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How to create a successful video production plan
Savvy pre-production planning can help to deliver a slick video campaign. Adrian Smith, co-founder of The Peloton, shares four steps to success.
Digital video has come a long way in a short space of time. What started out as YouTube clips watched furtively in the bedroom or the living room has swiftly ended up in the boardroom. According to a recent Forbes Insights report, 59 per cent of senior executives surveyed prefer to watch video than read text if both are on the same web page. And 65 per cent of them had visited a vendor's website after watching a video. The B2B marketing sector has been slow to the party but it's now starting to grasp its potential.
Video can be a great way to get your business message across, especially when the information you want disseminating is complex. It can be used to reinforce a company's brand and reputation, to promote thought leadership or corporate social responsibility policies, for lead generation, to give personality to a brand, to increase search engine optimisation and, lest we forget, to increase sales.
You will need to decide whether to produce your B2B video in-house on a small scale and budget, or commission it out to a production company with the obvious impact on cost. If you are considering video as a marketing tool, take some time out to decide what options are right for you.
How to create a successful video production plan
1. Format options
From viral videos to live webinars, the options are many. Case studies and testimonials are a powerful way to showcase your services, and are designed to enhance your reputation. They allow your customers to speak on camera (hopefully glowingly) about how you work, and how your service helped deliver sales or efficiencies. Customers and potential new clients get to witness an example of your work, but in an informative and less sales-driven environment.
Infographics are hot at the moment, and there's no reason why you can't leverage the popularity of illustration in videos too. Short animated videos, that use graphics to illustrate information, work particularly well if your business offers a complex service or an intangible product.
Other options are interactive video, which can be used to gain lead generation or customer data, and viral videos that tend to use humour or controversy to garner interest.
2. Objectives and budget
If you've decided to take the plunge and commission a video, you will need a clear set of objectives and also a realistic budget. Although video is now affordable, cheap may be cheerful but it's rarely rewarded. If you are employing a production company, expect to pay anything upwards of £3,000 per video. Expect to pay more if you're using a professional presenter, 3D graphics or archive footage.
Do remember that a bad video will be a waste of your budget and, worse still, could damage your brand, so make sure you employ a trusted production partner. There are hundreds of video production companies out there so check out their website, showreelsshowreels and testimonials. A recommendation via word-of-mouth can often be the best method of gauging a company's reputation for delivering a quality end product. If there is little video on their site, they may not be the right partner. Take some time to shop around, and don't rush your decision.
Once you've found the right partner and had an initial face-to-face meeting, agree a budget and get a few storyboards. Online business videos should be a visually engaging experience throughout the planning and production.
3. Creative process
The more time and effort you put into the pre-production, the less disappointment and fewer changes you'll have to make later in the process. The creative process should be the fun part. You need to decide whether you need a professional presenter or whether it will be just voiceover. Do you want music and/or graphics? Cutting edge graphics using motion software can greatly enhance a film, but will add to your cost. Take creative advice from a production company, but remember you know your customer, industry and brand better than they will ever do.
When the production is underway, ask for regular progress reports and set a hard deadline for delivery. Also give the production company clear, concise and collated feedback from your management.
There's a widely held belief that shorter always equates to better, but it's really a matter of horses for courses. For B2C brands, short is good as viewers tend to consume online videos by grazing. But for B2B brands, the audience tends to be more engaged with the subject matter, so the length of videos can be longer. Webinars, presentations and thought leadership campaigns could be over half an hour long, whereas case studies or corporate videos should be between two and three minutes. Animated films can be shorter still.
4. Distribution and promotion
After you've approved the video and the assets have been delivered satisfactorily by the production company, it's not the end of the process. It's now time to make a song and dance about it. Don't hide it away on an obscure part of your website, put it front and centre. Promote the film to your customers and harness social media to distribute it. With over 60 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute, each video now faces fierce competition for attention.
Boost your CPD presence by creating videos of your CPD materials. Video CPD can be subject to the same RIBA assessment and approval process as other materials, and has the advantage of standing out from the crowd.
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