You don’t have to be Spielberg or Scorsese to succeed in video.
Professional-quality videos can be fantastic elements of your media plan, and in some cases we recommend our clients hire pros to make signature videos they can use either on TV or as part of web-based campaigns. But we always recommend our clients learn how to quickly make short videos themselves so they can constantly create content at low cost.
In this post, we’ll give you a basic video template you can use to crank out a video. We won’t get into basic technical details, which we’ll go over elsewhere. Here, we’re just focusing on simple structure—the concept. That said, we strongly recommend you use a tripod or set your phone on something stable. Shaky hand-held videos are generally annoying, and you can dramatically improve your video simply by getting the camera out of someone’s hands and onto a tripod, gimbal or stable surface.
Here’s the first thing you need to remember, and it’s an old chestnut from the advertising industry: One spot, one thought. This means that you want to focus yourself and say just one thing to your audience. Most social-media videos are short—no more than 60 seconds on Instagram—so you want to avoid rambling or overloading people with info.
Ask yourself the Who and Why Questions: Who am I making this video for and why am I making it? Write down the answers. Doing so will help you stay on track.
Sample Answers: I am making this video for existing clients, and I want to increase retention.
Remember these answers: They define your audience—to whom you’re speaking—and what you’re trying to say. These answers should influence every aspect of your video.
Next, ask yourself the related What Question: What can I say to accomplish my goal?
Sample Answer: I can tell my clients about our upcoming lobby renovation.
Finally, ask yourself the How Question: How can I best communicate my message?
Sample Answer: I can film the video in our existing lobby and tell clients about the exciting changes that are coming.
The How Question can be a lot of fun. That’s where the true creativity comes in. We can suggest all sorts of ideas for you based on the character of your business. For example, we might suggest a dentist showcase a smiling receptionist and say something like this:
“This part of our business isn’t changing. Chris will still hand you a cup of coffee as soon as you sit down, but now you’ll sit on more comfortable chairs, and you’ll have access to a faster wifi network you can use in our totally renovated lobby.”
The owner of a hair salon might offer a compelling visual by having a well-dressed stylist in safety googles and work gloves swing a sledgehammer into a desk that’s being replaced.
“Pat had a few minutes between clients and decided to start our renovations. Here’s what you else can expect to see here in two weeks.”
We specialize in the How Question. If you draw a blank when trying to answer it, here’s your plan:
1. Say—or do—something meaningful in the first 5-7 seconds. That’s when people will decide if they want to watch the rest of the video. Get right to the point, and rely heavily on the answer to your What Question: “Changes are coming!” or “Guess what we’re up to in the lobby.” Remember: Sometimes you can say something without saying a word. Recall the image of a finely dressed hairstylist destroying an old desk.
2. Give people a detail or two, but stay focused: “We’re starting lobby renovations today, and you can expect faster wifi in less than a week.”
3. Tell people why they should care. This usually relates to solving a problem for a client. Consider how this line might affect a busy parent who’s been putting off a cleaning with a dentist: “Now your kids can stream their favorite shows while you get your teeth cleaned.”
4. End with a call to action—ask your client to do something specific: “Make an appointment to check out our lobby, and get your teeth cleaned while you’re here.”
Here’s another very simple sample script, this one written for a gym owner who wants to encourage prospective clients to register for a stretching seminar (Who and Why). It’s written to establish expertise, and it can be filmed in one quick session with no editing needed.
Promote a Seminar Through Expertise
<A person is lying on his or her back with one leg on the ground and the other raised toward the ceiling. The person struggles and reaches for the toes repeatedly without success.The trainer stands near the person.>
TRAINER TO CAMERA: Have you struggled for years to improve flexibility without success? Perhaps you need to learn a stretching technique that works on the body through the brain. At our upcoming stretching seminar at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21, we’ll go over static stretching like this, as well as other methods, including this one.
<Trainer kneels and braces client’s raised leg against shoulder.>
TRAINER TO CLIENT: Push back into my shoulder. … six, seven, eight. And relax. Now reach for your toes.
<Struggling client succeeds in touching toes and says “Ahhhh!”>
TRAINER TO CAMERA: A little flexibility can reduce pain and improve performance. We’ll show you how on Feb. 21. Click the link below to touch your toes, too!
Here’s a simple video a member of the Two-Brain family created to help existing clients improve flexibility by directing them to one of her experts on staff. That’s Who, Why and What. Here’s the How:
You can literally turn your mobile phone into a studio today. Try this simple structure in your next video, and if you want to learn more about producing your own media, click the button below.