Marketing Bootcamp

4 Tips for Telling Your Story in the Video Content Your Audience Demands

You don’t often call a company an “upstart” when it has more than $74 billion in annual sales. But that is certainly an accurate way to describe Amazon, or at least the retail giant’s foray into the streaming business. Last week, Amazon upset the traditional entertainment landscape when its show, “Transparent,” won a Golden Globe for best comedy or musical series, becoming the first online show to ever win a best-series award.

The historic win serves as a powerful reminder of just how much media has changed in only a few short years. Remember when we used to anxiously await Thursday night’s “Must-See TV” lineup? Nowadays, we don’t need to wait. We can binge-watch a season or even an entire series over a weekend. Though we may join together to rave or, more often, vent over social media, television entertainment is far from the collective “water cooler” experience that it once was.

Related: We're a Country of Binge-Watchers, and We Feel Pretty Good About It

Likewise, television news has moved away from shared yet passive experiences. In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, an event that was viewed by 530 million people worldwide. Twenty-five years later, some 95 million people were glued to their televisions as O.J. Simpson led police on a low-speed chase along the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.

Today, we aren’t sitting around watching TV in our living rooms, or even at bars and restaurants. We are watching and engaging from our phones, tablets and computers. Whether it’s filming an “Ice Bucket Challenge” or responding on social media to the latest celebrity gaffe, news watchers are influencing events like never before. 

This shift also has broad ramifications for how we build brands. With a shoestring budget, startups can produce an engaging video or devise an ingenious marketing tactic that has more reach and value than a slick multi-million TV commercial. If a guy in Ohio can mount a Kickstarter campaign for potato salad and raise $55,000, just imagine the possibilities.

Based on a recent report from Demand Metric, 95 percent of executives confirmed that video was an important and valuable form of content, and over 70 percent of respondents stated that video was a better conversion tool than other types of content.

Related: 6 Tricks to Get More Eyeballs on Your Videos

It’s been three years since we launched our production company and in that time, we have produced hundreds of videos on everything from wellness to smart financial investment. We’ve found that whether you’re selling diet supplements or sophisticated financial products, good storytelling is a key component. Should you decide to go behind the camera and make your business video, here are some key steps to ensure that you produce a compelling product that effectively conveys your message and creates a strong, visceral connection with your target audience.

1. Take a sales-free approach.

Creativity and a distinct, branded style go a long way. Steer clear of anything that looks like an infomercial and tell your story in a way that resonates with your audience.

2. Write and re-write.

Make sure the piece is well written and in keeping with your audience. Especially in the B2B space, it’s important to speak in the appropriate language without using jargon.

3. Think out-of-the-box.

Try your hand at some of the new tools and techniques such as animation, stop motion or even 3D, which are readily available and add to the overall quality of the product.

4. Quality over quantity.

Creating one first-class video is more engaging and offers better ROI than churning out multiple lower-quality videos.

The most important thing to remember is never lose sight of your audience. A video aimed at millennial investors should come across very differently from one targeting baby boomers approaching retirement. Let the audience dictate the tone and feel of the video. Remember to have fun. After all, you’re not going to “Break the Internet” by playing it safe!

Related: 7 Ways to Create More Engaging Videos That Rank Higher in YouTube