9 tips to shoot more compelling videos

Before you commit to anything, consider the needs, problems and preferences of your audience. Keep it simple, entice the viewer, and remember the main goal of your piece.

Don’t let this happen to you.

When communicators prepare to create videos, the first impulse is often to gather all the top executives, sit them down in a conference room, and capture them talking about the organization’s work.

Is that the best way to entice, sway and convince potential clients or customers? Is that something you’d want to watch? Probably not.

Here are nine ways to make more memorable, compelling videos:

1. Consider the audience.

Is your video geared toward employees who are familiar with industry lingo, or is it an explanatory piece for new customers? The interviewee must know who the audience is, so the intended viewers understand the language.

If you’re trying to use video to explain how your product or service works, prioritize clarity over creativity. You want something visually appealing and interesting, or course, but make sure to translate material into everyday language and clear calls to action.

2. Introduce the characters.

Execs are typically the first choice to appear in videos, but it’s important to find front-line workers to tell your company’s story. Identify one or two strong personalities who can passionately reflect the key corporate messages you want to convey.

The person at the top isn’t always the person who should be in front of the camera. Put people on camera who ooze authenticity, passion and integrity.

The best way to get a message across is to find a compelling character who knows how to tell a story.

3. Keep it simple.

The more people, places and points you cram into a video, the less your audience will retain.

What good does a sleek production do if your calls to action get ignored? Keep your videos simple, short, punchy and easy to digest. Drive home your key points, and wrap it up swiftly.

4. Get your subjects where the action is.

Conference rooms and offices are typically uninteresting settings for on-camera interviews. Ideally, you should interview somebody in an active environment that shows where people are working, such as a shop, factory or construction site.

5. Entice the viewer.

Company leaders should view video the way writers consider headlines: It’s a means to entice potential customers or clients into the meat of your story.

Videos should highlight a primary message, then direct viewers to places that provide additional information or conversion points, such as a website or blog.

6. Plan ahead.

Scripts tend to drain on-camera authenticity, but it is wise to craft a strategic plan for your project. This can include whom to interview and which type of setting they will be in.

You don’t have to map it out like a Hollywood film, but you should have a plan in place to help you work efficiently (and harmoniously) toward a final product. Without a plan, you’ll get sidetracked, go over budget and cause conflict among colleagues involved in the project.

Don’t wait until late in the process to choose your interviewees, either. Give them ample time to prepare, and they’ll likely be less nervous when the time comes.

7. Include testimonials.

Impartial endorsements are pure marketing gold.

Companies are often unprepared to find happy customers willing to appear in a video, however, so before you commit resources toward a testimonial piece, start compiling names of possible participants. Identify your interviewees first to avoid scrambling at the last minute.

8. Coach your subjects.

Instead of a rambling 30-minute Q&A, try to conduct a concise interview packed with questions that the person is familiar with. Prep them beforehand so they know, generally, what’s coming.

It’s a waste of time, money and resources to conduct marathon on-camera interviews that meander off the messaging path or fall outside a subject’s wheelhouse.

A video interview should be a well-planned scenario, where the person on camera knows the questions and the interviewer knows what this person can address.

9. Remember the main goal.

Communicators might feel obligated to squeeze as many people as possible into a video, whether for political reasons or sensitivity to someone who might feel left out. Remember, the main goal is to convey a message. Direct your energy toward that chief objective.

The more people you stuff into a video, the less your audience will remember. If there are too many different voices, none will stand out, and you’ll end up leaving the viewer with no memorable takeaways.

A version of this post first appeared on The Flip Side Communications blog.


Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.