Imagine you’re a new growth hack/marketing hire at Happy Camper, a new (fictitious) startup that’s sorta-like AirBnb meets Uber meets an RV. In your first meeting the CEO says, “Share Sprout launched with a really great video this year. They had 400% growth in the 1st quarter. We need to launch with a video too.” GULP! Now what? You start by asking all the wrong questions:
“Should we make the video in house? What professional camera should we buy? How can we make it viral like Dollar Shave Club? Where are some good tutorials to learn production techniques? What editing software should we use? Do we need lights? What about graphics? This is harder than I thought…should we hire a production company?”
Share Sprout’s video had high-production values, beautiful locations and witty humor. So you figure you can’t go wrong using a similar formula for your video too. You play it safe and hire the same production company to make the video, with some notes on how to tailor it to Happy Camper’s service. WHEW!
You Forgot Something Important…
There’s just one problem with this scenario; you are Happy Camper, not Share Sprout. OOPS! More importantly, Happy Camper’s customers are not the same as Share Sprout’s customers. YIKES! You were so caught up in impressing your peers and keeping up with the Jonses that you lost sight of who your audience was. FACEPALM!
Here’s a little secret for you: The real magic of video isn’t in production values or how it’s crafted, but in the story it delivers to its audience.
I Asked the Wrong Questions Too
As a film student I was obsessed with cameras, lighting, sound and editing because I wanted my videos to look awesome just like the films of my favorite directors. It wasn’t until I started freelancing and working closely with paying clients that I realized I had been focusing on the wrong thing for years. Sure, my clients wanted to have a well-made, visually compelling video but we always jumped straight to discussing the look and feel of the video. We overlooked the most important aspect of any creative project—it’s purpose.
One Simple Question
Don’t waste your time like I did and distract yourself with the latest video production bells and whistles. Before you decide to make a video, before you lift a finger, stop and ask yourself this: “Why do we need a video?”
This question takes you to the heart of your video project to discover its purpose. It can be a simple or complex purpose, but now you know if you need a simple or complex video to achieve your goals. Don’t stop at asking “Why?” just once, ask it three or four more times to get closer and closer to figuring out how to deliver content that will resonate deeply with your audience.
This exercise puts you leagues ahead of any other video content producer because hardly anyone is asking this simple question. The cost of not asking “Why?” is minuscule views, lackluster engagement and most importantly lost sales. “Why?” puts the focus on your audience and helps show you how to craft and deliver a video that looks great and connects.
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