Of all the short videos in this series, this one perhaps is the longest. Dealing with issues surrounding content strategy, and hoping to boil these down to their essence and convey them succinctly, will take a little time. If your concern is how to get the best from your video, over & above its production budget, then please stick around; the information will be worth it. So let’s start with a rule you can hang your hat on: creativity is never enough. Even in Hollywood it’s called “show business”―not “show show”. And here, when you are creatively selling & marketing your products & services, campaigns and concepts must be rooted in strategic thinking. Now let me be clear, we here at The Avenue Motion Picture Company are not a web marketing service; we produce video content. However, we can offer you the broader service via our partners, and even if you already pay web marketers for their services, either way it is important that we all keep updating our knowledge regarding distribution in a fast-moving, online environment. Not only does this shape our approach to the content we produce, it also means overall we remain good advisers helping you target your marketing spend more effectively.
Creativity and business acumen go hand in hand, and the footage we capture when filming are assets that can also be used for teasers, previews, 360 videos, behind-the-scenes promos, photo ad campaigns, and more. Situations are fluid, and technology keeps refreshing the options available to you, so with this in mind we welcome your call to discuss your situation. For the remainder of our time here with this informational video, it would be a good idea to discuss the different types of video that you can utilise.
Let’s start with the promotional video because quite honestly it’s the most amorphous type there is. As the name implies this type of video promotes something―anything. This could be a business, a product, an event, or even just aiming to raise a brand’s profile. Confusion is compounded by the fact that people use the terms “promotional video” and “corporate video” interchangeably. A promotional video really can take any form; however, the objective is to create a return on investment. To do this your video must be universal enough to appeal to as many people as possible, light enough to keep them engaged, then encourage some sort of response―what we call a ‘Call To Action’. However, online attention spans are short and indulgence in branded advertising is rare. Therefore many promotional videos take a soft-sell approach, using an abstract concept, and delivered in a light-hearted way.
Next there is the corporate video, and when people mention the term many of us recollect the dreadful videos from the 80s, which were often dry, dull or downright cheesy. Now, as previously mentioned the term corporate video and promotional video tend to be used interchangeably, and while they’re both malleable concepts we’re attempting here some sort of distinction between them, so you are better informed choosing what to film. Broadly, we can define the corporate video as a straight-talking, informative production that humanises your business, introduces the management, the staff, facilities, working practices and company ethos. This is where your business can tell its story and strive to win over the viewer. Creatively, the corporate video tends to be a little more conservative. A video for an accountancy firm is going to be as reassuring as possible―after all, your potential clients will be entrusting you with their money. However, if you’re selling bouncy castles then surely present your fun side. Meanwhile, we would like to reassure you that your corporate video doesn’t have to be an explosive viral. It can be as simple as ‘talking heads’ of your staff intercut with shots of your facilities & products―because most of the time the corporate video is intended for people already on your website. The battle is already half-won. Customers are aware of your company name, now they need to be reassured and encouraged to spend money with you. Fancy graphics and comedy won’t do that if their legitimate questions go unanswered. This is where a great script comes into play; and we cover this aspect of filmmaking in another video in this series (links below).
Next up, the viral video, which is simply a video that has spread widely, usually from user to user across the Internet, and has been embedded and linked to by a variety of platforms and people. Why the viral has spread is what’s worth investigating. Creativity and originality is absolutely key. Now, common sense might say that we don’t really want to watch an advertisement, especially for fun; but at its core that is essentially what drives the successful branded viral video. Fun, humour, innovation and, and most importantly, originality add up to emotional triggers that sell by entertaining. If your viewers enjoy your video and it makes them feel positive and they laugh, they’re likely to share it with their friends, and this is what expedites the vitality of the video. However, a massive view count seems to be a growing pre-occupation for business owners these days, who are under the assumption that a viral video means millions of sales. This really isn’t the case. Besides, it’s not really a level playing field at the top. Sometimes the big boys spend millions of dollars on both production values and for seeding the video behind the scenes. For many viral videos, their vitality is manufactured and not organic. Still, if you can pull it off on a small budget, it pays handsome dividends.
Let’s move on now to the demonstration video, and if used well this can be one of the most effective sale tools you have. Ok, so dirty plates becoming instantly clean with a simple graphic, and gorgeous models restoring their luxuriant hair with CGI animation of shampoo molecules, are not instantly trustworthy ads―albeit they do still keep making them, so they must work. But no one truly trusts these results when they are not an accurate representation of the product. Online this is even more critical. Despite the continued growth in online shopping people are still wary about buying products or services from companies they don’t yet know or trust. So using video in an authentic, down-to-earth manner to demonstrates to your potential customers the truth about your product can reassure them that you deliver on your promises. It’s such a simple premise, but rarely executed well. A good example might be Blendtec, the kitchen blender that literally makes mincemeat of iPads, golf clubs, hardware tools and even musical instruments. Such wanton destruction by this unassuming kitchen blender proves its worth. And there is no reason why you can’t follow this same approach. Decide upon your Unique Selling Point and take it to the extreme. Have fun.
Next up, the video testimonial. Now, I realise that in reviewing the demonstration video I may have only been talking to half of you. Those of you in the service industry that don’t have a cut-and-dry way of demonstrating your skills, so the next best way to add some weight to your sales message is to use video testimonies from past clients. While these video formats are often open to abuse, for example using actors or prescript responses, they help instil a great amount of trust between your business and your visitors, especially if you can produce them in such a way that proves their authenticity. It requires you to consider how you structure your videos since every visitor will know you’ve only chosen satisfied clients, so when drawing on an on-screen testimonial, encourage them to go into detail about specific issues or problems. What you want is a focused explanation of how your business met this certain challenge and how well you overcame it. Don’t just look to produce a series of videos of people praising you in a general way using the tired clichés―“no job too small,” “friendly,” “value for money,” etc.. You want real situations that have substance and will resonate with new viewers.
Let’s turn now to event videos. One of the massive benefits of video is that to a degree it is timeless. It can capture moments and allow them to be relived time and time again, by yourself and by a wider audience. This is particularly pertinent when you host a one-off event or occasion. Video allows you to capture this in its entirety if it’s an important lecture, or to capture the atmosphere and attendee testimonials if it’s an awards ceremony. This allows your one-off event to endure, reach new audiences, promote further future events, and fulfil other objectives. The way you shoot your events is as varied as the events themselves, so it’s hard to really summarise beforehand what you should be looking to do. However, if your video is to promote future, similar events then probably your main considerations are to show benefits to attending, attendees’ testimonials, speaker profiles and an exploration of the event’s themes and topics. But if the video is more archival then you want to capture the most important information, and you want to do it professionally. This may include capturing an entire lecture with a steady camera and professional sound. In this way the content of your lecture can be reviewed or made available to people who missed out. When planning to record your event just make sure you’re fully aware of your reasons for doing so: what are you trying to achieve? Once you’ve decided, it’s all down to planning and preparation because once an event has happened, it’s gone.
Two more categories left. First, educational video. If you’re running a successful business then obviously you have a set of skills and acute knowledge of your industry. Video has the profound ability to demonstrate genuine, personal expertise, establishing you as a verifiable expert and raising the stakes of your company as trustworthy leaders in your field. While it may sound counter-productive to disseminate your knowledge freely and gladly, the benefits to your reputation can be huge. By establishing your name firmly in the minds of people when they consider your industry or profession, this kind of prestige is priceless. You can start building this expert platform with short, concise lectures―no more than a minute or two―that answer some of the most frequently asked questions you come across. You can respond to current affairs related to your industry and offer your opinions and solutions. You can explain difficult terminology or jargon, or you can guide viewers through particularly challenging processes. You really shouldn’t look at it as giving away your secrets for free; instead, you’re investing in your industry status―which leads to higher exposure, a greater level of trust, and a brand synonymous with your profession. Again, priceless. One condition, however, is that if you plan to implement this type of video strategy, then you must be prolific and consistent. Shooting just one or two videos is not enough; you need a large library of content that addresses a wealth of topics and themes. Thankfully, you can keep these videos simple and spend just a single day simply filming content that should eventually equate to a good 20-or-so lectures. Remember, you need as many people to see this as possible, so active dissemination through social media is vital.
Finally, video blogging―which is quite similar in style and frequency to the educational videos we just examined, but hopefully they will be more of an extension of your personality, and will address a more varied set of topics: professional, personal or industry-wide. Now, the aim of video blogging can be used to convey expert status, just like educational videos, or it can be used to humanise your business and keep fans and customers abreast of developments. The content of your video blogs can be absolutely anything, it all depends how you want your business to be perceived. Once again, this is all about building a reputation and trust; it’s not a direct selling tool. Video blogging is also a great way to start getting used to the camera and presenting as it doesn’t require high professional standards like other video products. It’s a huge business on YouTube. Luckily, if you want to join the fray then you can thrive in a crowded market; you just need to be smart and original. Aim for a niche within your interest rather than targeting the whole pie, as this allows you to penetrate the mass of content like a needle and start finding fans who are interested in your particular take on things. If you’re good they will stick with you, refer you and help build your community―which over time will allow you to start widening your niche. So what can you blog about?
Ok, that’s it, our categories of video. Once more these are: promotional video, corporate video, viral video, demonstration video, video testimonial, event video, educational video and video blogging. That is a whole lot of food for thought because video offers you so many options in a world that is increasing its use of video. Contact Us now, here at The Avenue Motion Picture Company, and let’s discuss the most suitable options for you.