One of the most exciting things that web distribution/delivery has brought to video production is the ability for anybody to produce their own videos and distribute them in a way that pretty much anyone can see them. The problem is that not everyone is a media producer and not everyone knows what or how to show their subject in the most flattering, entertaining, and commercial manner. Here are my top 5 keys in preparing to create a web based promotional video.
1. Know your audience. This is applicable to any kind of marketing or branding of any business or service but ultimately know who the customers are that you want to go after. If you have a product or service that is geared toward families, for example, you probably want to focus on creating a video that will be emotionally moving at a family level. Ultimately emotion sells-if you can get people to feel something, no matter the audience, they’ll remember you.
2. Know your brand. No one is going to go looking for Pepsi in the milk aisle at the store and vice versa. Know what you’re selling, what’s great about it, and, most importantly, how it will help make people’s lives better. I think that’s an important distinction because the most effective advertising is when I see a product and go “hey, that will help me do X”.
3. Hire a professional. Okay, this generally goes without saying but if you want a video that is of a professional quality then hire a company or individual who knows what they are doing. And, I think this is important, don’t be dazzled by a production company that is pushing their equipment list-take a look at what they stand for. Call them and find out if you can get a free consultation and maybe discuss some ideas. See what they bring to the table. Oh, and beware… sure, you could hire the kid in the basement but will he or she understand the true nature of storytelling or will they just give you a pretty looking video with a bunch of flashy graphics? Be careful and choose who is right for you.
4. Plan, Prepare, Produce. I like to call these the 3 P’s of producing any project. Planning means knowing exactly what you want before the cameras roll. Write a script or make sure the professional you hired writes. Collaborate with your video producer as much as needed to get the script and concept exactly the way you want it on paper before you show up on set. You’ll save everyone a lot of time and yourself unwanted expense. Prepare means that your video producer has scheduled the right talent, enough time, and the proper locations to truly get the job done. Produce means to get out there with the production team and capture on camera what you had on the page. But be open to on-set inspiration. The producing portion will move into your video video edit where you will make all of your final creative decisions from image cuts, to titles, to text, animation, music, sound mix, etc.
5. Distribute. Now that your video is complete you need to get it out there. Make sure that your video producer delivers to you a hi-resolution master version (usually some kind of uncompressed or AppleProRes file) as well as several different web versions for upload to YouTube, Vimeo, your company website, and any other video services you will be uploading to. Next, make sure you tag the video with the right keywords so that it is as searchable on the web as possible and helps drive traffic to your website and, ultimately, generate business. And finally, post your video at least once a month on your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts so that your friends and colleagues can see it and be reminded of just how much they need your service or product.