Is your story to educate or entertain?
We already covered how your video content can be educational or entertaining. But now you need to relate these styles to the story you need to tell.
Education driven video content tends to work better for consideration and trial. It is designed to build the credibility of the brand. It needs to position the brand as an expert or better than its competitors to solve a particular need or benefit.
This means you need to take a very factual approach. You want clear instructions or guidance in the story to teach people ‘how’ to do something. With educational content, you want people to ‘think’ differently after they see the video.
Entertainment driven video content tends to work better for awareness, since it typically has broader appeal and tends to be more like to be shared with others.
You have more creative freedom with an entertainment approach. Your tone can be humorous, dramatic or just unexpected. Entertainment plays much more in to emotions than logic. Your entertainment content needs to make people ‘feel’ differently.
What’s your story arc?
At the simplest level, a story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Most people learn this basic story structure at school. But you often see video content produced that completely forgets this basic rule.
Consumers have a vast amount of choice when it comes to online on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s very easy for them to scroll past your video content if it does not have a strong beginning.
It needs to be thumb-stopping so that you engage the consumer’s interest in the first 2 to 3 seconds. If you don’t do this, your video content will not be seen.
The video content also needs to come to a satisfactory end. This ending needs makes the consumer feel like they have usefully spent their time. You should also include a call to action. This helps the consumer know where to go next.
In between this beginning and end, you need content that keeps the viewer’s attention. It needs to be long enough to land the desired messages. But not so long that the viewer drops out.
Script and storyboard
Preparation is important. You will raise the quality of your video content when you take time to prepare. You should draft a script before you move ahead to the shoot itself. And you should draw out key scenes in a storyboard format.
This script and storyboard process lets you work out rough timings. It’s your plan that helps you define requirements ahead of time. Read the words from the script out loud and time it. How long does each scene need? Think about how the different scenes will fit together. You want to produce a cohesive overall story.
In general, you should aim for ‘more’ in your first draft of the script / storyboard. First drafts normally run longer than the final edit. The chances are you will shoot and record more than you need. That’s a good thing. When you move to edit your video, it’ll be easier to cut stuff out later, than go back and re-shoot and add in new content.
You should be especially careful of the length of the content and where it will be used. Consumers expect advertising to be short and snappy. There are often pre-specified time slots on TV for example. 15 second or 30 seconds are the most common timings.
Paid advertising on many online channels is also often pre-specified. You Tube’s most popular advertising format is a 6 second video slot for example.
For video content for educational or entertainment purposes, you have more flexibility on the length of the video. But bear in mind the attention span of your audience. It’s better to aim shorter rather than longer in most cases.
With your script, you should also aim to have several run-throughs. Seek feedback from others. There’s a big different between what reads well on paper and what sounds good when said aloud.
In written form, you tend to use more formal language and longer sentence structures. Spoken sentences are shorter and more direct. So use this to your advantage to make your script tighter.
Don’t be afraid to edit your script several times over so that it ‘sounds’ natural when spoken out loud.