Video is a marketer’s best friend now that Internet bandwidth is such that nearly anyone with an advanced mobile phone, let alone a computer, can watch a shiny, high-definition video in the comfort of their own home or while on the go (hopefully not while driving).
But just because we can make videos doesn’t mean we should simply record something with a $100 Flip camera and then post it up to YouTube. Besides the obvious lack of professionalism in producing anything that isn’t cleanly finished – even something designed to look avant-garde – your video needs to properly convey a message. In other words, you can’t simply expect to flip on a video camera, wander around your office and product, and think it’ll be all over the Web within minutes.
For starters, you’ll want to invest in someone with some video editing skills. Gaining them yourself isn’t a bad idea, but sometimes it’s best to find a partner truly skilled in your line of work.
From there, you’ll want to figure out what your video should cover and who it should reach. An outline will help you ensure you don’t miss anything, while a general idea of your intended audience will make sure you don’t miss your mark.
That’s the easy part. Now you need to put it together!
Think of your video as a short movie. You don’t need Guy Ritchie or the late John Frankenheimer to create a masterpiece, although BMW sure thought they did about a decade ago. A pioneer in the world of online video marketing, BMW created a series of eight films produced by various directors starring Clive Owen. With a huge budget, the automaker created a new genre – the product placement-heavy online film. With the ability of social media to take something viral – to spread it across a wide audience – the possibilities are even more endless today.
What made those BMW films so successful was that they had a compelling story with great visuals and a terrific soundtrack. Like a press release, a good video tells a story – it entertains and informs. Unlike a press release, a video is considerably more resource intensive to put together.
A big budget won’t hurt, but great videos can also be done on the cheap. Rhett and Link, a pair of independent filmmakers, made a storm a few years ago when they began creating entertaining, low budget ads for small businesses. Underwritten by a consultancy, Rhett and Link travel the country creating comical ads that, while they might not always paint the prettiest picture, certainly engage audiences and build enthusiasm. They’ve been so successful that their efforts have spawned their own brand new TV show on IFC.
Your videos don’t necessarily need to follow their gritty style, but they should grasp audiences in a similar way by telling a story – like a mini-movie with a real plot. Good visuals, an appropriate soundtrack and, beyond all, an engaging storyline will ensure your success.
Otherwise, you might wind up with a Hollywood flop of your own.