The second instalment of the ‘Content is Crucial’ series focuses on Howard Jackson from Open Door Multimedia. Howard is a video producer and photographer (though he admits to feeling uncomfortable when Howard Jackson and video producer are used in the same sentence). He values great content and shares two things in common with me: he is skilled at making complex messages simple and he loves to tell a good story.
In this blog Howard shares his tips for small businesses owners who might be considering venturing into video for the first time. Not only is video on your website crucial for SEO, it’s a really engaging way to get your business messages across.
Why is content crucial to the success of video?
Many people prefer to consume video rather than written content these days. Every day you see people on the bus, train or even wandering the streets watching short video clips. Video is a really effective way to get your business message across.
I can’t stress how important it is to get your content right before you start. I would advise talking this through with your video producer or using any communications support you have, such as a copywriter. Get your content right and people will engage with it, with you and your business. Get it wrong and they will switch off - quickly.
What’s the best way to plan video content?
The first priority is to identify your audience. I usually sit down with a client and talk this through right at the start. It’s so important to understand whom you’re targeting.
Once we’ve defined the audience, I’ll ask the client for some key messages that they want the video to convey. Three is a good number, you can have more but I’d advise no more than five key messages in one video. When the messages become complicated, there’s a risk your viewer will either switch off or misunderstand.
I like to spend time with a client, listening to their objectives and defining key messages. It’s not uncommon to bounce ideas and content back and to by email before we even begin to think about filming.
What are the main challenges you face when developing video content?
Lack of preparation is the main challenge. It’s not necessary to write a script and learn it word for word, but if clients sit down in front of the camera without having prepared it is a lost opportunity. The more they think through and prepare, the more I can offer when I arrive with my equipment. And of course I am available to help throughout with that preparation
It’s important to know and understand your subject to instil confidence in the viewer. If the content is unfamiliar, I’d advise spending some time reading around the subject so you feel more confident talking about it.
Too much content can be another tricky situation. People generally want bite-sized video content that’s quick and easy to consume. Listen to your producer or copywriter’s advice and refine and edit content if necessary.
What are the key elements of great video content?
1. Presenters who really want to be there
Choose your best representatives to put in front of the camera - people who are enthusiastic about the business and your work. Never push someone into being filmed. It will show in the finished film and reflect badly on your business. Though you might have to “encourage” people because they can be a little reticent about being filmed.
2. Clear key messages
Having a few distinct messages to talk around makes your video more natural and engaging.
Storytelling videos are one of my favourite types of video to produce. If you’re nervous about talking to the camera, a conversational style is a great option. After a while, you’ll forget that the camera is there and get carried away talking.
Any tips for small business owners creating their first piece of video?
1. Prepare a maximum of five bullet points to talk around.
2. Don’t over prepare – it’s natural to be a little nervous!
3. Choose a good backdrop (the best you have) in a location without any background noise. Your backdrop should also match your branding (e.g. colours that complement your website) if possible and represent what your business does e.g. If you’re a caterer, filming in your kitchen could be a great idea.
4. If something unplanned happens during filming, you might be able to use it so carry on. Think BBC News reporter whose children gatecrashed his live interview!
5. Add subtitles and captions so your audience can access your video on the move.
6. Break up the content by using infographics or stills.
How long should a video be?
As long as you need to get your message across! Social media video content averages between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in length. You need to have a very good reason to produce a video that’s longer than this but if there is a reason - go for it.
Open Door Multimedia specialises in producing affordable videos for small to medium-sized businesses and charities to use on YouTube, social media and websites. Howard excels working with people with limited video experience, who might need a little extra support to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Visit opendoormultimedia.com or call Howard on 07795 252797 for more information.