By Warren Lutz, Contributing Writer
While video marketing can be fast and economical, a lot more work goes into it than simply picking up a video camera and hitting “record.” In fact, the biggest factor behind whether a video is a hit or not is having a plan.
Here are several key steps that will help you create and produce an effective video.
Determine your goal
We all want to sell—the question is how we do it. What exactly will your video accomplish? Who is it intended for, and why should someone watch it? What action do you want the viewer to take? How will you measure the results?
You should also have a good idea what will happen with your video once it’s created. Will it go live on your website? Will it be supported with email and social media campaigns? Under what circumstances will people be watching it? The answers to these questions will determine the proper length of your video and increase the chances of its success.
Know your budget
A great video doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg, but knowing how much you can spend early on will help prevent costs from getting out of hand.
Do you plan to use fancy graphics, special effects or professional actors? Do you want to shoot in a unique location? Be sure to tell your vendor about all these things, since they will affect budget, equipment and production schedule.
Create the content
Once you determine why you need a video, you’ll need to know what to say. Remember video is not just about telling, but showing.
The first thing you’ll need is a script. Whether you’re creating it yourself or relying on a vendor’s help, keep in mind that a minute of video translates to about 150 spoken words. That’s not a lot, which is why your message needs to be direct, clear and to the point. If YouTube is a part of your distribution plan, you’ll want keywords in your script, too, since closed-captioned transcripts are searchable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that successful videos are often personality driven. Whoever is speaking needs to be able to enunciate and connect with your intended audience. Want to use the CEO in the video? Great—as long as he or she comes across as likeable and doesn’t use a lot of “ahs” and “ums!”
Creating content also involves storyboarding and other presentation details, such as the use of graphics, screen casting, titles, captions and music. Once these elements are in place, a “shoot plan” is then created, which will determine how, when and where production will take place.
Distributing your video
Once your video is created, you’ll need a plan for sharing it. Will your video be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Vine, Metacafe? How will your customers and prospects find it? What software tools or other methods will be used to measure the results? These factors should all be considered.
There are pros and cons to almost every distribution method. And not all platforms are the same – a video on your company’s website can be of any length, but video on both Instagram and Vine is
limited to six seconds and on Instagram
the maximum is 15 seconds.
Start planning early
The above steps should help you understand what’s involved in the video creating process. And if you can’t do it all yourself, an experienced video marketing firm can help fill in the blanks, from outlining goals to writing a script, creating a storyboard, shooting the video and broadcasting it to the world.
But once again, the most important factor is having a plan. A plan is no guarantee that there will be no unforeseen delays or obstacles, but it will go a long way toward ensuring a smooth production process and a coordinated, team effort—and creating a final product you can be proud of.
Further Reading and Additional Resources: