One of the most common questions clients ask us is how long a video should be. There seems to be a rumor floating around that people can’t handle anything over 4 minutes – oh, wait, it’s two minutes, now it’s 30 seconds!
There was a time when I would recommend these rules to my clients. Now, I realize that I was wrong. If you have a story to tell, then it should be told. If you are worried about the length, then chapters can be made, or smaller videos can be extracted from the larger video, for a variety of purposes.
Are you selling a product or are you telling a story? Video marketing is just like any marketing project. Your goals and your audience should drive your direction, and your direction will determine the style and length of the video.
The first thing to consider is your audience. Who are they? Your target audience should be clearly defined. The first few seconds of your video will be focused on capturing the attention of your target audience. How will you be able to solve their problem? Why should they be interested in your product or service? You don’t need to answer everything in the first few moments, but you do need to hook them before you can reel them in. Knowing who they are will make that strategy possible, especially, if you have more than one target audience!
The second thing to consider is where the video will be viewed and why. Consider web advertising (cost per click or cost per view): what will your keywords and meta tags be for this video? You certainly don’t want to pay for the wrong key words. Either way, making a video won't help you if you don't have an audience to see it. So, here are a few of the most important platforms for marketing videos:
Website: On a page and in a blog. Don't forget that blogs need meta tags, too!
Television: Television commercials are excellent if you have the budget, but the internet is ready and waiting, too!
Social media: facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest, are out top choices. but there are may more that should be considered.
eNewsletter: If you have email newsletters that you send out, and you should, you would include a clickable hyperlink (preferably a jpeg) to a page on your site that will drive traffic to you.
YouTube: Always YouTube with your own channel and meta tags.
Web advertising: Google Adwords, Yahoo, Bing. Some social media sites like facebook, and Twitter and LinkedIn have advertising too - but make sure you know what you are doing with any web advertising before dumping your money into it. Hopefully, you have a marketing department that can handle this for you. We can also help.
Once you’ve decided who your target audience will be and how your video will be viewed, then you can consider the methods and styles for production. There are so many styles of video being used on the internet[EL1] today, that we are going to stick with layman's terms to help describe some of the most common approaches to marketing video production.
Talking Head: This is what most people think of when they think video. Basic “head and shoulders,” direct to the camera, standard shot. The talking head video is popular because it works. It’s perfect for most personal, promotional videos, whether it’s a direct appeal, an “about me” video, or a “first impression” video on your home page. However, we feel that is approach is less formal than the interview style.
Interview: Interview videos can be “news style” with the interviewer off camera and the subject on camera. The interviewer is not in the camera frame and the interviewee is answering the questions in full sentences (paraphrasing). This method is very easy for the interviewee and looks very professional.
Micro Videos: Can be anything from a full blown commercial, with all of the bells and whistles, to a simple sales video on your site, with a call to action at the end.
Video Series (ongoing, tips, How-to’s, etc): This is ideal for establishing a presence on YouTube, and they’re great for improving your SEO. In addition, video tips help to build your credibility and establish you as an expert in your niche.
Demonstration videos: These can be high end or casual. If you aren't worried about formalities, you can use a program like Jing for short webcasts by recording your demo straight from your computer. Also check out Camtasia and Screenflow (great for Mac).
Video Testimonials: These can be used on your site, in social media, in emails and you don't always need a pro for these. You can use your smart phone or smaller HD camera to grab quick testimonials while networking with clients or colleagues.
Product Videos: Info product videos are simply video content that has been packaged for sale as a physical or digital product. If you’ve got webinars or teaching videos that you can sell online.
Teaching/Webinar Video: Another often overlooked video format is the recorded webinar. Assuming you’ve recorded your webinar with GoToWebinar, Instant Teleseminar, AnyMeeting or something similar, you can use the recorded webinar as a video for sale or distribution. You can post the video webinar on your own website, or on YouTube.
With so many video formats to choose from, you could create dozens of videos from just one shoot. All you need is content.
So, what video style appeals to your audience the most? Which one will you choose for your next video?