Have you ever used a whiteboard in a meeting to illustrate a complicated topic? In many ways a promotional video is much like a whiteboard and when it’s done right, it’s a whiteboard that can help you present your products and services to a huge number of customers and prospective customers in a totally compelling way.
In this article I want to explore eight core considerations you will need to factor into creating your perfect promotional video.
What do you want your promotional video to achieve?
Shooting (video) from the hip with no aim or goal in mind will, at best, see your video fall flat or not gain the audience reach it should. At worst, it could end up misleading or confusing prospective customers and doing your brand more harm than good. Before you do anything else, work out what you want your promotional video to achieve. Do you want to boost awareness of your brand? Sell a product or service? Educate people? More often than not the answer will be a mixture of all of these things.
Knowing what you want to achieve will not only ensure your video has a clear message but can be a powerful way to persuade stakeholders to buy into the project. Once your video is out in the world, knowing your goals will also help you to measure your video’s success and allow you to target the right video metrics and KPIs to do this.
Be clear on your brand’s identity
Video is a fantastic way to enhance your brand’s identity; showing people who you are, what makes you different and why people should trust you over your competitors. However, if you’re brand identity isn’t clear or is inconsistent, your video will only promote confusion and sow seeds of doubt in your prospective customers.
Look at your existing content; your website, sales collateral, people and your physical stores, and work out what you’re already saying about your brand. Your promotional video should amplify your existing voice, it shouldn’t start a different conversation altogether.
Work out your promotional video’s message
Next, work out what you want your video to say. To make sure your message is right for your brand, ask yourself five questions:
- Who are your audience? Work out who you’re targeting so you speak to them in the right way.
- What do you want them to do? Buy your product? Tell their friends? Pick up the phone and ask for more information? Your message should clearly convey the action you want your audience to take.
- How do you want people to feel? Eliciting emotion from your audience is one of the best ways to gain their attention, but which emotion is going to work (authentically) for your brand?
- When will people see your promotional video? At what point in the journey will they be when they watch your content? Is this a new relationship, meaning you’ll need to introduce your brand, or are you building on an existing relationship?
- Why should your audience trust you over other people? Craft your message around what makes you different.
Planning your promotional video
The next stage is to nail down the particulars of your promotional video. Work out what it’s going to look like; whether you’ll be using animation or CGI, or relying on filming actors or real people. What style are you going for? Who are your characters? What’s the story? How long is your video going to be?
There are several approaches you can take to promotional video and which you go for will depend on your brand identity, what you are trying to achieve and the nature of your product. You may want to use a narrative story structure to your video that uses metaphor or subtext to get across a wider theme. Alternatively you may prefer a more explanatory approach with testimonials to introduce or explain your company or product.
Tick off the practical tasks: Source any costumes or props, hire actors if required, and make sure you obtain permission to film at the location well beforehand.
Write your promotional video script
Before you move on to production, spend some time writing a detailed script. Remember that your script shouldn’t just contain dialogue. Include detailed on-screen actions like when characters should enter and exit, facial expressions, and graphics that will be included like your logo or phone number. Want your dialogue said in a specific way? Write in on the script.
Alongside your script you may want to produce a storyboard, which uses illustrations to visually represent each scene, transition and effect in your video.
In short, the more unambiguous clear information you can provide as to how the film should look when it’s finished, the smoother production is likely to run, making sure you don’t waste any precious time (and money).
Promotional video production
You have two options when it comes to actually producing your film. You could choose to do it yourself. You’ll need to rent or source a camera, tripod, sound equipment including a microphone and headphones, and lighting if you’re shooting indoors.
The second option (and the one we’d obviously recommend) is using a video production company. There are many agencies you could work with and finding the right one is about making sure they have the experience, the tools and the talent to achieve your desired result.
A good video production agency can help with every stage of creating your promotional film – from planning to production and script writing, through to editing and distribution. Many companies will also get involved in the strategic side of things and will make sure your promotional film sits in your wider marketing strategy. They will also be able to help you repurpose footage that you can use for additional marketing material, such as previews or shorter versions that will be better suited to social media channels.
During the post-production editing process, all the footage you shot at production stage will be woven together; if you’re having a voiceover, this will be recorded and added, as well as any music and graphics.
If you’re editing your promotional video yourself, there are loads of programmes you can choose from such as Adobe Premier Pro, for which you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription.
When you’re finalising your video edit, make sure your call to action is clear. For example, if you want someone to call a number, you’ll need to make sure that number is on screen for long enough.
Optimisation and distribution
If you’re putting your video on YouTube, making sure your video can be found is just as important as creating the video. Choose when to share your promotional video on social media wisely. You may want to do some analysis of existing posts beforehand to work out when your audience are most engaged. This way you won’t waste your carefully-created content.
Engaging video content can be used, repurposed and then reused across all your marketing channels; social media, television, and online on your website’s homepage and product pages. And creating effective video content is easier than you might think.
If you know your brand, have a clear message, and are committed to high quality, then creating a promotional film can be a very simple and effective way to improving audience engagement and brand exposure across a whole host of marketing channels.