We talk a lot about the different types of videos you can create for your business. You know, the usual. Brand videos, social videos, testimonials, and the like. But what do you do when you can’t think of any more ideas? Or, what if you’re trying to make a social video and you can’t get inspired to come up with even 30 seconds of content, never mind a minute and a half?
While there are plenty of tried-and-true video types and tactics, many of which we’ve covered here, sometimes it can be hard to get that much-needed spark of inspiration. Even if you know you’re trying to create a video with a cookie-cutter structure, like a lifestyle video, coming up with something that isn’t just derivative can be hard.
That’s why sometimes you need to think outside the box – or frame, if you will. Here are some excellent, guaranteed “anti-box” tactics you can use to spark your own video creativity!
1. Stock up some hilarity with stock footage.
Stock footage has gotten a bad rap over the years as being overly cheesy, but the truth of the matter is, there’s so much stock footage now, simple stereotypes about it can’t possibly apply. It’s like saying all YouTube videos are the same – it just isn’t possible from a numerical point of view.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of cheesy or silly stock footage out there. Just a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Chargers used it to great comedic effect, and if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next video, you can too.
Try scrolling through a “bad stock footage” library to find clips that make you buckle over laughing. Then, use that footage as a jumping off point to create clever, self aware social videos to promote on your company’s Instagram or Facebook.
2. Interview your employees (and customers) for ideas.
Just because you’re the one on your team heading up the video marketing effort doesn’t mean all the ideas have to come from you. Inspiration, after all, can come from all sorts of places – so why not interview your fellow employees and customers on what they love about your company or what stands out to them?
By polling your customers and employees about their favorite aspects of your business, you can get both an outside, semi-objective view of your company, as well as creative ideas for key elements to focus a video on. You can even ask them about pain points or negative aspects of your industry that you can address in a new video.
Plus, if you capture these interviews on camera, you might have enough material for a traditional customer testimonial or employee spotlight video, which are powerful video marketing tools in their own right.
3. Create employee profiles to generate docu-style content.
If you’re feeling particularly documentarian, you could even create a company profile and follow an employee around all day with a camera (with their permission, of course). If you do this with a couple employees in different departments, you could create a video series like this brilliant one from SNL that focuses on different aspects of your business:
You don’t have to work in the high-speed world of live television to have a compelling and interesting company profile story. Actually, if you work in a lesser-known industry, your company profiles might be more interesting because they’re less documented. Everyone says they don’t want to know “how the sausage gets made,” but do you really think they wouldn’t watch if you filmed a documentary about it?
(Maybe don’t make a documentary on actual sausage making if that’s what you do. Remember – this is just an expression…)
4. Change the perspective of your storyteller.
Want to make something less traditional?
Making a company profile from the point of view of you or your company’s CEO might seem like a no-brainer. But this has been done to death – maybe you’ve already created that specific company profile and want to create something different. Changing the perspective of the storyteller can help you tell a more unique story, turning this format on its head.
What does your company look like from the eyes of the office dog? What does Rufus see at work? Friendly, loving humans working together and having fun? A comfortable place to call home? If you’re trying to recruit new employees or win over online fans, those seem like some great selling points.
What about a customer that’s frustrated with the service other companies are providing? What do they see when they work with you? Maybe you can show what’s different or unique about your product or service from their point of view. You could even use actual customer testimonials to help with this angle.
Depending on the type of business you manage, you could even take the perspective of an inanimate object. For example, if you’re a hip and trendy startup, you might have beer (or kombucha) on tap. What does your office look like from the P.O.V of this new-age water cooler? While silly, it could be a fun way to show off your company’s culture and employees’ unique personalities. Just remember – no drinking while on set (unless it’s kombucha).
5. Watch other industry videos or video formats.
Inspiration comes from everywhere – but if you get inspiration from your peers, you want to be careful not to carbon-copy exactly what they’re doing. That’s why you should watch plenty of narrative films, documentaries, TV shows, or even marketing videos from companies in other industries for outside inspiration.
You might see a film technique from a Netflix show that gets you really excited to incorporate in your own marketing video, or you might get inspired by a popular Youtube personality with a cool format for his show that you want to emulate for your company. These type of inspirations are referred to as homage, or if you’re taking a comedic spin on the format or technique in question, parody, and can be great starting points to build off of.
These homages and parodies can be fun for social videos, or used to create buzz-worthy advertisements. Even some of the best lifestyle and brand videos include cinematic homage in them. When trying to convey a specific feeling, one of the best shorthands is to borrow from the greats that have come before.
6. Take a run or go for a drive.
A lot of research and first-hand accounts have covered how exercise or changing up your environment in general can help spark creativity. If you find yourself in a creative rut or stuck against a wall creatively on your latest video project, go for a run. Even going for a walk can help stimulate new ideas. Both are great ways to shake up the landscape and get your creativity flowing. Plus, the physical exercise helps superpower your brain, too.
If you hate running, you can also try going for a drive. The adrenaline that comes with watching beautiful environments fly by, or the tedium of being stuck in traffic, can sometimes help get your creative gears turning in ways you wouldn’t expect. You might even catch a radio segment that gives you some inspiration for an industry video, or a hook from a catchy song might inspire visuals for a brand video.
You don’t just have to create a new type of video to be creative – sometimes just the sheer act of creativity is enough to stimulate new ideas in a familiar format.
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