Creative vision combined with a plan is the winning combination for video.

Creative vision and a plan is the winning combination for video – Terry Knight

According to studies, within the next year, video will account for almost 70% of all consumer Internet traffic. In response, over half of marketers have already added video to their demand generation strategies.

This growing trend spurred a recent discussion on the Xerox Channel Partner LinkedIn Group where we invited partners to share their video marketing experiences. Ben Devries, PDS Solutions Specialist commented, “Google likes rich media and posting YouTube videos has become a driving factor in increasing overall page rank.” Terry Knight, PDS Marketing Administrator and videographer added, “Creative vision combined with a plan is the winning combination for video.”

With thousands of views on their videos, Professional Document Solutions, a Xerox channel partner based in Colorado, has refined a winning strategy. We asked them to share insights to help other Xerox channel partners reap the benefits of video.

First, we asked Terry for recommendations on the technical side of video creation and in the next blog we’ll learn Ben’s tips and tricks to help searchers find those videos.

Video production made simple

Terry has a well-trained voice and a background in video production. Sure, it helps, but despite his professional expertise, he says anyone can make a great video with the right tools, a creative idea, and a solid plan.

Basic tools

Video editing software:

For the beginner, Terry suggests Adobe Premiere. “It has a steep, but small, learning curve, and can export to HD without too much tweaking,”  and with a $20/month investment, it’s a low barrier to entry. If you’re using an Apple iOS device to shoot the video, then iMovie is an affordable editing tool that can handle 4K video at just $5 from the app store.

Other tools include:

A hard-drive based HD camera, decent microphone (they use a shotgun), some sort of LED-based lighting and a durable tripod, all of which can be gathered without breaking the bank.

What about phone cameras?

Plenty of videos are made with a phone camera for good reason. It’s cost effective and simple to operate, but we wanted PDS’ opinion on the viability of using one for marketing purposes. The consensus was that a phone camera and microphone are better than waiting until you have the “perfect” gear.

According to Terry, people often think they need the perfect camera to get started but then they shoot a video or two and hang it up because it’s too complicated a process. If using a phone camera is easy, use it but beware of the audio.

As Terry pointed out it’s typically the audio quality that makes the video hard to watch. A microphone is important and if you’re looking for a good quality but low budget option, he suggests a Smartlav for your phone.

A creative plan

Once you have the proper tools, it’s a matter of combining creative ideas with a plan. As Terry points out, “this sounds simplistic, but it’s not.” It’s true that anyone can shoot a video but that doesn’t mean people want to watch them. Great videos have purpose. Terry starts his creative process by answering these questions: why am I creating a video and what do we hope to accomplish?

Video length is a key factor

As Terry explains, “YouTube likes completions and most people will watch a one-minute video without even realizing they watched the whole thing.” Statistics on video attention span backs this up with studies showing 2.7 minutes as our maximum watch tolerance.

Users viewing the entire video (also known as completions) are important for keyword search rankings on YouTube as well as Google. Completions drive SEO making them critical data point to track when you begin using videos in your marketing mix.

Scripts work wonders

Unlike written content, it’s difficult to skim a video so the entire production from beginning to end has to engage the watcher or you’ll lose them. For that reason, videos should be short, to the point and entertaining. Creating a script helps organize thoughts and makes it easier to shoot the video because there’s a plan to follow. 200 words equates to approximately one minute of video so aiming for that length is a good target.

Storyboarding helps the flow

Creating a storyboard to visually mark the video’s flow results in a more cohesive production and helps reduce or eliminate any visible stops and starts. Once the script is set, use a storyboard to determine locations, scenes, acting direction, and camera angles. As Terry explained, “The focus (no pun intended) is to validate the script to the video so the story makes visual sense.”

Set the stage

Think about involving the entire staff. Your video might be on a topic completely unrelated to your company culture but using staff as the cast members implies working together and having fun. This message, even though it’s not said, conveys that you’re a company people want to do business with.

A few more tips for the big shoot

Use live video as opposed to images whenever possible. Sometimes images are necessary and if this is the case, use editing software to create effects like zooming and panning to give them movement. Terry points out that concentrating on having fun is key and don’t worry about over shooting, capture as much as you can, editing is your friend.

Make friends with the cutting room floor

Editing is a critical component to the success of the video but proceed with caution. Attention to detail is key. Think about the person watching. Use special effects, display your logo, and create an ending to each video that’s the same every time. PDS reminds watchers to visit their website, sign up for the newsletter and connect on social media at the close of each video.

Another trick Terry suggested is to use “bed music” to cover echoes, pops (plosives), and other background noise. He says, “YouTube offers a ton of royalty-free beds and loops easily found by searching for “YouTube Audio Library.”

Happy filming and stay tuned for our next blog where Ben Devries delivers a strategy for finding your audience with video.

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