How to Make Your Promotional Video Stand Out Stand From the Noise
A promotional video is a powerful way to publicise a product or service and increase awareness of your brand. If you’re wondering how to make your promotional video stand out against the noise of social media, we share some tips on maximising your video budget and producing a promotional video that achieves your marketing goals.
How does a promotional video differ from a commercial?
Firstly, let’s briefly consider the differences between a promotional video and a commercial. Despite being similar, promo videos and commercials have different purposes and work in different ways to help convey your message.
A commercial tends to be focused on finding a new audience. Successful commercials quickly and efficiently show the viewer the brand’s position and ethos. Commercials often have a short story that communicates an emotion, that corresponds to the brand’s identity and purpose. Commercials can be allegorical, follow a traditional story arc or simply represent the buyer or user. Sometimes commercials have nothing to do with the product itself, and instead promotes a feeling. Here’s an example of a commercial we made for Mavericks, a healthy snack for kids. In just a few seconds, the commercial’s anarchic energy instantly communicates that this is a product that kids will love.
A promotional video, on the other hand, is specifically designed to promote a product, service or event. Typically a promo video shows how something works and indicates how it will make the consumer’s life easier. The videos tend to be relatively short in length, as they need to captivate the audience’s attention, deliver the key information, and leave the viewer wanting to learn more. Often promo videos end in a ‘Call to Action’, for example, encouraging the viewer to visit a website to find out more. On the whole, promo videos are aimed at an existing audience or customer base.
What do I want the promo video to achieve?
If you’re looking for a promo video to publicise a specific product or service, it’s time to think about the video’s purpose and what you want your audience to take away. Maybe it would be helpful to establish targets linked to mailing list sign ups, boost sales, or social media engagement. Having a clear marketing goal will help you make key decisions in terms of the message, tone of voice and call to action.
Wondering how to make your promotional video stand out against a noisy social media landscape? At Bold Content, we like to know about the aim of your video, why you chose to make it and what impact you hope it will achieve. This helps us identify your key message and what you want the audience to recall a week after they’ve seen the video. This helps us remove any clutter from the video, keeping your message streamlined, focused and clear.
Having a simple message is beneficial as audiences have a limited capacity to remember. What’s more, promotional videos that try to say too much can feel crowded and uncertain. We believe in the power of short and sleek promotional videos that are memorable and transformative. On social media, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so keep it concise.
Who is my video for?
Once you have identified your key message, it’s time to consider who the target audience is. Are you introducing existing customers to a new product? Informing existing clients about a new service? Wanting to convert website traffic into sales? Or bring people from social media to your landing page?
Think about who these people are, where they spend their time, and how can you get them to engage with your video. The more information you have about your target audience, the better you can create content for them.
We like to ask our clients how the audience will benefit from watching the video. What will they get out of it, how will their lives be improved by the product and why should they engage with your business. Keep this in mind as you move onto the scripting stage, as you want to make sure your video is audience-centric.
Think about what you want the audience to feel after watching your promotional video too. The answer to this question will establish the emotional tone of the video.
Finally, it’s important to consider early on where you will distribute the video, how it will be consumed and what you want the viewer to do after they’ve watched it. All of this will inform your concept, script and distribution strategies.
How do I communicate my key message?
Having a strong opener will help to hook your viewer. If you think about the audience’s frame of mind before they click on the video it will help you answer any questions they might have and engage with them from the moment they press play. This will also help you decide what information you want to deliver first.
Our tip is…Before you consider what you want to say, have a think about what the audience want to hear. This is a subtle difference, but keeping the audience’s experience at the centre of all creative decisions will help you create a promotional video that stands out from the crowd.
Conclude your video with a call to action. This can be as simple as “Like us on Facebook” but the definite closing will help to inform your viewer where to look for more information.
What about a concept or storyline?
Not every promo video needs a storyline. If you’re looking to produce a product video, your video may be comprised of images of what the product looks like, footage of how it’s used, and what purpose it serves. For testimonial or talking head videos, your focus will be on the opinions of your customers and/or the people running your business.
Depending on what you want the tone of your video to be, there are tons of interesting ways to jazz up an interview video including shooting interesting settings, how you use lower thirds, how many interviewees you talk to, how its edited together, and the content that’s talked about. Often by adding a little creative flair we can elevate an interview video and create an attention-grabbing piece of content. We often add animation to an interview which is a cost-effective way to add visual flair, without having to capture B-roll or use expensive stock footage.
If you’re producing an explainer video that goes into detail about how your product or service works, you’ll work with your video production company to come up with a script that includes the narrative journey and the voiceover to match. These are often animated, but also can be live action too. Usually, there is a step-by-step visual representation of the message, with a voice-over artist reinforcing that knowledge with their dialogue. Working with a video production company, you’ll be able to work with a team of producers and animators to come up with a concept and style that suits the tone of your video and effectively communicates your message.
More often then not, clients looking to explain complex ideas often choose animated explainer videos for their promotional video needs. Animation can bring products to life, can be used to demonstrate invisible processes or can create a character who represents your buyer.
Concepts in animation can be as simple or elaborate as you like, for instance you might want a visual representation for your product or service, or want the video to demonstrate invisible processes to the viewer, or creating a character who represents your buyer. What’s more, animation means you’re able to produce impactful visual content without the need to hire actors, locations, props or a production crew.
What happens during the scripting phase?
Whether it is a full shooting script or simply a list of interviewee questions – you need a script. Scripts make sure that everyone is on the same page and ensures that the director and/or cameraperson can capture all the required footage on filming day.
If you’re producing an animated explainer video or using existing footage, you may need a voiceover script to narrate your video. If you’re working with a video production company, they’ll be able to guide you through the script writing process, but our top tips on how to make your promotional video stand out are:
- Hook them in with a strong opener
- Talk directly to your audience
- Don’t sell, focus on the benefits
- Reward your viewer for their time
- Have a call to action
For more information about how to write a great explainer video script, you can read our guide here.
If you need any help with writing a video script or you feel that working with a video agency is the best way to go, take a look at our post about how to write a comprehensive brief for a video and feel free to get in touch if you think we could help you with your video requirements.
What about pre-production?
The pre-production phase will differ depending on whether you are producing an animation or live action video.
Pre-production for animated explainer videos will involve a brief, agreeing on a budget and timeline, scripting, storyboarding and agreeing on style frames before the animator and illustrator can get to work. For more information on the animation process click here.
With live action – whether it’s an explainer video, testimonial video, fictional piece or talking head video – you’ll have to find a crew, hire equipment, find a location, cast it, sort lighting and sound, and create a shooting schedule. If you’re working with a video production company, they’ll have this all in hand and will work within your budget to achieve the best possible quality video.
Spending time in pre-production and being happy with all the different components is a sure fire way of making sure you get the most out of your video. Even if you need the video in a hurry, try not to rush decision making at this point, as it will impact the end result of your film.
It’s time for production, what can I do here?
Prior to production, talk to your production company about what they have in mind for lighting, what cameras they’re going to use and if there is anything they can do to add a little magic to your video. You want to balance great quality with affordability, but it’s always good to see if there is something you can add to really make your video stand out.
For instance, we recently shot a crowdfunding video for Wype – an environmentally friendly alternative to wet wipes – and we wanted to create that 80’s infomercial look to our footage. As doing this in post can be costly, we use gear such as a vintage Harrison & Harrison diffusion filter to really give it that authentic look.
As a creative production company, we film tons of talking heads each year, but we’re always on the lookout for fresh creative approaches to interview videos, so we can push the boundaries of the genre and help our clients create attention-grabbing videos, that stay with the audience long after the first viewing.
Apart from making sure that your content is relevant, targeted to their needs and deeply informative, the filming style will also be key in addressing this challenge. But if you create fast-paced content for a generation of people who grew up on a diet of video games, and short form content how do you sustain the attention of older viewers who can’t follow content that changes shot every other second? Your video production company should have some ideas on how to deliver your message in a distinct way that is appealing to your target audience. They’ll think about what sort of shots you’ll want, what the lighting should be to maximise effect, whether to use shallow depth of field and whether or not you should break the fourth wall and show the crew. I’ve you’ve got any ideas for what sort of shots you might like, tell your production manager in advance and they can communicate this to the director. They’ll build the shot list ahead of production, so it’s best to share these ideas in advance. However, if you have any thoughts on the day, find your producer or account manager and they’ll be able to share it with the crew.
How does post-production work?
Post-production is where it all comes together and your editor assembles your footage and adds music, sound effects and any animations or graphics etc.
For animation, this is where the music and voiceover are layered in and any finishing touches are added.
Most video production companies will give you a few rounds of edits. To really get the most out of this feedback process, we suggest consolidating feedback from everyone in your team into one clear set of notes for the editor or animator to implement. This will keep the process streamlined and avoid any confusion or misunderstandings and ensure that your video is finessed and ready to be distributed!
What about my branding?
There are lots of ways you can use brand guidelines to elevate your production. Whether you want your logo at the start or at the end, if you have certain typography or colour schemes, your video production company will work within your brand guidelines to create a video that truly represents your brand identity. If you have a tone of voice document, that’s also worth sharing in terms of what sort of questions an interviewer might ask or how the voiceover for an explainer video should be positioned.
But, try not to be too constrained by your branding guidelines. Although we agree there should be a consistency in how a brand is projected and that videos should adhere to the brand aesthetic, if followed too carefully, guidelines can hinder creativity. If all your videos look uniform and start to become too similar, your video marketing campaign isn’t perhaps as memorable as it could be. As a result, we like to think outside the box for ways in which promotional videos fit within brand guidelines but have something a little different or unique spin, to elevate the video and help it stand out from your other video marketing. That way, audience will remember your video long after watching it.
So that’s it!
We hope this guide helped give you some ideas for how to make your promotional video stand out. If you would like a friendly chat about how we could help with your next promotional video, get in touch. We love helping clients get the most out of their video marketing and ROI.