Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Videos can be hugely beneficial to everything from brand building to sales-force ignition. But only if you create them the right way. Here is Six Degrees Productions’ handy guide to making better videos.
DO #1: Know why you’re making the video
This is the most important question you can ask yourself – ‘Why am I making this?’. If your video doesn’t have a purpose, then it will never achieve it.
Here are some good examples of a purpose. I am making this video in order to… increase brand awareness, build trust, motivate people to buy my service, explain how my product works, educate and teach something new, engage with my existing customers to add value, the list goes on.
Once you have defined the ‘why’ you can make sure that your video lives up to expectations.
DO #2: Understand your Specific audience
Take a minute to consider who you’re talking to, what motivates them and what appeals to them. Understand them. Walk a mile in their shoes. If you really have to, ask them! Because what is important to you may not be enough of a reason for them. And everyone is different.
Consider the challenges they’re facing that you can help with. Think about the pains you can take away. There could be 100 reasons to buy your product, but only one of those will result in a sale – so make sure you understand which one appeals to which customer and use that to guide your message.
DO #3: Tell a story
This sounds contrived and cliched but there’s a very good reason content experts harp on about it – because it works! Storytelling is still the most effective way to hook an audience, and engage them for long enough to convince them to change their minds about something.
Stories activate our brains, and allow content through. Stories also follow a particular flow. We use a simple mnemonic called the HIT framework as a guide for our clients to create their own narrative paths:
H (Hook) - Find that emotive hook to help people relate to what you are communicating in their real-world lives. Highlight a problem or pain point they are experiencing. Use real examples if you can. The trick here is to get them to see themselves within the problem you solve.
I (Inform) - Now that you have their attention you can sprinkle in some high-level points about your solution to their problem. Keep this brief and make it is simple and easy to understand.
T (Tell them!) – This is your call to action. Be clear about what you want them to do next! Must they visit the website? Must they book an appointment? Should they drop you an email? Buy now! Subscribe! TELL THEM!
This is more colloquially known as the ‘Call to action’ or CTA. And it’s as important as anything else in the video. This gets bonus points if it ties back to the hook at the start of the video.
DON’T #1: Make long videos!
There are a few times in life when size matters inversely, and this is one of them. Attention spans are decreasing daily, and our workload and distractions are increasing.
Most people won’t give you more than a few seconds of their precious time – even if you just spent a fortune on your 35 minute, Ben Hur epic of a corporate sales video. If your video is promotional and for social media, anything over 120 seconds is cutting it fine. Keep your information as top level as possible. Leave them wanting more. And then let them know where they can get more. If you’ve hooked them correctly, they will.
There are a few exceptions, and these are generally all videos that are opt-in like YouTube channels and other content platforms.
DON’T #2: Don’t DIY unless you know what you are doing
Your video is often the first thing a potential customer will see, and the first experience of your brand, so you really don’t want it to be a video with bad audio and bad lighting that was shot on a shaky cell phone. Amateur looking videos will do more harm to your brand than good! If you have to DIY, then get the basics rights: stability, sound quality and lighting. To keep your footage stable, always shoot on a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod at hand, then improvise, such as placing your phone or camera on a pile of books.
Good quality audio is imperative so don’t use your phone or camera’s built in microphone. You can buy a cheap directional mic off Amazon that will do the job. Natural light is your friend. Shoot a person near a window to get as much natural light as possible and then use whatever artificial lighting you have at hand to fill in the gaps. A simple desk lamp can make all the difference!
DON’T #3: Forget where your video will be played
Different platforms have different rules of engagement, which will affect how you produce your video. And these change all the time, so before you produce your video, do a quick Internet search to find out if your chosen platform works best with videos that are widescreen, square or portrait. Also check the maximum duration of that platform because these differ. On some platforms users mostly watch videos without sound, which is an important consideration before you create your video.
Lee-Anne Theron helps businesses create Videos and Animations for social media