Relax this article isn’t about the ultimate question, knowing why you are here and cliched references to Douglas Adams’ masterpiece (well apart from the picture). It’s a bit simpler. It’s about knowing your purpose when you are making videos.
I was working with a long-term client the other day and they were in full action of preparing for some filming. Plenty of interviews were being organized and I had to pull on the reigns to check – “what’s the point”? I asked them “what are you trying to achieve from this video? What will you do with it? How will it be used?”
It’s not uncommon for me to see clients frantically creating videos without being clear on the outcome. I guess for some clients, a video is a video. For me, I want to ensure they get the best outcome and leverage from the production. This means it’s critical to understand how the video will be used. Who will be seeing it? What action do you want those viewers to take? When will it be shown – at an event, on social media, on the website or on YouTube?
It all matters and the more of these details that can be determined before you start filming, the better the outcome.
Some may think it doesn’t matter on what platform the video will be played, however, if it is going to end up on Facebook then I would suggest we provide captions at the bottom of the screen. While this may not seem significant, it is worth knowing in case you are displaying something important in that part of the screen.
Similarly, if it is to have a long shelf live – more than 2 years for example, then you’ll need to be aware of anything that could “date” the video, such as political figures or actually mentioning dates.
Most importantly you need to be clear on what is the message you are wanting to deliver and who is the audience. These form the foundation for every video. Often, however, this seemingly obvious step can be overlooked by people who end up just talking about themselves. As exciting as that may be in their own lunchtime, it’s not going to generate much new business. Viewers will engage when the content is important to them.
You need to be clear on why your audience will care about the information you have in the video. How can you make it resonate with them?
Will the video be used at a special event? If so then you can be a lot more specific about the content and message. You will know who the audience is and hopefully what you are trying to achieve from the production. Will the video need to have a life after that event or is just a one-off? If so can it do that as is, or do you need to tweak it slightly to help it live on after the event?
Online distribution of video provides an ongoing virtual event for organizations. No longer do you need to gather everyone in one place to present your message. Now that place is in their hand or on their desk. So when considering your video strategy consider how to make it live longer online.
Regardless of what your video is, always ask yourself: who is this for, what is the message and what is the purpose?