Video marketing is going to be more important for business in 2021 than it ever has been and every business needs to understand how to make the most of it. It provides business with a way of communicating with their customer base in a more engaging, exciting and digestible way that helps turn interest into conversion.
For the uninitiated, video can be a daunting process that will present more challenges that require specialist solutions. Now we are in a place where video is just too important of a marketing asset to be ignored, and with a multitude of ways to check the ROI on your content, it is an asset that will provide a mass of information about your audience while simultaneously driving sales. To read more on why you should be implementing video marketing in your business, click here.
According to a survey from HubSpot, more than 50% of customers want to see more video in this modern age. Video may not be new, but the multitude of ways that it can be used effectively has broadened by a huge extent. It can become a key factor of every stage of the customer journey that can help with everything from brand awareness to sales and recruitment.
Smartphones have meant that video is becoming increasingly easy to create on a budget. However, for more professional and polished content, it requires the completion of a detailed to-do list before you call ‘action!’
What equipment do you need?
The bulk of equipment required for shooting a video is centred around the physical filming of the video itself. Mobile phone cameras can be used in a pinch, but if you’re going for a higher-quality final product, then a DSLR camera will be the first major investment to make. These can have a huge variance in cost, so the quality of the camera that you invest in will be dependent on the number of videos that you will be making.
It’s easy to forget the importance of sound when there are so many different facets to the visual elements of video making, but a video is an audio/visual medium and focusing on just the visual will result in a low-quality final product. Again, with the audio recording, there are plenty of options at drastically varying price points to make this work, but with directional shotgun microphones that can be attached on top of DSLR’s, you will get a clean sounding audio track that will elevate your content.
These software choices will range from something simple such as iMovie to a far more advanced option like Premiere Pro. Both of these will be able to perform the simple functions extremely well and create a simple narrative for your video. When it comes to creating something that requires a few graphics, effects and animations, that’s where the more advanced software choices like Premiere are required. For a wholly animated video, editors and animators will be the only requirement, but any time that you would ordinarily dedicate to filming would be required for what is a much more involved post-production process that will most likely use Adobe After Effects alongside Premiere Pro.
If you’re looking to inject some real quality to your video project, then outsourcing may be your best solution.
The equipment itself can be expensive to purchase, but trained professionals who will be able to operate it correctly and get everything that you need out of your projects are even more important to the quality of your video marketing. From how the cameras work to properly set up lighting and sound equipment, this is especially useful. Especially for something like editing, which is the longest technical element of the process, putting this work into the hands of a professional will save you time and increase the quality of your project immensely.
What type of video are you making?
Video marketing is a great idea to implement into your business, but there needs to be a focal point to it. Before you start anything, you have to ask the question: what is this video trying to achieve? Whether it’s sales or brand awareness, the end goal of your marketing video should be kept front and centre of the idea development phase.
Once you have the ‘what’, it’s time to focus on the ‘how’. From a branding video to an event, educational, testimonial or demonstration, there has got to be a clear focus. These different forms of videos can be adaptable to your goals, audience and tone, and this is a discussion that will take place in the pre-production phase of creating your video.
Branding videos will be your most conceptual in terms of ideas and give you the broadest creative leeway out of all other marketing videos. These are great to help bring more awareness to your brand and are a great way to showcase a product or service without going to an out and out sales pitch.
Event videos are great if you are a part of a conference, fundraiser or any other type of larger-scale event. If the time is filmed then you can produce a highlight reel or release specific segments of the event to help expand that connection with your audience.
Educational videos can be approached in many different ways. In short, they help your audience make an informed decision on your service by showcasing yourselves as thought-leaders in your field. These videos give you a chance to show your consumer how your product/service will be of benefit to them. These videos can be aided by bringing in other experts in your fields to help add legitimacy to what your saying.
Testimonials are always a great source to help your audience make a decision over whether or not they want to purchase your product/service, and with video getting a much higher engagement rate than any written content- video testimonials are a great way to provide the customer with peace of mind. These videos work really well across social media but can also be used extremely effectively on landing pages for your website.
Demonstration videos can be a great introduction for a new audience to let them know who you are and what your product/service is. From unboxing to a tour of your latest software, these videos will let you put your USP at the front and centre of the conversation and is a great way to showcase new developments and products to an already existing audience.
There is also the placement of the video to be considered. Which social media platforms do you want this going out to and how will that affect your approach to the video? This will not be a hard and fast rule to follow strictly, but it should be a huge consideration for you when it comes to discussing your approach. Videos will be hosted in different locations for different purposes- a landing page video wouldn’t go on social media and vice versa.
There is then breaking down the different types of video for different social media usage- for example, video content that gets high engagement on Instagram stories would not have the same effect on LinkedIn, meaning that the video will need to be altered to fit for every form of social media, or you focus your content to fit the parameters of the platform that gives you the most success.
What needs to be done?
There are three stages to making a video that need to be well thought out and planned in order to make everything as easy as possible for you. These are the pre-production, production and post-production, let’s explore them in some more detail:
The pre-production phase of video making has a varying quantity of tasks depending on the style and scale of your video. With pre-production- failing to prepare is preparing to fail. The decisions made before everything is set up are crucial and will make the rest of the experience as simple as possible.
In short, pre-production is the point at which you put into place every practical necessity that will be required in order to film your idea. This will naturally begin with coming up with the idea itself. As previously mentioned, deciding what type of video you’re making will dictate how you make every other decision for the rest of the process. The audience, intended purpose and budget will be the key factors to take into consideration at this phase and a big challenge can be to find practical solutions to your most creative ideas.
Now that the concept has been finalised and a budget has been set, it’s time to really get the ball rolling. This is the time to write a script, draw up a shot-list, and source any people needed for every role that you will require. The script should be your first priority. Your script is the extension of your concept development and finishing this will allow you to confidently do everything else that needs to be done.
The key to writing a script is to keep it as natural and conversational as possible. A helpful way to see how your script is sounding is to keep repeating your words aloud and possibly even recording it on your phone so that you can hear the ebbs and flows. It should be similar to your articles or blog posts, just in a more relaxed and conversational tone.
Once you have picked your topic, then the job is to chronologically run through the necessary information for your audience. You want anybody to be able to digest your content, so keeping it simple and including stories is a great way to present your message.
For the more conceptual ideas, then something a little more detail will be required in order to really make your idea stick. In everything you produce, simplicity will be key.
The script will then give you a clear direction on how to approach the next stage: the shotlist/storyboard. This part of the process will provide you with a visual aid that will become invaluable later on down the line when you are shooting- especially if you’re embarking on a larger-scale production.
Your aim for this element of the process should be to give yourself a simple map of how things will look when it comes to filming, from who and what will be in each camera set up to how each scene will play out. Here is an example of a shot list used for a scene in a short film- there’s a lot more focus on the more artistic elements for this shotlist, but your basic structure should somewhat resemble this one.
Cast and Crew
Assembling your cast and crew is one of the most important jobs to accomplish. From a bare-bones crew of people in your workplace to outsourcing videography professionals, the number of people required to turn your idea into reality will be dictated by the budget for your video. Once your positions are filled, it is key to make sure that everyone is up to speed on everything before shooting commences.
It will be a similar deal when working on a cast. For the higher budget videos, more often the branded advertisements- there will be more of a requirement to cast actors in these videos. There are websites like Mandy Actors and Starnow that provide a database of actors that will apply for jobs like these.
More often than not, your video will benefit from a more personal touch, especially for video content that will spend the majority of its time gaining traction on social media. This means that utilising the staff in your business will give your audience a far better idea of who you are and why they should do business with you.
If you do have a cast, crew or any external agencies to help with your video, then you will need a call sheet. This is a very simple document that will be circulated to all involved in the project letting them know where they need to be, what time, and what will be filmed at each particular location or day.
All of this preparation ensures that when the cameras are rolling, all you have to worry about is getting the content filmed, rather than trying to work out how to make everything look the way you want it to in the moment.
Your Pre-Production Checklist
You may not need to utilise every step on this list, that will all depend on the project- but each step on this list should at least be considered before you begin filming.
- Budget (break down where all the allocated money is going)
- Shotlist / Storyboard
- Organise camera, lighting and sound (outsource or in-house)
- Materials/objects/backgrounds for the set
- Call sheet
The amount of preparation in your pre-production phase will dictate how successful your video will be. The primary goal of the production element of a video is for it to be as simple and painless as possible. There are potentially a lot of moving parts, but the success of the pre-production stage will ensure that they are perfectly prepared to execute your plan for the shoot.
The technical stuff
If you can get three factors right: camera, sound and lighting, your video will have an instant kick of production value. Luckily, your preparation will make these extremely simple to execute.
Here is an example of a very simple 3-point lighting set-up. The concept is very easy to execute, and will probably be aided by any ambient light where you film, which may negate the need to use everything from this setup.
The aim with your lighting should be to have your primary, or ‘key’ light slightly off centre and focused on the focal point or subject of the video. The fill and backlights are there to do exactly what they say, softly light the area behind your focus. By lighting your shots this way, you maintain a nice, bright focus to your video that will look more professional than a shoot that doesn’t consider light at all.
When you use lights, it is also important to apply some powder-based makeup to anybody who will appear on-screen. This will eliminate any shine on your subject’s face and again increase the production value of your project.
With your camera set-up, you will have already worked out how you want each shot to look, so this should be simple to do on the day. This means that the only camera elements to worry about while filming will be to keep everything in focus and making sure that you have enough storage to film everything that you have to.
Always have a back-up SD card if you’re filming on a DSLR, and if you do have to use a phone, there is a good chance that you’ll need to make a little room on there to hold all of your video files.
Sound is the element that is the hardest to execute on the shoot, as the success of it is based on external factors. If you’re recording in an area with lots of ambient noise, the microphone will pick this up and it will have an effect on the overall quality of your video and can be a lengthy process to clean up in post-production.
The easiest way to deal with this is to control the sound of your environment as much as possible by either choosing a quiet location to shoot or ensuring that anyone who may be in the area will stay as quiet as possible while you film.
Getting the performance right:
Performing on camera is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and for somebody who is a novice in front of the camera, it is all too easy to feel awkward and wooden when the time comes to film.
This is the reason that so much work is done before the cameras start rolling. It gives you as much time as you need to mess up, redo takes and helping ensure that whoever is appearing on-camera for you is at ease and feeling natural speaking in front of the lights and the camera.
If you’re looking for inspiration, Sean Evans from ‘First We Feast’ is a great example of someone who has honed their skills in the internet environment. At the end of the day though, it’s up to you to find your own style that works for you and your brand- the only thing to remember is to be authentic!
Direction is a driving force to get this performance. By having somebody to direct your video, you have somebody who is exclusively dealing with the performance and viewing it from the point of view of the eventual audience with immediate feedback on how to get the best performance possible. Your video marketing will go so much further when you have someone in front of the camera who has been put at ease by the people behind it.
The role of the producer is an extremely simple yet vital one on set. They should make everyone else’s life as easy as possible. This means sorting out things like the SD cards, helping with equipment dressing the set and being a part of all last-second decisions that will happen on the day and feeding that information back to everyone involved in the process.
Set dressing is a very simple job of seeing what will appear on camera and adapting your space with props or backdrops to achieve whatever aesthetic was decided on in the pre-production process.
The more people that are involved with your video, the more important this role becomes as there are more moving parts to keep on top of.
The producer will also be in charge of release forms for anybody who appears on camera, a basic copy can be found here and can be used on anybody seen on camera where no payment is involved. A separate contract will have to be signed for any on-screen talent that has been paid for.
Your Production Checklist
Again, not every step on this list will be a requirement for every project, and in many cases, the lines between each role will be blurred. Often on small sets, the director, producer and camera operator will all be the same person. The reason these roles have been broken down is to showcase the responsibilities that come with each part of the production process.
- Cameras (with spare batteries & SD card)
- Set dressing
- Release forms
The post-production phase of making your marketing video has less moving parts than the rest of the process but is equally important to the success of your work. If your video is animated, then the entire project would begin at this stage- but for the most part, this is the last step.
Editing is very simple to do when there aren’t many files to be dealing with, so doing this on your own is a possibility for the simpler shoot, but for projects that require elements of animation, graphics and effects- outsourcing will increase your production value hugely.
Get your footage in order
The first step of post-production is to get all of the footage in order. At this stage, you should also get any sound files (if they were recorded on a separate device) and clearly organise all of them into folders before even opening your editing software.
If you are working with a simple edit or a much more complex one, the best practice is to make sure that everything is well organised.
The focus of your first edit is to get everything in order in a video format and use this first cut as a marker that will inform you what to cut and where you may need something new. The purpose of this first, rough cut is to establish what works and what doesn’t without wasting time making the whole video look fully polished.
A rough cut creates a dialogue between the editor and the rest of the team that will help to refine the content of the video and make it as impactful as possible. There will be a few more cuts of the video after this point, but most of those will be focused on polishing specific elements of the piece rather than starting the whole process from scratch every time.
Graphics and Animation
Many videos created for marketing purposes tend to utilise a combination of both live-action and either animated or graphic overlays in order to fully tell a story. These are specialist skills that will require some form of outsourcing. Websites like Fiverr are good tools for this if you have an extremely specific requirement, but for the more generic needs, you may be able to find what you need through stock websites like Envato Elements.
Including graphics and animation can give your video an extra layer of professionalism and make you stand out from the crowd in a major way, but if done badly, it is extremely noticeable and will be more of a hindrance than anything else.
Music is perhaps the most underrated factor in turning your video into a compelling piece of content. Any music choices used in a video should reflect the tone of your message, your visuals and everything spoken on screen, and it should do this without stealing the show. Just think what any film, TV show, trailer or advert would be without the inclusion of music.
You don’t notice it’s importance until you take it away. Spending time to find the right musical choice will improve your product immensely. A great musical choice will fly under the radar, a poor musical choice will ruin the whole video, and neglecting it all together will lose impact.
There are, of course, videos that are more suited to a social media setting that are more likely to be played on mute by the audience, but these videos tend to be much more fact and data-based instead of message-based.
Speaking of social media…
The different social media platforms all have various distinctions that separate them from their competitors. The standard size for video is a dimension of 1080×1920 pixels, but social media allows you to advertise and promote your video content in plenty of ways outside of the standard.
Examples of this can be seen in Instagram’s story feature, which has taken on a huge amount of popularity for marketers, and other means of mobile-oriented social media like Snapchat. These are ideas that will have to be kept in mind from the beginning, as mentioned earlier in this article. This is a job that will be fulfilled by the editor, who will have to make your video usable in a multitude of different aspect ratios.
The final edit is the culmination of all of these elements and the addition of other jobs like adjusting colour and other audio/visual tweaking. For some videos, it may be the case that very few of these elements need to be fulfilled, and all that is required is the one video clip that will be posted onto the relevant social media platform- but many projects require a lot more time and technical expertise to pull off in a way that will accurately and confidently reflect your business and your brand.
Final Edit Checklist
- Collecting and organising all of your footage
- Rough cut
- Organise graphics and animation
- Colour correction
- Sound and music
- Resizing and optimising for multiple social media video restrictions
- Final edit
Where do I look for the ROI?
Video can be tricky to track for a few different reasons, but this is all dependant on what your metrics are for success. You’ll want to be tracking different metrics for different types of video content, for example; a landing page video won’t get the same amount of views as a brand awareness video, but views wouldn’t be the way to measure that type of video; a far more effective metric would be conversions.
This means that there will be different metrics to track for each place that your video is located. In broad terms, this can be split between social and website-based content.
As shown in this guide from Hootsuite, the metrics to be looking for in social media video content are:
- View count
- 10- second views
- Watch time
- Average view duration
- Average per cent completion
- Audience retention
- Sound on vs Sound off
- Impressions & Reach
- Social sharing
- Click through rate & conversions
- Interaction rate
All of the metrics to do with viewing time will give you a much better idea of how the average viewer experienced your content. You can use this information to determine where your video fell short of expectations.
This knowledge can be applied to future work. For example, if the average viewer dropped off from watching at the halfway point, then you go back, re-examine your script and start experimenting on those areas in order to improve retention.
Working out a formula that will keep your viewers watching your content is going to be a case of trial and error that will become easier the more you know about the persona of your viewership. It won’t be a well-oiled machine immediately and that’s okay.
Part of the process is building that relationship that will eventually result in high-quality video content that will lead to high quality leads for your business. By monitoring and tweaking how you approach your content, success will come.
How the audience interacts with your content will be a much more blatant indicator of how people feel about your video work, but should not be taken as an illustration of the whole story. This information is much more obviously displayed in the form of likes, comments etc.
The reason to be wary of using purely interaction as a metric is the fact that only a percentage of your audience will be the type of person to interact with any posts in general and will just prefer to watch and either drop off or follow your call to action.
Interaction is one of the more powerful tools to help get your video shared to a higher quantity of viewers and greatly expand your reach. This means that your video should try and incorporate some ideas that will get a reaction out of people.
The more passive your video is, the more likely that people will watch without engaging. This means you should choose your topics carefully. You should also be including a call to action specifically catered to the platform that you are using- especially if the focus is to create viral video content to promote your brand. A simple request to share/tag/like/comment/subscribe will prompt the viewer to actually follow the task instead of moving on.
For many businesses, conversions are going to be your top priority. This means that you will need to guide your viewer as clearly as possible to follow your video to a specified conversion event. Whether it’s a sign-up form, landing page, website or a link to more information- to get your viewer there, you will need to be their guide.
The video itself should guide people to these points explicitly. In this case, the video will act as a part of your sales funnel that will begin to filter in people from various social sources to one specific page that will further qualify them for your product or service.
You can measure this with the CTR (click-through rate), a metric that provides you with exact information on how many people reached your desired page through following your call to action.
Combine these metrics
The trick with these metrics is to use all of the available data to help craft more video content and be happy with the fact that you will be making confident strides in the right direction. This will make your video content more interesting, more creative and more successful.
The trick is to make your work as enjoyable for the audience as possible. if you can make your viewer maintain their attention and take note of what you are trying to tell them, then half the battle is already over.
Website based content
Content that is situated on your website is almost guaranteed to have fewer views than anything posted on social media. Although it will have fewer views, it can be hugely beneficial for your site in keeping visitors engaged and therefore improving the stickiness of your page.
The important thing to remember with this type of video content is its purpose and placement within the customer journey.
Within the site
The main factor to remember with content which is almost exclusively created for the website is the understanding that the audience is already there because they have an interest in your business. That means that you can assume a little bit about your audience from the standpoint of them having at least a small amount of awareness as to who you are and what you can provide them.
With this knowledge, you can go deeper with these types of videos and provide the viewer with curated details that will benefit somebody who already has a basic understanding of your business.
These videos can be incorporated throughout your website, it can be used to summarise any written content that you have on the page or to compliment it. What type of video that you include on each page would really be subject to what your individual website pages are trying to convey and then deciding how/if video will boost or enhance these pages.
Landing pages are a great place to use video content. With a landing page, you get to directly communicate with a viewer that is on the page for an extremely specific reason. This could be for recruitment or sales, but for any purpose, a landing page video can help make your point as effectively as possible to an audience that has chosen to see it. This has a more measurable ROI, especially considering most people will be brought to your landing pages through social media.
Your landing page will most often be the last in your customer journey before the action has taken place, meaning that this video will often be the last thing your viewer will see before they make the ultimate yes/no decision. The simple, measurable number on this would be to measure the CTR rate against the number of people that have completed your sales funnel from your landing page.
Video content isn’t going anywhere.
It’s simply more engaging, more memorable, more effective at storytelling and can bring you closer to your audience than any other type of content. You can make the process as simple or as involved as you desire to, but the simple fact is that video content is on the rise, and with potential saturation comes development on already existing models to make video successful.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to help your video break the mould. Most of this will come from creativity and ambition, but every idea needs to be rooted in what is practical for you.
Exciting content isn’t something that you can plan, write, shoot and edit in an afternoon. It takes a lot of work, trial and error to make something that will grip your audience and make them really listen to the messages that you’re conveying to them.
The steps illustrated in this text can provide you with a framework of understanding of what you should be considering when it comes to approaching video marketing as a whole. There is no point in wasting time on video work purely for the sake of it, as it won’t help develop your brand or help your sales.
By taking the time to assess what you need to do, you can really hone your message and create something that will break the mould of ordinary content.
The fact is that video is an exciting way to communicate with your audience. It can be used in so many ways and with so many different styles and the content should reflect that excitement. The more that you put into a video, the more you get out of it.
Now- you won’t be recreating Citizen Kane on your first try, and you may even decide that outsourcing is your best option. When you understand what it takes to make something, it is much easier to communicate what you need for each element of your video project.
Videos are a collaborative medium and hopefully, this information will give you a glimmer of what it takes to not only make your video at the highest quality but with the best return on investment.
The battle between the art of making a video and the practicality of a marketing plan is not a dichotomy. Instead, it is a balancing act that if measured correctly, can put a whole new lease of life into campaigns that are full of success and create a willing audience to consume your content.
If you’d like more information on why your business needs video marketing, or how to implement it, KUB is here to help. Get in touch to see how you could be growing your business by innovating your digital marketing strategy.