A video is ubiquitous on the modern-day web. At this point, there’s a very high likelihood you’ve already heard of the kind of benefits it’s brought to various teams: from Facebook to Google. If they are so great, why isn’t everyone jumping aboard the bandwagon? Why do so many small business owners not have a single marketing video on their sites despite their demonstratable effectiveness?
As it turns out, a lot of them don’t know where to start. Admittedly, producing a quality video with a good story is no mean feat – both in terms of cost and the amount of labor that’s needed for the task. The production process begins even before the camera is turned on. The planning phase is the most critical part. Once the logistics are taken care of, other factors have to be considered, too – the budget, audience and the message.
Here are seven steps to getting your video script together.
Know who your audience is
Having a well-defined target market is one of the most critical parts of any marketing campaign. The internet is seeing a growing change in how businesses talk to customers which means you can’t possibly afford to target every single person. The best way to compete with more established customers is to target a niche market.
However, targeting a specific market doesn’t mean you won’t include every single person that doesn’t fit your rigid set of criteria in the equation. To get more viewers, you should be able to redirect your attention to a portion of the market that’s likely to buy your product than any other market. This broad umbrella should help you narrow down your target audience to avoid targeting a generic portion of the market.
Between choosing the right demographics for your business and analyzing what your competitors are doing, you should get down to writing a video script that tells a story they can relate to.
Determine the message you want to pass
This step is where a lot of businesses get it wrong. Once your target audience is determined with relative certainty, the next step would be to decide what message you want to pass. In this case, the trick is to, once again, specialize. Don’t try to cram too much information into a single marketing video. This is also the part you’ll want to decide how long your video will be.
The average business is made of a whole lot of different parts. Often, these parts aren’t very flexible, so each one of them will need their video. In the end, this will have a direct impact on how long your video is going to be. The central aspect that’s often considered when determining the length of a video is conversion metrics. But, in truth, there’s a lot more to it than that.
With 93% of marketers using videos in their campaigns, video engagement is an important aspect of marketing these days. Shorter videos have a lot better video engagement rates than longer videos – while longer videos are (apparently) more useful for explaining how your business works. Short videos (2 minutes or less) are better for brand engagement and thus for having a call to action, for instance. Every video should be tailored with a specific message and have a goal.
Determine how much you want to spend
The next step in the process is determining how much you’re willing to spend and who you’re going to work with. A lot of the times, the amount of money you spend is directly proportional to the amount of money you spend. A suitable budget must be determined before production starts or you’re going to have your expectations shattered.
It’s in your best interest to work with a team that has a solid portfolio behind them. If so, they may be a bit costly, but the quality of the work will be guaranteed. A respectable team usually has flexible budgets and will also likely quote different figures depending on the amount of time you’re willing to allocate for the project.
Allocate time to the project
Good work takes a lot of time. Between filming, editing and refining the video, it may take a bit of time to complete. Don’t rush it to completion. If anything, you should overestimate the amount of time you expect to have it finished by. This allows you to follow the grand old motto of under-promising and over-delivering.
People unfamiliar with how the production process works are the most prone to making the mistake of allocating too little time to the project. It’s up to you, possibly with the consultation of the video marketing team, to weigh the complexity of the task and decide the maximum amount of time it should take. If possible, there should be a slight margin of error in case of unforeseen setbacks like the weather or broken-down equipment.
Write the script
This phase is where the bulk of the grunt work takes place. Relatively large companies usually have creative teams to take care of the writing, only to be reviewed by the higher-ups once it’s been approved by the person in charge of them. Be warned, since creativity and taste are subjective; it’s crucial to get people on board that can coexist with each other. Otherwise, it may take months of critiquing before the script moves out of the draft phase.
Again, it’s essential that the creative team is given some time to work on the story and dialogue. The script should consist of the company’s core messages translated into a story that’s easy for the audience to follow on their own.
It’s not merely talking to your audience; it’s having them relate to what you have to say. A good story is one that grabs their attention from the start and then eases them into the desired action, e.g., a call to action.
The governing rule when writing a script, if it features dialogue, is to have it feel as natural as possible. It should be preferable to aim for a light-hearted conversational tone. This means you need to cut out the filler words and jargon from your video script. You want to be able to speak to your target audience – not the executives or shareholders. You’re even better off if you can use the same lingo your audience uses without feeling like you are trying too hard.
Revise the script
Once a draft is done, it should be read out loud for the whole team to hear. It may sound and look great on paper but sound terrible when read for an audience. This is the part where you tune the tone of voice and revise the choice of words. Get rid of anything cringy or overdone.
When the changes are integrated, repeat this step.
Prepare a shooting schedule
Before shooting starts, you should have allocated the amount of time each of the phases is going to take (including this one).
A shooting schedule primarily governs:
- Where and when each scene will be shot
- Who will be needed for each scene and their contact information
- The equipment that will be used
Normally, it’s not a fixed schedule and should be updated in case a scene finishes shooting early, or any setbacks are encountered during the whole process.