You know you need video. There are all these video statistics touting the power of video and video is basically everywhere you turn – on websites, social channels, in email, there’s even a funny video GIF for just about everything.
But how do you go about actually creating the best possible video you can create? We’ve created a couple of strategy guides (like this one and this one) and some tips and tricks along the way, but now, we’re breaking down exactly what makes a good marketing video good – and how you can start making one for yourself.
Start with a clear goal in mind.
If your goal is to re-engage previous customers, uploading a brand video to your website isn’t going to do the trick. The only way your video is going to be good – and not subjectively, creatively “good,” but actually effective in driving success – is if you start with a clear and measurable goal.
Chances are high your video goals falls somewhere within these customer journey stages.
You want to introduce your brand to a new audience and attract new eyes, whether it’s to your website, your social pages, your retail locations, or your your brand in general. To create a successful video in the attract stage, focus on increasing brand awareness – introduce a problem to your audience that they face regularly and show off how your brand, company, or product solves this issue.
You want to engage users who are already familiar with you, but aren’t sure if or why they should trust you. Here, you’re wanting to collect user information and generate leads, opening an avenue of regular communication so you can begin building that trust you’ll need in order to convert a sale. Use video to engage your audience, showing them the value of your brand and how you differ from the competition.
You want to nurture a prospective client and get rid of that pesky word: “prospective.” At this stage, your user has likely given you their information, interacted with your brand online, and shown interest in buying your product or service. Your video’s job here is to close the deal. Use video to answer any of their questions, take away their reservations, and provide value through successful case stories and testimonial content.
You’ve already closed a sale, but now you want to re-engage your customer and either get them to come back and purchase from you again, or become an evangelist and spread word about how great you and your company are. To be successful here, you should provide useful information in a fun and entertaining way. Your customer should watch your video and end up with a smile, because you’ve added value to their life in a positive way.
No matter what you think your goal is, it likely falls into one of these four customer stages. Figure out where and the next step will be all the easier.
Next, tell the right story.
Now we get into the actual creative process. Whether you’re creating your video for yourself in-house, or finding the right partner agency to create it for you, there are a lot of steps involved in the actual planning and video production stages of the journey. And the only way you can know for sure if you’re creating the best video possible here is to focus on telling the right story.
Here are a few pillars for how to tell the right story.
Your video script is the foundation of your story. Along with actual dialogue, it’ll outline scene locations, visual cues, and actor cues – providing the first tangible building block of your video’s story.
Building a powerful story means highlighting strong, relatable characters. It could be actors on screen playing the role of your troubled target persona, or voice-over that speaks directly to the viewer. Either way, these characters should elicit empathy and drive forward your story.
The conflict in your video doesn’t have to be major – if you own a restaurant, the conflict could be as simple as finding a fun, affordable place to eat out on a weekday. If you solve a major pain point for your target audience, that pain point is likely your point of conflict. Find a clear way to present your conflict and do it fast, so your viewers can identify it quickly.
The quest is the journey your characters go on to find a resolution to the conflict. It might be doing some online research (if you’re an ecommerce business), it could be a literal quest that involves travel or going to a place of business, or something more metaphorical.
Finally, the resolution! This is where you introduce your product or service as the resolution to the conflict presented. Again, this resolution could be literal or metaphorical (like the piece of mind your brand represents.)
Check out our step-by-step guide: How to Write a Powerful Video Marketing Script.
Tone and Voice
Imagine a heartfelt, emotional story in the voice of Siri. Or imagine a tutorial video that’s supposed to delight customers being told in an aggressive or angry tone. It just doesn’t work, right?
That’s why your video’s tone and voice are so crucial to your story. Talent plays an essential role here; the right actor or voice artist can help convey the exact brand voice you want. But also make sure your story’s script represents the right tone, that the setting sets the mood, and that any extra features, like post-production soundtracks or graphic effects, contribute to the tone you’re going for.
Finally, essential to telling the right story is picking the right vehicle for that story. If you’re shooting a straight up product video, there isn’t a story there, per se, but you can still find a way to incorporate storytelling elements to engage your audience more using the right video type.
Here are four of our go-to video types that can encapsulate your story in a creative way.
This is the most common way to tell a story. Great for brand videos, they usually use traditional story elements, including actors, conflict, and resolution, all told in a connected way following a specific timeline.
Mini-Doc or Docu-Style
These videos rely less on a script and tell stories from a more off-the-cuff perspective. These are great for Q&A videos, how-to videos, day in the life videos, and more.
Lifestyle videos present the lifestyle behind your product, service, or brand. These are more artistic, and tell your brand story with beautiful visuals and action shots.
Hopefully these videos are pretty self-explanatory! While any type of video can include animated effects, animated videos are generally fully animated and use graphics and voice-over or text to tell your story.
Use branding where appropriate.
You’re creating a brand video, so you want to use some form of branding, right? Absolutely! But walking the fine line between too much and too little branding is a delicate process. How do you do it correctly?
This depends on the type of video. You obviously want a product video to be heavily branded, but if you’re launching an emotional narrative video that you’re hoping will attract first-time visitors, then branding needs to be low.
Take a look at two of our favorite examples below.
This one is heavily branded, which matches the overall purpose of the video (to boost brand recognition and introduce their competitive advantage to prospective clients):
On the other hand, this video is low on branding, with only an end card displaying the agency’s name, since their goal was more about creating fun, quality content that introduces themselves to their audience:
Finally, stand out.
OK, so this last tip isn’t as tangible as the rest, but it’s still super important! Any story you tell won’t be effective if it doesn’t stand out in the viewer’s mind. That’s why you’ve got to focus on telling your story in a unique and memorable way.
There’s no clear and absolute directions to follow in order to make your video stand out, but there are some creative points you should keep in mind as you begin the planning stages.
Be funny. Funny is hard to do right, but when it’s done right, it’s an absolute winner.
Be risqué. You generally want to avoid overt controversy, but being creative with risqué content could lead to big boosts in brand awareness and consideration.
Be bold. Don’t play it safe. Playing it safe means you’ll likely end up with a good, but unmemorable video.
Making the best video you can make doesn’t mean dedicating millions of dollars to it and hiring expensive firms and focus groups to test audiences’ reactions. Realistically, that just isn’t possible for most companies. What it does mean, however, is strategizing over your video’s ultimate goal and creating a story around that goal. There are technical things that are required to making an amazing video – nailing your pre-production, production, and post-production video stages are crucial – but these are almost secondary. First, start with your goal. Then figure out what story you want to tell and tell it in a beautiful and captivating way. Next, figure out where you’ll land with your branding preferences, and finally, stand out by being totally unique and creative. Armed with these four pillars, your video will be amazing, and with the right team behind you, you’ll see just how powerful video can be!