6 Preproduction Tips To Help You Create Professional-looking Videos
I'm going to start off this post with a few interesting statistics that prove the effectiveness of video content:
Almost 80% of people watch videos online every week
Over 55% of people actually view online videos every single day
By the year 2020, over 80% of all consumer online traffic will be made up of online videos
YouTube is second only to Google in terms of online traffic
Knowing these statistics, you would think that almost every online marketer would be running to create videos to promote their products and services. However, the reason most people don't take advantage of video - even when faced with all these amazing statistics proving its effectiveness - is that video production isn't an easy or affordable task.
A lot of people set out to incorporate video into their overall marketing strategy but are crippled by costs and they don't always understand the entire process of creating effective videos that bring real results, either.
Why is this so?
Because a lot of marketers don't understand that the most important aspect of any video production workflow has to do with the stuff that happens before the camera even starts rolling!
When it comes to creating high-quality, professional-looking, effective video content, most of the magic takes place in pre-production. This is the planning and logistics stage of any video project. If you don't get all this stuff that happens before hitting the record button right, nothing that happens afterward is going to turn out as well as it could have.
The video will still get shot, and even though pre-production might not break the video, it's certain to break your budget, particularly if you don't do proper due diligence.
If you've ever gone to a hairdressing salon carrying a picture to help explain to the hairdresser or barber exactly what you want, then you understand what pre-production can do for you.
It’s simply where the image is put together of what you hope to accomplish when the video is done.
When you stop to think about it, isn’t it absurd to expect to create a knockout video when you don't have an actual plan of how you go about doing it?
The good news is that a lot of marketers have already gone through this process and they've learned from their mistakes to come up with a foolproof series of steps which allows you to save time, money and frustration when creating videos.
Without any further ado, here are the best video pre-production tips to help you get started (after you’ve got your idea for an awesome video project, of course):
Tip #1: Clearly Define Your Audience
Defining your audience is always the first step in ensuring that you’re creating the right type of content for the right people. So whether you want a more targeted video or deeper insights from your Google ads, this should be your first step.
Just don't fall into the common trap of having assumptions that ‘certain’ customers want to see ‘certain’ content.
The process of being able to define an audience is one that is complex and it often includes creating a buyer persona. Your audience is, after all, more than just a single customer who has one interest. You're targeting a group of people who likely have many overlapping interests that you'll be able to exploit in your video content planning.
No matter who you're targeting, it's important that you have various buyer personas for your business.
Being able to narrow down your video viewers to just a single specific buyer persona as opposed to a generic audience will greatly impact your ability to create a video that is a lot more targeted and ultimately more effective in the long run.
There's a simple reason behind this:
When you write your video script with one person in mind, it allows you to easily tell a story that is authentic and relatable.
Oftentimes marketers create campaigns that are designed to try to include everyone, but if you do this, the result will be a video that is interesting to no one.
You just cannot please all the people all the time, so don't even try.
What you want to do instead is to craft the message in your video toward your buyer persona:
What do they find entertaining?
What are their interests?
How does your product or service relate to them?
How can you help them?
Tip #2: Craft a Clear Message
While it's critical to know your audience and define your target market, it's just as important to clearly understand and clarify your message. In other words, you should not try to cram everything that can be said into one short animated explainer video.
Since your business is made up of a lot of moving parts, it's likely that you will need many different videos for various purposes.
For instance, you may need to create one explainer video giving potential customers a demonstration of your product. You may also need to create a product demo video that helps to bring new visitors on your site up to speed with the product or service that you’re offering.
The last thing you want to do is to try explaining what you do, selling your service, and bringing up case studies all at once.
You'll never be able to do that effectively in the same video. So focus on creating a tailored video that has one specific message as well as a clear goal, and you will find that it's going to be a lot more effective over the long-term.
Tip #3: Decide on Your Budget
Now that you have clearly defined your audience and crafted your message, it's time to gauge your budget.
Doing this at the beginning helps to ensure that you won't come across any issues later on or inadvertently go over what you can actually afford. In addition to that, vagueness in this area means that it's going to be nearly impossible for you to manage expectations.
They are some aspects of video creation that are pricier than others. Because of this, you might end up overdoing things in one of the elements while another element suffers. This is particularly true if you're trying to create video content that includes third-party interviews, voice-overs, and so on.
Of course, right about now you’re probably thinking:
Why don’t I just cut costs by quickly whipping up a video using my smartphone with my mom and friends as the cast and crew?
But just bear in mind that when it comes to brand perception, no video at all is better than a poor quality video.
Here are some statistics for you to consider:
Over 20% of people who've been presented with an experience involving poor quality video hesitate to purchase from that brand
Over 60% of consumers state that they are dissuaded from engaging with a brand that presented them with a poor video experience (and this is across all of its social channels)
Over 55% said they wouldn't share a poor quality video online!
Whether you're doing the video yourself or working with pros a tone of the good production companies, having a good idea of what your budget is ahead of time, lets you narrow down on the things that you can and can't do for your video project.
Tip #4: Write Your Video Script
A lot of people have great big ideas when it comes to video creation, but they're not very adept at breaking those ideas down into a coherent video script. This is one of the main, and most important parts of pre-production which is often understated.
Once your script is written, it's time to critique and revise it – and then critique some more.
If you work with other people in your team, this is the time to get everyone involved so that you have input on what you're trying to say to customers from other members of your marketing team that actually speak to those customers on an individual basis.
So whether your video is basic or if it has a lot of moving parts, once you get this aspect right, everything else will fall into place. Your video script needs to take center stage and that will make your production complete.
By the time you get to post-production, your script for the video might have gone through several drafts, but you can be sure it'll give you a solid base to create from.
If you're doing this on your own, it might be a good idea to get some professional input at this point. There are a lot of professional video scriptwriters on Fiverr and other freelancing sites who will be able to help you at a very affordable price.
Tip #5: Always Include a Greeting and a Sign-off
Videos today are very different from the traditional TV infomercial doused with blatant calls to action.
Business videos are now smarter and subtler. Of course, there's always a place for a few friendly reminders here and there, and that's one of the reasons why you need to create greetings and sign-offs for your videos.
These are a subtle way of promoting your business and helping to push your audience toward the main objective of the video. So whatever goal you’re working toward, make sure you incorporate it into the greeting and sign-off of your video.
Just don't be too subtle with your request as this can actually take away from your conversions.
No matter how emotionally captivating your video is, and even if it goes viral, without a compelling call to action to show viewers the direction of their next step, the video will lose its momentum as well as potential sales for your business.
So basically all you have to do is strike a balance and find that sweet spot between over-promotion and subtleness.
But how? (I hear you ask)
Just create your video the way you would normally.
Don't include any calls to action.
And then, when the content comes to a close, that's when you ask your viewer to take some sort of action – whether that's clicking a link, making a purchase, or visiting your website.
Tip #6: Get to the Point
We live in an era of disappearing messages loaded with filters and stickers on Instagram and Snapchat.
The vast majority of us suffer from ADHD induced by smartphones and it's vital for marketers to understand that video viewers are going to click away from videos after just a few seconds unless you're able to grab their attention and hold it.
We live in an era of disappearing messages loaded with filters and stickers on Instagram and Snapchat. The vast majority of us suffer from ADHD induced by smartphones and it's vital for marketers to understand that video viewers are going to click away from videos after just a few seconds unless you're able to grab their attention and hold it.
I'm sure you’ve experienced this yourself when a video starts playing online. If it's not relevant to you and if it doesn't arrest your attention in the first couple of seconds, your attention waivers and you lose interest.
It's important to keep in mind when making videos that the average human attention span online is just under eight seconds (less than that of goldfish…) Fortunately for video creators, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Eight seconds of video is more than enough for a brief greeting stating who the speaker is, the name of the brand they are representing, and what they are going to talk about.
An Alternative Method
There are some scriptwriters who prefer to immediately kick viewers into a tornado of excitement that keeps them engaged long enough for them to want to hear their ‘why’ later on in the video.
They refer to this as 'mid-res', which is short for 'in medias res', which basically means 'in the middle of things'.
No matter which of these approaches you choose, it's important that you do everything you can to get your audience to stay for the ‘why’ of your video. This is the reason why viewers are going to benefit from whatever product or service you are offering. It's the problem that your business can solve for them - the desire that it can fulfill, and so on.
I don't know if I still have to state it at this point, but this is THE most important part of your video!
We've come to the end of the article, and if you've decided to incorporate video into your marketing strategy, now you have six very good tips that you can use to help ensure the success of your video creation efforts in the future.
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