8 Video Production Tips

October 1st, 2018

I think one of the core skills of any content marketer, especially someone who is working with social media, is to understand the mechanics of video production.

No one expects you to be a Christopher Nolan or a Martin Scorsese, but understanding what goes into a quality branded video is very useful even if you never end up holding a video camera. It can help with commissioning video and also being able to give intelligent feedback to the video creators.

So personally I think all content marketers should at some point in their careers undertake a basic video scripting class – or at the very least read a few blog posts about it.

Here then are seven quick pointers as to what to think about while creating, or indeed commissioning, a basic video.

1. Nail the brief

You can save so much time and money if you get the brief right. That means spending time ensuring that the video creators, whether it is your team or an external agency, are totally cognisant of why you are producing the video, what the key messages you are seeking to communicate are and what the plans are for its distribution.

Some of the key questions you need to ask are:

  • What’s the aim of the video?
  • How much should it incorporate and reflect the brand?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Which platform should you use for distributing it?
  • What are the key takeaways from the video?
  • What is the main call to action?

Ensure that everyone involved in the video creation process signs off the brief. What you don’t want is to get halfway through the editing process and someone feel that the content is not appropriate for the purpose it has been commissioned.

2. Audience, audience audience

Technically this part of the brief, but it is so easy to get carried away with the creative process that you forget to factor in the audience that the video is created to appeal to.

That means homing in on a demographic and working out what platforms they frequent and what type of videos they generally consume. It also might mean working out how you optimise the video for different platforms, producing different edits for say Instagram and YouTube.

3. Script every single word

Sure, some of the best performances in the history of cinema have been improvised, but chances are that the video for promoting your b2b service won’t benefit from letting presenters or guests use too many of their own words. So once you have the brief make sure that you script every single word. It is far better to end up revising the script than having to junk hours of video footage because it didn’t feature you main messages.

4. Tell a story

This should be second nature to content marketers, but it is essential that the video that you are creating tells a story. It should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It needs to hook the viewers in and, unless you want them to head off in search of cat videos, keep them entertained and informed. Think about how the story will develop, and how you weave the brand’s key messages into it without it becoming dull or routine.

5. But optimise the first 30 seconds

You only have thirty second to hook a viewer (as many surveys like this show up to 50% of people switch off before that time) – which is fine if your content is only 30 second long, but potentially a lot trickier if you hope they will engage with you for a couple of minutes or more.

So you need to bear in mind two things. Firstly, you need to get key messages over straight away. If the likelihood is that a lot of your viewers will go elsewhere let them at least take something with them.

The challenge then is the second part. Keeping the key messages but ensuring the audience carries on viewing. Your video needs to start with a bang and carry the audience with it. Slow starts and wordy intros will only have viewers heading for the stop button.

6. Don’t forget the SEO

Part of the reason for the massive growth of video is that it tends to perform much better than words and images in searches. You do need to remember to optimise the content you are creating for SEO purposes. How do you want people to find you via search? What questions are you answering? What keywords are you competing on? The head for the video, any ancillary content on the various platforms, and of course the video content needs to reflect this.

7. Think multiple edits

You need to think about how you can squeeze as much content as possible out of one shoot. Are you going to create multiple videos for different platforms? Can you create teaser content, out takes etc and how will you use them? The footage you shoot should always be optimised so that it can be edited in a number of ways.

8. Keep it brief

Finally make sure that your video gets started, imparts its key messages, including a call to action if appropriate, and then doesn’t linger. If you can keep things punchy and brief you are more likely to score higher levels of engagement with your audience. Save unpacking all the nuances around your brand and its positioning for your company podcast.

Ashley Norris, Editorial Consultant, The CMA

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