Make Great Promos3 Essential Techniques
We have spent years producing, shooting and editing commercials and promos for corporate marketing and broadcast television shows. So let’s break down three essential elements for a successful promo video.
Make Videos for Humans (Not Metrics)
There are three essential elements for a successful promo video which revolve around the idea that we are making videos for other human beings to watch (and hopefully pay attention). It’s true, metrics and analytics are essential in tracking customer conversions and quantifying clicks, purchases, likes and shares. And yes, we encourage the use of good metrics, but don’t get lost in them. It is increasingly important to follow your instincts, tell good stories and communicate like real human beings in order to create compelling content.
The first technique is to build HUMAN CONNECTION. Why? Because we are humans, and nothing engages or connects us better than empathy. There is a special power in films with great stories and characters. They transport us to another place and make us feel like other humans do. It is something called narrative transportation. You know it is happening to you when you are watching a film or show that completely sucks you in and you feel like you are actually there. You are mad at the villain or you feel like the supporting characters are your friends, etc. You probably experience some form of this on a daily basis. In order to make impactful videos, we need to harness the power of human connection in order to transport the audiences to new places. As video marketers, we use it to help shape their ideas and feelings about brand or their products.
Another tip: who you decide to put on camera in your video matters, a lot. If you are casting actors, make sure they can potentially embody a certain character, or for documentary work, make sure their perspective is valuable and they can be open and authentic on camera. If the people in your video are company leaders or employees, make sure you are picking people that others can easily relate to. There are many considerations here, so it’s helpful to use professionals whenever possible. The value of a good video producer, casting director, actors, makeup artists, directors, editors and cinematographers is immeasurable. They all play critical roles in transporting your audience into your video.
The second technique is to create CONFLICT + RESOLUTION. We are all musicians here at Blue Barn, so here is an idea: In music, unless there is dissonance, then the resonance is boring. Playing with tension and release is the journey that musicians take us on, and let’s face it, music moves us (Read: Creating Tension and Resolution in Music). Without contrast, the world is flat, and the same goes for great video content. We have to use tension and release in a similar way. As filmmakers, we have to create a tempo, a journey of emotion, sights, sounds and information. Videos are operating on our visual and auditory senses, but most importantly, on an emotional level.
A good promo introduces a character, then shows the audience a scenario, problem, or common challenge that the audience is likely dealing with as well. The tension is released when we witness the main character (or characters) experience a resolution to their problem. That’s important, the redemption or resolution comes when we show how the problem was solved. If we relate and feel connected to the character in the story (if we are effectively transported into the narrative), then as a viewer, we also experience that satisfaction that comes with it. If a brand positions itself as part of the solution, then ultimately, we are more likely to buy the featured product or service. This technique is also used to get people to follow a brand, make purchases and get them to recommend it to others. This is how to motivate people to become emotionally invested in and follow your brand. Its how brand ambassadors are born.
3. Establish Clear Objectives
The third essential technique to create a great promo video is having a clear CALL TO ACTION. You’ve heard it before, but this can be the critical difference between videos that you feel good watching, and those that make you scratch your head and wonder “what was the point of that?” We’ve all been there. It’s such a time waster and no one enjoys it. A specific objective, such as “buy this product now”, or “follow us”, or “subscribe to the channel” are important to establish before you concept your script, your ad copy, or create your scenes. Knowing the intention of your video will keep it focused, and give it a chance in being effective.
Alternatively, there are other objectives that marketing videos can achieve aside from those more forthright campaigns. There are times when you may be looking to have a “softer touch” in your marketing. They are often called nurturing campaigns, which are great for things like building trust, brand recognition, or you are simply trying to associate the brand with a certain type of story, a feeling, or sequence of images. Send them free training videos for example. Giving your customers these kinds of added value will help build trust and loyalty. These types of content may not always end with strong calls to action, but they help businesses engage audiences in gentler, more entertaining ways that simply help keep the brand in the consumers mind in positive ways.
Stay Focused. Be Real.
Regardless of the type of promo video you are trying to make, these three techniques can help guide you in writing scripts, assembling edits and deploying authentic content. Stay focused and remember, we’re not robots yet. So let’s connect and communicate with each other like real humans do.
Feel free to reach out to our team for any video production needs you may have. We provide writing, casting, and consultation services in addition to filming and editing services.
– Stephen Alberts, Co-Founder, Blue Barn Creative