Is video the answer? Well that depends on the question. This is the second in a short series of articles discussing the various pros, cons and considerations needed to get the most out of video. You can read the first in this series here.
The Fundamental Question
So I’m starting with the fundamental question you should ask yourself, “does my business need video?”
Certainly it’s hard to avoid these days; from YouTube to Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and frankly any platform you care to name, video has become a solid part of any social media activity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your business has to jump in to keep up.
If you want to jump to the spoiler, just scroll to the bullets at the end of this post. If you want more in-depth reasoning, read on.
The first factor to consider is whether your clients/prospective clients would learn anything from the addition of video to your communications. If you just want a ‘vanity video’ that’s fine, but be aware it might not appeal to those outside your organisation.
So flip your perspective and start from the client point of view. Ask whether you think they would sit through a 60-second clip that showcases your product or service. If your video doesn’t say something fresh and doesn’t get to the point quickly, you could be wasting your resources.
You might at this stage consider whether stills and text might not serve you better. Plus if you haven’t got those nailed down on your website, are you sure you’re ready to jump into video?
It’s all too easy to get bedazzled by stats that tell you there are a billion videos uploaded to the internet every 15 seconds, but that doesn’t mean anything. If what you upload doesn’t serve your cause, it isn’t doing its job.
What’s Your Story?
This isn’t to say you should avoid using video at all costs. In fact there are many businesses missing a trick by avoiding the fundamental question altogether.
The reason will often be that they don’t believe their product is worth a video, or that it wouldn’t work because it’s a ‘boring’ product or service. But most businesses have a core story to tell. It could be about their product/service, or it could be about their capability. At the absolute basic level, it might not be about what they sell so much as about the team that makes it all happen; their people.
The people that make up an organisation are often their greatest asset and as humans we like to connect with the experiences of others. So why not bring out the human side of your business? Showcase who you are, not necessarily what you do. Short colleague interviews could be one idea to consider.
Flip It Again
This option can be more complicated, but consider asking your clients what they think about working with you, and commit their views to video. Testimonials are a powerful tool, but with video testimonials remember to keep asking the question, ‘if I wasn’t me, would I watch this?’ They need to be concise. They also need to avoid being self-indulgent (ie too long!)
Time Is Money
Yes, the longer your video is, the more expensive it’ll be to produce. Longer videos require more footage and more editing, and editing costs really can spiral quickly. Think about your own attention span and ask how long you’re happy to sit and watch a product/service video. I bet it’s not much more than 60 seconds, 90 tops.
So you could spend £thousands on all the footage and editing, only to have no one watch the result beyond the first 30 seconds. I’ll wager there are plenty of people who pre-check the length of a video before they’ll even click on it. If they see it’s two, three or more minutes long, they might not click Play at all!
Takeaways (things to ask yourself)
- Is your product or service suited to video explanation/promotion?
- Who is your audience and what do you want them to take from it?
- How short (not how long!) does your message need to be?
- Would you be better off with a series of short clips?
- How will you promote the video (and where will you host it) once it’s made?
- Are there other areas of your website and marketing which need attention first?
That’s a Wrap!
I’ll keep returning to this subject because there are as many angles to cover as there are kinds of businesses in the world, so no single article can cover every scenario. However I hope this has got you thinking about the basics before launching into something that requires time and commitment (and not inconsiderable funds).
In the meantime, if you’re considering dipping your toes into video and would like some personal advice, feel free to drop me a line.
Thanks for reading!
Tim Gander is a freelance photographer and videographer based in Somerset. He covers all aspects of corporate communications, serving clients in the South West, centring on Bristol and Bath. You can see examples of Tim’s video work here.