12 Tips That Will Make Your Next Video Sizzle

Many small businesses owners, educators, and non-profits will focus their efforts on creating projects with impact. Video is one such way. It helps to boost sales, build buzz, and influence public opinion. Video brings value and impact to whatever it is you’re trying to promote. Whether it’s your small business, service, or product.

The problem? Getting started with video can be challenging, overwhelming, and downright confusing. There’s a ton of new information to absorb and decisions to make. Which is why I’m here to show you 12 ways to simplify your video project:

1. Sit down and determine your target audience.

A video targeting donors will look very different from a video that’s intended to attract new business. Once you better understand who you’re speaking to, it’ll become increasingly easier to move forward with any other decisions. Defining your target audience is hard but it’s also crucial, and it will affect other decisions that come up down the line.

2. Define your budget.

It’s easy to to define your budget as “the cheapest way possible” but unfortunately that doesn’t quite work in the real world of video. Is a small budget to your organization $5,000 or $15,000? Money talks, and without a clearly defined budget, or at least a target range, you’re shooting in the dark. And you’ll continue to keep shooting in the dark as the project progresses. Sticking to a budget actually gives you more options for the video project, not less.

3. Manage your expectations for how far that money will go.

It seems simple, but it’s important to realize that a $2,000 budget will not go as far as a $20,000 budget. Of course there are ways to bootstrap your videos to look like it cost $20,000 to produce, but the reality is that you get what you pay for.

4. Streamline your workflow.

There’s a reason it’s called “video production.” And there’s a reason the video production process is created. There are good writers, editors, producers, and graphic designers. There are very few people who can do all of these jobs, and do them well. Think about how many hats one person can wear? Come up with a methodical approach to dictate who will get to do what. Before everyone on your team starts calling you Bossypants, understand and be able to explain why workflow is so important. You’re probably thinking “Why would I create such a strict system? Can’t I just start doing the work?” While it may seem like the workflow process is coming between doing the actual work, it’s not. Simplifying the process from the start leads to a) improved efficiency b) better process control, and c) the ability to focus on the content. Which is pretty darn important, isn’t it? And if you’re thinking that these rules and terms like “workflow” don’t apply to you because you’re a small organization or a “non-profit,” think again. These rules are universal.

5. Determine the format and style of the video.

Make sure that it coincides with the organizational goals. Do you want to mix video footage, narration, music, and graphics? Or do you want animated text and cartoons? Do you want it to be formal and stuffy? Or casual and impromptu? Think about the organization’s culture and how you want your organization to be perceived.

6. Assess the competition.

Do a search on YouTube for similar small businesses selling your product or service, or other organizations to see what they’ve released. If you’re unsure where to look, YouTube has a category for Nonprofits and Activism and education.

7. Consider visual elements already available.

Make sure the visual elements offer something not told or seen in the print version. Use graphs or charts that are accessible and easy to read. If the purpose of the chart or graph isn’t clear within the first five seconds, create visuals that are more accessible. After all, you want your viewers to smell what you’re cooking, don’t ya?

8. Tell a story.

A story? Yes, you heard me. It doesn’t matter if the content is about topics that are the opposite of stories, such as research, data, and facts. So what? Telling a story brings material to life. It has a beginning, middle, and end. It gives context and it’s the best way to make viewers understand complex concepts.

9. Think short instead of long.

Don’t even think about trying to put together a 10 minute video. As a rule of thumb, each video should be between one and three minutes. Absolutely no longer than 3 minutes, max. Anything over three minutes risks losing the attention of the audience. Create a series of 100, one-minute videos. This allows for easier keyword optimization for each video. Don’t know what keyword optimization is? Stick around, I’ll write more on this later.

10. Understand the five basic rules for shot composition.

Simplicity, Rule of Thirds, Balance, Framing, and Lines are guidelines used in photography. They’re extraordinarily helpful for video, too.

11. Don’t agonize over details that aren’t important.

Have you repositioned the plant 10 different times? As long as it’s not sticking out of someone’s head and distracting the viewer, it doesn’t matter where it’s positioned. Move on.

12. Push the project forward.  Here is an inspirational infographic for creative vision. “People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.” Channel your inner Nike and Just Do It.

Still have questions? I can help you get started by showing you the tools you’ll need coupled with quality. Contact me.