Why Is Pre-Production Key When Producing Videos?
I can't stress enough how important it is to thoroughly prepare when producing any video content. Professional video, in contrast to written marketing material, is a very peculiar type of asset for all the reasons I mention in my blog and while on stage.
Although you may be tempted to find a ‘great camera guy or gal’ and SHOOT, there is so much more to a successful, high quality video that looks natural and makes an impact than merely capturing 'whatever we can get' on a filming day. Unfortunately, I see many marketing teams underestimate the 'visualizing' part all the time, focusing more heavily on scheduling, shooting and post-production.
Many marketing teams underestimate or overlook the 'visualizing' part all the time, focusing more heavily on scheduiling, shooting and post-production.
This is a mistake.
By forming a concrete vision of the end result right off the bat, there will be much smoother process going forward. The following list of steps shows exactly how the process should look like. This is something I’m working on with all of my clients very closely every day.
1. Know what needs to be achieved
First and foremost, what is the goal of the video? Who is the targeted audience? What is their exact, desired action after watching the video? Is it new user sign ups? Sales? Brand credibility and loyalty? Educating about something important? Is there a broader strategy spread over a few months, or are we aiming for this one particular shot? How is this video falling into the funnel that has been strategized?
Once we have a good understanding of this, we'll be able to determine the most effective marketing techniques to use right from the start – in the script development phase.
2. Establish selling points
Depending on the desired action, we need to put a finger on the facts, events, aspects, features that can be leveraged to trigger that action.
What are the best aspects of the product? What makes your company successful? How can we show this success? What are the best story angles? Answering these questions will help nail down what to prioritize in the video. With this information, we will begin to brainstorm creative ideas and craft talking points.
3. Know how to best convey the message
If we've picked an interview format, coming up with a specific set of questions and desired answers(!) is KEY. If it's a scripted narrative, we're brainstorming the use cases we want to promote and a story outline.
What is the best way to showcase all of this? What style do we want to use – inspiring? Emotional? Informative? Who are the actors?
4. Creating the story
Once we know what we want to highlight, we're putting it all into a story – a good story will provoke a good response. How did the product develop? If we are marketing the organization as a whole, how did it come to be? Is there anything that was tried in the past that worked particularly well? We'll want to visualize the story from beginning to the very end. Next, we're drafting a detailed storyline and create an impactful screenplay.
5. Don’t forget the logistics
Now is time for scheduling, arrangements and careful logistics. Remember that all aspects of video production and strategy need to be taken into account right from the start: the budget, the time frame, the people and scenarios to be featured. Thinking about every piece of the puzzle helps move the process along and prevent any surprises.
Now, we’re all super busy, so what could go wrong if we speed up the pre-production process a little? – you may ask.
Leaving things out
If the vision isn’t fully shaped until after the shooting, or worse, during the post-production, I can guarantee that some great shot opportunities will be missed. For example: the spokesperson is sharing some of the awesome aspects of working with particular teams and how that has led to the company’s success. It would be great to showcase them working together. Without prior planning, we’re not able to arrange these scenes (and probably many others). That's a shame – they would add great value to how people absorb the content.
Straying away from focus points
Remember that no matter how big of experts the subjects are, without a detailed storytelling strategy, they won't be properly directed and might discuss topics that aren’t the intended point of focus. By planning out engaging questions that will emphasize the message, you’ll be sure to have the best story angles extracted and the opportunity used to the fullest.
By planning out engaging questions that will emphasize the message, you’ll be sure to have the best story angles extracted and the opportunity used to the fullest.
Achieving the wrong goal
The video might be wonderful, but it may not fulfill the desired intent. For example, if the video is meant to convince people to sign up or purchase the product, creating content solely highlighting company’s culture – just because these are the assets that are available at hand – might not directly bring the desired result. Although it may provoke a nice reaction from your audience, you’ll need to produce more content of different sorts later.
Let's face it.
Having put all of the above 5 strategy items into action, you will not only avoid a plethora of potential problems, but you’ll end up with a fabulous video or a series of videos that will get you to your goals much faster.
Here is an example of how a properly planned storytelling series I produced led to 10x sign ups for a tech-enabled military transition program Shift.org.
If you'd like to avoid the headache of trying to navigate the video storytelling properly, reach out to me and we'll make sure to excite your audience so that your company can scale faster!