Have you ever asked someone for a recipe because the dish was so wonderful? They shared it with a smile, and you had every expectation that you’d soon be enjoying the same delectable dessert or entree in your own home. It soon became apparent the recipe was missing something—an ingredient or technique that the instructions failed to convey. When you asked about it, you got the, “Oh… I forgot to tell you, I add a little…” or “I find the recipe works better if I do…”
Producing quality video content is like a recipe as well. As your video production company we will not leave you with that “Oh… I forgot…” experience. Our video production goal is to ensure you understand every ingredient and what it does so you don’t have to work from an exact recipe. Instead, you’ll have the flexibility of the cook who whips up masterpieces because he or she doesn’t have to follow the recipe exactly. It’s our techniques used preparing the dish that transform it into extraordinary.
A. Identify your target.
When you do this, you’ve mastered one of the most important techniques to recipe success. Your audio may be clear. The video may be sharp. However, if the message isn’t target specific, it’s mostly wasted effort.
Inc. recommends you study your current customers to understand why they buy from you. Consider the most profitable segment of those customers and people like them as the focus of your message.
Ask yourself these questions to identify your market. Following these steps is like finding the best ingredients for your recipe.
1. What need(s) does my service or product meet?
Stop trying to attract everyone with your video. Embrace the fact your product or service may be more attractive to a specific group of people.
2. Who are the groups I need to attract?
Chuck Cohn recommends putting funnels in place that filter for the customer you want. For example, you may need to attract men only, or you may need to interest the women buying for them. The message would be different to attract women buyers. Your perfect customer might be in the 20 to 30–year range, so attracting baby boomers might be something you prefer to avoid.
As you consider which filters to put in place, focus on narrowing the target your video will concentrate upon. “You can experiment with the order of the sieves and different combinations of filters to see whether you receive a different final result,” says Cohn. “These final groups you arrive at will make it easier to find the sweet spot that is the intersection of ‘highly interested’ and ‘able to buy.’”
3. What are our primary value propositions?
As you consider the benefits of your product or service, you may find groups you overlooked asking the first two questions. Consider whether this new information should become the focus of your video, or whether it provides complementary information.
4. Do I already have data that will help me choose a target?
If you answer is yes, then use it. If not, consider hiring “a marketing firm to help you gather preliminary data,” says Cohn. You want to be sure you identify “promising demographic groups.” PatraCompany can be that inbound marketing firm and your video production agency.
5. Have I explored diverse perspectives?
The more angles you explore at this stage, the better you’ll be prepared to use the next essential ingredient in the recipe for producing quality video content.
B. Develop a creative script.
Your script is where you bring all your research together and ensure the end result will appeal to your target. You should choose a length that allows you to deliver you message while respecting the “correlation between video length and viewer drop-off.” Keep under 30 seconds, and you’ll still have 75% of your viewers. However, drop-off tapers between the 1-minute and 5-minute mark, so keep your message your first priority in choosing length.
If you can deliver the message in 30 seconds, go for it. Otherwise, focus on one message and do it in a way that resonates with your target audience.
Tap into creative ideas.
YouTube comedian and song parody producer Josh Rimer shares four tips for upping your creativity as you develop your scripts. We’ve tweaked them to reflect some ideas he didn’t cover.
- React to your audience.
Rimer’s right when he says putting up “everything whether it is good or not… is a good way to learn, but it's also a very slow way to grow subscribers.” So if your instincts say it isn’t good, and audience reaction confirms it (lack of interest, no shares, no tweets, etc.) you may as well pull your video. It probably will take a few tries before you discover what resonates.
- Don’t fear structure.
It creates a framework upon which to organize the creative elements. Consider how popular TED Talks are, yet how structured.
- Morph one video idea into other types of video.
Let’s say your first video is a ‘TED Talks’ style presentation. That will be challenging and who wants all that hard work to go to waste. Retaining your focus on your target audience, write a new Q&A script. Write a behind the scenes video. Explore the explainer video format. (It could be far more creative than most people make it.)
- Hold creative brain-storming sessions.
Look at what your competition is doing. Swap ideas from your friends and coworkers.
Other script elements to be sure you include a greeting and sign-off. The ending could be ‘boiler plate’ content to help build your brand, but don’t use the same opening blurb for every video. Get your message up front. You only have 8 seconds to get interest, so wasting it on, “Hi, this is [name] with [name of business] wastes too much time. Names can come after you’ve capture interest.
When you have a good script, it helps everyone involved. You won’t suffer from “too many recipe readers in the kitchen” issues. Everyone will be able to see where they fit. That leads us to the next essential ingredient—pre-production.
Take time for pre-production prep.
We’ve already discussed two of the important pre-production steps—targeting your audience and writing your script. Here are some additional tasks that you need to complete before video day arrives.
- Set your budget.
Knowing how much you can spend builds a foundation for gathering the right team to produce your video. It informs whether you do the work in-house or hire an external video production firm.
- Make up a storyboard for the video.
Drafting a series of rough sketches to match the script helps you visualize the shoot so you develop a strong visual presentation. It helps you identify all the essential video participants. It enables you to recognize where scenes shift perspective. It also aids you in organizing any sets you may need.
- Break the script into essential shots and angles.
The storyboard broke the script into scenes. Now creating a shot list enables you to manage each scene for elements such as camera angle and lighting direction.
- Choose the equipment.
If you’re working with a video production company, they’ll do this for you after reviewing the storyboard and shot list. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a list of what you have and see if there’s anything missing.
- Line up your talent.
With the importance of being real so essential today, consider using your own people. A nervous company employee isn’t the worst thing to see on a video, especially if you want your viewers to resonate with your audience.
- Draft a production schedule.
You’re ready now to set dates, times and locations for the shots you’ve come up with. Also assign equipment to each shot, and identify the talent for each shot and their contact information. By putting all this information into one location, it’s easier to keep the video production on schedule.
Other considerations during pre-production include whether studio or location filming fits your brand most effectively. Studio work may cost less; however, location filming could be more energetic. If that’s important consider moving out of the ‘office.’
Choosing studio versus location is a bit like comparing a plate of bakery cookies to homemade. Both may be delicious. It all depends upon the bakery’s ingredients and the love put into their cookies.
Focus on the technical elements.
The day’s arrived. The script has been worked and reworked until it’s perfect. All the equipment is in place. The talent’s there, and everyone knows what to do and when. Now it’s time to ensure the little things don’t ruin the final product.
Your equipment enables effective technique as you mix up your recipe to a perfect video. Here are the essential components.
- A steady camera
A smartphone or tablet can work. High-end digital phones can work as well. You don’t have to use an expensive video camera. Just be sure your camera does not bounce around. Video movement is distracting, and even with ‘anti-shake’ technology, there’s no guarantee you’ll achieve an acceptable viewing experience.
- A good microphone setup.
Clear audio is essential. Speech must always be foremost. Silence in the background isn’t essential. Balance where the music never competes with the speaker is. If you use music, always make it complimentary to the human voice.
- Flattering lighting.
This is big! Shadows in the wrong places can transform your talent into ghouls. When PatraCompany produces video, we light to complement your talent.
Paying attention to these three details on production day will make postproduction far easier.
Don’t overlook postproduction.
Even if your video looks great to you, postproduction is an important component of any video project. It’s the step where you add the finishing touches and catch anything that would detract from the effectiveness of your message. As you review the steps below, it’s clear post-production takes time. Never rush through this stage.
- Make sure you have all the video.
- Edit video to match the script.
This includes deleting bloopers, replacing video of the talent with screenshots from their PowerPoint presentation, etc.
- Review first rough cut.
Send the video out to coworkers and/or friends for feedback.
- Revise if necessary and resubmit for review.
(You may repeat steps 3 and 4 more than once.)
- Add title sequence and credit list.
The title sequence at the front of the video is optional. You may prefer to just jump in and not waste those precious seconds. However, be sure to give your video a title for SEO purposes. Do make sure there is a credit list at the end for all the talent you worked with—including the filming company if you used one.
- Review and ‘lock’ the visual.
Your video is nearing completion. Voice audio may also be locked at this stage.
- Add music (if desired).
Music, especially during the intro and credits, enlivens a video. Choose it carefully so it complements your target audience and your brand concurrently. If you have a company ‘jingle,’ you may want to use an instrumental version at the intro and the vocal at the end.
- Evaluate the sound.
- Consider a voice over, if the voice track fails to meet standards.
- Watch for music competing with the voice track.
- Use silence, when appropriate, as your background.
- Finalize rough sound mix.
Ask others to evaluate the mix.
- Make any changes, reevaluate and finalize the video.
Revision time isn’t wasted time. It’s an investment toward giving the best to your audience.
It isn’t that complex a recipe. It’s your techniques and team in addition to your ingredients that produce quality video. When you master both, you’ll join the ranks of those video makers everyone else envies.
Embrace your learning curve. Every great chef started just where you are—and so did those other people producing video today. Get started by downloading this Simple Guide to Video Blogging below.