Video has undoubtedly become the internet’s choice medium for visual communication. If you’ve read our blog post about why video content marketing is important for your organization, you already know a few daunting facts. In case you needed more convincing, consider the following:
Last year 188.2 million Americans viewed 50 billion online videos per month
76% of American marketers who don’t have video are planning to add
and by 2017, 90% of all internet traffic will be online video
In short, video content is necessary to maintain an online presence. If you don’t have video and you’re not a part of that 76%, you should be. But, even if you are a part of that 76%, or included in the 49% of marketers planning to enlarge their video budgets this year, it can be hard to know what to do with all of that video to be made. While it’s easy to meet the minimum requirements, here are 3 simple and useful tips to help you produce video content that efficiently communicates in a powerful way.
Identify Your Message - What's Your Story?
While this may seem like a no brainer, the difference between an unsuccessful video and a successful one usually comes down to a) being sure of what you want to say, and b) sticking to it. It’s best to keep it simple, and it’s imperative to make sure it’s a message that can be told through video. When you have something to communicate, you should always show it and not tell it. Take a look at this video from The City As A Startup Conference in Las Vegas.
Instead of having the Venture For America Fellows and Team Members tell the camera about their experience at the conference, exit-interview style, they got to use GoPro cameras to show us their experience. This not only tells their story visually, but also underscores VFA’s identity as a place for progressive thinkers.
Be Intentional - Less Is More
Like I said earlier, making a successful video means knowing your message and sticking to it. When thinking about how to best capture an experience, it’s tempting to want to get footage of everything. Every. Last. Detail. But not only is that a nightmare for your editor, it’s a sure way to end up with a viewer reaction of “So what?” At that point what you have is much less a story and more like an inventory of actions for the editor to wade through and make meaning of. Don’t rely on your editor to find your message in the footage. Instead, be decisive in what you choose to record and the message will be self-evident. Think of the shots you need to best tell your story, and write them down in advance. Having a shot list takes the guesswork out of decided what to shoot on the day of, and cuts out a lot of fluff footage in advance. This way, the editor spends less time looking for the story and can focus on how best to tell it.
What You Think You Want vs What You Really Need
Imagine you’re making a video of an award ceremony; clearly getting the presentation of the award on camera is a priority. But what do you think is a more compelling video, documenting the ceremony’s proceedings or telling the story of what it means to have your work recognized and celebrated? Adding reaction shots of a recipient’s eyes when her name is called, or the applause from a particularly supportive audience member, is a good way to incorporate emotion to show your viewers what’s at stake and why it matters.
Having something to identify with gives the viewer an opportunity to relate their own experiences to what they’re watching. Making sure your audience has something to project themselves onto can be as simple as rethinking the shots you want. Let’s take some shots from Part 2 of Reid Pletcher's TernPro Adventure Series to use as examples. If you haven’t already read the blog post or seen any of the videos, we gave former NCAA Nordic Ski Champion Reid Pletcher a GoPro camera to capture his 800 mile roller skating through Europe.
The first image is taken from POV shots of Reid skating through Switzerland (notice the gorgeous Alps in the distance, how scenic!). But where’s the point of entry for the viewer to get more involved than admiring the view? Now, look at the second image, a still from the same sequence. Simply moving the camera from a chest to a pole mount gives you both the scenery and the subject in the same frame. While both shots are from a camera moving through space, the first frame emphasizes the space while the second frame emphasizes this man’s journey through the space. Juxtaposing Reid’s figure against mountains in the background builds a visual relationship that underscores the video’s sense of adventure.
Identify your message. Be intentional. Give your audience a reason (and a way) to care. Keeping these three tenets in mind through every decision made during the production process is a sure way to produce clear, focused, and engaging content. Whether you're behind the camera or behind the purse, sticking to these core ideas will make your workflow easier while taking the mystery away from getting great results.