Now that you know what type of video you need (if you haven’t yet, check out Video Best Practices Part 1: Pre-Production Strategies!) it’s time to think about how to handle the production process. We’re going to go through our tips and tricks for tackling production yourself, but know that if that’s not the route you want to explore, you can always work with a production company to handle the shoot for you.
Depending on your needs, many production companies will be flexible about how much of the process they handle. For example, if you just need someone to film on shoot day but you can prepare the video concept and edit the footage together, that’s often an option. If you can get the footage yourself but need an expert to handle the edit process, that’s also often an option.
If you decide to work with a production company, let them know what your needs are (i.e., how much of the process you’ll want them to own). Make sure to also review the company’s portfolio to make sure they have content examples that are similar enough to what you have in mind that you trust their ability to execute. You don’t need to find a carbon copy of your dream video, but if you like the examples they’ve produced for other projects, that’s a good sign.
For tips on how to build a robust pre-production strategy:
Tips and Tricks for Production
If you decide to manage the production internally, here are some guidelines to make your content look more professional — and to help the shoot go as smoothly as possible.
- If you’re using natural light, aim to shoot early or late in the day to avoid harsh overhead light. This also allows you to take advantage of beautiful, naturally-occurring light known as the golden hour or magic hour.
- Try not to film with windows or other reflective surfaces in the foreground of your shots to avoid catching the camera in the reflection. You can also shoot at an angle to avoid reflections.
- Shoot plenty of b-roll footage for your videos, so you can use it later if you need it.
- Avoid using your camera’s mic if you’re capturing audio — use recording equipment instead.
- Microphone placement is also critical for your audio recording to sound correct.
- Avoid unnecessary zooming and panning so you don’t disorient your viewers. Smooth camera shots allow the viewer to focus on aesthetics within the shot instead of being distracted by bad camera work.
- When shooting interior shots, add additional light to the room to make the space feel warm and inviting on camera. This can be achieved by adding film lights or even just opening curtains to let more natural light into the room.
- Double-check your shots before you press record. Once you have the perfect shot lined up, always remember to take a minute to perfect anything you see within the shot. Straighten the painting on the wall, move furniture if needed, adjust objects, and remove unwanted clutter or trash so it doesn’t ruin your shot later.
- Think like your audience. If it doesn’t look good to you, then it probably won’t look good to your audience. Trust your intuition, and commit to what needs to be changed in the moment to make sure your shot looks great.
- Keep a schedule. It’s easy to lose track of time or underestimate how long a shoot can take. A good rule of thumb is to map out the number of rooms you need to capture on camera, and decide how long you want to spend shooting at each location (generally 15 mins. to 1 hr. depending on the caliber of the production). A well-thought-out schedule will ensure that your production always runs smoothly.
Customer-Centric Video Distribution
So you have a beautiful, well-created, strategic video, and now you’re ready to get it out there. Once you have a good piece of content using the tips and information above, you’re ready to put together a distribution plan. Bring on the views!
At this point, your boss or other team members might bring up a goal to “make the video go viral.” If that happens, let them know that going viral is a combination of a sound distribution strategy and luck, and most great content — even the best content — won’t go viral. However, there are concrete steps you can take to make sure your content reaches the right people and resonates enough that they want to watch and share. Here are some questions that will set you up for successful distribution:
Who is my target audience?
This includes demographic information like age, gender, and more, but also defining characteristics like interests, concerns, pain points, and more. You might be tempted to skip this step thinking that you already know your customer. While you might be right, it’s always helpful to consider things you might not know about your customer or customer segments you haven’t previously identified.
For best practices around finding your target audience:
What content does my target audience like to consume for fun?
Is your ideal customer really into anime and spending time on Reddit? Do they enjoy reading in-depth think pieces on The Atlantic? Are there social media influencers who they follow and trust? Blogs they get inspiration from? Considering what your customer consumes in their free time allows you to place your video in those places in a natural way, increasing the likelihood that your video will get watched and shared.
What do I want video viewers to do after they watch my video?
Different distribution channels are more conducive to different actions. Short videos on Instagram are more likely to drive purchases, where videos on Twitter are best for driving awareness. A video that’s distributed through display networks is also a great way to build brand awareness. Whichever channel you choose, think about your audience, what they’re doing on that channel organically, and how your desired action might fit into their existing behavior.
What type of content is successful with my target audience and where is it successful?
Take a look at videos produced by successful influencers or other brands who are having success, and try to spot trends. You might notice that your audience reacts differently to different types of content on different platforms.
For instance, they may be willing to watch a longer video on Facebook, but they might not seem to have the patience for the same video on Instagram. Depending on the video you have produced and what you’re trying to get your customers to do, that may lead you to decide that Facebook is a better channel for you than Instagram.
What is your idea of success?
Your distribution plan will also depend on what your idea of “success” is. Depending on what you decide from question three, you might decide that your video is successful if it is viewed completely, if it drives traffic to your website, or if it’s shared extensively. We’ll talk more about success metrics, how to determine them, and how to measure them in the next section.
Once you’re able to answer the questions above, you’ll have a good idea of what you want out of your distribution strategy. Then, all you have to do is pick the channels that fit the strategy you have already decided on. Below is a list of popular video distribution and their stats to help get you started.
Most Popular Video Distribution Channels
- Over 4 billion video views happen on Facebook every single day.
- Distribution options include video ads, video posts, stories and livestreams.
- 85% of videos are watched without sound, which makes engaging visuals critical.
- Facebook traffic skews more female than male; 75% of females vs. 63% of males use the platform.
- Facebook is a great way to reach adults. 68% of adults ages 50-64, 79% of adults.
- 30-49, and 84% of people ages 25-29 use the platform.
- 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
- Instagram is the most popular with people ages 18-29, with 67% using the platform.
- 62% of people say they have become more interested in a product after seeing it in an Instagram Story.
- 73% of US teens say that Instagram is the best way to reach them about new brands and products.
- How-to tutorials are the most popular type of content on Instagram.
- YouTube reaches more people between the ages of 18-49 than all cable TV networks combined.
- 70% of the total watch time comes from mobile devices.
- Between 2017 and 2018 there was a 2x increase in “which product to buy” videos.
- 90% of shoppers have discovered a product through YouTube.
- Authenticity and relatability are the two most important things for a YouTube video.
- 78% of marketers said that YouTube is the most successful video marketing channel. Since Google owns YouTube, you can easily promote your YouTube videos through the Google Display Network and on YouTube.
- 82% of users watch video content on Twitter.
- Tweets including videos get more engagement, notably, 2.8 times more retweets.
- 90% of Twitter video views are on mobile devices.
Ready for the next steps? Check out Video Best Practices Part 3: Video Metrics.