The online video movement and growing popularity of Web sites such as YouTube have created an environment where literally anyone can be a producer. In some cases, all it takes is an inexpensive recording device and a catchy idea to capture the millions of eyeballs online. Viral marketing kicks in, viewers send the clips to their friends and colleagues, and before you know it you have a hit on your hands.
Unfortunately, for every “hit” video that resides on the Web there are millions of other clips that go unnoticed. Poor production techniques are often to blame, and can often lead to dismal results. After all, today’s discerning consumers knows the difference between a well-thought-out production and one that was thrown together in 10 minutes.
To ensure that your videos reach their intended audience and keep viewers engaged, here are 10 production strategies to start using right now:
1. Create a Focused Message First
Before the camera even starts rolling, make sure your online video goals coincide with your firm’s overall marketing efforts. Communicate those goals through the video, and get to the point quickly (online video watchers have extremely short attention spans!). “If your products and services target people of color,” says Mary Spio, president of Orlando-based Gen2Media, a digital content creation firm, “then make sure your video includes credible testimonials from people who reflect that target audience.”
2. Take the Professional Approach
The casual nature of the Web may tempt you to create online videos that contain inappropriate humor or graphics, but Spio says any firm worth its salt will avoid such temptations. “Bad grammar, poor video quality, and unprofessional content will reflect poorly on your business,” she says. “Your customers are looking for content from a trusted source, and a lack of professionalism translates to a lack of credibility.”
3. Write a Script
It may look like the people in YouTube videos are ad-libbing their lines, but the reality is that many of them develop and rehearse scripts before rolling the camera. A script will help you figure out what you want to tell your viewers, and serves as a foundation for the entire video clip. Take your time developing this aspect of your video and you’ll thank yourself later, when it comes time to put the words and movements into action.
4. Pay Attention to Length
Filling a three- to five-minute video clip with useful information is harder than it looks. When you’re writing your script, be sure to factor in word count. Someone speaking formal English, for example, typically does so at a rate of 100 words per minute. To fill a three-minute video you’ll want to come up with a script that’s around 300 words in length (use your MS Word’s counting feature to make sure you’re in the ballpark).