Creating Quality Shareable Video Content

19 Apr Creating Quality Shareable Video Content

Creating quality video content that people want to share may seem easy – grab a recorder, flip it on, and film away – but it’s not. That was the basis behind an interesting PR Daily webinar that I recently attended. The webinar focused on what marketers need to consider in order to create quality video content, and it brought forth some interesting points, particularly in regards to the amount of prep work that should go into producing seemingly simple videos for social media sites like Instagram or Vine.

The webinar, “Create Shareable Video: How to Plan, Produce, and Distribute Brand Stories Millennials Love,” featured George Mays, co-founder, producer, and director of Red Bull Media House, who started the webinar with a little Greek philosophy about quality story telling. The Greeks knew they needed a good story to get people to sit in uncomfortable amphitheater seats and have them stay throughout the show.

It’s no different now. You need a good story to capture today’s short attention spans. You also need a high-quality production, as shortcutting the production process only undermines your efforts in the long run. And you need to plan, which starts by asking the following questions:

  • Why are you telling this story (what are your goals)?
  • Who is your audience (what do you want them to know)?
  • What does your “story board” look like? (What’s the dramatic question you wish to pose? What’s the climax or pay-off?)
  • What mediums do you want to tell the story through (What channels will you use)?

Once you’ve considered these points, begin creating your tale by the following key strategies.

Create a hook and payoff

Mays believes that every piece of content should have a hook or dramatic question that draws the audience in. The film industry calls this “high concept” – an easy to understand and striking premise that attracts an audience. Your creative videos should have a similar hook designed to draw viewers.

They should also have climaxes that display some form of resolution or payoff. This is the point where you can show results, much like in a case study. Mays suggests developing the climax of the story first and then working backward to create a storyboard. By doing this, you can identify the core point that you’re trying to make right from the outset (i.e., “customers like XX use our data storage solutions because they’re the most secure products on the market.”) and center everything else around that point.

Map out a storyboard

A storyboard is like an outline, and it is considered the most important part of the process. If the story is not well thought out, the point of the video could be confused and the opportunity lost. Even if your video content is short in length, every scene should be carefully considered. A two-minute YouTube video should have about 20-30 shots. While it’s important to define the script, it’s equally important to plan out camera angles like master shot, wide, medium, close up, pan, cut-in, cut away, point of view, etc.

Develop relatable characters

As marketers, we have a tendency to think of our brands first and building off of that, but Mays recommends a different approach. He advocates that we should never centralize content around our brands. Instead, much like a professional director, we should build characters that embody the values and messages they want to tell and be associated with their brands. The story needs to focus on characters the audience can relate to and become invested in. Knowing our target audiences will help us define the characters in our stories and allow our customers to connect with what we’re trying to convey.

For example, if you own a data storage company, don’t focus on how great your company is at being reliable and secure. Take the audience through a personal crisis of someone who lost all of their data and had to start over from scratch. Show the emotion that customer felt as they discovered that your company offered reliability, stability, and security. Give people a character they can identify with.

Get a consensus

Once details are put to paper, you should share the plan with everyone on your team who will be involved in the project. This will give them a chance to weigh in so there are no surprises on the day of shooting. When everyone knows and understands the plan, there is less chance for things to go awry throughout the entire project. There is confidence on both sides of the process and it ensures the videographer and director do not forget to capture shots in the moment. This will save headaches, money, and the need for reshoots.

Make tight edits

Editing the video can make or break the content. Your videos should be quick and compelling, but still get across your messages and allow enough time for your audiences to connect with your characters. It’s a tricky balance that often involves collaboration between different people.

Mays suggest that those with a larger budget have separate gurus for each part of the process – a videographer, a sound guy, an editor, etc. Each will have their roles to play, and can focus on their individual responsibilities.

Those that are operating on a tighter budget can find software and equipment to get the job done. However, Mays warns to not bite off more than you can chew. While software and fancy equipment can be a great help, having to learn a new program on the fly can be daunting and delay the project. All of this should be decided upon before the project gets underway.

Share your story

Finally, it’s time to think about distribution. Each platform has its own capabilities and limitations. For example, if you’re considering Instagram or YouTube, you need to create a separate teaser that captures the essence of your message in a short amount of time. If you share your video on Facebook, you need to understand the views are usually one and done – video content is not searchable on Facebook.

YouTube has become the premiere platform to share video content because not only is it searchable, but you can customize tags for the video, brand the company channel, and allow comments. Comments are what every brand desires – it shows the engagement of the audience with the content and allows companies to interact with customers. Incidentally, it’s better to have a smaller, engaged audience than a higher amount of views.

Search engine optimization is also important. You need to make sure your videos are properly branded and tagged. Take the time to add your logo, make sure your channels are branded, use hashtags, paid search, etc.

Keep it going

As with any social media program, aim for consistency and frequency. Creating a great video is a start, but ultimately you want to develop a relationship between your brand and your audience. Releasing content at the same time and on the same day gives your audience something to come back to. They’ll come to expect and search out new content once they realize you’re reliably giving them something to come back to. In doing this, you’ll need a plan for creating content on a regular basis to keep the audience coming back.

As you can see, creating engaging video content is more involved than meets the eye. While you don’t have to be Steven Spielberg, you do have to plan – sometimes extensively – to reap blockbuster rewards.

Feature image source with slight modifications from original

Jessica Lindberg
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