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Content includes:

  • Why video should be part of your campaign
  • Tips for creating a standout business video
  • The technical elements of video creation

How to Create Powerful Videos eBook_Page_1


Why Video?

Video is an indispensable business tool, as important to marketing your brand as having a modern, up-to-date website. Whether a brand profile, sleek commercial or tongue-in-cheek animation, video provides a window into the soul of your business. If you don’t have it, you aren’t competing.

The numbers don’t lie.

By 2019, video will drive more than 80% of all web traffic. 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.

According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year.

A third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.

52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

You know you need video. Now what? Figuring out “what kind” is a lot like choosing between fast food and fine dining. The options are practically endless. Videos can be simple or complex, everything from a two-minute iPhone video to a multi-camera shoot with extensive production values.

It’s best to go with an experienced production team for formal brand videos. But D-I-Y is a great low-cost option if you’re creating videos for social media. Of course, not all social media videos are created equal. Shaky camera footage may have worked for “The Blair Witch Project,” but is likely less effective in your behind-the-scenes Instagram video.

We’ve asked our award-winning interactive production team to provide their best beginner video tips. Are you ready to take your film-making skills to the next level?

Video 101: What you need to know about creating a standout business video

Story First

Steven Spielberg didn’t begin his career shooting big-budget movies. He started like every great director: filming simple, everyday moments (in fact, his first film shoot was of a toy train wreck).

When it comes to creating videos for social media, less is more.

Start with the most important element: the story. Whether you’re shooting a video for Facebook or something more advanced, the story is what draws your audience in and—more importantly—it’s what keeps them there. After all, there are millions of other videos vying for your audience’s attention.

Don’t worry about fancy camera angles. Story is what matters most. You can improve your storytelling skills by thinking about the following:

Create a Journey

Audiences want to be taken on a journey—even a short one— and that means creating a beginning, middle and end to your story. Spend time imagining how the video will progress from opening to conclusion.

Sharpen the Message

A visual story—like a written one—should have one simple, clear and overriding message. A big rookie mistake is trying to cram too much content and conflicting messages into a single video.

Humanize the Story

Video humanizes brands in a way that other media can’t. Make sure you connect on a personal level, not just with static images that are better suited to presentations or white papers.

Show, Don’t Tell

There’s nothing worse than staring at a talking head for minutes on end. Use B-roll footage (shots of people walking, interacting in an office, etc.) to create visual interest.

Take a Bow

If you want audiences to engage with your video content, you have to give them something worth watching. Every on-camera appearance—or even a voiceover— is a performance and should be treated like one, with participants looking and sounding their absolute best. There’s a good chance your “actors” will be nervous about speaking on camera. It’s your job to help them relax and hit all the right notes.

Here are three tips to guide you:

1) Always ask questions that let your experts speak with passion and conviction. Yes/no questions are the interviewing equivalent of letting the air out of a balloon. The last thing you want to do is cause energy levels to drop.

2) Lose the script. Trained actors know how to deliver memorized lines with emotion and spontaneity. Non-actors who speak from a script typically come off as wooden and inauthentic.

3) This isn’t a live broadcast remote. If the first take doesn’t go well, take a short break and start again. There’s no shame in a do-over.

Acting Tips for Executives

Worried about your close up? Try these acting tips to improve your on-camera performance skills:

  • Warm up your voice and body. Roll your head, neck and shoulders—and every other part of your body. Vocalize (ee, ay, ah, oh, ooh). Make sure you have proper breath support by lying on your back and holding your rib cage while you take slow, deep breaths.
  • Sharpen your diction by practicing some common tongue twisters: red leather, yellow leather; unique New York; a proper copper coffee pot; toy boat, toy boat, toy boat.
  • Spend time prior to filming moving around the space. The idea is to get comfortable in your surroundings and avoid nervous tics like flailing arms.

Don’t Forget the Technical Elements

Got a great story to tell?

Better make sure you have all the technical pieces in place. If not, your audience will be in the dark, literally. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a famous cinematographer or sound engineer to create a video that’s a feast for the eyes and ears. Here’s how to set the stage for a successful shoot:

Make it Visually Appealing

Think about composition. If possible, set up your shot with some distance into the background, as it provides a richer look, especially when there’s some variation (no blank walls). Avoid placing people directly in front of flat surfaces. This creates a mug-shot feel, not to mention unsightly shadows (unless, of course, that’s your intent).

Let There Be Light

Kill the overhead lights—they create an ugly, garish look even for the most beautiful of subjects. Invest in a small light panel (these range from as little as $20 to several thousand for a professional lighting system). Place the panel on the side of the camera that your subject is facing. If it’s a cloudy day, consider using the window panel as your primary lighting source.

Say What?

Turn off the camera’s internal mic (airplane hangar, anyone?). Consider buying or renting a high quality microphone, hardware to mount it and a cable to feed the signal to the camera.

Finishing Touch

Use makeup to remove the shiny glare from the skin. There’s nothing a little powder won’t fix.

The Cut

Editing can make or break a film. “Godfather” writer-director Francis Ford Coppola said, “The essence of cinema is editing.”

If you’re new to video, a good editing program like Final Cut X will be your new best friend, helping to solve for inevitable challenges along the way. Not sure where to begin? Follow these simple editing tips:

  • Be flexible in your thinking. The last interview or piece of footage may be the best way to open your video. There’s no place for chronology in filmmaking
  • Cut out extraneous footage, using B-roll to fill in the gaps.
  • Enhance colors and mix the audio.

The Release

Video distribution is not a case of “build it and they will come.” Here are five tips for getting social views:

1. Upload the video to your company website.

2. Use paid social ads to get the video in front of new audiences. Social platforms let you micro-target to individual users, providing a high level of control and lower costs than traditional advertising routes.

3. Make sure videos are optimized for SEO with the right keywords in titles, descriptions and tags.

4. Create GIFs to further drive interest and awareness.

5. Share your video with influencers and appropriate websites and blogs.

Choose Video

Video is a must have in the modern business environment. When done well, a video will take the viewer into the mind and heart of a company, communicating not just information, but those intangible qualities that help your brand stand out from the competition.

There’s no better way to reach and influence your target audience. In a recent survey, 76.5% of marketers and small business owners who have used video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business.

Today, it’s never been easier to own and control your story. With a little planning, you can produce compelling, high-quality social media videos that will excite your audience and keep them coming back for more.

Need more help?

Our award-winning production team can take on any type or size video project. Contact Chris Cherry, Executive Director of Client Engagement, to learn more. or call us at 973-850-7329

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Click the following links to get more video tips:

Five Ways to Wow Your Audiences with Video

Five Ways to Make Your Videos More Shareable in Your Social Content

Three Key Ingredients For Live Video Success