Don’t think marketing video – think mini-documentary!

Apply the same editorial standards to video as you do to your written content and you’ll produce more powerful, engaging work

Good content marketing doesn’t sell. Instead it engages, informs, builds trust and meets a need. It can also build brand awareness and help generate leads – but it can’t serve these commercial functions if it doesn’t give the audience what they want, whether that’s knowledge or entertainment.

This message is fairly well understood when it comes to written content, but many businesses have a way to go when creating video.

Understand the audience and the medium

Video isn’t text. It is consumed in different ways and at different times. It has limitations on the amount of information that can be conveyed and taken in. It also has unique abilities to make an emotional impact.

Understanding the audience is at the heart of everything the content marketer does, but you also have to understand what video can and can’t do. Play to the strengths and work around its weaknesses.

Fight for your audience

Video is brilliant at giving a human face to your business or brand. And people are generally more engaging than products. But do you really want to see a talking head in a boardroom speaking from a script? You might as well just read the text at your own convenience.

This is where a documentary-making mindset is important. Think about factual programmes that you find engaging to watch on the TV. They will rarely hold the same shot for more than 10 seconds. The presenter’s personality will be allowed to come out through their actions as well as their words. Locations will be varied and interesting.

If a TV documentary fails to be engaging then you’ll reach for the remote. Documentary makers know this and fight to keep your interest. You need to do the same when creating video content.

Tell a story

One way to build engagement is to tell a story. It’s human nature to want to know how things work out, and the more you can bring real people into the tale, the greater that engagement will be. People power works in written content (as this example shows) but really comes alive in video.

Understand the documentary maker’s tools

There are plenty of tools of the trade and techniques that documentary makers use to keep an audience engaged. If shooting in 4K high resolution, it’s possible to edit to create a variety of tight and wide shots from the same footage. Cutaways, mood shots and super close-ups all break up a film and create interest.

If someone is explaining a complicated subject then why not have them sketch out a diagram to explain it? You’ll be creating more visual variety, aiding understanding and saving on the cost of an animation.

Limit the scope

Good documentaries don’t overload you with information. It’s all too easy to let the scope of a video creep, adding more and more elements as the brief evolves.

Keeping things simple is always the best idea. Be clear about the message or information you are aiming to convey and resist the temptation to bolt on extra elements.

Be realistic about length

How long is the perfect content marketing video? That all depends on who is watching and, crucially, on which platform. You should have the analytics data that tells you whether your audience is likely to watch your film on desktop or mobile.

Shorter is almost always better and this is where you have to be realistic about how engaging your film will be. If you’re not able to produce an interesting mini-documentary then, for goodness sake, keep it short.

Viewers are more likely to click on a series of slightly dry 30-second videos than sit through more than a minute of content that fails to engage.

Use experts

There are a plethora of video production companies but few of them have real documentary-making experience.

At Content Cloud we work with experts who have a background in film and TV documentaries and bring that level of professionalism and audience understanding to their work.

We also work closely with clients to help them develop a brief, so get in touch if you’d like to learn more. The popcorn’s on us.

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