Whether you’re creating your first or tenth video, working on a video production (even with a professional video producer) can be intimidating. You don’t need to hire an enormous team, but you do need the kind of communication skills a therapist would be proud of. If you can’t communicate what you want and which goals you want to reach, you can’t expect your video creative to figure it out.
After many years and seeing hundreds of videos made, we’ve seen videos produced quickly and effectively (capitalizing quickly on the marketing power of video) and watched video projects drag on for a full calendar year (or longer). The difference, in most cases, falls to how prepared you are when you start your video production process.
Here are the top 7 tips we give to new clients, in an effort to make the whole video creation process a little bit easier.
1) Internal Team Creation
Your video production process will only be as successful as the internal team involved. A well-planned and executed team and communication strategy will help your video to rake in far more conversions than one cobbled together without a thought. Once you’ve identified who is on your team, make sure to clearly define roles for each member. Identify the point person (singular) who’ll be communicating with the creative team so that they don’t end up with fifty emails written by everyone from the CEO to the janitor.
Like any marketing effort, nipping and tucking your clip with a comprehensive feedback strategy makes all the difference. We recommend using a collaborative platform for collecting feedback so that your entire team can see everyone’s notes in one place. Your point person needs to provide transparent, in-depth information to the team and the creative.
And don’t forget to keep your customer in mind throughout the video creation process, you want them to engage with the video once it’s live.
- Decide on a time frame for collecting feedback from team members, we recommend 24 or 48-hours so that you can continue moving your video project forward.
- Does legal need to review the script? Are there only certain stages that your CEO will need to review? Find that out before you approve a critical stage.
- Make sure that you’re on the same page internally as to the video’s goals and purpose.
2) Prepare Your Creative Brief
Video marketing requires your producer to communicate your concept in only one or two minutes, so your brief needs to be precise and goal-oriented. Please don’t develop your brief in the half hour before you send it to your producer, instead spend a couple days with an evolving brief (Google Docs allows everyone to add comments and access the latest updates).
- Your elevator pitch.
- The problem your product solves or the need you aim to fulfill. Are you promoting a brand or a product? Are you looking to offer a service or simply promote your company (we caution against simply promoting your company, think about what you’re doing to genuinely assist your customer)?
- A detailed breakdown of who your target demographic is, which sites they visit, and what kind of content appeals to them. Which devices do they use to access the video? (Hint: Your targeted demographic is just that, targeted. While people outside of your target demographic will certainly occasionally buy from you, be really specific about your most likely customers.)
- The features your video needs to highlight. Resist the urge to list every feature, keep it focused on the top 3 – 5 that your customers (or market research) tell you are most important to them.
- The style and tone you need from your video
- The business goals of your clip. Are you looking for social media shares, phone calls, or purchases? Are you inventing a need or telling customers about an existing one?
- An assessment of your competition and how they’re marketing themselves.
- A call to action for the video to close on.
3) Delivering Constructive Criticism
No marketing effort is a one-step process. Video production needs to be tweaked into something that truly sings, so don’t expect your creative partner to get the clip perfect the second they submit the first version. Once you’ve seen your first ‘draft’, make notes about what that you’re unhappy with and how it can be improved on. If you request a change, explain why you don’t like the current version.
Some details to examine while gathering feedback are:
- Does the visual style pop? Does it suit your branding? Be precise about it. Cover lighting, animation style, and palette.
- Are you happy with the voiceover style? If not and you already approved the existing voiceover, consider investing in a new one anyway. For a minimal added cost, you can adjust the voiceover after you see it with the animation.
- Does the visual and audio content fit in with your marketing strategy?
- Is the video’s branding in keeping with your brand identity (logo, font, web address)?
- Is there a negative phrase that needs to be cut out? Are there neutral statements that can be switched to positive?
- Does the video set your product and brand apart from your competitors’? How?
- Are there any technical glitches that need to be adjusted, i.e. sound cue not quite matching up or an animation prompt in the script that doesn’t match the animation?
Be realistic with your feedback. The man who runs the mom and pop store down the road wasn’t hired to paint The Sistine Chapel. If you’ve given your partner the budget to create something Michelangelo himself would admire, you can afford to expect a high-gloss product, but don’t expect an Oscar-worthy clip if you’re on a shoestring budget.
The video doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to be unique enough to reflect your brand’s personality. If the clip didn’t inspire you to click the call to action, make specific suggestions about why.
4) Feedback Timeline
Different departments can easily get into a shouting match over feedback. Executives want to reach financial goals and marketers want the video to go viral. Balance the feedback from every one of those departments and you’re far more likely to end up with a video that meets its goals. Make sure your feedback covers every opinion that counts and deliver it to your creative within an agreed upon timeline.
Like we’ve said before, once you’ve settled internally on your notes make sure that the feedback delivered to your creative is clear and specific (for example the sound effect at the 35-second mark should come 2 seconds later). Video production is an artistic process, but it’s also strategic.
As you’re delivering feedback remember that communicating abstract ideas involved in visuals isn’t easy, so don’t get frustrated if some communications aren’t immediately understood. Work responsively with your producer so that they can fully understand your feedback.
5) Streamline Payments to Creatives
Make sure your payment process doesn’t add to the headaches. If your accounts payable department will take 2 weeks to process a check, prepare a check in advance of your video’s completion or deadline. Processing it after your video is finished can become a catastrophe if your marketing team has made a video that needs to be released on a specific release date.
FYI, most creatives will watermark their video drafts until they receive final payment from the client.
6) Distribution Plan
Your distribution plan is just as important as the video itself. Nothing of real SEO value was ever distributed without a fine-tuned strategy. Even Google needed one, which is one of the reasons Forbes calls distribution 80% of your marketing problem.
Your solution needs to answer three questions:
- Who is our target market? Build a buyer persona. Figure out how your demographic spends their time online, what makes them click ‘play’, and the marketing styles they respond to the most.
- How can we reach them? Figure out the right distribution channels so that your target customer finds your video.
- What other departments need to be involved? Which of your staff members or external contractors will need to be involved in your video’s deployment plan (developers, social media department, sales team)? We, sadly, regularly see videos produced that never make their way onto websites and YouTube.
Distribution is one of the hardest parts of your video marketing campaign to handle well, so it needs to be organized at the same time as your video production. Put an end to decision-making overload by keeping co-workers and developers in the loop from day one.
There’s a reason we saved this one until last. Not trusting your creative partner will delay your project exponentially.
You’ve chosen the producer you have after reviewing many proposals and portfolios, so let them do what they’re good at. If you second-guess them every step of the way, you might as well make your own video, and we’re definitely not suggesting that’s a good idea. You need to trust the people you’ve hired if you want to get your money’s worth.
Remember, hiring a video professional to produce your video isn’t the end of your involvement in the process. From the moment you decide to commit to a video production, until you decide to do it all again, make sure you’re prepared internally to see the project through. It will save you time (we promise) throughout the production process and will allow you to capitalize on your investment much quicker.
Is this your team’s first video project? Get familiar with the 6 Steps of Video Production before you start!
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