Using marketing animation to amplify your communications
Why read this? : We look at how marketing animation can help you communicate better with customers. Learn the 3 areas where it’s most often
Why read this? : We share how to create and use video content for marketing. Learn what video content can do to help deliver your marketing objectives. We also share different approaches to creating video content, from doing it yourself to hiring professionals. Read this to improve the way you create and use video content for marketing.
How this guide raises your game :-
1. Learn how and where video content supports the delivery of your marketing objectives.
2. Review what you need to know if you decide to create your own videos.
3. Understand how to get the most out of working with professional video makers.
Your customers almost certainly watch a lot of online video content. The latest numbers show Australians on average watching 7 hours a week of paid streaming and 3 hours a week of social media videos. And those numbers are higher for younger age groups.
With all that time spent in front of their screens, there’s an opportunity for brands to use video as a way to connect with and engage customers.
This guide covers the basics of what you need to know to use and create video content for marketing.
Video works for marketing, because you can use video content at all stages of the marketing brand choice funnel.
For example, your advertising and social media videos can capture the attention of your target audience to build trust and awareness. These can then link to entertaining or educational website videos to drive consideration and trial. And you can use it to showcase your products in e-Commerce and keep loyal customers happy with relevant and interesting content.
Let’s look in a little more detail at how video content can help you deliver your marketing objective at each stage of the funnel.
Building trust with your target audience is the first step in the brand choice funnel. If customers don’t trust your brand, they won’t give you any attention, and they’ll never buy.
You can use video content in your marketing communications to show people who you are, what you do and what you stand for. These help you build credibility with customers and overcome any negative associations they might have.
For example, you could share videos of your production process, including where and how you source materials and ingredients. This gives customers confidence in the quality and care which goes into your products.
Or if you’re a service-led business, you can share videos of the customer experience. For example, showing customers enjoying the ambience of a restaurant or bar. Or enjoying the friendly expert service of a hairdressing, beauty or fitness session. This is a good example of social proof where you show other people enjoying your products and services to build trust. (see our behavioural science article for more on this).
Next up is awareness. You want your target audience to notice and recognise your brand. Video content works really well with this marketing objective. Moving images grab more attention than static images, and hold the customer’s interest for longer. They’re more distinctive, and that helps with getting your brand noticed and remembered. (see our behavioural science article for more on distinctiveness).
The 2 main ways to drive awareness using video content for marketing are :-
Advertising campaigns are a direct appeal to customers to notice your brand. You push out a short message highlighting your brand’s offer or benefit via paid media.
The aim’s for customers to notice and remember your brand. You want to create interest or desire, so they do something, your call to action. A website visit. An email to ask for more information. Sometimes even a sale.
There’s a number of steps in the advertising development process. From writing a brief for an agency to evaluating the advertising idea and subsequent impact when it goes live.
The advertising idea’s often brought to life as a video. So you have to learn how to evaluate these creative ideas and get customer feedback on their response to the video.
The advertising idea’s often brought to life as a video. Video makes telling your brand’s story easier. It’s easier to be distinctive and attention-grabbing with video, so there’s less chance of being ignored.
Social media’s another way to build awareness. And in terms of video content for marketing, that usually means YouTube. It’s the biggest video hosting platform with thousands of hours of new content appearing every day.
One of its big advantages is how easy it makes it to share video content on your website and other social channels.
Social video content is usually more subtly branded than advertising. It’s designed to pull customers toward your brand by offering them a service or benefit, rather than overly trying to sell.
For example, common video content “pull” marketing techniques include :-
You want these social videos to be unique, relevant and engaging. That makes them more likely to be shared. And the more they’re shared, the better for your awareness.
Educational and entertainment videos also work well in driving consideration and trial. For these sorts of objectives though, you’d normally dial up the brand identity and benefits.
For example, if your brand focuses on durability, you’d show videos of the product being put under pressure to show how it stands up to extreme conditions. Or if you focus on the quality of an experience, you show video of the care and attention which goes into the product or service itself. You help customers understand why it’s a high quality experience.
The success of this type of video content usually depends on other marketing skills. For example, brand storytelling, copywriting and having a powerful call to action. More on these later.
And finally, you can also use video content when your marketing objective is loyalty. You create video testimonials from genuine satisfied customers to drive word of mouth.
This helps engage those customers by giving them the chance to talk about how much they enjoy your brand. They’ll feel a deeper connection to your brand as they become spokespeople and ambassadors for it.
You then use those videos in advertising and on your website. It help you build trust to win new customers. Hearing from actual customers who like your brand feels very credible. (another example of social proof as per our behavioural science article).
Once you’re clear on the marketing objective for your video content, the next step’s to work out how you’ll deliver it. What your story‘s going to be.
However you’re planning to shoot your video (more of that shortly), it needs a story idea to drive it. Either your overall brand story, or something specific to the message you’re trying to land.
For example, if you’re planning to tell an educational story to drive consideration or trial, you have to plan out how you’ll share your expertise. What are the key facts you need to include, so customers think differently about your brand?
Or, if you’re planning a more entertainment approach to drive awareness, what story type will you use? Will be it be funny? Dramatic? Surprising? How will your story include emotions so customers feel differently about your brand?
You’ll also need to plan out a basic story structure or arc.
At the simplest level, a story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end.
The beginning’s important, especially if the video’s to appear on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
If the beginning isn’t thumb-stopping enough to engage the customer’s interest in the first 2 to 3 seconds, they’ll scroll on past. They need to quickly get that the story’s about people like them (the customer “hero” of the story) and a problem that’s relevant and interesting to them.
You then need some sort of drama or tension to keep your audience interested through the middle of the story. As the customer / hero tries to find the answer to their problem. In this case, that’s usually the benefits your brand offers.
The ending’s important too. The last thing the customer sees is what they’re most likely to remember. It should include a strong call to action, so the customers knows what you want them to do next.
The better you prepare, the better your video will turn out. So draft a script before you start filming. And draw out key scenes in a storyboard.
These help you work out timings. Read the script words out loud and time it. How long does each scene need? Think about how the different scenes fit together. You want to produce a cohesive overall story.
Usually your first draft script / storyboard will run long. That’s fine.
It’s better to have slightly too much to film as you can then edit it and choose the best bits. You don’t want to be putting in filler material to make up time.
The media channel where it’ll appear often drives the length of time you have to play with. Advertising formats usually limit you to 6, 15 or 30 second slots.
On YouTube or your website you can run longer if needed. However, bear the audience’s likely attention span in mind. The longer you run a video, the greater the chance of boring the audience and losing them. It’s usually more impactful to keep your video content for marketing purposes short and to the point.
Rehearse the script before you shoot. Ask people for feedback. What reads well on paper and what sounds good said aloud aren’t always the same. Written language tends to be more formal and has longer sentences. Spoken sentences are shorter. More direct. You want your spoken words to sound natural.
So, marketing objective, check. Story outline, check. Now it’s time to plan how you’re actually going to shoot the video. There’s usually a trade off here.
You can shoot it yourself, and it’ll be faster and cheaper. But the quality won’t be as good. Or, you can outsource making the video content to a marketing agency or professional film crew. They’ll deliver much higher quality content, but it’ll take longer and cost more.
If you’re flexible on the quality of the video and/or you’ve got no budget, the easiest and cheapest option is to do it yourself. This could be something as simple as recording straight into your computer’s webcam shooting video from your mobile phone. A couple of pointers to consider though.
When it comes to the equipment you use to shoot video content for marketing, you get what you pay for.
For example, your laptop webcam is designed to stream video online, not make videos to share.
This normally means they lower image quality to enable faster streaming. You can end up looking pixelated.
Webcams really only work as video creation tools when you only need to shoot a short talking head video. And where you’re OK with a more “natural” feel.
Almost all mobile phones now have video recording capability, and the quality they offer continues to improve. Check for the resolution to get an idea of the quality of the video it can shoot. 1080p is now standard, and higher end phones can shoot in 4k.
Shooting video on a mobile has some key benefits. They’re easy to use, you just point and record. And because you take your phone everywhere, you can capture unplanned events. It’s also easy to share and edit the videos.
More advanced phones will also offer extra features like image stabilisation, slo-mo and extra zoom functions. You should be able to shoot simple scenes on your phone e.g. a talking head video straight into the camera.
For higher quality footage, or more complex needs you’ll need more advanced equipment. For example, a camcorder, or a DSLR camera with video functionality.
These will have better lenses, more functions and you’ll get better quality video footage from them. But obviously, they cost more.
It really comes down to how much value you’ll get from using a better quality camera, and what you need it for. For the odd social media post, it’s probably not worth it. But if you’re regularly creating video content for marketing your brand, they can be worth the extra investment.
Your final option would be broadcast quality cameras. These obviously create the highest quality of video. But, they’re also the most expensive and the most complex to use.
Professional video makers often hire in such equipment for a shoot rather than buying it outright. If you’re dead set on this level of quality, you may want to consider this as an option. But it’d be rare for amateurs to use this level of equipment. Professionals would though, and we’ll come on to them shortly.
Your other main equipment consideration is how you’ll record sound.
Less expensive options like webcams and mobile phones generally aren’t great at recording sound.
You’ll need to find a quiet location to get decent sound, or use a separate microphone.
There are a number of quality microphones and audio recording devices from brands like Rode and Sennheiser.
These are relatively inexpensive ($100 – $250) and will make a huge difference to sound quality.
You can choose between lapel mics, shotgun, boom or studio microphones depending on your needs.
Location makes a big different to sound recording. For example, check for sources of background noise. Traffic, aircraft flying overhead, the noise of people chatting in the background. The more noisy the location, the better the microphone you’ll need to capture the sound you want. It’s why studios are better for sound recording, as they’re set up to have low background noise and good acoustics.
There can be hundreds of people involved in making a cinema quality release movie, as the length of the average movie credits show. You’re unlikely to need so many creating your video content for marketing, but there are certain key actions you’ll need to plan for making your video.
First, who’s actually going to appear on screen? That could be you if your video requires someone to act as a spokesperson for the brand. But it’s more likely you’ll use actors and actresses, who’ll be more confident and experienced in front of the camera. Sometimes, you might want to film “real” customers too, but you have to think about which ones will come across well on screen.
Whoever’s in front of the camera represents your brand. They have to “fit” with your brand identity. So think about how they talk. What they wear. Their style and personality. Your cast has to project a positive and relevant image of your brand.
Check your cast come across naturally on camera. You want to avoid people who come across as stiff and uncomfortable. Or who have strong accents that are hard to understand. Do rehearsals and listen to them read through the script. Professional performers will use their experience and expertise to make it sound more natural. Be prepared to do several takes to get the best version.
Next, decide where you’ll film the video. Location’s important. It affects the cost and complexity of the shoot.
Filming in a studio or at your premises has the advantage that you’ve more control. For example, you can more easily manage background noise and unexpected interruptions.
But filming in public location is more complicated. You often need to get permission or licenses to film. It’s also much harder to control background noise and interruptions.
Once you have your raw footage, your next job is to edit the footage together into a single cohesive video.
You’ll need access to the right technology such as editing software which can also handle graphics and animations.
Graphics can make your message easier to understand on screen. For example, they can help you cover up bad sound quality. Plus, they can reinforce the words your cast say.
Adding titles and credits to you video can also help make them look more professional.
There are many different video editing packages to choose from. iMovie is one of the most popular (it’s the one we use most often). It’s standard on Macs, and you can use it to create fairly professional edits of your footage. It has an easy to use interface, even for beginners.
For example, it’s easy to crop a scene’s length, play around with the order of the scenes and manage transitions between scenes. It’s also easy to add titles and text and other effects over the video content. You can also import and edit sound and music into the timeline. IMovie also has a good choice of export options when you’re one. e.g. you can export directly to YouTube or to different formats like .mp4 or .mov.
The PC alternative to iMovie used to be Windows Movie Maker, but Microsoft no longer support it. However, there are good PC alternatives if you don’t want to use iMovie. For example, InVideo has lots of free video templates you can customise to create your own video content for marketing.
A more advanced option would be Adobe After Effects which gives you many extra features to edit your videos.
There’s a steeper learning curve to using After Effects than there is to iMovie. But it can certainly add an extra level of professionalism to your video content for marketing.
You could even do away with shooting a video at all, and instead create a fully animated “story” with a tool like Adobe Animate. Marketing animation shares some characteristics with the content we’ve covered here, such as defining your objectives and building a story. But the technical side is different, so we won’t cover it here.
If you don’t want to shoot your own videos, your other option is to hire professionals to do it for you.
The easiest way to find a film crew is via your marketing agency. They’ll often have a team they use regularly to shoot video. Either an in-house team or a network of freelancers they can call on when needed.
Another low budget could be if your local college offers video production classes. You might be able to ask them to take on your shoot as a learning project.
But in most cases you’d use an agency and/or freelancers.
It’s a good idea to document your requirements in a brief for the film crew. You want to make sure the video content fits with your brand identity and the objectives in your marketing plan.
At a minimum, you have to tell them where the video content for marketing will be used and its purpose.
Your brief should give them details about your target audience, brand identity and communication objectives.
It should cover the media channels where the video will be used. For example, if it’s advertising, public relations, social media, websites or online stores.
This helps them better understand your needs and makes it more likely you’ll get video content you’re both happy with. They’ll come back with recommendations on casting, location and script. The quality of these will be much higher than if you do your own video shoot.
Finally, the brief should also cover the legal ‘ownership’ of the final video content and where and when it can be used. For example, it should spell out if you can use it in perpetuity for all purposes, or if there are any limits on the rights to use it.
If you’ve added music, for example, it may be license-free, but you’ll often have to pay an extra license fee. And it’s often only for a certain period of time. You may also have to pay the cast extra royalty fees, if you keep using the video content of them over a period longer than originally agreed.
Professional video makers can help you navigate these types of questions. It’s in their interest to turn out the best quality of work with you as it’ll influence their ability to get work with other clients. They’re usually happy to answer your questions and support you through the whole process.
If the quality’s good enough, you may also consider using still shots from the video as photography. For example, you’ll need a hero shot if the video appears online. Or to use on your website and in public relations work. Check out our evaluating photos article for tips on finding the best images.
Video content can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolkit. It’s relatively easy to produce something that’s OK. However bear in mind there’s a steep learning curve to producing high quality video content for marketing.
So when you start, keep it simple. Build your knowledge as you go. Don’t try to be Steven Spielberg or George Lucas right away. It’s normally where people have been over-ambitious that video goes wrong.
Look at videos related to your category on YouTube and see what works and what doesn’t. There are many successful YouTube channels which are simple “talking heads’, where the presenter is expert and passionate about a subject. Done right, these can pull in thousands of followers.
Great video content improves the impact of key marketing communication areas like advertising, social media and websites. Building your skills in this areas will take your ability to connect with customers to another level.
The Three-Brains team have lots of experience with video content for marketing. We can help you improve your skills in this area to create more impact with customers. For example, how to tell better brand stories and get more out of your marketing agencies.
Check out our coaching and consulting services to learn how we can help. Or get in touch, if you need help in a specific area of creating video content for marketing.
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