better. Your vendor may provide suggestions and ideas, and they will use your finished script to create a shot list.
Now that you’ve created an awesome concept, developed your storyboards and script, and discussed them in detail with your production company, you’re ready to begin video production! In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about some things you should keep in mind to make Production fun, seamless, and stress-free. Until next time…