I had a fantastic time at the SMPS Boston Senior Roundtable Discussion on Engaging Video Marketing. It was great to be part of a lively discussion on the best way to incorporate video into your company’s marketing plan.  A special thank you to Gensler for sponsoring the event, and to my friend David Easterbrooks of Pare Corporation for letting me join the conversation!

We covered plenty of ground in a short period of time. More than anything, attendees sought tips on producing videos that are both engaging AND cost-effective. I wanted to share a few of the takeaways from this discussion. It’s all about your game plan.

Plan your content

Video is possibly the most compelling storytelling medium ever created, but you have to know your story and your message.  Make sure you’ve prepared a script, or at least an outline. Think about how long your video will be, and the points you want to cover.  Videos under 2-minutes in length tend to get the most traction.

If you are incorporating testimonials, prepare accordingly. Draft plenty of questions. You might even want to ask the same question a few different ways to capture the 15-20 second sound bite you’re looking for.  Have the interviewee repeat your question to enhance the quality of the sound bite.

If you want multiple videos, consider economies of scale. Try to capture enough footage in one day, including background shots, to use in more than one video.  Create templates for your videos. This will make your planning and pre-production tasks more efficient, and give you more bang for your video budget.

Plan your location

Scout out the location with your video production team. Take advantage of available light by having your subject face a window.  Think about the time of day for your shoot.  That cozy corner office might seem like a great backdrop, but mid-afternoon sunshine might create deep shadows or a blinding glare.

Give yourself multiple options for locations. Consider the décor in different areas of your office building or campus. In most cases, you’ll want something to add interest to the shot, but nothing that will distract to the audience. Interviews are best in a quiet setting. You might think an outdoor location would make a stellar backdrop, but passing trucks, pedestrians, or even a gentle breeze could present challenges for the audio track.

Plan your schedule

Let’s not forget, time is money, so be considerate of everyone’s time.  Plan your schedule for the day of the shoot and coordinate in advance with any employees who might be involved.

Pre-shoot and post-shoot; you’ll need time to set-up and to break down. Make sure you included this in your planning, and communicate it to everyone who needs to know. This means anyone who is responsible for booking meeting rooms or other locations. It also means the person responsible for scheduling people to be on camera. Having a CEO arrive 30 minutes too early for an interview wastes his or her time, and doesn’t do much for your credibility either.

Remember Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Creating engaging and effective video content can present some interesting challenges, especially if your organization is new to the process. As with anything though, proper planning can help you avoid some pitfalls, and drive a successful video marketing campaign.