When it comes to attracting attention and influencing decisions, video is among the most powerful of media. 75% of corporate executives surveyed by Forbes said that they watch at least one video related to their work per week, and 65% of these decision-makers often head directly to a sponsor’s website thereafter. A full 90% of online shoppers surveyed find video features helpful in making purchasing decisions, and top retailers regularly find that these assets directly boost sales levels.
Creating a high-quality video that turns viewers into customers is well within the means of businesses of every scale and industry. Observing some straightforward, practical tips relating to planning, video production, and follow-up can turn what can seem like a confusing process into a simple one.
1. Define Your Goals and Audience Explicitly
Corporate videos can be used for a range of purposes, from employee training to brand-building exercises. Here, though, we are concerned with those that are meant to develop new customers for a company.
Typically, that will mean producing a video aimed at shoring up a weak spot in an existing sales pipeline or at seizing another kind of opportunity, and being clear about these goals from the start is a good way of lending useful direction to the process. Understanding that prospective customers are likely to find a new product confusing, for example, can serve as a helpful driving force behind the creation of a video that lays out the offering’s advantages in clear, effective ways.
Be very specific about your target audience and how your company or products can help solve their problems. Virtually every moment of the video you eventually create should focus on conveying this.
2. Think About What Makes Your Company and Products Interesting
Every company has much that will appeal to and engage outside audiences. As you start planning your video, think about assets of this sort that will give the production its substance and impact.
Strong customer testimonials, for example, can pique the interest of viewers who relate to and respect those interviewed. Good product breakdowns can quickly, effectively expose what is distinctive and appealing about products that are challenging to explain by other means. Your company’s industry-specific expertise and knowledge can be leveraged to create a whole range of interesting videos that will have inherent value and interest to your intended audience.
3. Look for Inspiration from Elsewhere
While your company will have plenty to offer to viewers on its own account, do not be afraid of seeking inspiration and direction from elsewhere. Familiarize yourself with a range of videos from within your industry, analyzing what works and what doesn’t. Take the good wherever you find it and simultaneously look for ways of standing out from the crowd as you do so.
4. Remember That Video is Special
Utilized properly, video is a high-impact medium that can generate impressive results in terms of converting and motivating customers. You need to play to video’s strengths as you develop your plans, though, so as not to produce something that does not live up to its potential.
Your video should be short and free of fluff in the end. Even videos directed at specialized, invested audiences should typically be five minutes or less in length if they are to have a real impact. Videos meant for wide distribution and maximal sharing potential on sites like Youtube should generally have runtimes of two minutes or less.
Video is about grabbing the viewer’s full attention for a relatively short period of time and making the most of it. Keep that in mind as you move forward and use that knowledge to guide the process.
5. Craft Your Script Carefully
More than any other single thing you do, the script you create for your corporate video will determine the ultimate success of the project. Contrary to what some expect, a good script should include direction for every foreseeable detail, from camera shots to backgrounds, instead of just including the lines that will be spoken or displayed. Even if you later modify or abandon some of these strictures, having thought about them and laid them down will benefit the project in the end.
When writing those lines, keep in mind the difference between spoken and written text, where appropriate. Speak lines aloud after writing them and have others do the same so you can get a feel for their likely impact in the finished product. People read more quickly than they speak, so you can sometimes stretch out a little more with on-screen text, but you should generally stay focused on tight, direct messaging.
Above all else, put a real effort into your script. It is fine to plan on allowing for some ad-libbing from actors for a more natural feel, but do not take a hands-off approach in general. Thinking about and creating plans in the form of the script is a low-cost activity that produces immense returns.
6. Ask For Outside Opinions Before You Proceed
Even with a great-seeming script in hand, it pays to ask for second opinions. Those who have not taken part in the project’s development will inevitably be able to point out things that are likely to confuse or put off viewers in the end, and they will often have fresh, useful suggestions of other sorts to offer, too. Make sure to get opinions from those who are likely to reflect your eventual audience, but almost anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort can be helpful.
7. Make Good Use of Outside Help Where Appropriate
Many successful, high-quality corporate videos have been produced with little more than internal resources. Almost invariably, though, professionals who specialize in the field will be able to provide valuable help through the process that will pay off in the end.
With a strong script in hand, you are in a good position to see what they might have to offer, and typically at no risk to your business. Be realistic about your own organization’s ability to see the project through successfully, and think about what these specialists might be able to provide. Saved time is saved money, in the end, and a final product whose quality exceeds what you would have been able to deliver on your own can be extremely valuable.
8. Production Values Really Do Matter
Even a great script won’t save a video that is hard to watch or understand because of production problems. Capturing clear, comprehensible audio is of critical importance to the effectiveness of the final product, but it can be more difficult to do than many amateurs would suppose.
Review the results of your initial efforts to make sure you are on track toward creating an appealing, powerful video in the end. You may decide at this point that your existing team is not up to the task of producing a video that meets the standards of your organization, and this can be a great time to put a hold on things and look for more capable help with the project.
9. Stay Involved and Provide Feedback and Direction
Whether working with an outside specialist or handling things on your own, it is critical that you provide proactive direction throughout the process. A good, detailed script will help with this, but you should be just as much able to deviate it from it when the realities of production make this the better choice. Professionals will be happy to have you giving feedback that results in a better, more satisfying video in the end.
10. Focus of All Kinds is Important
Wide shots can seem dramatic or otherwise compelling, but it is close-in, detailed video that typically engages and persuades viewers the most. For a corporate video that is meant to convert customers, shots of the latter type should almost always predominate. Don’t dilute your video’s impact with too much scene-setting or far-off focus. Prefer tight shots of products and intimate-feeling footage of actors.
11. Keep Things Simple and On-Course
It can be tempting to elaborate as production proceeds, adding on extra detail as you go. Beware of too much of this, however, as being involved with a video’s creation can contribute to a myopia that viewers will not share. Remember that your script fared well with those who looked at it and trust it to keep you on the right track.
12. Cut and Cut Some More
Even with that kind of discipline, you will invariably produce video that will be better kept out of the final product. Steel yourself from the start to leave much of this behind as you edit or have it done for you. Cutting video is every bit as important as filming it in the first place, as you work toward a tight, precisely crafted final product that will hold a viewer’s attention throughout.
13. Work Just as Hard at Getting Your Video Out There
Creating a corporate video that you are proud of is only part of the battle. You will need to be just as energetic and dedicated to making sure that others get a chance to view it as you were when producing it.
Get your sales teams on board as soon as the video is ready to go, having them pass the links on to their contacts. Make sure to get links up on your corporate website and consider creating a dedicated video library section if your output merits it. Send strong press releases to local journalists, those dedicated to your industry’s beat, or any other person with a built-in audience who might be interested in what your video has to offer.
14. Take Full Advantage of the Power of Sharing and Social Networks
Even if your video is directed at a specialized, relatively staid audience, make sure to put it out there on all the social networks that make sense. As long as you avoid spamming or being underhanded, you have little to lose and potentially a whole lot to gain.
Engage with those who do share and comment on your video. Be authentic, but show appreciation for the attention your creation has received. If your video happens to really take off, be prepared to handle that success gracefully and in a way that reflects well on your organization.
15. Take Stock of the Results and Learn From Them
You will invariably have made a few mistakes along the way, so be explicit about what they were and how they can be improved upon in the future. Whether working with a professional or tackling the job in-house, these lessons will give your next project an even greater chance of success.
Be realistic about the returns you experienced from the project, and look for ways to measure them as precisely as possible, whether in the form of web analytics or customer surveys. Think about how what you have learned can inform your video-centered strategies for the future.