Video is a wonderfully unique and powerful medium. It can be used to explain, educate, entertain, all while imposing an emotional connection that can create brand loyalty from a single view. It’s no surprise then that We Are Social’s latest digital report found that, after Google, YouTube is the second largest website visited in the world. According to Nielsen, 119.9 million households in the U.S. alone own a television (and they’re likely either connected to a cable or a streaming service to watch content). Younger audiences are also flocking to social (and mobile-friendly) platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok because they support video integration and they prefer a visual experience to absorb content.
If you’re looking to leverage this form of marketing and add video to your strategy, it’s important to have a clear idea of the process before heading into production to help ensure a successful launch. If you’re not properly prepared, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money, with an overabundance of unusable footage. So, let’s get you rolling down the right track.
The project brief
There are a lot of reasons why you may need a video for your business — to advertise a new service for your customers/clients or share your unique corporate message to stand out from your competition. Perhaps your customers have suggested it would be helpful to have a series of how-to product videos. Before a tripod is set up, you need to identify the purpose of the video. What story are you trying to tell, what challenge are you looking to solve, and to whom are you addressing the content? Creating a project brief will allow you to explore the vision you have for your video project. It should identify why you’re creating the video, who you’re creating the video for, and any key takeaways you have for your target audience. It should also note which platforms the video is intended to be placed on when complete (which, in turn, can help in deciding how long the video should be).
When putting together a project brief, it’s helpful to have a round table discussion regarding your company’s culture, taking note of previous videos or marketing materials, and how they align with your brand strategy. Gathering creative inspiration, such as exploring how other businesses have handled similar needs, sharing examples of video styles, and discussing your buyer’s persona, can also allow for new ideas to sprout for how best to present your message to suit the needs of your unique customer. The goal of brainstorming is to leave with a few great ideas to dig into deeper and take to the next level.
Writing the script and storyboard
Once an idea has been solidified, it’s time to write the script! It’s important the sentences are kept short and convey a clear message. Does the story have an apparent beginning, middle, and end? How about a clear call to action? Think about the vernacular and acronyms that are being used. Are they common to your specific business? Will they be understood by all of your intended audience? When the script is set, it should be read aloud and timed. Are you able to read the script in the specified time? Keep in mind that 180 words will equal about a minute of time when read at a steady pace. Are there any sentences that are hard to say? If so, these should be revised and words that should be emphasized by the voice over talent (actors and actresses) should be noted.
Marking up the script on what’s being delivered on camera, or creating a video storyboard, can help guide the shoot itself. This also aids the video production crew in identifying the required video equipment, lighting, shoot location(s), talent, attire, props, rentals, etc. Additionally, areas that could be troublesome while shooting can be noted with solutions that are ready to be implemented.
Creating the shoot schedule
The final phase of the pre-production planning is the creation of a shot list. This should include a list of every scene and every angle that will be needed to tell the story. It creates the structure of the shoot day(s) schedule. Having a schedule helps the video shoot efficiently stay on track and ensure nothing on the shot list is missed. It provides a timeline for when exterior and/or interior shots can be taken and if the shoot needs to be extended. If you are preparing on-screen talent or employees during portions of the shoot, it will allow you to know when to have those people prepared and ready.
During the Shoot
As the shoot day approaches, a point person should be determined to help with on-site coordination. Ideally, the point person would provide direction based off of the schedule and answer any questions during the shoot (i.e., where gear should be stored when not in use, where the crew should park, unload, and enter the building, and when talent should arrive). This person could also secure any necessary products or prototypes to be used in the video as well as have general knowledge of the product/service to direct appropriate product placement and usability. If you designate one point of contact person for all parties involved, this will make the process run that much smoother.
After the Shoot
The shoot is done, editing is complete, and you have the final video in your hands, what happens next? Your new content should be distributed to your target audience through the channels previously determined in your video marketing strategy. Whether that be a six-second teaser for YouTube pre-roll (more on this here), shared with your followers on your social media channels, and/or uploaded to your website (pro tip, Google loves video for SEO value).
Video truly makes for one powerful marketing tool that can greatly influence consumer decisions. For a successful video shoot and production process, continuous communication is key. Following the necessary steps of pre-planning allows for what should be a smooth, exciting, and fun shoot, resulting in a video you’ll be elated to share with your audience!