Video 101 – An Overview

August 7, 2014

Hello everyone, welcome to my first blog since joining the MIC team. In this blog, and in future blogs, I look forward to sharing with you all the amazing new things in the ever-evolving world of video. I’ll be showing you all kinds of cool special effects, talking up the latest gear and gadgets, and sharing with you new trends in effective story telling. But frankly, those things are just the tip of the iceberg. It’s what you DON’T see that makes video such a powerful marketing tool. I’ll get more specific about all that in future blogs, but for right now, let’s focus on the big picture stuff. 

Okay, lets say you’re interested in making video part of your marketing plan.

Great! But, where do you start? How much will it cost? What exactly is your message? What creative tools will best tell your story? How will you get people to watch? How do you measure it’s success? Well, what’s it gonna be, boy? Okay, enough with the questions! You get it, I know, it’s a lot to think about.

So with that being said, my first bit of advice is:

Don’t go it alone.

Dont go it aloneJust like the guy who thinks he can remodel his house without a contractor, there’s a very good chance that you, too, will end up spending a lot more money than you originally planned, while being underwhelmed with the results. So, save yourself a lot of headaches and a lot of money, and find a partner that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for.

Define your objective.

Define your objectiveIf you were partnering with say … (ahem) me … for example, the first thing I would do is get all up in your business. But in a good way! That because the more I know about you, the better you and I can define your objectives. So, what might your objective be? Maybe it’s to motivate your sales team, or to introduce your customers to a new product or service, or maybe it’s simply to train your associates to do things right the first time and every time. Clearly defining your objective is crucial to the success of your video. Now, along the way it will be easy to lose focus of your objective, or to even water down your objective by making it too broad, but a good partner will keep you on track and focused.

Craft your message.

Craft your messageOk, we have our objective. The next step is to carefully craft a targeted message around that objective. The message should be timely, relevant, memorable, and have a clearly defined call-to-action. This process helps you determine a format style that best suits your objective. Now, keep in mind that there are nearly as many video format styles as there are reasons for producing a video, so don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. For example, there are narrative videos, testimonial-driven videos, animated videos, white board videos, documentary style videos, reenactment videos, case study videos, or any combination of them. Nothing here is written in stone, but some formats work better than others, depending on your particular message and budget.

Your “call-to-action” is the “action” you want the viewer to take after viewing your video. For example, do you want them to immediately pick up the phone and “act now”? Or maybe you just want them to be aware of something they weren’t aware of before. Whatever the case, the call-to-action is something you want to determine long before you shoot even one pixel of video. 

Develop your content.

Develop your contentYou don’t want your viewer to lose interest in your video, so be sure to throw in lots of car chases, explosions, some karate or alien invasions – basically anything that will hold their attention! Okay, I’m kidding of course, but the point I’m trying to make here is to not let yourself get bogged down in some “cool” special effect that serves absolutely no purpose.

Whatever your budget is, I’m sure you can’t compete with Pixar or Disney, so don’t even try. The best advice I can give you is to work with what you have, find your story, and just be yourself. If you do have a pretty good budget to work with, your partner will be able to help you pick and choose the elements that warrant investing in. These things might be professional voice talent or compelling, royalty-free music. Remember, the rule of thumb is:  if it doesn’t directly enhance your message, don’t use it.

Get it out there!

Get it out thereOkay, you have completed your first video and it’s perfect! Congratulations! Now all you have to do is upload it to YouTube, sit back and catch the cash as it shoots out of your computer!

Well, not exactly. By limiting your video to just YouTube, you could be missing out on a world of opportunity. While YouTube is by far the market leader in online video distribution, there are a number of other platforms that may better suit your needs. Combing through them would definitely be worth your while. Determine the features that are most important to you, such as: playback quality, searchability, customization, analytics, embedding and sharing …. and …. and … good God, this stuff is boring.

I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. I’m a producer, and this back-end stuff doesn’t interest me in the least. But in no way am I downplaying it’s importance. So at this point, maybe a good question you should ask yourself is whether you want to tackle this portion on your own and risk coming this far only to mess it up, or maybe this is where you’ll want to hand it all over to a video hosting company. A video hosting company, such as Brightcove, will get your video in front of the right eyeballs. There are a number of great resources out there, all of which can provide you with a treasure trove of valuable data. They’ll show what’s working about your video, and what’s not working. They’ll even suggest some minor tweaks for making it all work. These companies pay for themselves, so look into their services while you’re still in the budgeting stage – it should not be an afterthought.

So, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about video and then some!

The scary thing is, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Anyway, I hope I didn’t overwhelm you. If you have any questions about the topics I covered in this blog, my call-to-action is to ask you to feel free to contact me at I’d love to learn about your business, and to share with you ideas on how video can help you achieve amazing results.