Elizabeth Heusler, Director of Heusler Public Relations and Media Training, dwells upon the aspects of PR video production. From script to film and from editing to uploading to digital channels, Heusler discusses marketing brands through videos.
As excited as we, in the communications business, are about the myriad of multimedia marketing options spawned by a melange of technologies and techniques, when it comes to the tactic de jour, it is staring you in the face.
Marketing your talents by video is a growth area. Over 120 million YouTube videos and about 2 million are uploaded every day.
Video is the golden opportunity to shine and bring the brand to life, but like most things bright and shiny there are pitfalls to avoid a feature on Funniest Home Videos. Undertaken in line with Brand You, this medium can be a powerful adjunct to the marketing mix.
As entry point to video is easy and free, this has rapidly become a popular marketing option. Just flip open a video camera and shoot. There is a chasm that separates the enthusiastic amateur’s attempt from the effective.Watching all the YouTube material would take more than 600 years but in the course of making profile videos for clients, I am constantly aware of what works and what should be left on the cutting room floor.
There are several companies I used to think quite highly of, until I saw their videos which, instead of engaging, sent the wrong message and in some cases were alienating to their targets.
There’s a lot of noise about putting a video on your site to make a more personal connection. This is an overly simplistic way of looking at brand development. There are numerous factors that go into developing videos: content, tone, nuance, look, style, environment, lighting and sound.
Video is the golden opportunity to shine and bring the brand to life
Several videos I’ve viewed recently are just plain annoying; there’s the representative of a management firm who keeps bobbing his head from side to side, it’s like watching a metronome. Another has a bottle of very expensive whiskey in sight on the bookshelf and this definitely isn’t the right image, another is filmed in a boardroom where staff are in shot, strolling languidly around the office. On the other hand, there is a wonderful woman who sits bolt upright in a very elegant statement-chair with terrific lighting, solid points, engaging content, well-planned and she looks straight at me. I want to do business with her.
Initial questions before creating videos for your business
As part of our public relations strategies, videos are increasingly integral to the mix and we start with these three questions:
Audience: who are you talking to – stakeholders, mums and dads, c-level executives, tech-savvy managers? The more you can narrow the audience, the better. The answer isn’t a generic catch-all such as ‘corporates from 20 – 50’. Describe the executive you are talking to.
Information: what’s the information you want to impart, what’s the issue you want to talk about? Script it out. Write bullet points first. Plan and rehearse well in advance.
Message: what do you want the viewer to think, feel or believe as a result?
Tips on how to create engaging videos for business
Identity: Put your name, title and logo on your video and maybe a descriptor which is a good opportunity for SEO keywords.
Timing: Keep it short – the average video is 3.8 minutes in length. If you have too much information consider a series.
YouTube: YouTube provide the option to write a description of your video – start with a link of your websites; after all, Google owns YouTube.
Offers: Think carefully about a text box or discounts. It’s not for everybody and can seem a bit in-your-face. Unless your brand is ‘cheap deals’ perhaps ‘happy to answer more questions on Facebook,’ might be a more subtle call to action.
Energy: Video often exaggerates or flattens a presentation. The naturally reserved should pick up and exaggerate the energy but if you are a show pony, rein in a few notches.
Speak up: Say it loud, say it proud. Invest in a lapel microphone and a USB sound card to plug into your computer for clarity.
Surroundings: Think outside the office. Perhaps a gallery, the steps of a significant building, hospital, library, engine-room, nursery or on-site. Let the environment be part of the story.
The aim of a professional video is to showcase your knowledge and position you as an expert (example). Play to your strengths and video could be a very successful part of your brand exposure.
As a communications consultant and media trainer it’s important to stay ahead of the trends. I am keen to predict the next big thing and call the tipping point. Everything I know about technology I’ve learned the hard way. Hours spent at conferences, courses, seminars and webinars. Invested in the hard books, e-books, software, routers, toggles and dongles and paid the big bucks for gurus, nerds and boffins. Many weekends have been spent in the foetal position with instructions manuals and call centre operatives and online elves have driven me to drink. After all, devices are all so intuitive and I am blessed with intuition as a gender perk. Hopefully reading my monthly column will stop you wanting to throw your technology from the top of a tall building and if I can stop you biting your nails and tearing your hair out then my work is done.