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Ten More Tips for Making Terrific Videos

July 22 2012

Follow these ten tips for making your marketing videos even better!

We’ve been telling you that video was going to be big for a long time. The stats are amazing.  The global reach is compelling. Even the Pope is using a video camera when he Skypes. So it’s no surprise so many people are adding video to their marketing strategy. Whether it’s showing off your products, explaining your company’s value proposition or customer testimonials that give your prospects confidence in your abilities, video is unmatched in its ability to engage.

Of course, it’s not all Fellini and Kubrick out there. There’s a lot of work to be done. Too many videos aren’t up to speed. There’s a reason it’s called video, so the bar is much higher than narrated photo tours. At the same time, some people should absolutely, never, ever be allowed to touch a camera (horrifying real estate video herehere). When done right, they are beautiful, as we’ve pointed out in the best real estate video ever. We’re starting to see more and more great stuff like this property video herehere, and real estate team promotional herehere.

Two years ago we offered Ten Tips for Terrific Listing VideosTen Tips for Terrific Listing Videos. At the time, it was solid advice for the state of the technology and industry. Since then, we’ve come a long way (well, some of us have) so here are ten more tips for making terrific videos, no matter what industry you’re in.

  1. Tell a Story. If you don’t have as storyline, then you don’t have a marketing video. Panning through rooms and backyards, with an accompanying voice over of the obvious, isn’t marketing. It’s a documentary. You’ll never hear Mercedes point out their cars have steering wheels in their television commercials and the Old Spice Guy doesn’t have to explain how his deodorant works. First write, then shoot a story.
  2. Emotional Focus. We should laugh. We should cry. Great video gives us chills, goosebumps, makes us smile, captures our imagination. It’s all about imagination, emotion and desire. Figure out what the emotional message is, and go back and rewrite your story (see Tip 1).
  3. Write for the Ear. Our friend Martha WebbMartha Webb is one of the smartest marketing people we know. One of her greatest insights is that making videos means writing scripts for the ear, not the eye. What works when people read marketing copy isn’t the same as what works when they hear it. If you have people talking in your video, make sure they’re using words people normally hear, not read.
  4. Step away from the Camera! Ever hear the one about the world-class accountant who was also a video expert? Neither did we. By and large, most people should never attempt to shoot a video, not because they’re not enthusiastic, but because they’re simply not good at it. Call up the local wedding videographer and see what he’s doing on a Tuesday. You’ll find him eager (at a good price) to shoot your commercial, bio, newsletter, with his professional equipment and trained eye. You write the script and direct it.
  5. At Least Edit. If you prefer to do your own video (and some people will have a talent for it) then be sure to also edit it. Get a Mac, fire up iMovie, and clean it up. Watch your video at least ten times; then start trimming. Use special effects sparingly, but add a little introduction and closing text so people can contact you for more information.
  6. Be Real. If you’re demonstrating your products, show people actually using it, living in it, enjoying it. If you’re doing a weekly video newsletter, have it shot from your desk or your conference room. Be normal, real, and lightly scripted. Take viewers off their guard with your genuine personality.
  7. Forget about Time. Recent research by Comscoreby Comscore shows that people are actually watching longer videos, not shorter ones, but only if they’re high quality. So stop trying to jam it into one minute, when you can keep people’s attention for two minutes. Combine a good story with high definition recording and crisp, clear audio (use wireless mics), and you’ll find people will watch the whole video.
  8. Create a Board of “Directors.” Some videos are more important than others. You can probably shoot your video blog right from your laptop, and post to YouTube without much planning. Others might make or break your marketing plan for the entire year. Consider gathering some trusted advisors into a “board of directors” who can help you storyboard, script and critique your videos (before and after you shoot). Many minds make better movies.
  9. Skip the Voiceover. If you’re going to talk in your video, then let’s see your lips moving. Even if your voice track continues over some subsequent imagery, be sure to let the audience see you (or whomever is speaking) to start. People pay more attention when they see a person speaking. That’s why we have newscasters rather than a still photo narrated by a radio personality on our television sets.
  10. Watch Great Videos. If you want ideas for storylines, copywriting and editing great videos, go watch some great videos. Get out of your product category, to see how other industries deliver compelling video for luxury fragrances, hotels, even technology. Some of Apple’s videos are downright sensual; and it’s only a laptop!

So there are ten more ways you can make your videos even better. We hope they help. Perhaps you have an idea or two you’d like to share? Please add them to the comments below!

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