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Six Steps Before You Get (video) Creative

10 Nov 2017, Posted by robinhurricane@gmail.com in Art, Design, Life, Photoshoots, Private
Hurricane Images- Six Steps before you get creative

Statistically the power of video has proven to be startling—90% of people say video is helpful in decision-making; 75% of executives watch videos at work; 60% of site visitors will watch the video before reading the text; video improves email click-thru rates by 65% and engagement by 200%… and on and on and on. But we know this without the statistics… we experience it personally. Because, if the researchers are right, statistically we’re the people watching videos at work; we’re using video reviews to help us decide what watch to buy. We feel the importance of video in our lives and its ability to move us.

But figuring out how to make powerful, effective video is both daunting and difficult to achieve, especially if your field isn’t video production or marketing (and sometimes even when it is). There are six questions I ask my clients to ensure the video we create will be compelling and on-target. These are the questions that need to be answered before you decide on whether your video will be a testimonial or a company profile, funny or informative, 10 seconds or 10 minutes.

Video can’t serve two masters… equally

1. What is the goal of the video? What do you want viewers to do?

For most business people, identifying goals is easy. We live for goals.  But we don’t always remember to articulate them, which is vital for staying on track. In video, it could be:

  • > To convince your audience to take an action (purchase, sign up, or contact)

  • > To improve your brand exposure

  • > To spread a messageTo educate your staff

The challenge is picking just one. For many of us, that’s nearly impossible, but it is possible to prioritize your goals to have one primary goal and several subordinate ones. A single primary goals hones your video; it makes success more measurable. While your end goal may be “to have them donate” or “buy our product,” in video it’s sometimes more effective to have your primary goal be an intermediary step, such as “to reach out to us” or “to understand that we can fulfill a need they have.”
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Hurricane Images Inc -Shiny Soap

Hurricane Images Inc -Shiny Soap

2. Who are you trying to reach?

Now that you know why you are creating video content, get specific about who is your target audience.

  • > Age range? Gender? Economic status? Areas of interest? Socially conservative or liberal?

  • > Business professionals (program managers, educators, CEOs) or the lay person?

  • > What is the need your product or service fulfills?

  • > Are these customers who know about your product or service already, or the uninitiated?

Then ask yourself what the answers to these questions mean for your video content. Does the video need to be short and energetic for a more youthful set? More socially conservative? More informative? Funnier? Don’t just identify your audience, define them.

Hurricane Images Inc -Shiny Soap

Hurricane Images Inc -Shiny Soap

Hurricane Images Inc Testimonials Videos

Hurricane Images Inc Testimonials Videos

3. What emotions do you want them to feel?

It’s fairly straightforward to identify our audience and what we want them to do. Articulating how we want them to feel when they see your video is more challenging. People often fall into the trap of believing that information is effective, when really emotion is far better at changing behavior. Describing the tone of the video (light, fun, authoritative, convincing) is a good step, but it’s important to drill down to the individual viewer’s experience. Pick the most specific and most powerful emotions you can find. For instance, happiness and contentment are similar but different emotions; they’re specific, but neither of them are the strongest terms. Instead of happiness, try joy; in place of contentment use fulfilled. And be careful of abstract emotions. If you want them to feel inspired, what does that mean exactly? Excited? Eager? What are the emotions that make up the feeling of trust? Calmed? Comforted? You earn bonus points for being able to describe the same emotion using different terms. For example, joy can also be described as giddy, bliss, elation, walking on a cloud, doused in sunshine, etc. Multiple terms provide extra fuel for the creative process.
How you want your audience to feel is inextricably linked to your brand, so if you’ve created a brand profile– either formally or informally– use that as your starting point. And if you haven’t, now’s a great time to create one.

4. Where will your video content live?

Think about how your video will be delivered to your audience. Will it have a permanent home on your website or will it be shared on social media? Is it for YouTube, Amazon.com, Kickstarter, or your Facebook page? While every video can find multiple homes, it’s best to choose its primary before you start the creative process. A 3-minute video designed for your website can do very well on YouTube and have potential for a Kickstarter campaign; but it’s too long (and too reliant on audio) for Facebook or Amazon.com. Your choice of platform will influence many aspects of the video, from length to the use of music and graphics.

5. Will this be a single video or a set?

Companies often make the mistake of trying to create one video that will reach many different audiences and accomplish many goals. The result is inevitably a video that is too long and doesn’t really communicate with anyone. I encourage my clients to either consider either one focused video (i.e. one target audience, one message, one media platform), or conceptualize a set of videos. A set can have:

  • > The same target audience, but different messages and/or platforms

  • > Different target audiences, same message, on a single platform (two or more videos)

  • > Different audiences, different messages, different platforms (three or more)

Again, the same video can be effective on several platforms, but it’s best to prioritize which venue is the most important for reaching your goals.


Video should be an investment, not an expense

6. How will you measure success?

Specific goals may vary, but one thing stays the same: companies that produce video content expect a return on their investment. You should have a good idea of how you’ll measure your success. Stronger brand recognition? Increased engagement on social media? Greater participation at events? More website traffic or phone calls? Heightened company profile at conferences? A bump in sales or an increase in donations is often the Holy Grail of marketing efforts, but it’s often easier to identify changes in the intermediary steps or factors that contribute to sales and donation. Identifying what success looks like before you start the creative process creates a measuring stick for all of the decisions going forward.

Six for the next six-hundred

These are six questions I initially ask my clients, and they inform and guide the hundreds of creative decisions that go into the production process. Video is made up of thousands of micro questions that need to be answered, from the choice of a single eye blink to music that underscores the entire piece. Many of these creative decisions are tied to technical decisions (such as how much time a shot will take, which equipment to bring, how angles will align in the editing, etc.), and I encourage businesses to involve their video person as early in the process as possible. Their involvement is also the difference between hiring a videographer—whose expertise is shooting the ideas you give them—and a video production company whose expertise includes the whole creative process. They can even help with answering these six questions.

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