The 6 Most Important Elements of a Promotional Video

Internet users’ preference for how they consume content has changed.

Where once an infographic was enough to get people engaged, today it is becoming clear that video is very much the present and the future of content marketing.

However, before you start planning how you’re going to craft the next ‘ The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ or ‘ Dollar Shave Club’ viral ad, take a moment to consider these six essential elements of all promotional videos.

A narrow focus

Regardless of the medium, it is always vital that you get your message across as clearly and concisely as possible. You need to make sure your target audience know exactly what you want them to do, and this means leaving out unnecessary information.

This is particularly true when it comes to video content, and the statistics are clear in terms of whether longer or shorter videos are more effective.

Video-length-engagement.jpgImage credit: Wistia

Avoid breaking the two minute mark. Keeping to 60 seconds or less is even better.

Sell the benefits, not the features

A common mistake brands make with their marketing messaging is to go on and on about the features of their product or service, without ever explaining how you can actually benefit from those features.

Your viewers in particular don’t care that much about your company. They want to know how what you sell is going to positively impact them.

Take the Blendtec ‘Will it Blend?’ video:

It’s a classic example of a viral marketing ad (it’s been viewed 18.5 million times). Notice how not once does it talk about the technical features of the blender, but you can be sure it will make blending tough foods a whole lot easier.

This leads me onto my next point: show, don’t tell.

Don’t make your promotional video a Talking Head piece where the CEO/founder simply extols the virtues of a product to camera. Use the medium to demonstrate exactly how the consumer can benefit from spending their money with you.

Production values matter

Modern smartphones have made capturing good quality video content as simple as pointing at your subject and tapping the screen, but viewers can still tell the difference between high production values and an amateur video.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands on professional camera equipment, but if your budget demands the use of a smartphone make sure you film using a tripod. You can also use software such as Adobe AfterEffects of Premier Pro to clean up the quality of the video later.

Smartphone cameras can shoot at remarkably high resolutions considering it’s not the primary function of a smartphone, but it’s still worth investing in some decent post-production software.

Write a tight script

When writing content for the web it is essential to not overwrite. Make your point clearly and concisely, and avoid extraneous details that add little value.

The same principle applies to video content. Given that our ideal video length is around the one minute mark, unnecessary waffle will make that hard to stick to.

Make sure your script (assuming you actually need one) is limited to only what you have to say. Write a first draft before agonising over every word, cutting whatever you can.

Provide a clear CTA

Once you’ve wowed your audience with whatever wonderful product or service you’re promoting, it’s critical to make it clear what they should do next. You don’t want someone who is impressed with your product to be left in the dark about where they need to navigate to in order to buy it.

This could be within the end-frame of the video or below it on the webpage itself, but wherever it is, make sure it stands out.

Make sure it fits within your strategy

Don’t spend time and money on creating a promotional video just because you think you should. It needs to be thoroughly planned out and fit within your existing marketing strategy.

How does this video help you to achieve your goals? Which goals are you targeting? A video intended to boost brand awareness will look very different from one intended to promote a specific product or service.

Developing an amplification strategy is also crucial. Plan how you’re going to promote your video before you start shooting it. What’s your budget for paid promotion? Which channels will you promote on? Which outlets will you outreach to? Don’t make the mistake of producing the content first and worrying about how it fits within your strategy later.

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