I’m the first to admit it: Video marketing can be intimidating. While business owners and marketing professionals clearly realize the power of video, many hesitate to jump in, fearing the process is too complicated and time-consuming. Like any effective marketing project, video requires an investment of time and energy. But rest assured that a quality production company will take the lead, providing a clear and executable plan that achieves your goals while minimizing your engagement.
Because video is relatively new to marketing, I believe educating the client is essential to instilling confidence and achieving a cohesive, successful partnership. Here is a basic blueprint -- a “what to expect when you’re expecting,” of sorts, for marketing videos. Each project is unique, but the overarching process can be broken down into five phases.
The Five Essential Steps of Video Production
The development phase is the cornerstone of your project. You will determine your objectives, your audience, and the ways you’ll use your video (i.e., website, social media, events). Answer these questions: What are your goals? Who do you want to reach? And, what do you hope viewers will do after watching your video?
You’ll want to share all relevant branding, messaging, brochures, photos and video assets with your producer. You may want to provide examples of videos or commercials that resonate with you. Once your producer has a clear understanding of your objectives, she will recommend the content and format for your video and articulate the necessary budget and timeline.
A word about budget: There are more video production companies than ever, with a wide range of pricing levels and quality. Choose one whose body of work showcases a professional consistency and a creative point of view, as you can expect that same integrity will be applied to your brand.
Pre-production launches the creative process. Your producer will establish and execute a plan to bring your concept to reality. Components generally include a script, storyboard, narrators, location, talent, crew, shoot dates, props, permits and more. Throughout the workflow, your producer should check in with you regularly, keeping you apprised of progress and getting your input and approval as needed.
The purpose of production is to capture the project’s assets. In layman’s terms, this simply means you are creating the footage that will tell your story. Production may involve a single shoot day or several shoots, depending on the scope. Shoot days can be complex, with a large crew, talent, and an extensive script and shot list, or simpler, with a small crew capturing b-roll (supporting visuals). Your producer will work in partnership with a director to coordinate all moving parts and ensure that the production runs smoothly and successfully.
In post-production, all assets are reviewed and handed over to the editor, who will begin to craft your story under the guidance of the producer and/or director. A good editor will have a clear understanding of the client’s objective and will spend several days, if not weeks, creating (or cutting) a compelling and effective narrative. As the cut progresses, the editor will add layers that may include music (known as scoring), audio tracks, graphics, coloring, and special effects. Once a “rough cut” is complete, it is sent to the client for review, and changes can be made before the final video file is encoded and delivered.
With video file in hand, it’s time to maximize your investment. Depending on its purpose, the video could be used in a dozen ways. Place it front-and-center on your website. Blast it to your customers via email. Include it on all of your social media platforms. Screen it at conventions, conferences, and fundraisers. To gauge your video’s impact, you may want to track viewer engagement through analytics and ask for feedback from customers. This data will help to inform your next video project as you build your digital library.
Ultimately, if you create an emotional connection with your customers through quality storytelling, you'll make a lasting impression. Your video will become one of your most powerful branding, selling, and communication tools -- one that drives traffic to your website, supercharges engagement with customers, and converts site visits to sales… a worthy investment of your time and energy, indeed.
Christa Chavez is a principal of Kudos Image & Media, a video production company serving corporations and non-profits in the Orange County and Los Angeles markets. https://www.kudosimagemedia.com